Congratulations on stepping up your game about thinking of buying a motorcycle. If this is your first, second, or third time buying a motorcycle there are things you need to watch out for. A price tag can tell you a lot about the past of the motorcycle you are looking at. Be sure to do some research and know the average cost of the motorcycle you are looking at. In your research you should look for problems or recalls, how much are others are selling their motorcycles for?, what upgrades have they done, if any? Normally when buying a used motorcycle the price is never fixed and can always be negotiated, even when buying at a dealership. Never buy a motorcycle without looking at it first, sometimes a motorcycle can have a good deal but it should be an indicator of a red flag.
It is always a good ideal to bring a friend or two when checking out a motorcycle to buy, especially if your friend is a mechanic. Two pairs of eyes can detect for more flaws and defects than if you were to do it alone. It is also safer to go with someone than going alone, especially if you dont know the owner of the motorcycle. Also be sure that you have your motorcycle license with you at all times as it is against the law to ride a motorcycle without one.
- Check to make sure the paper work lines up with the motorcycle you are looking at. It is possible that the owner could have more than one motorcycle with multiple records, be sure they match the VIN numbers. Be sure to see that the title is clean and not rebuilt or salvaged.
- Look for cosmetic wear. Check the sides, fenders, handle bars, under the bike, and everywhere for scratches, dings, cracks, repaints, random welds, and other things that could indicate the bike’s use. Indications could mean the motorcycle was crashed, tipped over, dropped, or other abuse. Look for rust and scratches on the bodywork, tank and fenders.
- Put the motorcycle on a stand and check for any play, indicating worn bearings, in the steering head, front wheel and rear wheel. Although the parts might be inexpensive themselves the labor to have them replaced could be costly.
- Look for aftermarket parts. Although these parts could be better than the OEM, they could indicate signs of a crashed motorcycle.
- Check the oil and see how clean or dirty it is. Look for leaks around the pepcock, gas tank, transmission, floor, and engine. If they are all clean there is not a leak present.
- Check the tires for wear as they can tell you how much riding has been done on them. If they are bald consider paying a couple hundred dollars for new ones. Brakes that appear blue have been ridden hard and have lot of heat from excessive braking.
- Check the leaks in the front fork and rear fork, they should be clean of debris and dirt. A tiny amount of lube is okay but if the forks are runny with oil they will need to be serviced for replaced.
- Inspect the electrical systems such as the starter, horn, head lights, tail lights, blinkers, and brake lights to make sure they are all functioning properly.
- Ask the owner to not start the motorcycle until you go over to see it. This will be an indication that the bike might be difficult to start from a cold start or the motorcycle has not been started in a while if it does not start when you arrive.
- Start the motorcycle from a cold start and let it warm up, listen for strange or funny noises. Check for smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe as it could be a good indicator that there may be an internal leak or it could be burning too much oil.
- Once the motorcycle is warmed up take it for a test ride. Be sure to always wear a helmet. Shift through all the gears while riding, make sure the clutch works good and there is no slipping. When changing gears make sure the motorcycle shifts smoothly and not with any irregular noises or grinding. Test the front and back brakes to make sure they are in proper working order. Do not ride the motorcycle fast or hard as it could cause a crash leaving you to buy it in pieces.
- When everything checks out determine a price with the seller. Ask what price they are asking for the motorcycle as they may have changed it a few times since they have first posted it. Their response will normally be higher than what they are willing to let the motorcycle go for so be sure to offer a much lower price and barter up. If you don’t ask in the first place you may never know how much less you could have got it for.
- Sign the paperwork and pay up. Be sure that you fill out the paperwork properly so that you do not have to go back to the original owner to clear things up so that your registration process can go quickly and easily.
- Before registering the motorcycle you will need to purchase insurance. Shop around and ask for quotes from multiple insurance companies. When insuring a used motorcycle be sure that your Uninsured/ Under-insured Motorist Coverage is high as it will help you the most in a motorcycle accident where the one at fault can’t afford to recover your medical bills and payments. You would be better to pay an extra hundred dollars in insurance coverage in the beginning than to not have it and be in a serious accident and your insurance not be able to afford your bills, leaving you stranded with a large bill in the end.
- Buy the right gear. Never ride in short sleeves, whether that be pants or shirts. Always wear a helmet, wear thick jeans or leather pants as well as a leather jacket or a proper armored riding jacket. Wear gloves to protect your hands and wear a full faced helmet as often as possible.
After making your new purchase be sure to ride smart and safely. Motorcycles are full of fun and exciting times but they are still dangerous and can be fatal if ridden improperly and unsafely. We encourage all riders and drivers to look twice before turning and changing lanes.
If you are ever in a motorcycle accident contact The Reinecke Law Firm at 1(800)275-8326 for a free case evaluation. The Reinecke Law Firm has been helping motorcyclists for over 30 years in the state of California. Tom Reinecke is an elite motorcycle lawyer that has settled millions of dollars for his clients. Call today with no obligations!