I’ve done some homework so sharing it with you guys in hopes it may save someone some legwork …

It’s the very end-of-season (October) so prices on new and used bikes has hit rock bottom – that’s the good news :-). The bad news is you still have to act fast to get them – a good deal is normally gone in <1-5 days.

Question: New Riders need?

Answer: A Bike. Not the fastest bike, not the most expensive bike, just a bike; and lots and lots of practice.

Less is more
If your peers have told you about the benefits of 600-1200cc super bikes as a New Rider – stop listening to (and reasoning with) them – and listen to your training.

You will learn the full envelope of riding, cornering, braking, balance, and manouvering on a lower cc much faster and smoother, than on a torque-ier, bigger, or heavier bike.

A typical 300cc will reach its top speed on the highway at ~165kph — and you will out-accelerate anything on 4 wheels. Next?

But i’ll out-grow it in 12 months, right?
The advantage of <401cc motorcycles is that they hold their value very well: 20-30 students a week can go thru each training school, all summer – and most will go on to buy a starter bike.

Soo, if in 6-12 months when your coach on the track days says you’ll get 2-second faster splits on a 600cc, you’ll be able to sell near cost – and know that 6-12 months of pure riding bliss only cost you $500-1000 🙂 – Try getting that kind of return on a bigger bike!

Alternatively, if after 12 months / 12 years, you still love the handling, the cornering, and everything you can do on it – and you’ll never part with it – double result!

Honda CBR300 vs. Yamaha Ninja 300 vs. Yamaha R3 vs …

Oh, my! everyone has an opinion on bikes; and I agonised over this!

The Answer? Lee sums it up best:

“To a new rider the differences between the bikes are irrelevant. As a new rider you need to ride. That’s it. All those do the job incredibly well. Whatever bike you get excited about and get the best deal on is the one you should get.”


A lot of my friends back home ride. They have all crashed or gone down at some point; all thankfully still here to tell the tale; but most clock up thousands in damage to their bike (and in many cases another vehicle). My best friend Rob admits some mistakes: of the 5 collisions he’s had – he’s sure ABS could have prevented 4 of them.

ABS is expensive, right?
No. ABS adds $300-$500 on a new bike.

But, it’s not on most used bikes, so there’s that. Some 2011/2013 bikes for sale do have ABS. Most 2016/2017 bikes have ABS option. At some point North America will catch up with Europe and ABS will come as standard.

I went $1,800 over-budget – mainly to get a newer bike with ABS – because, ya know what? I’m worth it.

How does ABS work, yada, yada…?
ABS does nothing under normal or ‘perfect’ braking. It kicks in on the worst day of your life; when you have no escape, and you’ve exceed your tires slip limits. Instead of pavement smack-down in 0.30 seconds, the ABS feathers the locked wheel hundreds of times a second – giving you the maximum braking force that is left – and crucially, the bike stays upright.

If you’re doing highway speeds; or in traffic, upright really matters.

Are you really sure you don’t want ABS?

Dealer vs. Private; New vs. Used

This is entirely down to personal choice and budget. A safe, well-maintained $2,000 used bike will perform equally as well as it’s newer $9,999 model years.

Most dealers will give you a 10-15% discount if you show ‘sticker-price aversion’ and tell them you just completed the new rider training course – the really good dealers will offer you it first!

Honda also has an additional $300-off a new 2015/2016/2017 CBR300R coupon – for students who successfully completed an approved training course (until 31/Oct/2017) – ask your instructor (Lee) if you need this.

New comes with a typical 12-month warranty, nearly-new – ask how much of the manufacturer’s warranty is left. Used – ask what warranty the Dealer gives.

Check-out your local dealers (in no particular order):

  • Carter Motorsports, Granville https://cartermotorsports.com/
  • Ducati Richmond http://www.ducati-richmond.com/bikes/
  • Honda Centre, Burnaby http://hondacentre.com/?product_cat=motorcycles
  • Burnaby Kawasaki http://www.burnabykawasaki.com/all-motorcycle-inventory/index.htm

Dealers have sneaky pdi/vpi/document/(insert made up fee here) charges on top of the sticker price – and that typically adds ~$1,000 to the final price – always ask for “On The Road price” – which should include all charges and sales tax (double-check!) – don’t let them bait-and-switch the final cost after you’ve made up your mind!

Dealers/Businesses charge sales tax on vehicles at point-of-sale. Buying from private sellers you also end up paying sales tax on your vehicle purchase – later when you register the transfer of ownership with ICBC. That’s sucks, that’s the way it is. So when comparing Dealer vs. Private seller price – be sure you compare Dealer “On The Road” price (charges and taxes included) with Private seller price + 12% sales tax. And factor in the pros and cons of each.

Private sales
Private sales are “buyer beware” – you have very little recourse if the Bike is a ‘Lemon’ or you get conned / bike repossessed for unpaid secured loan the previous owner took out on it. So don’t cut corners – get a full Vehicle History Report; obtain a Lien Search; and have a qualified mechanic check and test-drive the bike before you part with cash.

Most sellers (private and dealer) post an Ad on Craigslist -it’s the new EBay!: https://vancouver.craigslist.ca/search/van/mcy?query=300

Many people turn to their community on Facebook to spread the word: Check here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/679662802121681/ And here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/604motorcycles/

You could post a ‘Wanted’ Ad on Craigslist and Facebook groups too – some people just never get around to advertising – and it sells by word of mouth!

Vehicle History Report
This tells you the full history of the vehicle; as recorded by ICBC. For $20 you can get this here: http://www.icbc.com/vehicle-registration/buy-vehicle/buy-a-used-vehicle/Pages/Vehicle-history-reports.aspx

Vehicle Lien Search (Outstanding Credit)
Motorcycles are assets; so when you buy from a dealer (or are strapped for cash) you can secure a loan against it – the lender will take the Bike if loan payments are not paid up in full.

It’s very rare – but it does happen – that an unscrupulous individual will sell a Bike with a loan secured against it – and never repay that loan – the first thing you’ll know about it is when a Bailiff is hoisting the Bike you bought 3 months ago onto the back of a tow truck. If you don’t trust the seller – or just have a healthy level of caution – pay for a Lien – they’re $52 with a report from https://www.carproof.com or $34 from Dye & Durham (1-800-665-6211).

If a bike has a registered Lien – walk away. If the price was too good to be true – run away! If a vehicle has Lien registered against it – it’s not your Bike.

Mechanical / Test Ride
So you know nothing about mechanical issues or bikes? Me neither! Owner doesn’t want a Newbie to ride their Bike at 50km/h+ on a test ride? Not surprised! But there are some mechanics that will do this for you for a reasonable price:
Tony Duong 604 617 4177 (Top Gear – see him at 1st gear)
Tim Pittman 604 723 1332 (TnT Motorcycle Transport)


If you are going to a dealer (or private seller) you must negotiate! Dealers (and most private sellers) have a lot of discretion on sticker-price (think $100’s). Call all the dealers, tell them you’re a new rider and ask for their best price “On The Road” for Bikes in your CC and Year range. Call all the private sellers for Bikes you really want; and tell them you have cash ready – and will buy today – what’s their best price – then, no really, what’s the best price you can do for me?

Then try & buy (or put down a deposit) on the one you want*.

If buying private make sure you’ve checked the full Vehicle History report; Lien Report; and mechanical / test drive before parting with cash – see above). That’s all folks! If you spot anything I missed, let me know!


Credits: Lee, Lionel and the team @ 1st Gear for all their help & advice!

Who is Jay Jones?

Jay took our course in October 2017. He was an avid rider of bicycles so that made him ideal to learn how to ride. He learned fast but also respected the dangerous nature of riding motorcycles. We’re always fascinated by who learns to ride motorcycles and our lucky we get such great people through our course. Jay was a stand out student and he’s gone the extra mile to bring his experience on getting a new motorcycle.