Bargain time for motorcycling


The motorcycle industry's soft 2007 performance and the high cost of gas might work to your favor if you're interested in taking up motorcycling. According to the L.A. Times, sales of two-wheelers were off as much as 8-10% last year, with the sharpest declines in off-road machines and cruisers from Harley-Davidson.

While bikes built overseas, such as the BMW and Ducati, will suffer from the declining dollar, home-grown products by Harley and Honda (built in Ohio) could become a better relative value. As dealers begin to accumulate stock for the spring season (which begins in earnest the first warm day in the spring for much of the country) they may be offering some excellent deals on older stock. If you have good credit, you might also be able to get good financing. Harley especially has suffered from credit it extended to those on the borderline of the ability to pay.

If you are interested, this is also the perfect time to sign up for motorcycle training. Most states offer low-cost riding schools through the Motorcycle Safety Foundation that will take you from raw novice to a rider prepared to pass the test for a license. Harley has its own program, Rider's Edge, offered in many locations across the country. Both are extremely female-friendly, too. In fact, many instructors have told me that women make better students -- less ego. Many insurance companies offer discounts to graduates of training schools.

Why sacrifice summer travel due to the cost of gas, when you can enjoy the open road and travel cheap? With inventories up and sales down, the climate is right for a bargain on your first or next bike.