How to buy a used motorcycle the ultimate guide

Buying a used motorcycle can be an intimidating ordeal whether you buy from a dealer or directly from the owner. You will need to know what to look for to make sure that you are getting the best deal on your dream motorcycle.

Before starting your search, do some research about the motorcycle you wish to buy and gather some knowledge on how it should look as standard so that you immediately notice anything out of place.

Call ahead before visiting for inspection and clear any doubts that you might have. You could ask questions like whether there are any issues with the motorcycle, why they are selling it, and whether the price is negotiable.

Check the vehicle’s MOT history online at Make sure the vehicle is in good shape and passes the inspection. You can also confirm the mileage while you are there.
Inspect the motorcycle under well-lit conditions and use your phone’s flashlight while inspecting hard-to-reach areas.
Check whether the engine and chassis numbers match and cross-check with the paperwork. Ensure the steering lock has not been tampered with, and the ignition barrel is undamaged. These things could indicate a stolen bike.
Ask for the service history, as a dealer-maintained motorcycle assures the use of genuine parts, but the absence of service history is not a deal-breaker either. Please have a chat with the seller and get to know how they used and looked after it.

Ask the seller to ensure the bike is cold before you visit. This will allow you to perform a cold start and observe. There should be no abnormal sounds or any dark smoke from the exhaust. Check whether the electrics work fine and ensure no leaks in the fork seals or in the engine. Pay close attention to damages or replacements in fork legs, engine cases, footpegs, exhaust, bodywork, bar ends, and frame as damage here can be due to accidents or even indicate careless ownership.

Check for wear in-

  • Tyres
  • Chain and sprockets
  • Brake discs and pads
  • Check for play in the wheels that could indicate faulty bearings

One can easily replace these parts and you can bring down the price if any of these parts require replacement.

Finally, the test ride is the most important part of the process. Run the motorcycle through all the gears and ride it through rough patches of the road while listening for any rattles and knocks. Make your final decision after performing all these checks. If in doubt, remember that there are numerous offers available, so do not rush the process.