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For new and experienced riders alike, buying a motorcycle can be a lot of fun.
If you’re interested in learning to ride a motorcycle, you wouldn’t be foolish to think that you’ll need a bike to learn on.
So, it begs the question: can you buy a motorcycle without a license?
Or, what comes first, the endorsement or the bike?
Can I Buy a Motorcycle Without a License?
The short answer is: yes, you can buy a motorcycle without a motorcycle license.
Most motorcycle dealers and private sellers are not going to care whether or not you have a valid motorcycle endorsement.
And most states do not have any laws explicitly prohibiting it.
However, it is illegal to ride a motorcycle without a motorcycle license or permit.
Additionally, it may be difficult to get insurance for the bike if you do not hold a valid motorcycle license.
Bottom line – it’s usually smart to get your motorcycle permit or license before buying a bike. As you’ll learn below, it also typically makes the process a lot easier.
Keep reading to learn about some more details you should know if you’re thinking of buying a motorcycle without a license.
5 Considerations When Buying a Motorcycle without a License
You can usually purchase a new or used motorcycle without a license, but before you do, you’ll need to think about the entire process.
There are some other things you’ll need to consider if you plan to buy a bike before you get your motorcycle license.
1. You Can’t Ride a Motorcycle Without A License or Permit
While you can buy a motorcycle without a license, you will not be able to ride it home legally.
You’ll either need someone with a valid motorcycle endorsement to ride the bike for your or arrange for shipping.
All of this can add to the complexity and cost of the purchase.
2. You Usually Can’t Get Motorcycle Insurance Without a License
If you buy through a dealer, you’ll also need to show proof of motorcycle insurance – depending on the state – as part of the sale.
In many cases, you won’t be able to take the bike off the lot until you’re able to show proof of a valid policy.
Insurance companies are not going to want to take on the liability of insuring a bike that’s owned by someone without the necessary motorcycle endorsement.
For them, that’s a huge risk factor and a higher likelihood that the bike will be involved in a claim.
Not only that, but it puts your new purchase at risk. If the bike gets damaged on the way home, you’re out of luck if you don’t have the necessary coverage.
3. Getting a Decent Motorcycle Loan May Be Difficult
If you don’t have the cash to pay for the motorcycle in full, you’re going to need to get a loan.
Whether or not you’ll be able to secure financing or decent loan terms without a motorcycle license depends on a number of factors.
In some cases, you may not be able to finance the bike if you don’t have a proper endorsement.
Or you may have a difficult time getting approved for motorcycle financing from most reputable lenders if you don’t already have an endorsement.
If you can get approved, you may not be offered as good of terms as you would having a valid motorcycle license.
It will also come back to your eligibility for a motorcycle insurance policy. Most vehicle loans will require you to have a full coverage policy.
As stated above – without a motorcycle endorsement, you’ll have a hard time getting coverage.
4. You May Not Be Able to Title & Register the Bike
Some states may not allow you to title and register a motorcycle without a valid motorcycle license.
After you buy a motorcycle, titling it in your name is the next step to establish ownership.
If you don’t have an endorsement, the state DMV may not allow you to complete the process.
5. You Won’t Be Able to Test Ride the Motorcycle
Since you can’t legally ride a motorcycle without a motorcycle license, you won’t be able to test drive it.
A motorcycle dealer will definitely not let you test ride on of their bikes without showing your valid endorsement.
A smart private seller usually won’t let you test ride their motorcycle without an endorsement either.
Again, the risks for the other party are just too high to make it worth it.
How to Learn to Ride a Motorcycle Without Buying a Motorcycle
If you’re a new rider or interested in learning, this might seem confusing. Don’t you need a motorcycle if you want to learn to ride?
Fortunately, beginner rider courses like the ones provided by MSF provide you with bike to learn on.
You can use the bikes they provide to learn the basics and pass the riding exam.
After passing the MSF course, you’ll be able to pass the written test at the DMV and get your license.
Having a motorcycle license before you buy a motorcycle can definitely make things easier.