What to Look for When Shopping for Your First Used Motorcycle

You have been dreaming of buying a bike for years, now you have the cash, and you are ready to select your first motorcycle. It’s an exciting time, but it also could be the beginning of many problems, if you don’t know what to look for when choosing a used motorcycle. There are ways to hide hidden problems, and not every owner or dealer is going to let you know the whole truth when you come to have a look. Here are some suggestions that might help you avoid buying someone else’s problem and get you on the road with a safe and dependable ride.

  • Know How to Ride First: This might seem counterintuitive, perhaps you are getting the bike so you can learn how to ride. If that is the case get someone else to pick out your bike, because you won’t know what the bike should be like. Your best plan is to take a riding course. This will give you some safety skills and an understanding of what you like. You can find used bikes at Wheels Motorcycles, an established dealer with a range of new and used bikes.
  • Pick a Suitable Bike: The main reason people get into crashes shortly after getting their first bike, is that they bought a bike that is above their skill level. You should learn to be a good rider first, so pick a bike that you can control. Spend a year on a 250 CC, dual purpose bike or similar. Get the feel for traffic and for riding and then move up.
  • Bring a Fellow Rider: When you go to look at bikes, bring a friend who has owned a few. They will help you spot potential problems. Do you have a license?
  • Has it Been Dropped? Have a good look along the frame for scratch marks and dents that indicate an accident? Check the clutch and brake levers, see if they are in the right position and they are not bent. Check the plastics around the instrument panel and around the taillight. If it has been in a crash get the details.
  • Start it up: Does it start easily? Does it run smooth without smoke? If it runs nice Take it for a ride or have a friend do it. Check to see if it shifts easily, that the clutch works right and if there are weird sounds.
  • Brakes, Chain and Sprockets: Check to see if the brakes work well and look at the sprockets and chain. Does it look like they have been maintained? Are the tips of the sprockets sharp? Then they are worn out.
  • Final Check: Look for other signs of trouble, oil leaks, missing screws, dangling wires. Do the shocks give good resistance or are they sloppy?

If you don’t see any problems, the bike might be good. Talk to the owner and get a history and a sense if they are telling the truth. If you are buying a bike from a dealer, you will have the protection of some warranty, and likely the bike will have had a proper inspection before sale.