Things to check when buying a motorcycle
Buying a new motorcycle is a large purchase that requires much consideration and preparation. Whether you are buying a motorcycle that is brand new or a secondhand bike, it is important to take it for a test-drive (if permitted) since this will ultimately tell you much of what you need to know about the bike i.e. how comfortable it is to ride, how it sounds and how smoothly it handles corners, acceleration and braking.
However, before you even start the engine, there are several things that you can check just by taking a close look at the bike. This is particularly important when appraising a used bike, since you need to get an insight into how well or poorly the bike has been maintained by its previous owners.
Check the condition of the frame
The condition of the frame is one of the most telling aspects about the overall condition of the bike - if there is even the smallest damage, it can indicate further damage elsewhere on the bike and can pose a safety hazard. If the frame appears to have been recently repainted, inquire whether the bike has recently been in an accident.
Check the chain
Look at the chains closely to see if there is any rust or corrosion, and push the bike backwards and forwards a few inches to test the length of the chain and see how well it moves.
Take a look at the tires
The tires will have some wear on them if it is a used bike, but the wear should be even and not more pronounced on one side. Be sure to roll the bike forwards and backwards to check the whole tire, since it will all be in contact with the road when you are riding the bike.
Check fluid levels
When looking over a secondhand or new motorcycle, be sure to take a look at the oil, brake fluid and coolant levels. If these levels are very low, then it suggests that the bike has been poorly maintained, since this is a routine part of bike maintenance.
Check the electronics
It may seem only minor, but replacing faulty lights and signals can be costly to fix or replace, and riding without functioning lights is highly dangerous, since it reduces your visibility to other drivers on the road.
If you are a relatively inexperienced rider, or if this is your first purchase, it is always useful to bring along a more experienced friend to help you determine the condition of the bike, and whether it warrants the asking price. It is also a good idea to view the bike during the day, since it will be easier to evaluate the bike’s condition.
Given that this is a large purchase, you should always do some research on the kind of bike you are looking for. If you arm yourself with information, then you are less likely to end up paying an elevated price for a poorly maintained bike. Ultimately, you should not let yourself be pressured into a sale - be sure to take some time to think over any offer before you accept it.