Motorbikes let you enjoy the freedom of wide-open spaces, of which Australia has no shortage. To get the bike you want, you may need to spend thousands of dollars, with some top of the range bikes costing over $30,000. If you can't afford to pay these prices up front, motorbike finance could be the solution. 

How does motorbike finance work?

Motorbike finance is a type of personal loan, where you borrow money to buy a high-value item, such as a motorcycle, car or caravan. As well as paying back the money you borrow, you’ll need to pay interest. For motor vehicle loans such as motorcycle loans, the interest rate is often fixed so your repayments stay the same.  

You can choose how long you want to take to pay off your motorbike. The maximum loan term is often 60 months, but you can get shorter loans. The faster you choose to repay your loan, the less total interest you’lll pay compared to repaying the loan over a longer term. 

Why do people use motorbike finance?

Even motorbikes at the cheaper end of the market can cost several thousand dollars, so you may need extra help to buy one. By securing finance to pay for your motorcycle, you can own your bike sooner than if you’d saved up for it. If you already have a bike, you may be able to trade it in to reduce the amount you need to borrow. You can also put your savings towards a deposit - the less you need to borrow, the less interest you may need to pay. 

What are the main features of motorbike finance? 

Motorbike finance shares similar features to other personal and car loans. When you’re comparing motorbike loans, look at:

  • Advertised rate: The extra you’ll need to pay back on top of what you’ve borrowed. This may be a fixed rate that keeps your repayments the same, or a variable rate that may rise or fall over the life of the loan. 
  • Comparison rate: An estimate of the loan’s overall extra cost, including interest and standard fees, expressed as an overall interest rate. 
  • Fees: Some common fees for motorbike loans include upfront fees, early exit fees and redraw fees. 
  • Extra repayments: Paying more money onto your motorbike loan could help you pay off your bike sooner and pay less total interest.  
  • Redraw facility: If you get ahead on your motorbike loan, you can use a redraw facility to take your extra repayments back out from your loan if necessary.  
What are the pros and cons of motorbike finance?
  • You can own your motorbike straight away – no need to save up to buy it.
  • Flexible payment options may be available – extra repayments and a redraw facility could be useful for managing cash flow and your household budget.
  • Make steady progress – regular repayments mean you can make steady progress towards paying off your debt and owning your motorcycle outright.
  • Missing repayments could mean losing your bike – If you choose secured motorbike finance, and you default on your loan repayments, you could lose your motorbike to cover the loan’s costs.
  • Fees – Using some motorbike loan features may require you to pay extra fees.
  • Limited vehicle choice – Some loans may limit your choice of motorbikes to newer, more expensive models that can secure the loan.

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Frequently asked questions

What is CTP insurance?

CTP insurance, also known as compulsory third-party insurance or a green slip, is compulsory if you want to register a vehicle in Australia. If you’re responsible for a car accident, your CTP insurance will be used to pay any compensation due to anyone who might be injured or killed. However, CTP insurance doesn’t cover you for vehicle damage or theft.

What is proof of income?

Before giving you a car loan, lenders will ask for proof of income – documentary evidence that you earn as much as you claim you earn. Lenders will typically want some combination of tax returns, pay slips and bank statements. The reason lenders want proof of income is because they want to be sure you have the means to repay the car loan.

How to find a great car loan

Historically, finding a great car loan would require excess research ranging from visiting an excess of websites or making phone calls, but technology has moved on. Using RateCity, Australia’s leading financial comparison service, you can check out great deals from a range of lenders on the one site.

To start, select the amount you want to borrow and the length of the loan, narrowing your search to show just fixed or variable interest rate results.

Once you’ve indicated your search criteria, you’ll see an immediate list of lenders, ranked by interest rate or application fees. You’ll also be able to view the monthly repayment amount for each result, helping you to know what you can afford.

Up to six products can be compared side-by-side, complete with more information about each car loan, giving you more information about your options.

When comparing your car loan options, it’s ideal to keep in mind some points find a great car loan for your needs. Consider the following:

  • Choosing a low interest car loan can reduce costs
  • Selecting an option with low fees and charges is ideal, because these can really add up
  • Be aware of penalties, such as early exit penalties if you pay off the loan sooner than expected
  • Consider the features that best suit your situation

There are many ways to ensure that you get a great car loan. Ultimately, you’ll end up with the best deal by doing your research and selecting the most suitable product for you.

What is a dealership?

A dealership is a car yard or a place where cars are sold.

What is dealer finance?

Dealer finance is a car loan organised through a car dealer – as opposed to car loans organised by a finance broker or directly by the lender.

What is salary packaging?

Salary packaging is an arrangement you can make with your employer that can allow you to buy a car from your pre-tax salary. The advantage of salary packaging is that it will redue your taxable income.

What is an establishment fee?

Some lenders will charge you an establishment fee, or one-off upfront fee, to cover the cost of setting up your car loan.

What is residual value?

The residual value of a car is how much it will be worth at the end of a lease period. Finance companies need to calculate a car’s residual value before they can know how much to charge during the lease period. For example, if a financier calculates that a $30,000 car will have a residual value of $16,000 at the end of a five-year lease, the financier will know that it must charge $14,000 to break even on the lease – and more to make a profit.

What is a commercial hire purchase?

A commercial hire purchase, or CHP, is an arrangement by which a finance company buys a car on your behalf. You get to borrow the car in return for making regular payments to the financier. Once the final payment is made, you take ownership of the car. 

What is collateral?

Collateral, or security, is an asset you agree to surrender to a lender if you fail to repay a loan. Generally, the collateral for a car loan is the car itself. So if you fail to repay the loan, the lender might seize your car, sell it and then use the proceeds to recover their debt.

What is an upfront fee?

An upfront fee is a one-off fee that many lenders charge when you take out a car loan.

What is a loan-to-value ratio?

The loan-to-value ratio, or LVR, is a percentage that expresses the amount of money owed on the car compared to the value of the car. For example, if you take out a $15,000 loan to buy a $20,000 car, you have a loan-to-value ratio of 75 per cent. Loan-to-value ratios change over time as you pay off your loan and your car depreciates in value. For example, two years later you might now owe $10,000 on your car, which might now be worth $15,000. In that case, although there would still be a $5,000 difference between the size of the outstanding loan and the value of the car, the loan-to-value ratio would now be 67 per cent.

What is a pre-approval?

A pre-approval is a formal document that indicates how much a lender is willing to lend to a consumer – once that person has found the car they want to buy. A lender will assess a borrower’s credit history and financial circumstances before issuing a pre-approval. However, lenders are under no obligation to follow through on pre-approvals, so pre-approvals should be seen as statements of intent rather than rock-solid guarantees.

What is a green slip?

A green slip, also known as compulsory third-party insurance or CTP insurance, is compulsory if you want to register a vehicle in Australia. If you’re responsible for a car accident, your green slip will be used to pay any compensation due to anyone who might be injured or killed. However, a green slip doesn’t cover you for vehicle damage or theft.

What is a balloon payment?

Some lenders will offer borrowers reduced monthly repayments in return for a one-off lump sum – or balloon payment – that the borrower has to pay at the end of the loan. Generally, the total repayments on a loan with a balloon structure will be higher than a loan without.

What is a car loan calculator?

A car loan calculator is an online tool that helps consumers understand how much they would have to repay under different scenarios. Consumers can create these different scenarios by entering different borrowing amounts, interest rates, loan terms and repayment schedules into the car loan calculator.

What is a novated lease?

A novated lease is a car lease that is ‘novated’, or transferred from one party to another. Novated leases are often used when companies provide a car as part of a salary package. The employer signs for the lease and makes the lease payments, but the employee assumes the responsibility of looking after the car. While most car leases involve two parties, novated leases involve three – employer, employee and financier.

What is a refinance?

A refinance is when you swap one car loan with another. For example, you might take out a car loan with Lender X because it is the best on the market at the time – but two years later, you might switch to Lender Y because you discover that it now has the best loan. Conditions and fees often apply when you refinance.

What is a redraw facility?

A redraw facility allows you to re-borrow any funds you may have repaid ahead of schedule – although conditions and fees often apply. Not all car loans come with a redraw facility.

What is compulsory third-party insurance?

Compulsory third-party insurance, also known as CTP insurance or a green slip, is compulsory if you want to register a vehicle in Australia. If you’re responsible for a car accident, your compulsory third-party insurance will be used to pay any compensation due to anyone who might be injured or killed. However, compulsory third-party insurance doesn’t cover you for vehicle damage or theft.