/Things To Look For When Purchasing A Used Motorcycle

Things To Look For When Purchasing A Used Motorcycle

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It’s an exciting time to finally get in the market to buy a motorcycle. You start with internet searches that seem to go on for days. One thing we all don’t often do is make a list of what to look for when buying a used motorcycle. Don’t walk blindly into a store without doing some research on previous-owned bikes. There’s a lot to learn that can prevent you from making a buying mistake. Consider this list to help you make a better-informed decision once your purchase.


A used motorcycle’s appearance says everything about how the owner treated it. Make sure the seats still have a decent comfort. After all, you’ll be spending a lot of time on it during your trips. What does the undercarriage look like? Try to look at all pipes or exhausts to make sure there are no signs of rust. Make sure the owner cleaned the bike before you arrive. If it’s filthy when you arrive, there’s a chance it might not be their motorcycle. A used bike doesn’t have to look like it’s been through the wringer. It’s nice to see if the owner took special care of the motorcycle with frequent washing. It’s okay to have a few nicks here and there, but a list of scratches is often too much.


Test out the clutch to ensure it works properly when riding. You should always request a test drive when looking at a used motorcycle. That’s the only way you’ll be able to tell if the clutch is faulty unless you see wires sticking out. Either way, ask questions about the last time they replaced the clutch and if it gave them problems. You need to know if it’s a smooth change among the gears. Anything that struggles or pulls can mean other problems. If you don’t know what to look for in the clutch, then bring a friend who does. You can also talk with a mechanic before shopping for a used motorcycle.


Brakes should visibly look clean. It’s best if the used motorcycle’s brakes are in near new condition. No sense in finding this out while you’re driving down a hill after purchase. Try to get maintenance information about the brakes. This way you’re not caught off guard. This kind of information can save your life one day. Put different types of pressure on the brakes during the test drive. You don’t want brakes that are barely hanging on.


Ask about the age of a motorcycle. Never assume someone won’t pull a fast one by trying to age their bike. Unfortunately, some owners might tell you their motorcycle is the version released for a particular year. Always know what bike styles were released for a specific brand your interested in. Understandably, the bike is old, but that doesn’t mean buy it when it’s about to fall apart. However, age makes a difference when considering wear and tear. Old bikes are often dirty, full of dents, and appear as if it’ll fall apart if you sit on it. If the seller is trying to hold it together with black strips of tape, then it’s best to move on. Find sellers that are open and honest about the motorcycle’s entire life. Most passionate riders want the next person to enjoy their bike just as much as they did.

Cold Check

It’s hard to check out a used bike when it’s piping hot. You can burn your skin off. A hot check doesn’t tell the full story of a motorcycle. Make sure you do both types of checks. This way you can see how the bike handles when it sits for a while. It might leak oil once shut off. Most times, you can tell by the various oil stains under the motorcycle sitting in the seller’s garage. It pays to be observant when looking for a used motorcycle. Remember, you need to be safe when riding at all times. A cold check lets you touch the sturdiness of the pipes. It’s a good way to spot whether the bike was welded together right before you arrived. Make sure to start up the motorcycle to watch it warm up. It’s possible you could be staring at a motorcycle that doesn’t operate, and hasn’t for years. Most sellers will at least tell you that the bike doesn’t work before you drive miles to their house. Your trip might turn into a purchase for only the motorcycle’s parts.


It never hurts to ask for all maintenance papers. This is very helpful in making an informed decision when getting a used motorcycle. Most sellers often keep organized documents throughout the motorcycle’s entire life. It shows their love for their bike and how responsible they were with its care. Use the maintenance information to see what shops they went to have the bike serviced. If it’s a specialty motorcycle with hard-to-get parts, then that mechanic might be the person you’ll be taking the bike to. Overall, make sure you have some records about the motorcycle’s care. It’s silly to not ask for any documents since you can save yourself repair issues down the road.

These are things to look for when purchasing a used motorcycle. Think about the appearance of the bike. Are their more dents, than there are scratches.? It’s okay to have a few tiny dings that aren’t noticeable. We know we’re buying used, but it doesn’t need to look like it’s on its last leg. Pay attention to the paint job, and if it needs touching up. During your test rides, check for a good clutch and strong brakes. Make sure the clutch can get to another gear without sounding like it’s about to snap. The transition should be smooth and not give you problems. The brakes need to be, either new or near perfect. This is an area you don’t want to miss because you can have an accident.

Motorcycles are often seen zipping through city streets at high speeds. Brakes that can’t stand up to stopping in an instant to avoid a crash, or colliding with a car, it’s not worth the buy. Consider riding the bike at a high speed in a space area. This is a great way to see how safe the brakes are. Ask specific questions about the age of the bike. Make sure you’re getting the right model style for the correct year. Take the time to go online and research what the different styles looked like.

Try to get the maintenance copies for all repair jobs done on the motorcycle. This tells you what shops or which mechanics worked on the bike. This could prove useful in the later months if the bike begins showing problems with starting. Keep all records organized in a safe place so you can refer back to them. Use these tips to make sure you used motorcycles that lasts a few years. Always do needed research about different models. Understand which brands need the most repairs. Further, purchase motorcycles known to run for a long time due to the way they are manufactured. This information can help you find a good reliable used motorcycle. Share it with friends and family who are also in the market for a new bike. The more you know, the less likely you are to make an expensive purchase mistake. There are plenty of used motorcycles to buy, if you go about it correctly.

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(CEO / Editor / Journalist) – Bruno is the owner and CEO of Motorward.com; he’s responsible for the entire team, editorial guidelines and publishing. Bruno has many years of experience in the auto industry, both managing automotive websites and contributing to the press.