Freedom (Merriam-Webster) - The quality or state of being free: such as;

1.       the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action

I struggle with how lately motorcycle Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) use freedom in relation to marketing campaigns or promotions, but then turn around and put serious restrictions on customers when it comes to motorcycle warranties and “free” extended warranties.  For the last two to three years, this topic has come up more than in the past, specifically in relation to our right to customize and install aftermarket parts on our motorcycles. As Vice President of Operations at J&P Cycles, I constantly hear questions and statements like:

·        “Will this part void my motorcycle warranty?”

·         “The dealer told me if I customize my motorcycle, I would void my extended warranty.”

·         “I love the sound of that exhaust, but I have two years left on the extended warranty on my Milwaukee-Eight Street Glide. Once that warranty expires though, my bike is going to sound awesome."

·         And my favorite “My dealer told me anything I do to my bike will void the warranty, especially if the work is not done at the service department I purchased my bike from.”

I cringe every time I hear these statements. It feels like OEMs don’t want you to have a choice and press you into making a difficult decision, especially when they throw out the lure of a “free” extended warranty when purchasing a new motorcycle.

About six months ago I was in the same boat when I purchased a new motorcycle. I did my research, found a bike online, drove to the dealer and checked out the bike for about five minutes, then asked the salesperson to take me to the finance department. Immediately I was discussing extended warranties and maintenance plans. I declined them all right away with no second thought. The woman working finance looked at me as if I was a three-headed monster, asking me why I didn’t want the peace of mind the plans offered with my new purchase. My response was simple.

“I purchased this motorcycle because I trust the manufacturer and the quality of their product. It is my choice, what I want to do with the motorcycle, how I want to ride it, how I want to maintain it. If I do not respect it and take care of it, it’s my fault. I closed by saying the price of your extended warranty will cover the price of the new parts I am going to put on the bike to customize it!”

I am sure many of you have had or heard the same comments when purchasing a new or used motorcycle. I hope that your response was similar to mine.  At the end of the day, I spent my hard-earned money paying for the motorcycle, stop telling me what I can and cannot do.  It is my freedom of choice.

For those that have already researched the topic on your own have probably heard of the “Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act” and may refer to it. Unfortunately, some manufacturers have put certain fine print or self-owned warranty programs that they can stand claim behind. In the unlikelihood that you do have a warranty claim on a new motorcycle it depends on how professional and trustworthy the dealer you are working with is. Keep this in mind when purchasing your new bike.  I can speak from experience, as I had to have an OEM buy back a motorcycle from me for a defect in manufacturing. I had to push the subject just a little but ultimately the dealer and the manufacturer did the right thing. By the way, that bike had aftermarket parts installed.

I leave you with these words in closing. If you’re worried about voiding your warranty if you customize your bike, buck up. Don’t be afraid to exercise your freedom of choice, ride hard, take care of your motorcycle, learn how to work on it, and lastly make decisions that allow you to express yourself worry-free. You only live once! If you totally disagree then I understand. Ultimately it is your choice, not the manufacturers, which I respect. We’d love to hear your opinions and experiences with this topic in the comments below.

P.S. Shameless plug. If you do  upgrade your bike regardless, please choose us at J&P Cycles!