Whether you’re purchasing a first time ride for your “old lady” or found a steal of a deal, buying second hand can be a great way to get some variety in your riding. As long as you remember these simple tips, you won’t get burned, maybe a little road rash.
#1 Before You Leave
For a start, check websites like Motorcycle News for similar bikes in your area that have sold recently, and what they went for. Try to go on a nice day, if possible. A dry road makes for a much easier test drive later. While we’re on the topic don’t forget your license, insurance and gear. These show you’re a serious enthusiast and not just a time waster.
#2 The Bike’s History
They say a well worn leather jacket tells the story of its owner. A man’s ride is no different. What, if any, variety of accidents has it been in? Are there other previous owners? Has it been well maintained? Be sure to check all the documentation. Validate the registry with the VIN numbers on the bike itself. If you’re unsure about anything you see, Take a step back and run a check on the VIN online.
#3 The Once Over
This is where you and/or a knowledgeable friend give it a complete inspection. Be sure to pay special attention to the following areas: drive chain and sprocket wear, tyre wear, gas tank (for rust), check the fork tubes for rust or leaks, all lights, gauges, and electrical systems, and most importantly, make sure you see no frame damage. If you do save yourself a world of pain and just walk away.
#4 The Test Run
So far so good. At this point you’ll want to suit up and hop on. Expect a little hesitance from the owner, remember you’re taking off on his baby. He’ll definitely want to see your documentation as much as you wanted to see his. You’ve given a good visual shakedown and she looks as described. Now, Start her up from cold, look, and listen. Check for leaks, drips, and sounds, such as rattling or creaking.
If you’re local, you’ll likely know a great stretch to test the bike on. Fully test the following: brakes should not feel sponge-like they should be smooth and even, steering should be stable and easily righted, and all the gears should shift without hesitation. After your run, make sure to check the bike once more for leaks and odd sounds that may have come up during.
#5 The Art of The Deal
Now you’re ready to negotiate. You know all about this bike and he’s been more than glad to share. You’ve done the research so don’t waste both of your afternoons with a lowball offer. A fair starting price is more likely to win the day.
With these tips in mind you should be able to find that perfect second hand motorbike. So, Good Luck and Good Ride.