Top tips to buy your used motorbike in 2016

Posted on Wednesday, December 23, 2015 - 14:25

A motorbike is, most of the time, a second vehicle, for fun, additional to the car you use to commute every day to work or go on vacation with the family. Therefore, buying it new and full-price is unnecessary, or maybe you just don’t have the money to buy your dream motorbike right now. The easy and obvious solution is to buy used, so here are the top tips to buy your used motorbike in 2016.

Check the service history

If you are in negotiations with a seller, and they cannot provide the service history, then you need to move on to a different seller and a different bike, because buying it in these conditions is buying with your eyes closed. Yes, the guy who’s selling it “promises” you that it’s a-ok, and it’s had full service recently. But without paperwork to back up those statements, they’re just empty promises from someone who is highly incentivised to lie to you, so they can stick you with an old make and take your money.

Inspect the exterior carefully

The motorbike may look good in the pictures on the website, but the real test is looking at it up-close. Does it still pass? Does it have scratches, marks, rust? Scratches can be buffed away, but rust and corrosion are very bad signs. You’ll also want to know what the model is supposed to look like, as an original. A customised bike is cool when you do it for personal use, but it is not an ideal purchase to make, because the resell value is not the same and because these modifications could have been made to mask problems. Don’t fall for it.

Start it up and see what happens

You can tell a lot about the state of a used motorbike by the way it responds when you start it. Ideally, the engine should be cold when you attempt to start it. If it’s warm, that may mean that the owner is trying to hide problems with cold starts. After a cold start, start it again, warm. It should respond equally well and from the first try. Having to make several attempts to get it to run is a bad sign. Rev up the engine to see how it responds to the throttle. This can uncover issues with the gear, clutch action, power plant, carburation and other things.

Take it out for a ride

No vehicle should ever be purchased without taking it out for a spin – especially one that is pre-owned. If the owner flat-out refuses to allow you to try it or tries to weasel themselves out of it, look out, because that’s your signal to bolt. Otherwise, drive it around for a while, see how it runs at different speeds, how it stops, how it steers, how it turns, what sounds it makes, etc. Don’t buy it if it makes suspect noises or it doesn’t run perfectly smoothly. Trust that you are saving yourself a lot of headaches.

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