A new motorbike can give you freedom and thrills on the road. If you’re planning to buy one, you may be wondering what to check for when buying a motorbike in NZ?

Before you start browsing, it might pay you to consider the following questions: Do you have a specific model in mind? How are you going to pay for it? What kind of motorbike can you afford? Have you thought about financing a vehicle?

We’ve put together some quick tips for beginners to help remove any uncertainty associated with buying a motorbike in NZ. If you need a helping hand or a head start on buying the motorbike of your dreams, chat with the team at Instant Finance.


Make sure you have a motorbike licence before buying a motorbike in NZ.

Obtaining a motorbike licence in New Zealand involves three steps:

  1. To receive your learner’s licence, you must be sixteen years old or older, pass the theory test, and pass the basic skills handling test.
  2. Once you have held a learner's permit for six months or more, you can apply for a restricted licence and must complete a practical test.
  3. In New Zealand, you must be 18 or older to obtain a full motorbike licence. However, once you reach the age of 17 and a half and have completed the competency-based training assessment, you will be eligible to attempt a full licence test.


Once you have passed the test for your motorbike learners or above, you can start the search for your first bike. Make sure to have a good think about these factors.


Type of motorbike

There are several things to consider when you are looking at buying a motorbike in NZ. One of the most important is that the type of license you have can determine what bike you can buy.

Riders who are currently on their Learner or Restricted license can only ride and purchase a LAMS-approved bike. LAMS is a scheme put in place by the NZTA to ensure the appropriate motorbikes are used by riders who are less experienced compared to riders on their full license.

Another factor to consider is the type of riding you’re most likely to do. Do you want to go on an outback adventure, cross some riverbeds, and conquer the dunes? If so, you'll need a good dirt bike. A dual-sport motorbike is also an excellent choice for off-road adventures, as well as riding in the city. However, if you wanted something faster, more powerful, and more suitable for on-road travel, a sport bike is a better option.

Other types of motorbikes include:

  • Touring bikes and cruiser bikes – which are ideal for long journeys
  • Café racers – those who are after something lightweight and want the vintage-look
  • Standard/naked bikes – which are ideal for urban riding.

Each type of motorbike is designed for a specific purpose and road conditions, so choose accordingly based on your lifestyle and needs.


Riding position

Some motorbikes, such as sports bikes, have riding positions that force you to lean forward to reduce wind resistance and increase your speed. While this is ideal for faster riding, it may cause back strain when travelling longer distances. If you’re not comfortable with this sort of riding position, it might not be the type of bike for you. A standard or naked bike, on the other hand, allows riders to sit in an upright position, making it more comfortable for longer journeys and urban riding.


New or used

Should you buy a new or used motorbike? Generally, most beginner riders opt for a new one as their first bike because it guarantees dependability, newer safety features, and exceptional performance. This allows newer riders to focus on their riding rather than worrying about any mechanical issues. But this comes with a cost too!

Purchasing a second-hand bike can be a good option for first-time riders who want to learn the skill without having to incur a massive expense. A used bike is also less expensive and can often provide good value for money if you find the right deal.

Second-Hand Bikes – What to check when buying a motorbike:

  • The condition of the bike
  • How the bike runs
  • Paperwork and past maintenance
  • Background check
  • If there is money owing or security interests on the bike
  • Whether the bike was imported with structural damage
  • If the bike is currently registered and licensed
  • If it passed its latest WOF
  • The ownership history of the bike
  • What alerts or notices you should be aware of
  • The odometer history
  • The history of registration plates that have been issued on the bike

We also recommend taking the bike to an authorised motorbike mechanic so that they’re able to verify its overall condition and identify any potential problems. The last thing you want is to find your new toy that needs work done to it!

If you’re looking at a model that’s a little out of your budget, chat with the team at Instant Finance. With a vehicle loan, you can get on the bike of your dreams faster and hit the road in time for your next holiday.



Road users, including motorcyclists, must always prioritise safety. So before purchasing your first motorbike, enrol in a Motorbike Safety and Training course. This training course is designed to make you and other drivers on the road safer.

Even if you have prior riding experience, it can be good to take the course as a refresher from time to time to sharpen your skills and ensure your safety. These courses are very affordable as they’re covered by ACC’s Ride Forever initiative.

Finally, don’t forget to factor in a little extra cost for safety gear, such as helmets, in your budget!


Get a pre-approved motorbike loan

Having a pre-approved loan before heading to the dealership will give you more negotiating power as you have the cash on hand. This pre-approved amount can also help you stay within your budget when you decide to make your purchase.

If you need a helping hand to buy your first bike or simply want an upgrade, have a play with our vehicle finance calculator and apply for a motor vehicle finance loan from Instant Finance. We also have a few tips to share on what's the best way to finance a car in New Zealand.

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