Key Things to Consider Before Buying a Used Motorcycle
There are expensive bikes -- and then there are the cheaper ones. If you are on a tight budget, then another option you can take is to buy a used motorcycle. Of course, buying something pre-owned comes with its own sets of risks. You can’t avoid all of them, but you can look for things that indicate whether that used bike you’re eyeing at is worth spending on.
Just remember to be smart, and use the tips we've listed here to guide you in making your decision.
A motorcycle's wheels can tell a story. As they age, they pick up bits and pieces of where they've been and what they've been through. For example, wheels lose their coating and can look dull when they're constantly exposed to extreme weather, or in contact with salty places like coastal areas (which are highly-corrosive).
Truth is, it's difficult to fix wheels that are dull or tarnished. Take time to check if the wheels have lost their shine, or buffed and polished intentionally remove the bike's entire coating. If that’s the case, then you might have to spend money replacing the wheels to make them look more “shiny.”
## Check the Rubber Parts and Bolts
It's normal for sellers to do everything to make their bike look brand new. Of course, some may go so far as hide all the scratches and dents, but there are some parts that can't be hidden, such as the rubber components and bolts.
These two things can indicate many things: how the owner cared for the bike, where he stored it, and what kind of elements it was exposed to during its entire life span.
For instance, check out inaccessible areas in the rubber and bolts, and look for mud, dirt, or small rocks. Chances are it spent a lot of time in rugged terrain. Inspect the rubber hose for signs of damage or splits, and look for faded areas on the foot pegs or instrument cluster. Any of these signs may indicate too much exposure to outside elements, or it wasn't kept in the garage at all times.
## Fuel Tank
Check for rust in if the bike if it has a metal tank. Rust is bad news, since they can really ruin your fuel system over time.
## Signs of Maintenance (or Neglect)
A well-maintained bike shows how much care was put into it, which in turn gives you an idea of how long it's going to last.
Make sure that the bike's in-tune and that all its components are properly adjusted.
This is especially true for valves and carburetors, which can turn very hot when not adjusted properly.
It would also be good to check the rocker arms, brakes, rotors, and clutch adjustment, since they can cause premature wear-and-tear on the motorcycle when not properly adjusted.
Here’s a Tip: Maintaining a bike requires discipline, and you can see how disciplined the owner is by checking the engine oil and other fluids. If you find that the oil is black and with a thin consistency, then chances are they're not consistent in their maintenance.
## Bike’s Exterior
Sometimes, we can get so wrapped up on details that we tend to neglect looking at the big picture.
In this case, it's important to look at the entire motorcycle to look for damages or signs of collision.
Stand behind the bike and see if the seat is properly lined up with the front and rear wheels. If it doesn't, then chances are there's a frame damage there somewhere, which are signs of a previous collision or a crash.
Other indicators you should look for are cracks or chipped paints or on the frame.