Purchasing a used motorcycle can be very rewarding but it can also be very daunting. While used motorcycles has many benefits such as being significantly cheaper than a new motorcycle, it is always important to check that the motorcycle is functioning properly.
Here are 10 things to check before purchasing a used motorcycle.
1. Has It Been Crashed?
You should immediately look at whether the motorcycle has been crashed or not. Look for any signs of road rash or deep scratches on the fairings. Sometimes motorcycle crashes can cause the brake or clutch levers to be bent which might affect the way the brakes and clutch engage.
More severe crashes can cause the front forks to twist which has a significant impact on handling. When looking at a motorcycle that has obvious body damage, be sure to ask details about the crash.
2. Ensure the Brakes Are Properly Engaging
Brakes are extremely vital to your safety and help control the speed of the motorcycle. Test the front brakes by putting the motorcycle in neutral and rolling it forward while gently pressing down the brake lever. The brakes should engage smoothly.
If you feel like there is no resistance, then it is likely that the calipers, rotors, brake pads, or brake fluid need to be replaced. Be sure to do the same for the rear brake. Check that there is at least 1/8″ of brake pad material remaining and that the rotors are not warped as they can cause the front end to vibrate while braking.
3. Check the Condition of the Tires
If the tires look squared off, then the motorcycle has mostly been a commuter. If the edges are roughed up, then the motorcycle may have been canyons or even a racetrack. If any cracks or wires are showing, then the tires need to be replaced immediately.
4. Is the Battery Holding a Charge?
Dealerships will often keep their used motorcycles in a warehouse for long periods of time without bothering to ride them or keep the battery charged. If you can, check that the battery is holding its charge and that the voltage is around 12-14v.
5. Check the Condition of the Chain amp; Sprockets
The chain and sprockets are also important as they transfer the power from the engine to the wheels. Be sure that they do not have any rust or build up. Check the slack on the chain by pulling it upwards and downwards. The chain should not move more than 2 inches both ways. The last thing you want is your chain to snap on the road which can be extremely dangerous.
6. Check That the Engine Fluids Have Been Regularly Changed
Make sure to ask when the oil was last changed. Engine oil should be changed every 3,000-4,000 miles. The coolant should also be at proper levels and a neon green color. If it is a green-brown color, then the coolant needs to be changed.
7. Ensure That the Suspension Are Functioning Properly
The suspension is extremely vital to the motorcycle’s handling so it is important to ensure that the front fork seals and suspension oils have been regularly changed. To test the front and rear suspension, hold down the brakes while pushing down hard on the bars. The bike should spring back up with little resistance.
8. Check That the Clutch amp; Gears Are Engaging
Hold the clutch lever down and put the motorcycle in first gear. Push the motorcycle forward and it should move without a problem. If you can, start the engine and test the friction zone by slowly releasing the clutch. The clutch should engage fairly smoothly.
If you need to prepare your motorcycle for the winter season, see our top tips here!
9. Kickstand, Horn, Turn Signals, Headlights, Kill Switch
Now it’s time to check the small miscellaneous things. Make sure that the kickstand is pretty sturdy and is not shaky. Check that the horn, turn signals, headlights, blinkers and kill switch are all functioning properly.
10. Know What The Bike Is Worth
Before immediately going to a motorcycle dealership, and to the kind of motorcycle you want and knowing what that might is worth before committing to a price. The last thing you want is paying too much for a used motorcycle when you could have gotten it for cheaper elsewhere.
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Buying a used motorcycle can be very daunting but it can also be a very rewarding experience especially if it is your first motorcycle. Always take these tips into consideration before signing anything. You might think that you’re saving a lot of money, but if your motorcycle turns out to have a lot of problems it might cost you hundreds or even up to a thousand dollars to repair the motorcycle.