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When you are looking to buy a used motorcycle, particularly as a new rider, the first thing you need to do is make a decision as to precisely what you will use the vehicle for. For example, if all you need is a small scooter in order to get through city traffic as you go to work and back every day, then it would be a rather foolish move to buy a 2000cc Kawasaki Vulcan that is the size of a car.
Likewise, a small scooter would be a poor choice for someone hoping to enter motorcycle rallies. Knowing what your purpose for the motorcycle is will enable you to narrow down the options considerably, making the choice a good deal simpler.
Knowing your own limits
Make sure you understand the consequences of your decisions, such as being aware that buying a sports bike will result in considerably higher motorbike insurance premiums than is the case with some other types of motorcycle. Insurance companies rarely offer cover to new riders who have no experience of riding powerful motorcycles, but those with a proven track record of riding smaller and less powerful bikes will find cover considerably easier to achieve. Past experience has taught insurance companies that inexperienced new riders who choose to buy powerful motorcycles to start with are more likely to end up having serious accidents, due to their inability to control the bike. It is absolutely crucial to be aware of your own abilities, and to purchase a motorcycle that you will be capable of operating in a safe manner.
Basic tips for used motorcycles
When looking for a used motorcycle to purchase, there are a number of basic tips that you should follow in order to make sure you end up satisfied with your purchase, including:
- Checking the service history of the motorcycle to ensure it has been maintained in the proper manner
- Bringing along someone who has extensive knowledge of motorcycles if you do not
- Checking the name on the bike’s registration document against that of the ID of the seller to ensure you are not accidentally purchasing stolen property
- Making sure the motorcycle comes with a valid MOT certificate
- Walking away from any motorcycle that you think looks unsafe
- Checking the history of the motorcycle to ensure the bike has not previously been damaged, stolen or been declared a write-off
- Making sure the motorcycle has both sets of keys as well as the spare, and that the same key is able to fit the seat, tank and the ignition, as failure to do so could also indicate this is a stolen vehicle
- Checking the steering head bearings and lock-stops; the former should be able to turn smoothly from lock to lock with just a small hint of friction, while lock-stops that are welded are an indication the bike has been in a serious crash and is one to avoid
- Checking the headlight dips to the left to ensure it is not an import, and that there are no chips or cracks