2012 Suzuki V-Strom 650 Adventure | One for the Road

By Brian Catterson, Photography by Andrea Wilson

Money for (Almost) Nothing
WORDS: Aaron Frank

Just because a bike is cheap doesn’t mean you have enough spare change socked away under the mattress to pay cash. And even if cash payment is still the most fiscally sound strategy for buying a motorcycle, aggressive OEM financing programs available now can greatly reduce—if not eliminate outright—the usual financial penalties for purchasing on credit. For more reasons than one, there’s never been a better time to buy a brand-new bike.

Today, practically everyone is offering special financing to shove slow-selling motorcycles out of showrooms. Triumph is offering $0-down/0-percent-for-60-months on select cruiser models, while “Suzuki Zero” gets you a 0-percent annual percentage rate for five years on practically any model. You can finance certain Hondas as low as 0.99 percent, and even the comparatively costly, 3.9-percent offers from Kawasaki and Yamaha beat most banks and credit unions by a couple points—provided your credit is clean enough to qualify. Better yet, these financing plans retain their low rates for the whole term; in the past, attractive initial rates were followed by usurious end-of-term spikes.

As economic instability makes private lenders more cautious about how much they loan to whom, OEMs have had to get creative about facilitating sales. This means great deals for you—since financing promotions move product directly, OEMs often extend credit at better rates than other institutions. Some OEMs even go beyond low rates—BMW Motorrad’s “3asy Ride” program is hybrid of leasing and owning, offering buyers lower monthly payments and flexible terms like a lease, with enhanced end-of-term options to either refinance the remainder or pay off the bike.

If you’re shopping new this season, plan a few extra minutes to visit with the finance manager—it could literally be like getting money for nothing.

By Brian Catterson
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