Few experiences are more exciting than buying a new motorcycle. When you make the purchase, you know you’re getting a great bike from an ideal source, so the main question that remains is how to bring a new motorcycle home. The temptation, of course, is to just hop on and ride, but there’s a big question you need to address: can you ride a new motorcycle home after buying it?
It’s a great question, so let’s cover the basics. We’ll focus initially on the procedures for a newly purchased motorcycle from a private seller, but many of these apply to buying from a dealership as well. We’ll cover most of the basics, with an eye on helping you understand what to do, what not to do, and some of the additional possibilities along the way.
Can You Ride a Bike Home Without Motorcycle Insurance?
This is the first and most important question you need to consider. Generally, as long as you have the title or the bill of sale that specifies the date of purchase, you have a short grace period during which it is legal to ride. That period is usually several days, although it does extend to a week if you’re buying in Texas.
Once that period ends, you need to have proof of valid motorcycle insurance, but it’s best to have it before you ride off into the sunset with your new bike. That way, you’ll be covered if anything happens, so it’s the best thing to do for both you and your new ride. It is important to note that some financial institutions require you to have motorcycle insurance before you leave the lot on your new bike, so check with them before you plan to pick up your motorcycle.
Can I Use My Brand New Motorcycle Without Registration?
Beyond all that, the key rule of thumb here is to get your motorcycle registered with your local DPS as soon as possible. If you need to get your new ride inspected and require some extra time to do that, you can also consider a temporary registration that will cover you for whatever length of time you need.
General Laws for New First-Time Motorcycle Owners
Another issue you need to be aware of involves the plates and tags. In some states, including Texas, these are viewed as being attached to the motorcycle, not the new owner. This means your bike may not actually be registered correctly even though it appears to have the proper paperwork, so make sure you cover all the bases in this area.
In Texas, your motorcycle must be registered with the County Tax Assessor-Collector in the county in which you reside. This is where you’ll get your plates from, and they must be attached at all times with a current registration sticker.
Now let’s talk about some of the worst-case scenarios that usually never happen, but they’re still important to address because sometimes they do, especially if you don’t do your homework.
If you ever get pulled over with your new ride, you’ll be fine if you have the title and the bill of sale that shows the purchase date, but you may get what’s called a “fix it” ticket if you don’t have motorcycle insurance yet. That ticket gives you time to get the motorcycle registered if you haven’t done that, and a short phone call with a representative from any reputable insurance agency can quickly solve that problem.
How to Bring a Motorcycle Home?
Now let’s take a different scenario. Let’s say all of these requirements make you skittish—even if you’re operating the bike legally—and you decide you’re not comfortable riding it home.
That gives you two choices. If it’s a private sale, you can have the seller ride it to your place; just be sure to make arrangements to provide the seller with transportation back home once the bike is sold. That way, everyone leaves happy.
The second option is to have the bike towed to your residence. This may sound silly given that it’s a working motorcycle, but it’s another way to ensure the integrity of the sale and make sure that both you and the seller complete the transaction, happy, safe, and legally sound.
Whatever you decide, do not put a set of old or spare plates on the bike. This can get you in all kinds of trouble if you’re pulled over, especially if the officer thinks the bike might be stolen.
The #1 Option for Getting Your New Motorcycle Home Safe and Sound—Harley-Davidson of Kingwood
So what’s the best way to go when you’re trying to answer the question, “Can you ride a motorcycle home after buying it”? If you want to avoid the aforementioned logistics, your best bet is to buy a bike from a dealer, especially if your new ride is a Harley Davidson. Dealerships can register the bike for you if you’d like, and they can give you temporary plates as well. That means you can ride away free and clear, knowing your new plates are either in the mail or available for you to pick up whenever you’re ready.
You’ll still need to handle the insurance issue as soon as possible after you drive off the lot, but it’s a lot easier to finish the purchase knowing that all you have to do is make that quick phone call.
If you’re ready to find a new or pre-owned bike to bring home, stop by Harley-Davidson of Kingwood. Our team of Harley enthusiasts can help you find your perfect bike, handle the paperwork involved with getting it home, teach you to ride it, and perform regular maintenance across its lifespan. Come schedule a test drive and take home the bike of your dreams at Harley-Davidson of Kingwood today!
Harley Davidson of Kingwood
Harley-Davidson of Kingwood is your #1 Texas Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealer. Our full-service facility offers new and pre-owned motorcycles, parts, maintenance, riding apparel, and everything else you need to get your Hog on the road. As a winner of the Harley-Davidson Gold Bar & Shield Circle of Excellence, we’re committed to providing top-notch customer service every day of the week. Stop by and visit the Harley-Davidson of Kingwood Showroom on Northpines Drive in Kingwood, TX!