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Picking a Good Used Motorbike

(Image Source: Flickr)

Motorcycles are a luxury as far as the great majority of people are concerned, and even those who view them as a necessary part of their lifestyle still need to be concerned about budget for the most part. This means that it is vital that anyone who is looking for a used motorbike will be aware of what to look for, and what to avoid in order to ensure they end up paying for a good quality machine. There are a number of tips that buyers can follow to make certain of this.


Most people who are looking to buy a used motorcycle tend to already have at least a basic idea of what it is they want. This it makes it smart to go further and do research on the bike you would like to buy before you do so. A lot of bikes come with their own particular quirks, which casual buyers may make the mistake of believing to be serious issues – BMWs smoking when started up after a lengthy period of inaction being a particularly obvious example of this, as this is actually a harmless consequence of their particular engine layout. Research is also important in terms of making sure that replacement parts for the particular vehicle are easy to find. You do not want to pay good money for a used motorcycle only to find it inoperable within a few months, just because you cannot find a replacement clutch cable, throttle cable etc.

What to look for

One of the first and simplest things you should be on the lookout for is whether or not it appears to have suffered any damage from crashes or leaking fluids, and whether the bike appears to have been well cared for. These are very simple surface things to look for, and if the bike immediately looks suspect based on these things, it is a good idea to look elsewhere. However, if the motorcycle passes this first cursory inspection there are still a number of deeper issues to watch out for.

The cold test

When looking over a used motorcycle with a view to purchasing it, make sure you tell the seller to leave the motorbike cold before you get there to have a look at it. Warm engines are always very easy to start up, but the real test of a used motorcycle is how easy the engine is to get going when it is cold. If the bike cannot be started from cold, or starts with obvious difficulty, then you have good cause either to not purchase the vehicle, or at least haggle some more over the asking price.

Bar ends, footpegs and levers

Bar ends, footpegs and levers should be among the first things you examine in a used motorcycle. Their age should correspond with the age of the motorcycle itself. Rust is an obvious thing to look for, but new levers are also a giveaway, with aftermarket pegs and levers also being a possible sign that the vehicle has been in a crash. You should also pop the seat to check the wiring and take a test ride before purchase.