Buying a Used Motorcycle

Tips When Shopping for a Used Motorcycle

While most of us drive cars, the USA is also home to millions and millions of registered motorcycles. They might not be a substitute for a car. They also might seem like a luxury to others, but those who own motorcycles will be quick to tell you how much joy they bring into their lives and are well worth the price.

When you are shopping for a used motorcycle, do research online to gather facts about the motorcycle type and fair prices for it. Do a physical inspection and a test drive. If you are still unsure about purchasing it, let a mechanic inspect it and give you a rundown of the pros and cons. 

Many people will head into a local showroom to purchase a motorcycle. But, just like with cars or trucks, buying used is a very popular way to enter into motorcycle ownership. However, before you go and buy your first used motorcycle, consider the following tips and ideas for shopping for a used motorcycle.

Perform Research (and Potentially Shop) Online

used motorcycle
An old motorcycle parked on the street of Bangkok

If you are new to the world of motorcycles, it is a good idea to spend a few hours (or more) performing some research about the type of motorcycle you want, the features you need, and how much you are comfortable paying. There are many great resources online covering everything from what gear to buy to places to buy parts and much more.

In addition to using the internet to research which bike to get and what a fair price is, you can also use the internet to actually buy your motorcycle. Of course, it is always a good idea for you (or a trusted mechanic) to inspect the bike, but that isn’t always possible without spending a ton in terms of travel.

As far as actually getting the motorcycle you buy online, you can travel to where it’s located and drive it back or can have an auto shipping company such as Executive Auto Shippers ( ship it to you safely and reliably.

What to Look For?

Make sure to do a thought check of the engine and all the important parts of the bike that are involved with the safety and proper functioning of the bike. 

Know How Hard the Bike was Ridden

Know How Hard the Bike was Ridden

While some people ride their motorcycles by the books and leave their bikes in great condition, others will absolutely ride their bikes into the ground with high speeds, burnouts, or extremely long trips. Of course, if you are buying a used bike for thousands of dollars, you want the bike to be in good shape.

You should observe the wheels to ensure they are in good shape and don’t have flat grooves, which could mean the driver was burning out frequently. Also, be sure to check for any scrapes or grooves that could be an indicator of a crash or simply not treating the bike right. Also, requesting a service or accident history on the bike is also a good idea. It could give you some solid insight.

If you don’t know what to look for or how to identify it, feel free to work with a trusted mechanic who knows about motorcycles to help assess the general condition of the bike.

Make Sure You Ride it (or One Like it)

Make Sure You Ride it

Especially if you are new to the world of motorcycles, you should never purchase a bike without first knowing how it rides. Every bike is different, so you should do your best to ride the actual bike you will be purchasing. If not, you should ride one that is very similar.

The last thing you want to do is spend a lot of money on a bike and find out it doesn’t ride or handle as you would expect. Sure, you can watch videos or read reviews, but there is no substitute for actually sitting in the seat and driving it yourself. This will get you used to the weight, the steering, the speed, where all the switches and odometers are, and more.

48 Hour Cool Off Period

You’ve done your research and inspected the bike, and you’re ready to buy. Wait! It’s a really good idea to give yourself a 1-3 day cool-off period before buying your bike. Yes, you might lose the bike to another purchaser, but it’s worth it.

Why? This time gives you the power to make the right choice for yourself. People spend thousands buying items that they just a few days later they regret. It happens to almost everyone. That’s why there are so many cool-off period laws now.  

During this time, you’ll find out more information about the bike, your feeling may change, and you can try to see things from a factual point of view. It puts you in charge of the decision instead of your feelings.

Hopefully, this article has given you some tips to successfully shop for a used motorcycle.

Additional Questions

  • How much does a mechanic charge to inspect a motorcycle?

Each mechanic will charge a different price, but it should be somewhere between $100-$200 to do a thorough inspection. They Should check all the mechanical components are working properly, do a test drive, and give you a report.  

  • What do I need to transport my motorcycle after purchase?

You’ll need a truck, a ramp, and some tie-downs to secure the motorcycle (Amazon Link). Check the load capacity of your truck and ramp, and check to make sure your tie-downs are heavy-duty and have proper anchor points.

Revised 2/20