Purchasing a Used Motorcycle

Practical Advice on Purchasing a Used Motorcycle

Buying a second-hand motorcycle can be a fun and rewarding experience. However, like any major purchase, there are some pitfalls to watch out for. For instance, if you notice that the bike’s current tires have uneven wear patterns, it could indicate that it was ridden aggressively or even abused. It can be very costly in the long run.

Know Your Budget

Dealerships make a lot more money from trade-in bikes than they do on new ones. So if you see a second-hand bike for sale at a dealership, it’s probably priced that way for a reason!

Look for a clean bike that’s been properly maintained. Dirty, poorly oiled and rusted bikes can be signs of neglect or ill care. Push the bike around without starting it up, and pay attention to how well it moves and feels. Also, listen for squeaking or grinding sounds. These could be a sign of faulty suspension.

Know Your Bike

When buying used motorcycles for sale, the owner you’re dealing with will impact your experience. If the seller is rude or dismissive, this could signal they don’t take their motorcycles seriously. When you arrive, ask the seller if they’ve started the bike up before you arrived. A pre-warmed engine can mask problems such as clacking or clanging on startup.

It’s also worth asking about any history attached to the bike. HPI checks will reveal whether a vehicle has been written off or has any associated finance deals.

Know Your Bike’s History

Perform background checks whether you purchase from a dealer or a private seller. It includes HPI (or similar), highlighting any finance owed on the bike. If this is not paid off and you buy the bike, the finance house can claim it back. Aside from that, it’s also worth looking for signs of crash damage and shoddy repairs. It can be as simple as looking at the frame for impact dents or checking around major weld points.

Know Your Bike’s Reputation

Unless you’re confident that all the checks have been done, it is always wise to walk away from a sale before handing over any money. Even if the seller is genuine, a bike may have been stolen, written off by insurers or have outstanding finance still to pay. Checking legal documents such as the engine and chassis numbers and color indication will give you a good idea of whether the bike is genuine. It could be a red flag if the owner refuses to let you ride the bike.

Know Your Bike’s Warranty

While a warranty might not be top of mind when shopping for bikes, knowing what is and isn’t covered by one could save you from grief in the future. Bicycle warranties differ between brands, but most have similar exclusions. When inspecting a bike, look out for electrical tape and vampire connectors (where the wire is all connected in one big bundle), as these are indicators of a repair job needed. Also, push the bike around to see how well it moves without starting it up.

Know Your Bike’s Maintenance Schedule

A good seller will have receipts for work done to the bike, and they should be able to show these to you. If a bike has been stunted and is showing signs of being tampered with, you should walk away – stunting is hard on the engine, transmission and suspension and can cause damage to hero blobs. Push the bike around while it’s cold and check for how easily it moves – this can indicate that it hasn’t had much maintenance. Taking a look at the tires is another smart move. Following a maintenance schedule is a smart idea to get the most use out of your bike. It may assist you in avoiding future expensive repairs. Clean your bike’s mechanical parts, especially the drive train. If you don’t, your bike will wear out faster and require more frequent replacements. Push the bike around without starting it up to see how easily it moves. Look for dents or other signs of damage to the frame. Make sure the seller has a clear title and pink slip in hand. It sucks to be stuck with a defective document at the DMV. It is a good sign if the owner can provide a detailed account of their bike’s maintenance history. A pristine owner’s manual and all the factory keys are also very good signs. All rotating components (headset, wheels, pedals and bottom bracket) should be cleaned, inspected and re-lubricated at least once yearly. If not, they’ll probably break sooner or disrepair through lack of use.

Know Your Bike’s Maintenance Records

A responsible owner will have their maintenance records to hand – and they should be willing to show you these. A lack of these may be a red flag, particularly if the bike has had multiple owners. Also, look for signs of neglect, like clogged carburetor jets and rusty fuel tanks. These are not necessarily deal-breakers, but they should raise some suspicions. Also, ask the seller to wait to start the bike before you arrive. If they do this, it indicates that they are hiding something from you.

Know Your Bike’s Service Records

Whether it’s oil changes or body repairs, service records can tell you whether a bike was well looked after. They’ll also help you figure out how much you should haggle. Look out for rust and stains on the frame, engine and suspension components. They can be signs of a poor repair job and expensive damage. If a seller refuses to let, you inspect the service record for these components, walk away. They’re not being honest.

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