Expert Tips For Buying A Used Motorcycle

by | Nov 9, 2018 | Education Feature

You have decided to buy a used bike but you are also aware of the many pitfalls of buying a pre-owned product. After all, there are so many ways to get burned. It is important that you do your research before paying money for a used motorcycle. You must be aware of various parameters that affect the overall value of a motorcycle in order to get the best value for your money. Here is a list of some of the important things you need to check when buying a used motorcycle.

Type of Bike

There are many different types of bikes such as a sport bike, a touring bike or other kinds of bike. First and foremost, you should decide on the type of bike you want to buy. If you want to go on long rides, it is better to invest in a touring model whereas a sports bike makes much more sense for shorter rides.

One of the best ways to figure out the type of bike that is perfect for your needs is to visit the website of various well-known manufacturers to find information about various models and their features. You should also visit various forums and blogs related to motorcycles to check reviews as well as other helpful posts about the pros and cons of owning different types of motorcycles. If you have biker friends, also ask them for their opinions.

Estimated Cost

Once you have decided the type of bike you want to buy, you should research the amount of money that you will need to shell out for buying that particular type of bike. Check the local classifieds as well as online sites specializing in selling pre-owned motorcycles to get an idea.

In addition, you should also check the cost of motorcycle insurance. Needless to say, insurance is necessary and its cost will depend on a number of factors that will include the model and class of motorcycle that you are planning to buy.

Where to Buy

There are several sources for buying used motorcycles. For instance, you can go to an independent dealership or a franchisee dealer. You also have the option of buying from a private party. All these options have their own pros and cons.

Buying from a dealer has its advantages. For instance, some dealers may allow you to trade in your old bike for a new bike. Some dealers also offer certified pre-owned bikes that often come with a warranty or guarantee.

Buying from a private party has other advantages. One of the biggest advantages is that you will get it cheaper as they don’t have any overheads. However, it also has its risks as you may end up buying a lemon or end up paying too much money.


Whether you are buying from a private seller or from a dealership such as, it’s important to thoroughly check the bike before signing the deal. Do not be under the impression that all the used bikes at the dealership are perfect. Some dealerships just wash the old bike and cover it with silicone spray to give it that new shiny feel but you need to check under the hood in order to make sure that you are not buying a lemon.

Engine Check

The first thing you need to check is the engine. Ask the seller to start the engine and you should hear it starting and running. Make sure that all the gears engage properly and all the electrical components function properly.

No smoke should come out from four stroke engines whereas some smoke should come out from a two-stroke engine. Also, get a feel for the throttle response. It should be crisp and immediate. The transmission should not give any unexpected noises. Check the fuel tank to make sure that there is no rust.

Ideally, you should take it for a test ride to make sure that everything works. In case you are not allowed a test ride, it’s time to look for another seller.

Frame Check

Check the frame carefully to make sure that there are no signs of damage. If there are any signs of cracks, repairs or impacts, you should look for another bike. Take a look from the front and from the back to make sure that everything is in line. Also, check the main weld points to find out if there are any signs of stress.

Suspension Check

During the test ride, make sure it gives a smooth ride and there are absolutely no grinding noises. To check the bearings, grab hold of the wheels and rock them sideways. They should not budge as any movement means that something is not right. Check for wheel bearings also gives you an idea whether seller has looked after their bike.

Wheels Check

Make sure the tires have plenty of tread left and look for any dents in the wheels. Give it a spin and look for any wobbling. All the spokes box should be straight. Take a screwdriver or a pencil and give a light tap on each spoke. Loose spokes will give a flat sound whereas tight spokes will produce a ping sound.

Ask a Mechanic

If you’re not sure about the above inspection process, you should take a qualified mechanic with you to inspect the motorcycle thoroughly before buying. Getting opinion of a professional mechanic will make sure that you are getting good value for your money. The mechanic will also tell you any additional money you will need to spend in order to make it roadworthy.

Title History and Service History

You should never buy a motorcycle history without doing a title search. You can easily do it online. Ask the seller to provide a copy of the title. You will need the title to legally register the motorcycle in your name as well as to sell or trade it in the future. Ask the seller to provide service history in the form of maintenance receipts. It will tell you whether seller has taken due care of the machine.

Making the Offer

If everything is as per your requirements and you would like to buy the motorcycle, make an offer. Ideally, you should have done the research beforehand and you should know the expected price. Ask the seller about the price they want and then, negotiate. It is important that you have a firm highest price that you are willing to pay before you take a look at the motorcycle. It will ensure that you do not end up paying too much money for that used motorcycle.

Share This