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18 Tips to Buy A Used Motorcycle

by Lily Morgen
881 views 12 minutes read
Used Motorcycle

If it is your first time buying a used motorcycle, then there are many things that you need to take into consideration before finally owning one. This is because buying a used motorcycle entails a lot of risks and there are a lot of factors that you need to think about first before settling for a certain deal.

The very first thing that you need to do is to set your budget straight. Know exactly how much money you are willing to spend on the motorcycle. Once you have set your budget, do some research about the prices of the used motorcycles that are within your price range. This will give you an idea of how much you should be spending for a certain motorcycle model.

Another thing that you need to take into consideration is the purpose of why you want to buy a motorcycle. If you are only planning to use it for leisure, then you can go for smaller motorcycles. But if you are planning to use it for your daily commute, then you might want to consider buying a larger motorcycle.

Of course, there are other things that you need to take into consideration.

1. Check the VIN Number

First you need to check the VIN number. It will tell you if the motorcycle is stolen or not. You can also know the history of the motorcycle by checking its VIN number. For example, if it was involved in an accident before, then its VIN number will reveal that information.

2. Check the Motorcycle’s Papers

The second thing that you need to do is to check the motorcycle’s papers. Make sure that everything is in order and that the registration is up to date. You should also ask for a copy of the previous owner’s manual. This will give you an idea about the maintenance history of the motorcycle.

3. Overall Appearance

Check the overall appearance of the motorcycle. You’ll have a clear image in your head of what you want your motorcycle to look like, so take the time to find one that matches that description as closely as possible. Obviously, a used motorcycle isn’t going to look brand-new, but it shouldn’t look like it’s been through the wringer, either.

Also, from the appearance, you’ll have your idea if the previous owner takes care of it or not. A motorcycle that’s in good condition is more likely to have been well-maintained by its previous owner, while one that looks like it’s seen better days probably hasn’t been taken care of as well.

You can also identify if it was quickly cleaned to sell or regularly cleaned by checking the areas where dirt can easily accumulate, like the chain, sprockets, and under the seat.

4. Exhaust

Checking the motorcycle’s exhaust is also important to ensure that it is in good condition. The exhaust system of a motorcycle helps in getting rid of the harmful gasses that the engine produces, so it’s important that it is working properly.

To check if the exhaust system is in good condition, start the motorcycle and let it idle for a few minutes. If you see or smell anything unusual coming from the exhaust, then that’s a sign that there might be something wrong with it.

5. Engine

Check the motorcycle’s engine by starting to check the oil level and quality. The oil should be at the right level, and it should be clean and free of debris.

The next thing to check is the coolant level. The coolant helps keep the engine from overheating, so it’s important that it is at the right level. The normal color of coolant is green, but it can also be orange or pink. If the coolant is any other color, it’s a sign that it has been mixed with something else and needs to be replaced.

Then, start the motorcycle and let it idle for a few minutes. Listen for any strange noises coming from the engine. If you hear anything unusual, then that’s a sign that there might be something wrong with it.

6. Suspension

The suspension of a motorcycle is what helps absorb the shock from bumps on the road. So, it’s important that it is in good condition.

To check the condition of the suspension, push down on the motorcycle’s seat while someone else is holding it upright. If the motorcycle bounces more than once, then that’s a sign that the suspension needs to be replaced.

7. Frame

The frame of a motorcycle is what supports the engine, suspension, and other parts of the motorcycle. So, it’s important that it is in good condition.

To check the condition of the frame, look for any cracks or damage. Also, make sure that all of the bolts are tight and that there isn’t any rust on the frame.

8. Clutch and Brakes

The clutch and brakes are two of the most important parts of a motorcycle, so you need to make sure that they are in good condition.

To check the condition of the clutch, start the motorcycle and let it idle. Then, put it in first gear and slowly let out the clutch. The motorcycle should move forward without jerking. If it doesn’t, then that’s a sign that the clutch needs to be replaced.

To check the condition of the brakes, start by checking the brake fluid level. The level should be at the maximum line. If it isn’t, then that’s a sign that the brakes might need to be replaced.

9. Examine the Bar Ends, Levers, and Footpegs

Next, take a look at the bar ends, levers, and footpegs. These parts of the motorcycle take a lot of abuse, so they can wear out quickly.

Look for any cracks or damage on these parts. Also, make sure that all of the bolts are tight. If you see any problems, then that’s a sign that these parts will need to be replaced soon.

10. Check The Mileage

As you know, the higher the mileage, the more wear and tear on the motorcycle.

Of course, there are some high-mileage motorcycles that are still in good condition. But, in general, you should try to find a motorcycle with low mileage. This will help ensure that you are getting a good deal on a quality motorcycle.

11. Tires

The tires are another important part of a motorcycle, and you need to make sure that they are in good condition.

Examine the tires for any bulges, bald areas, or cracks to determine their condition. These are all indications that it’s time to get new tires.

Another important factor that you need to check is the condition of the tires. Take a close look at the tread depth and make sure that it still has enough tread to provide good traction. Also, check for any cracks or bald spots on the tire, as these can cause problems down the road.

12. Fluids

Next, check all the fluids to make sure that they’re at the proper levels and are in good condition. This includes the engine oil, coolant, brake fluid, and clutch fluid. If any of these fluids are low or look dirty, it’s a sign that the motorcycle hasn’t been properly maintained.

13. Lights and Electronics

Make sure that all the lights and electronics are in good working order. This includes the headlights, taillights, turn signals, brake light, horn, and mirrors. Also, check to see if the speedometer and odometer are working properly.

14. Check if it is Easy to Ride

Once you’ve checked all of the motorcycle’s parts, it’s time to take it for a test ride. This will help you see if it is easy to ride and if it is comfortable. 

Before you take it for a test ride, make sure that you have a valid driver’s license and that you are wearing the proper safety gear. Also, bring along a friend or a mechanic to help you check the motorcycle while you are test driving it.

Now, start the motorcycle and let it idle for a few minutes. Then, go for a short ride around the block. Pay attention to how the motorcycle handles and make sure that everything feels comfortable.

If you have any problems during the test ride, then that’s a sign that there might be something wrong with the motorcycle. For example, if the brakes don’t work properly, then that’s a serious problem that you will need to get fixed before you buy the motorcycle.

15. Understand Your Priority

As you know, a used motorcycle cannot be perfect as a new one, so you cannot compare it to a new one. Know your priority when choosing a used motorcycle:

  • If you want a low budget with a fixer upper project, you should go for one that is older with high mileage. With this type, you will have to do your research to find out what work will need to be done and how much it will cost. This can be a great option if you’re handy and enjoy working on motorcycles.
  • If you want something that is ready to ride, look for a newer model with low mileage. These bikes will be more expensive, but they will also require less work.
  • If you are not sure what you want, it is best to start with an older model with high mileage. This way, you can get a feel for what you like and don’t like before you invest more money into a newer model.

16. Negotiate the Price

The price of a used motorcycle can vary depending on a number of factors, such as its age, mileage, condition, and any accessories that it comes with.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate the price down – after all, you’re buying a used motorcycle, so the seller shouldn’t expect to get full price.

Keep in mind that you can always walk away from a deal if the seller isn’t willing to budge on the price. There are plenty of other motorcycles out there, so don’t feel like you have to settle for something that you’re not happy with.

17. Get a Professional Mechanic Inspection

Even if you are confident about your own mechanical skills, it is always a good idea to get a professional mechanic inspection before you buy a used motorcycle. They will be able to spot any problems that you might not have noticed and can give you an idea of how much it will cost to fix them.

18. Ask for a Warranty or Guarantee

Further, you could try asking for a warranty or guarantee. This way, if anything goes wrong with the motorcycle after you buy it, you can take it back to the seller and they will either fix it or give you your money back.

Of course, you will need to read the fine print carefully before you agree to anything, as there are usually a lot of conditions that have to be met in order for the warranty or guarantee to be valid.

Final Thoughts

Buying a used motorcycle can be a great way to save money, but it’s important that you do your research and know what to look for. By following these tips, hope you can be sure that you’re getting a good deal on a quality motorcycle. 

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