It’s not always easy picking out a used bike – the options are endless, just like the possible problems. But, if done right, buying a pre-loved bike can save you some serious money. With our top tips for buying a used motorcycle, you’ll have the green light to hit the road AND you’ll avoid putting your bank account in the red.
Select Motorcycle Type
Buying used means picking out the cheapest bike on the lot, right? Wrong. Take a good look at the type of riding you do (or will do) with this new ride. Going for long road trips? A touring bike might be a fit. Hitting the trails? A dirt bike might be your perfect match. Before you even start looking at listings, decide what kind of bike you need.
Start Your Research
Good job on figuring out what kind of bike you want. Next up – do your research and scope out the used bikes that are for sale near you. This process doesn’t have to be complicated like that pivot table from your nightmares. Cycle Trader conveniently allows you to search by make, model, type, new or used, all thanks to easy-to-use search filters.
Say it with us, “bluebook value is your friend.” Buying used may come with less sticker shock than buying the hottest new bike on the lot, but there’s more room for error. Check the bluebook value and research comparable bikes on the market to make sure you’re in the price sweet spot. It’s like Goldilocks – you want a price that’s not too high (missed opportunity), not too low (scam or lemon)…it has to be just right (deal of the day).
Contact the Seller
Once you’ve found a used bike you’re interested in, reach out to the seller. Remember: when buying used, you may be dealing with a private seller instead of a dealer, so the interaction might be different than you expect. No matter who you’re buying from, ask questions about the bike’s current condition, any maintenance required, request the VIN number, and receive a full report of the bike’s service records.
Look at the Bike Cold
One of the biggest rookie mistakes we see people make when buying a used bike is not looking at the bike BEFORE it’s turned on. Request that the seller doesn’t warm up the bike before you arrive. Warming up a bike can mask problems so you’ll want to hear how the bike sounds as soon as it turns on. You can feel the exhaust pipe to make sure it’s still cold when you get there.
Inspect the Bike
Don’t overlook the importance of giving your possible new ride a once over. Conducting a thorough inspection of the bike from top to bottom will make it harder for a seller to hide any damage or problems. Check the tires, the body of the bike, oil, chain condition, brakes, and mileage. Ask questions and bring in a professional if any of that feels beyond your skills.
Take a Test Ride
Bikers don’t mind a little risk. But one chance you shouldn’t take is skipping a test ride. Before you shell out the cash you want to make sure the ride is perfect for you and your needs. By actually going for a ride, you can determine if you like the bike’s control, style, comfort, weight, etc.
Sign On the Dotted Line & Ride
Once the deal is done and in writing, make sure all your paperwork is in order, hand over the cash, and receive your keys! You’ll also need to insure and register the bike to your name so you can legally hit the road. (P.S – You have a motorcycle license, right? That’s kind of critical).
Ready to start your search for a used bike?
Browse thousands of models on CycleTrader.com