Buying a used motorcycle can be a good financial option if your budget doesn’t stretch to purchasing a brand new model. It can also be a good option if you’re looking to buy your first motorcycle and want to get more riding experience before investing in a new bike.
Before you look at used motorcycles, make sure to figure out what you’re looking for, whether that’s a particular model or brand or a used bike within a suitable price range according to your budget.
Whether buying from used motorcycle dealers or a private seller, if you’re considering buying a used motorcycle it’s important to ask the right questions so that you end up with a motorcycle that is safe to ride and suits your needs.
Ask to do a test ride
When buying any motorcycle, whether new or used, it’s always a good idea to ask to take it for a test ride to get a feel for the bike, but this is especially important when buying a used motorbike. A test ride will allow you to tell if something isn’t right with the motorcycle.
Throughout your test ride check things such as flat spots throughout the rev range and how the brakes feel (you want them to feel smooth and even). The brakes should not pulsate, if they do this is a sign of warped disks.
Check the gears provide a smooth transition, and do not feel choppy. The bike should feel stable while riding, weave left and right to make sure it feels in control.
Listen for any unfamiliar noises from the engine or excess vibrations. Sometimes unusual noises can simply be characteristics of the bike, but make sure to ask the seller if something sounds strange.
If possible, try to test the engine’s capability to start when cold to make sure it starts properly.
How old is the bike
Asking how old the bike is, is important as if you have to do repairs on it later or get replacement parts, the older the bike the more difficult it may be to get the right replacement bike parts.
As well as finding out the year it was made, you should ask how long the seller has owned the motorcycle.
Ask whether it was bought new or used to get a better idea of the history of the bike and whether it may be nearing the end of its life.
Has the bike been involved in an accident or been dropped or damaged
When buying a used bike, you want to know what condition it’s in. While there may be some things you can tell by looking at the bike, it may have damage that is not easily visible.
You want to know what kind of damage the bike may have sustained and the repairs done on it, this is because you may need to replace or repair something sooner if it has suffered damage.
Ask if the motorcycle has been involved in any accidents, if it has been dropped, and if so, how many times, and are there any scratches and dents that you can’t see.
Check if the bike has had any major engine work done and if the engine is currently in good working condition or will need repairs.
When asking about any damage the bike has sustained, it’s also a good idea to enquire if any parts have been replaced and if the paint is original or has had touch-ups. This information can give you a better idea of the true value of the bike, especially if any of the parts and features are no longer original.
How often has it been serviced & when was it last serviced
The quality of a used bike depends on how well it’s been maintained, so an important question to ask before buying is how often the bike has been serviced and when it last got serviced.
Enquire where the seller has taken the bike to get serviced, as you may want to take it to continue taking the motorcycle to the same place.
Ask the seller for a full-service history with records if possible. You want to know it’s been regularly serviced as this is more likely to indicate whether the bike has been well taken care of and is in good condition.
How often has the bike been used & what type of riding was it used for
How often the bike has been used, and the type of riding it has been used for can provide a good indication for the condition of the bike but also whether it will suit your needs.
If the bike has only been ridden once a year compared to every day, it may be in better condition, and features such as the wheel will be less worn out. Keep in mind though, if the bike hasn’t been ridden for a while, the seller may be unaware of any mechanical issues.
Ask if the motorcycle has been on long-distance road trips, or used primarily for city commuting as you want to make sure it’s a suitable bike for the type of riding you want to use it for.
Ask for registration papers
Whether you’re buying from used motorcycle dealers or a private seller, make sure to get the proper paperwork such as registration papers or insurance documents.
Ensure the engine and frame numbers listed are the same as the ones on the vehicle. If they aren’t matched the bike may have a lower value compared to what the seller claimed.
The seller should provide registration certification and any necessary documentation, if they can’t, you may want to consider buying from a seller who can to ensure you’re covered and the bike can be safely ridden straight away.
Asking questions is crucial when buying a used motorbike
By asking these questions you can gain information about the bike’s history as well as any red flags or indications the seller is not being honest.
If something sounds too good to be true it probably is, and if you’re unsure, walk away as you want to feel confident in your decision to buy a used bike.
As well as asking questions, you should always view a used bike in person before buying and make sure to give it a thorough inspection. If you don’t feel confident carrying out the inspection yourself, you can ask an expert to do it for you.
As professional used motorcycle dealers, the team at Peter Stevens can help you find the right used motorbike for your needs and budget.