No test rides for a new motorcycle?

Found out local dealers don’t allow a test ride for a brand new motorcycle. Is this common all over the US? They will allow test rides for used bikes.

( Technically they said I could test ride if I actually bought the bike and then if I did not like it they would refund my money. I doubt anyone agrees to that)

That woild be a deal breaker for me. I can see their fear of you damaging the bike, but I have a fear of spending large sums for unknown qualities.

When I bought my Dyna (Harley,) I was able to test ride it.

You need a new dealer.

Long as you have an endorsement, you should be able to test drive it.
No ride, No sale

I have a motorcycle endorsement. From 1976. Haven’t ridden a bike on the road since 1979 (except an occasion or two about 10 years ago). The biggest bike I ever road on the road was a '75 Yamaha 650. Tiny compared to some of todays 2 wheeled cars. I’m am, or was a dirt bike guy.

I understand their hesitation.

The most FUN I’ve had on a bike was a Yamaha IT490. Sheesss that thing was fast. As long as you could stay on it. I’m talking off road stuff here.

A 650 was once one of the biggest bikes on the road.
No idea why todays fascination with getting up to a 2 liter motorcycle, still can not go any faster if you enjoy living.

For that matter the old 750 2cycle’s were death on wheels, 2 speeds, idle and oh my god.
Funnest bike i ever had was an old kaw g4tr, not fast, only 66mph in top gear, but it had 10 gears and would climb up a wall

In my motorcycle days (1990’s), only BMW and Harley dealerships had test drive bikes.

I bought three new bikes without a test drive. A Concours, KLR650, and R6. Did my homework, talked to owners and each bike was perfect for my needs.

But then, I never had a bike I didn’t like.

This, though an insurance requirment of some sort wouldn’t be out of line either i suppose, in addition to the endorsment.
What kind of bikes are you looking at? Do you have much riding experience?
If new to riding and shopping for a Hyabusa, well, good luck on that test ride.

… I suppose now that i think about it a litte bit, a lot of bikes have very specific breakin procedures. It may be they are protecting their bikes from premature over revving or something.

I have a lot of experience. The bike I asked about is only a 300 so it’s not a super fast bike. But it seems like they had a blanket policy for all bikes.

What insurance would I need for a test drive? Liability insurance only protects me personally if I’m at fault, it doesn’t help the dealer. Collision insurance would need to name the bike and include the VIN to identify it, and no one is going to name a vehicle on their insurance for a test drive, plus a lot of insurers balk at insuring a vehicle you don’t have any kind of ownership in. I mean, I can see checking if you have insurance at all just to be sure you’re capable of getting it, but I don’t see that there’s any insurance specific to motorcycles that would make sense to check for.

Sure, but your experience isn’t documented anywhere; they’re just taking your word for it. It’s too hard for them to sort out who’s actually experienced, who isn’t, who’s actually a good/safe rider that can handle the GSXR-1000 without flipping over on his back, and who should be closely supervised while they straddle a Ninja250 in the showroom. The easiest thing is to just say no test rides for anyone.

There may also be weird issues with who actually owns the bike and sets that policy. Not sure, but perhaps the manufacturer owns the bike until you buy it, in which case the dealer’s hands are tied; this would explain why they can allow test rides on used bikes, but not new bikes.

Same as harmonicamoon, my experience is that only HD and BMW allow test rides of brand-new bikes.

Fair enough. The dealer maintains the “no test ride” policy because they are still able to sell enough bikes to stay in business. If enough people felt the way you do, then the policy might change, but for the time being, you’re in the (walking) minority…

Idk really. I know my insurance would pay on rental damage but not sure about test drives. Dealer should insure every bike on tbe floor anyways, I’m juat saying i wouldn’t find an insurance requirement unreasonable. Even if its to just check and see if you can get it.
I’d see if they have a used one in the same configuration as the one you’re looking at and test ride that one. Its starting to look pretty common for non Harley or BMW bikes.

I suppose it depends on whether it’s a brand-affiliated dealer (Harley-Davidson, BMW Motorrad, etc.) or a “Powersports” dealer who sells all of the Japanese brands alongside snowmobiles, scooters, jet-skis, and the like. I bought my bike from a Harley dealer, and not only did they happily offer me a test ride on the bike I ended up buying, they let me ride with a buddy of mine (regular customer of theirs) rather than a sales person chaperoning me.

On the other hand, I’m looking at a sportier bike, which means I’m going to a powersports dealer. The vibe and clientele are quite different. I can’t blame a dealer primarily selling higher-performance bikes from disallowing test rides; every jackass 18 year old would be pestering them to ride (and wreck) a literbike all the time.

If you tell the dealer no test ride, no sale, they may soften their stance a little. They may be just trying to weed-out the joy riders.

A check for insurance would be in order. Not to cover the cost of potential damage (as has been mentioned, they have insurance for that), but to make sure you are currently riding. A motorcycle endorsement on your DL cost nothing to maintain and people rarely have them removed when they stop riding. But, nobody who doesn’t ride is going to carry motorcycle insurance “just in case”.

I don’t know. The only bike I bought brand new was a Honda CX500 (in 1979) and I didn’t get a test drive on that. They’d specifically ordered it for me so I’d already bought it.

A few years alter I was in the USA and my nephew wanted to buy a scooter. They wouldn’t let him test it - no motorcycle license yet - but he said I should try and tell him what I though. The dealer said “does he know how to ride a motorcycle?” and my nephew said “He just drove down here from Canada on one.” (Actually, halfway across the continent) I got to drive it up and down the lot.

The problem is it’s a lot easier for an inexperienced rider to do major damage on/to a bike than in a car. I assume free-wheeling Dealer plate insurance for a motorcycle shop would be a helluva lot more expensive than for a car dealership. Used bikes would probably be a lot cheaper if they had to be written off. Plus, some types of bike buyers probably would not be averse to taking off with the bike, depending on how you arrived at the dealer - junker car or expensive auto?

The first time I let someone test drive a two-wheeler of mine was my second moped, and the first thing the guy did was come around a corner too fast and crash (fortunately) into a grassy knoll. Idiot.

Was it from an actual Harley dealer or just a powersports place. I don’t know if this is universal or not, but the Harley place by my house is practically begging people to come take Harley’s out for a test drive.
Harley really, really, wants people on bikes. They’ll let you test them, they have 3 day(?) rental packages for weekend warriors, they run Learn2Ride classes. And it’s not like they’re hurting for new buyers. I know the waiting list isn’t exactly 5 years anymore, but my friends that have bought bikes in the last few years aren’t exactly picking them up that day (or that month).

I didn’t get to test drive my bike before I got it. It wasn’t even offered to me (BTW, used Honda, not a new Harley). But, I have to wonder, if I had been a regular at the store and/or I had pulled up on a bike (that I would maybe be trading in?), maybe they would have let me.

One thing I do remember is that when I took my MSF class, the instructor mentioned that you shouldn’t let a potential buyer ride your bike (remember Mayhem). If they crash it and walk away, it’s your problem. If they crash it and get hurt, it could be your problem. If they just ride off into the sunset, it’s your problem. Start it, show them it runs, but get the money before they they leave with it.

Most states require insurers to cover the named insured for any vehicle (so long as it is driven with the owners’ permission). My collision coverage applies to a friend’s car or a rental, so long as I am not violating the policy by failing to identify it as a vehicle I should specifically be insured for.

Of course, my state doesn’t require bikers to have any insurance, and the OP’s might not either.

Yeah, it was from an H-D dealer. I don’t think anyone but official dealers sell new Harleys.

Way more than that. They want you riding a Harley, wearing a Harley-Davidson jacket and Harley-Davidson boots, with Harley-Davidson ink on your arm/shoulder, drinking from Harley-Davidson glasses, and sleeping/screwing on Harley-Davidson sheets. I used to think Apple was good at selling customers a “lifestyle,” but holy shit are they rank amateurs compared to Harley-Davidson.

their sales have declined this past year, so they’re more willing to deal than they’ve ever been in the past. Especially on slow-selling models. Their three problems are 1) they had a big project a few years ago called “Rushmore” where they made tons of little improvements based on customer feedback, so everyone ran out and bought those bikes and don’t need another one right now, 2) their core customer base is aging, and starting to just “age out” of the market if you get my drift, and 3) IIRC they had a surge of buying after Sons of Anarchy hit the air, and those dentists and lawyers dumping their bikes after one on-road scare means there’s a glut of low-mile used ones.

In my 10+ years of riding, I have never gotten a test ride from a dealer for one of the Japanese brands. Some Triumph, Ducati and KTM dealers have offered rides, mostly depending on whether or not they have a demo bike for the model I want to ride. BMW and Harley have just about always offered rides by having a number of demo bikes available.

Pretty much every brand has some type of ‘demo day’ event where the factory truck comes by with a number of bikes to test. For a lot of dealers, that’s going to be your only option. I’ve been told by dealers I trust that the economics of keeping demo bikes is terrible unless specifically supported by the factory.

I’ve never bought a motorcycle, but when the dealer does allow test rides, does the salesman come along and sit behind the buyer? Does the difficulty or awkwardness of this arrangement have any bearing on why some dealers don’t allow it?