Buying and owning a Motorbike

Posted on December 2nd, 2013 by GEM Motoring Assist

New or used? Large or small? Sports or tourer? European touring? Find out useful information relating to buying and using a motorbike! Simply click on the question below that interests you, or feel free to scroll through all of them.

Q: How do I get a motorcycle licence?

A: Your first step is to take your Compulsory Basic Training (CBT). Once you have this, there are various routes to follow, including the ‘Direct Access’ course. This costs around £500 to £600 and will take you from novice to full licence holder in just a few days. The price usually includes bike hire, test fee and insurance.

Please note that rules change later in 2008 when it comes to learning to ride a motorcycle. Visit the DSA for more information.

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Q: What sort of insurance arrangements do I need to make when I own a bike?

A: You will usually have a choice of third party, fire and theft or fully comprehensive.  GEM’s new motorcycle insurance partner, Devitt, is a specialist UK motorcycle insurance broker that has found riders competitive cover for their bikes and scooters since 1936.  They have access to a range of motorcycle insurance policies offering competitive premiums and cover. They also offer discounts for a history of claim free riding, advanced training, secure overnight garaging, female riders, limited mileage and approved security systems. Click here for a free competitive quote.


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Q: How can I reduce my premium?


A: The main way to keep the cost of insuring your bike down is not to make a claim. Consider enrolling on a refresher course to brush up on your riding skills. Taking and passing courses such as those run by RoSPA or the IAM may also lead to a lower premium.

Obviously, doing all you can to reduce the risk of having your bike stolen will save you money on insurance. If you can keep your bike garaged, do. If you have to keep it outside ensure it is covered and securely locked.

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Q: Safety clothing and helmets are expensive. Can they be covered under an insurance policy?


A: Yes. Devitts offers up to £500 cover for accessories (such as panniers and tank bags).

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Q: I like the idea of foreign touring. Does that make insurance complicated?
A: Not at all. Full policy cover for up to 90 days per trip is included on your Devitts policy when travelling abroad within the EU, so you can certainly look forward to foreign trips. 

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Q: What assistance does GEM offer to motorcyclists?

A: Plenty! GEM Breakdown cover also covers you on a motorbike, so you won’t need an additional policy. Plus there are all the other worthwhile benefits of GEM membership, such as your free quarterly copy of GOOD MOTORING magazine and access to a wide range of road safety information. We also offer a wide array of worthwhile discounts through our partners in the motoring, travel and leisure sectors.  We recently published a motorcycle safety guide for group riding and filtering. For a free copy please complete the Contact Us form.

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Q: What are the relevant advantages of buying a new or used bike?

A: With a new bike you’ll get a full manufacturer’s warranty, peace of mind and dealer back-up. However, you will, of course, pay more and have to take the largest hit of depreciation. Buying an older machine can be a riskier transaction depending where you decide to buy it from. Buying from a reputable dealer can give you a similar level of peace of mind as if you were buying new. You will also have the option of purchasing extra warranty cover and will benefit from dealer back-up.

If you decide to go to the classifieds, you’re on your own. In either case, buying a used bike will mean a lower price and a far gentler pace of depreciation.

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Q: I’m not mechanically minded. Are there any basic tips to help me buy a used bike?

A: The first thing to look for is any obvious sign that the bike has been dropped or crashed. Bad scratches or broken body panels are a dead give-away. Look for parts that are newer than the rest of the bike – this should raise suspicion.

Next, check the condition of the tyres. Motorbike tyres are more expensive than car tyres, so you don’t want to be forking out for new ones straight away. The condition of the tyres can also give information as to how hard the bike’s been ridden. Also check the drive chain is well-lubricated and not too slack and that the sprocket teeth are not worn or hooked.

Make sure the lights, indicators and horn all work start the engine to make sure the bike runs well. Look out for smoking or rattling sounds while the engine’s running and arrange (making sure you’re insured) a test drive. Try to buy a bike with a current MOT, it’s not a guarantee but at least it means that it has recently been independently inspected and passed road-safe.

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Q: How will I know the price asked for a used bike is fair?

A: It is worth spending some time reading the motorcycle press, not only to find out which machine will suit your needs best, but also to get a handle on how much the sort of bike you’re interested in costs. Most magazines have price and model guides in the back, but a good look down the classifieds should soon give you a basic knowledge of what you should be paying for a particular model, age and mileage. Always beware of bargains that look too good to be true – they usually are. 

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Q: I’m thinking of buying a bike I’ve seen advertised in my local paper, how can I be sure it’s legitimate?

A: Like cars, bikes should have a V5, or logbook. If the model you’re looking at doesn’t, walk away. Make sure that the frame and engine numbers and registration mark match the details in the logbook, and check that none of these has been altered. If you’re not sure, go no further and share your suspicions with the local constabulary.
When you view a bike, always arrange to do so at the seller’s house. Never agree to meet in a pub car park or lay-by. Don’t let the seller bring the bike to you, no matter how convenient that seems – it is a common trick used by thieves.

The information on this Site is provided on the understanding that GEM Motoring Assist is not rendering legal or other advice. You should consult your own professional advisers as to legal or other advice relevant to any action you wish to take in connection with this website.

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