As with a car, there are some important steps that need to be taken when you are going to be purchasing a used motorcycle. Breaking down the things to check before buying a used motorbike will ensure that you are not getting scammed, and can happily ride on two wheels without any extra fees or headaches in the future. We’ve all been in a situation where we thought we were getting a great deal, and then we did a little more research and were shocked to see results that weren’t what we hoped for.
To avoid this, here are the things to check before buying a used motorbike.
1. Preferred Riding Style
Do a little research on what type of riding style you prefer. Different styles of bikes will offer different experiences on the road, and it’s important to make sure you understand which style offers what. Sport bikes have a more aggressive seating position than a cruiser. Touring bikes and endure bikes have a higher seat height than cruisers or sport bikes typically, and will require taller riders to operate. Some types of bikes will make commutes easy, or painful depending on a list of factors. It is important to decipher what style of riding you hope to engage in before buying a used motorbike, to ensure that you are happy with your purchase in the long run.
2. Do Your Homework On The Bike
The next thing you do once you’ve established what riding style you are going to be comfortable with, you have to find a bike that you’re interested in. Once you’ve found the bike that you think you could potentially purchase, do a little homework on the bike. The American Motorcycle Association points out a few good ideas when doing some homework for your potential purchase that we recommend. Go to review sites, check out some articles and handling topics. What is the consensus about the motorbike? Do people enjoy the ride of the bike, or advise against the particular model? Does the bike require any extra maintenance or extra attention that might deter you from the ownership? While going through this procedure, you also want to look at the VIN number of the vehicle. Look to make sure that the VIN numbers are matching, and get a proper insurance quote.
Utilize this time to see what the maintenance records and history of the bike show. Has the bike had any serious maintenance that could potentially compromise handling or need a heavy investment of funds in the future? Doing your homework on a used motorbike that you are interested in will save a lot of heartache in the future. It’s a potentially long step, but it’s a step that needs to be taken.
3. Check The Hardware
The next thing that needs to be checked is the hardware of the bike. Parts on bikes go over time, and they aren’t cheap to replace with new ones. Look at the wear on the tires, do they need to be replaced within the next couple thousand miles? Look for any play in areas where there shouldn’t be play, ex: the rear wheel swing arm, movement in front and rear wheels from side to side.
Check for damage to areas where there shouldn’t be, like the steering lock or frame. Signs of damage or excessive wear might mean the bike was stolen. Ask to look and see the airbox filter, if you happen to see any dust – there is the potential of dust in the engine, which is an absolute negative thing to have.
Take a step back and review the bike from a walk around. Do any of the parts look mismatched or have different coats of paint. These signs might point to a wreck that was sustained or improper maintenance on the bike after a fall.
4. Sit On The Bike And Operate Controls
The next thing to check when buying a used motorbike is the controls, and whether you like the feel of the bike. Potential buyers can do a ton of research on a bike and then when they sit on it, realize it is not the bike meant for them. This is completely natural, and it is best to ensure that you enjoy the feel of the bike before going any further. If you’re still passionate about the bike, take the time to operate the controls. Make sure all the levers and buttons work properly. Test the brakes, feel the clutch, shift gears up and down, operate the turn signals, beep the horn, and make sure the lights work properly.
Most owners will not allow a test drive unless they have the full cash amount in hand. It is completely acceptable because test drives have been known to be stolen drives. If the owner won’t allow for a test drive, ask them to start the bike. Listen to the engine, do there appear to be any ticking sounds or things that sound like they shouldn’t?
Look for any excess rattling, are there parts that look to be unsecured or improperly mounted. These things could call for additional maintenance that can get expensive, and are also potentially dangerous.
5. If Possible, Purchase From a Reputable Dealer
If it is possible, purchase a used motorbike from a reputable dealer. Reputable dealerships go through and inspect the bike to take note of things for potential owners, and will keep it in tip top shape until the right buyer comes along. If you cannot purchase from a reputable dealership, and are purchasing from an individual owner, make sure that you follow the guide we’ve outlined and don’t budge on things that you feel could endanger yourself or cause undue hardship.
6. Review and Negotiation
Now comes the time when you have to ask yourself if you’re still pleased with the idea of potentially buying this used motorbike. You’ve gone through the checklist and have to review everything that has happened. Are there things that are wrong that you won’t budge on? Remember that you are paying a substantial amount of money and your safety is of the utmost importance.
Now comes the time for negotiation of the sale price. Are there any extras involved with the purchase of the bike like a helmet or set of saddlebags? Every nook and cranny you found wrong is an opportunity to get a better price. Negotiation can take a while, but it’s important to get the best deal that you can, and you might save money doing it. Stick to the things we’ve mentioned for you to check when buying a used motorbike, and you’ll be on the road safe and sound in no time with two wheels under you.