How to Buy a Used Motorcycle

800px-Megelli_Sports_motorcycleWith the warm weather ahead, many people look to motorcycles as a fuel-efficient transportation alternative. Summer can be a fun time of year to hop on a bike as your means of transport, but like any used vehicle they should be purchased with care. The following tips can help you find a motorcycle that will operate smoothly for years to come:

  • Inspect the paint. If the paint is weathered looking, chipped or cracked this means the bike has probably not been protected from the elements when not being ridden. And scratches on the bike can indicate it has been laid down (tipped over or crashed in such a way it winds up laying on its side on the ground).
  • Inspect the engine and transmission cases. You will want to check for any seepage or leaks. If you are uncertain of how to inspect an engine or transmission, bring along a trusted mechanic.
  • Check the brake discs to ensure they are smooth and clean. Brake discs on a motorcycle should never be blue. This is an indication they have been overheating. 
  • Check out the tires and their tread. If someone has been riding a bike too hard it is very noticeable on the bike’s tires.
  • Start the bike. If the bike has trouble starting, or emits blue smoke beware.
  • Test drive the motorcycle. Through a quick test drive you can learn a lot about the motorcycle. Accelerate through all the gears. Start slowly to get a feel for the bike. Be sure to test the brakes and make sure they are not pulsating. On a clear piece of road test the maneuverability of the bike.

Questions to Ask Previous Owner

question markThere are many components of the bike you can inspect yourself, but open up a dialogue with the seller. They often can clue you into the condition of the bike through what they do or don’t say!

Ask them if they bought the bike new. Have there been previous owners of the bike? Ask them if they have ever dropped their bike or if it has been in an accident. Ask for details about their maintenance schedule and if they have any records they can share with you. If you are buying locally, ask them who performs their maintenance. It never hurts to hear the opinion of the mechanic.

Ask them about where the bike has been stored. And get a feel for what this bike was used for. Was it a daily commuter or a thrilling sport for them? This will often dictate how well they treated their bike versus how much abuse it has suffered.

Finally be sure to find out if they have the title to the bike. If they do not have the title it will make the process much more difficult for you as the buyer and more costly. If you do decide to purchase the bike, write up a bill of sale with the details of the transaction. Remember to listen to your instinct. If the deal feels too good to be true or off in any way, step back. There are plenty of options available for you as a buyer and while there is always risk involved in buying used, you should find a deal you are comfortable and happy with.

Remember, if your used motorcycle does end up stranding you, give us a call. We are available 24/7 for motorcycle towing assistance.