From a commenter over at clarkhoward.com:
Most new motorcycles are going at deep discounts, but you have to do your homework before you show up at a dealer. Make sure and get the bottom line price as they like to advertise a sale price but then add on delivery and prep which can be well over $1k. But there are deals out there in almost every category and manufacturer.
On used bikes, the sweet spot is 1-3 year old bikes. Many have ultra low mileage, especially in the northern states with a short riding season and alot have been upgraded by the buyer with alot of expensive add-ons. But again you have to shop around on craigslist, etc to get a feel for pricing. Deals are tremendous where you can get a bike for 40-50% of what the original buyer paid and only have a couple of thousand miles on them. I bought one that way from a desperate seller. What I paid for the bike was his payoff of the loan plus he had to pay me $500 cash to boot. That was desperation. I really thought the guy was going to break out crying as I rode off with the bike. In used bikes, the sweetest deal is on the sport bikes (crotch rockets), as they are the 20-35 year olds domain and most likely to be in trouble financially. Alot of sob stories out there and alot of unrealistic pricing by those who are upside down. Patience is a virtue here. But best time generally to buy at least in the northern u.s. is October thru January.
I buy right, cash only and keep the bike for a couple of years and then sell it in spring after I bought a replacement the previous winter. I always make some money even counting the sales tax I have to pay, so riding is basically free for me.