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Used Motorcycle Checklist, Never Buy A Bike Without This…
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Used Motorcycle Checklist, Never Buy A Bike Without This…

Does the thought of buying a used motorcycle give you nightmares? Well, maybe just anxiety… How are you supposed to check out a bike without knowing what to look for? Simple; a used motorcycle checklist. This will help you understand any bike better – a necessity if you plan on riding, and since you are reading this, I assume you will be riding shortly. Avoid a major mistake with a simple process that will save you time, money, and tons of frustration.

Inspecting a used motorcycle is not scary, if you use your used motorcycle checklist. It isn’t even difficult, if you know what to look for. First, get familiar with the basic parts and workings of motorcycles; frame, fluids, tires, drive train, and electronics. You don’t need to study to be a mechanic, but you do need to know the difference between a belt drive and a shaft drive. Once you know what’s what, it is time for the list.

THE USED MOTORCYCLE CHECKLIST

Fluids: Check the bike’s oils including engine, brake fluid, and coolant. The smell of burnt oil is unmistakable, and if you smell it on the oil cap, ask how often the oil has been changed and the last time it was done. If the brake fluid is dark (especially in conjunction with the engine oil smelling burnt) there is a good chance the bike has not been serviced regularly – you can use this as a negotiating point. Be careful though, lack of maintenance is an indication of potential problems.

Visual Inspection: Tire wear is obvious, brittle, cracked tires mean immediate replacement. There should be no touch up paint on the frame or body, know the normal locations of damage for a crash or drop. Fairings, handlebars, and pegs should be free of scrapes or major dings. Brake pads and points should also be looked at. Doing your homework is required to avoid buying a lemon.

Chain/belt/shaft and Electronics: How tight is the belt/chain? Is the sprocket worn in an unusual manner? Blinkers, brakes, horn, and headlights should all be in working order. If the motorcycle has been warmed up the engine will be warm, take note and make sure it starts cold without problems. Don’t be afraid to tell the seller of damage or non-working aspects of the bike, this will give you ‘price power’, and that means getting a better price.

Buyer beware is the law when it comes to buying a used motorcycle – one mistake could cost you dearly. Your used motorcycle checklist and a little homework will help you make an educated decision, get a good deal, and buy a bike you will enjoy for years to come.


Street Talk

All good points. When you are serious about buying a used bike from a private seller, bring a friend and the cash with you. You or your experienced friend must test ride the bike. A savvy seller will not let you ride the bike without cash in hand. If there are any kind of title issues, just walk away.

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  about 9 years ago
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