How to Get Approved for Motorcycle Financing

Good credit and a down payment pave the way for a motorcycle loan.

Good credit and a down payment pave the way for a motorcycle loan.

The open road beckons, and you want to hit it on two wheels. Financing your new motocycle can be a breeze with a down payment, good credit score and determination to find a good deal. You'll turn heads on your new bike in no time.

Set a Solid Budget

Before you step foot into a dealership, you need to figure out how much motorcycle you can buy without busting your budget. Figure out your overall monthly cost, factoring in the loan payment, insurance premium, maintenance and gas; figure out your loan payment with the free loan payment calculator on Your loan approval depends in part on your income to debt ratio. Keeping to a realistic budget improves your chances of getting a loan.

Check Your Credit

A FICO score of 620 or above should get you approved for a motorcycle loan, but it varies by lender. It's a good idea to check your score before making a major purchase. That way you can make sure you get the best interest rate possible. If your credit is less than 620, use your credit report as a road map to fix it. Take care of late payments, pay down current credit card balances and get rid of any credit reporting mistakes. It may take a few months to see a score boost, but it is totally worth it.

Large Down Payment

It's likely your lender will require a down payment along with good credit to qualify for financing. Harley-Davidson, for instance, requires a 10 to 15 percent down payment, depending on the bike you want to purchase. A larger down payment lessens the amount of debt incurred. If your credit is shaky, strive for a 30 percent or more down payment to increase the chance that you get financing.

Financing Options

Although fewer financing companies offer motorcycle loans than car loans, you still have options. Dealer financing interest rates and approval depends on your credit history. Although they're convenient because you can get them right at the dealership, they may not offer the best rates. Motorcycle manufacturers or OEMs also offer financing options based on your finances and credit. If you have a high credit limit on a credit card, you can purchase your motorcycle with no credit check or additional financing. This is a good option only if your interest rate is low and fixed. Your local bank or credit union may offer personal loans at a low rate.

A Note About Inquiries

While hard credit checks can cause your credit score to drop a bit, creditors take into account if you are shopping around for a loan. Inquiries made within 30 days of securing a loan should not affect your ability to be approved, says For loan inquiries that fall outside of the 30-day range, similar financing company inquiries are counted as one inquiry, which has minimal affects on your credit score.

About the Author

Tracey Lamphere has more than 15 years of experience as a reporter and editor. She has contributed to Sound Publishing newspapers in Washington state. Lamphere also specializes in marketing communications and copywriting. She has a Bachelor of Science in business journalism from the University of North Texas.

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