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Precautions for Used-Bike Purchase

17
July

When considering purchasing a used motorcycle, there are numerous factors to consider, including some of the more basic questions like the kind you want, where you should look to get it, and the things you should check and test when the bike is in front of you and while the money is still in your wallet. A used bike can be a steal of a deal, but to avoid getting a bum deal, you should remember to take some precautions first. The following guide will give you ideas of some precautions to take when you’ve decided a used bike will be your next big purchase.

The first precaution to take involves honesty and self-reflection. You will need to decide for yourself which kind of riding you will most often use your bike for. This will typically either be sports, commuting, touring, or a combination of two or three. Buying more bike than you need will not only be a waste of money, but it may result in greater discomfort than necessary, as well as regret in the purchase. Conversely, buying less than you need may also result in disappointment. Choose wisely.

Once you have decided the kind of bike you need, make the effort to buy whatever you buy from a reputable bike dealership if at all possible. The temptation from a lower priced private sale is understandable, but the biggest drawback to private sales is the lack of warranty support if anything goes wrong with the bike once you drive it away from the person who sold it to you. Almost any decent dealership will either provide a warranty or try to give you a hand if something goes wrong with your new used bike within a few weeks or months of purchase. If you do decide to buy a bike from an individual, insist on taking it to a dealership to inspect it before buying it. Similarly, try to get an ownership history searched to avoid getting a stolen bike or a bike that’s had water damage or any other shady history.

The most important check out, though, will be the one you conduct yourself on your potential new used bike. If possible, bring some tools with you, like a flashlight and a multimeter.

Start with the drive chain and the sprocket. The sprocket teeth should not look obviously damaged; if it is severely worn, it is either old or poorly maintained. Regarding the chain, it should have three quarters of an inch of play, and should be snug when someone sits on the bike.

Next, check the tires. They should have a good tread, which will be greater in the middle if the bike has primarily been used for highway driving, and primarily on the edge if the bike has been raced on the track.

You should sit on the bike yourself, and check the brakes and levers, as well as the straightness of the instrument cluster and bars. These are good places to look for tell-tale signs of drops and accidents. Similarly, check for scratched exhaust pipes, foot pegs, and engine cases. Bounce the suspension in the front, checking for firmness. Look for rust on the fork tubes. Look inside the fuel tank for rust and corrosion, using a flashlight.

Finally, some basic considerations and tips to remember are that if you plan to buy a motorcycle, you will need both a motorcycle license and insurance; trying to skip out on either (particularly the insurance) will just bring more hassles down the line. And if you’re planning on trading your current bike in for your used one, remember to do your research there too. At a minimum, you should have a clean bike, a documented service history, a knowledge of the true worth of your bike, a tightened and lubed chain, a newly done fitness warranty, and a willingness to barter. Good luck and be safe!

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