Tuesday, October 23, 2012

How-to guide for buying a used motorcycle

You’ve wanted a bike you’re whole life and the time has come. However, don’t let all those years of wishing and wanting, cloud your vision. You need to figure out what kind of bike you want, what you look for in a bike, what you’re going to use it for, among others. On top of that, if you’re buying a used bike, the whole thing needs to be further prepared. Here are some advices and things to keep in mind when buying a used motorcycle.

Prep yourself and do some research
Figure out what kind of bike you want, read about it in magazines and online. Participate in forums and clear any doubts and questions you may have. Bikers keep a friendly community, they help each other out. They share the love for bikes!
Some brands of bikes might have specific problems. Research if there’s anything that some particular problems that a certain batch of bikes might have had. For example, some Hondas had problems with their lubrication system.

How much are you willing to spend?
You might buy a bike from a regular Joe, but you may also want to do it through a dealership. The thing to take into account about the second option is that dealerships take used bikes as part of the payment and maybe do a little bit of work on them, but sometimes they put no work at all in order to make a bigger profit. The bike might look perfect but it’s up to you to really look at it and see if there’s anything (at least fairly obviously) wrong with it.

Before the actual appointment
  • ·       It’s advisable to bring along someone that is bike-savvy (that is if you personally are not). They might be able to tell you things you might be overlooking.
  • ·         Bring the pertinent gear. The owner might be able to let you take the bike for a test drive. Safety first! Bring or borrow a helmet.
  • ·         Ask the owner to have the bike “cold”. Basically it means not to have it pre-warmed. You want to test how long it will take to actually start, especially when it’s cold.

Face to face with the bike
Not to be superficial, but appearances do matter! If you are looking for a used bike, the outside will tell you a whole lot about the bike’s history.
First, the fastest and obvious step is to check for cracks and scratches. Then you have to move along to see how things “feel”. Are things sort of loose? This might be a sign of a crash.
Stand in front of the bike from a distance and check for symmetry. If things don’t look quite symmetrical (mirrors, turn signals) it might be a sign for a crash or a hard fall on its side.
Ask the owner if they did the service checks as advised by the manufacturer. If they did, they should be able to show you receipts with dates.
If you don’t feel quite comfortable just yet, it’s not completely crazy to ask the owner for a mechanical check at your expense. They may not want to go through all of this but then again, you’re the one who has to feel comfortable with the buy.
If you do end up buying the bike, make sure you take everything with you the first time. Coming back to the seller for spare parts they may have, set of keys and user’s manuals might be a pain!

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