Everyone is always looking for a deal. However, stop and ask, “Is it too good to be true?”
In a lot of cases the seller will claim the bike has not been dropped, it has been well maintained, or that it needs a very minor adjustment. They are simply trying to make a sale. That is their only goal.
Here is a basic list of questions to ask when purchasing a used bike:
- How many owners did the bike have (one or two probably means bike was well maintained)
- Service records If the bike was well maintained, there will always be records of what and when was done. EX: Sport bike at 15k should have undergone a major service, several oil changes, and chain should have been replaced.
- Always pay attention to the chain. Dry, dirty, loose is a death promise. Same with U shaped sprockets. Replacing them is about $300.
- Check the forks for any leaks or rust. Rust will never go away, it just has to be maintained. If the forks are leaking, about $350 to replace the seals.
- Carefully examine body work. If it not original, ask why. Usually bike has been crashed, and this was a cheap way out.
- Check brake pads life. Test the brake pressure. Has to be firm with not too much play.
- Play with the clutch. Check the clutch cable, make sure it is not coming apart.
- Check the bike for rust. Do not forget to look inside the gas tank. Any bike that is stored within 15 miles of the ocean will have rust. Question is, how bad is it.
- Look for name brand accessories. Means at some point someone invested into the bike.
- If the seller is telling you about a preexisting issue, next question should be, “How do you know?” Did a motorcycle shop diagnose the issue? Where is the paperwork? 3 out of 4 times the issue is worse than described, or the diagnoses is not correct. Call a mechanic, describe the issue to them, see what they tell you.
- Lastly, it is always a good idea to get another opinion about the bike.
Get as much information as you can about the history. Just because it looks cool, does not mean it works right. If you get a deal that seems almost too good to be true, chances are, you will have to invest into making the bike run properly.
It is a good idea after purchasing the bike, to bring it for a Mini Service at a motorcycle shop. Tell them as much as possible about the history, and ask to look the bike over while doing a service.
If a plane looks dirty and ill maintained, would you operate it? Clean motorcycle is a happy motorcycle.