Buying a used motorbike.
Purchasing and riding a used motorbike can be very exhilarating. There is nothing like the feel of the wind wiping past you as you roar down the highway. Motorbikes are also the perfect vehicles for going further down trails in the woods than you could normally go.
For the casual rider a used motorbike is often the perfect starting point. Not only is a used motorbike much more affordable than a new motorbike, it also allows you to get used to riding and identify what you would like in a new bike.
The key to finding a good and reliable motorbike is to know what you are looking at. The following checklist will give you an idea as to what areas of the motorbike should be examined. This will also help you to compare one motorbike to another.
Perhaps the most important part of the motorbike is the engine. If the engine is damaged or worn in any way your motorbike will be unreliable. Nothing is more frustrating than having engine problems and breaking down in the middle of no where. The standard checks for any engine apply to a motorbike but if you are unsure ask a mechanic to check for you.
- Are all fluids clean and at the proper levels?
- Does the engine run smoothly and start quickly?
- Any smoke in the exhaust?
- Any odd noises? Ticking, grinding or sputtering?
- Does the clutch engage smoothly?
- Any signs of fluid leaks?
Tires, brakes and steering:
Some of the most expensive maintaenace costs are on these systems. Depending upon the type of motorbike you are looking at the tires can be very expensive to replace and the brakes can be very time consuming to replace. For this reason the condition of these components may change the amount that you are willing to pay for your motorbike.
- Is there reasonable tread depth?
- Any cracks in the sidewalls?
- Are the pads thin?
- Do the rotors have grooves?
- Do the drum brakes squeal when applied?
- Does the front end turn smoothly?
- Do any lines or cables pinch at any point?
The quality of your ride is determined by the suspension system. All bikes have front forks and usually have a rear swing arm. These parts work together to give you a smooth ride and to absorb impacts if you are riding off road.
- Are the seals on the forks leaking?
- After compressing the forks is there any fluid present?
- Any signs of damage to the forks?
- Does the swing arm only move up and down?
There are many more things to check on a motorbike such as the electronics and fuel. Bad fuel can mean your motorbike sputtering and dying all the time and faulty electronics can mean constant tickets for failing to signal lane changes or other infractions of the law.
- Do all signals, lights the horn and gauge lighting work?
- Does the fuel smell fresh?
- Are there any signs of moisture in the fuel tank?
- If chain driven is the chain slightly loose and lubed?
- Are the teeth on the sprocket tapered to a square point?
- If shaft driven is there fluid in the transfer case?
As you can see there is a lot involved in determining if your used motorbike is right for you. If you have any question, or are not all that mechanically inclined, you should have you bike inspected by a mechanic before you complete the sale. This will ensure that you have a reliable motorbike that you can enjoy for a long time to come.