If you are considering buying a used motorcycle, then there are certain rules or tips, if you will, that you might find useful. When purchasing an item as big, lovable and expensive as a motorcycle, it’s important to understand exactly what you’re buying and that you’re getting your money’s worth. Though some of the instructions below could be of assistance when looking at new motorcycles, you will find them to be most helpful when participating in the task of buying a used one!
Do You Know Exactly What You’re Looking At?
You might know and understand motorcycles really well—inside and out. However, whether you know nothing, the basics, a few facts, or everything from the strength of the clutch to never wearing a used helmet, you should still (highly) consider taking a buddy with you when you go to look at said motorcycle.
A friend will be able to assist you in more ways than one when it comes to making your purchase. For example, your friend will (hopefully) be able to help you stay calm, mask your excitement, and think more practically before possibly spending a large sum of money. In short: your friend will aid you in not purchasing the first bike you see without first doing some test-driving or an inspection. After all, one of the most important rules when buying a motorcycle (anything, really) is to not purchase the first one you see. And if you’re friend happens to know or be well educated on motorcycles, well, that’s just a bonus.
It’s Inspection Time
You wouldn’t buy a house without inspecting it first, right? You’d search each room, every nook and cranny, and ask plenty of questions to know exactly what you were getting for your money. How about a pair of shoes? Wouldn’t you look at them, try them on, and make sure they were a good fit for you before buying them? The same can be considered when looking to buy a motorcycle. Though purchasing a used bike may cost significantly less than a home and significantly more than a pair of shoes, you still understand the correlation. Think of the following as a checklist: important items to look at or inspect, as well as questions to ask and think about.
Special note: Yes, as implied, you will definitely want to test drive the motorcycle you are considering purchasing. However, you need to make sure the bike is actually safe to drive, before testing it out. (Bring riding gear in case the bike is completely ready to be driven).
If you bring a flashlight, you will be able to check the bike for imperfections i.e. scratches, dents, recent paint jobs, marks, signs that the bike was used for racing, etc. It’s been noted that you do not want to purchase a bike that was used for racing, as severe damage could have been caused to the piece. However, if you decide to buy a racing bike then make sure the price is drastically lowered.
If you know and are familiar with the particular model you are looking at, then you will have a better understanding of what you are seeing, or what you should be seeing. For instances, it’s important to check (in no particular order) the brakes, clutch, gas tank, tires, exhaust, and engine. You may believe that checking the mentioned parts are all givens, but without creating a specific list it’s easy to overlook certain parts.
You’ll obviously want to see how smooth or worn out the brakes actually are. You won’t want to ride a motorcycle with bad or deteriorating brakes, but you also won’t want to spend money on new brakes right after purchasing said motorcycle. Testing the brakes is not only a safety issue for yourself, but will also help you determine the seller of the motorcycle—is he genuine and honest? Or is he trying to rip you off? If the brakes or brake pads seem worn or haven’t been changed, then you might want to consider offering a lower price for the bike or requesting that the brakes be changed before a purchase is made.