Used Motorcycle. What to look out for before you buy.

23 October 2023

Used Motorcycle. What to look out for before you buy.

When it comes time to buy your first motorcycle or trade in the motorcycle you've had for a few years, if you're not determined to go with a brand new bike, you enter the used market. Buying a used motorcycle requires a lot of searching and keeping your eyes open for any deals or good deals. In short, it can be a nightmare.

Beyond that, however, other issues enter the equation: What kind of motorcycle should I buy? What is best for me? Are all models reliable? What money will be needed in the end? Wherever you look for an answer, someone will tell you something different.

With the present guide, we will try to solve some questions and show a path that will help you before buying a used motorcycle.

First of all choose what suits you.

Surely, since you are in the process of buying a motorcycle, you already have something in mind. An economical and versatile scooter? An on-off dynamic bike? Or a street supersport MotoGP look a like? Whatever category suits you, you will find many different models that serve you. The amount of money you have available is a good starting point for the area you can search. Make a list of candidate motorcycles and start seeing them up close. It takes patience, so don't buy the first one you come across, unless you're lucky and find a huge deal. Also, the internet is a very good source to see reviews of the model you are looking for and possible damage that has occurred to other owners.

Watch out for "strange" offers.

You've just found an awesome model that the owner is giving away as long as it's within your budget. Before you run to shake hands with him, think about whether there is an issue that made him offer that price. Ask him why he has set that price. Does the motorcycle had a big issue that you're ignoring that will bother you once it comes in your hands? In general, be suspicious of strange prices and unbelievable offers. Another issue to consider is motorcycle spare parts. For example, if a motorcycle in 2010 costed €20,000 and in 2023 is sold as used for €3,000, its spare parts will be sold at 2010 prices! That's why you should first do some research on the cost of maintenance, so that your new motorcycle doesn't let you down since the very first days.

Next steps: documents - permit - license plate.

So you ended up with some models and started looking at them. First, make sure of the motorcycle's documents. Ask to see them and double check that the chassis and engine numbers match the ones on the license. Also check if the declared motorcycle's colore is the actual one. If not, there's a good chance it was painted after an accident. Finally, check the service booklet. It is very important that the owner has done the annual inspections to avoid unpleasant surprises.

And now the biggest consideration: Has there been a crash?

After checking that all documents are in order, you proceed to check the condition of the motorcycle. An eventual collision is probably the biggest reason you might turn it down or negotiate a lower price. Below, we'll give you some tips on how to tell if a motorcycle has been involved in a crash:

  • Check if the handlebar is straight.
  • Look for bent or scratched levers and search for marks on the bar ends.
  • Scratched footpegs or marked mirrors.
  • Marks on the end of the exhaust, on the top case if there is one, the luggage rack and the outer shells of the turn signals.
  • The rear brake and gear shift pedals shouldn't be bent or scratched.
  • The plastic fairings are the last clue. If the marks are shallow and irregular, then they are from a fall from the stand. Deeper signs mean that the motorcycle has suffered a crash with a drag on the road.

Of course all the above are simple indications, the operation of the motorcycle may not be affected at all, but it is important to have an overall opinion.

A used motorcycle is definitely a very good option as long as you choose the one that will be suitable for you and thoroughly checked. Of course, it helps a lot to have a qualified mechanic with you who has the necessary experience to ask the right questions and look for any signs of damage. So be patient in your research and in the end all you will be left with is the satisfaction and pleasure of your new motorcycle!

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