8 Things to Consider When Purchasing a Second-Hand Motorcycle in 2023

Purchasing a used motorbike is a straightforward process. All you need to do is go about the process diligently and take more into account than just the bike’s outer shine. Depending on the age range that you are looking for, there are various things that you need to consider before you settle on your ideal motorbike.

For your endeavors to be successful, you will need a checklist to go by. Wherever you go shopping for your dream bike, be it online from websites such as used.forsale or somewhere else, pay attention to the items on your list. This will allow you to purchase a quality bike and show the seller that you know what you want. These are the crucial factors to look out for when you go shopping.

1.The engine

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The engine is the most expensive part of a motorcycle, and when it gets damaged or has issues, the rest of the motorbike won’t matter. When buying it, you will have to get it starting and running. Ideally, you can take the bike for a test drive to get the engine up to its full operating temperature. It is the most effective way to determine whether the gears engage correctly and if the bike’s electrical components are functioning well.

Lastly, taking it for a test drove will help you establish whether you are happy with the engine’s general performance. Throttle response should be smooth and immediate, the clutch action progressive, and the transmission shouldn’t be noisy or jerky. Additionally, the two-strokes shouldn’t smoke a lot, while the four-stroke shouldn’t smoke at all.

2.The general appearance

When you contact a seller, they should diligently divulge all the necessary details regarding the motorbike to you. A little rough look for a restoration or project bike is expected. Therefore, you can overlook minor imperfections if that’s the type of bike you are looking for. Scrutinize your bike to determine whether it is well-maintained or has just been cleaned for sale.

Check all the tight spots where dirt is likely to accumulate because a well-maintained bike will usually be clean in these areas. If it has plastic fairings, inspect the “tabs” connecting them to the frame. In case the bike has crashed before, these are the first places to break, and you can tell if there have been shoddy repair attempts.

3.The exhaust

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When you are inspecting the exhaust, you need the bike to be cold. That is because warm engines, unfortunately, turn over quite easily. When you call the potential seller, ask them not to run the bike before you go to inspect it.

You also want to ensure your exhaust is solidly mounted as vibrations from the engine can cause the pipe and mount to fail. Lastly, ensure that you inspect the exhaust header from underneath because dents can lead to performance problems.

4.The bodywork

Closely observing the bodywork of your bike will help you identify any cracks, scrapes, and dents. Additionally, look out for any indication that the motorbike has taken a hard landing or been in an accident. Slide your hand over the frame as much as possible this way; you will be able to feel anything that is not visible to the bare eye.

Observe the steering head bearings, and rock the bike back and forth while holding onto the front brake lever. If you hear a click or feel some movement, chances are the bearings are either worn or loose. Lastly, check the steering stops. If the metal is bent, excessively rusty, or bulging, the bike may have been in an accident.


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It will be challenging to test this without taking the bike for a test ride. What you will check for in the suspension is smooth action. There shouldn’t be grinding noises or squeaks, and all the components need to look well-maintained. The forks should be oil-free, and each pitting needs to move freely.

Changing forks is not a lot of work, but it can get tedious, especially if the bike is a big adventure one. The rear shock should have no signs of leaks and should also move freely. Getting a new unit or rebuilding it might be pricey; therefore, consider whether you still want to buy a bike with these needs.

6.The fuel tank

You will need to open the fuel cap and look inside. Ideally, you should see the tank’s metal interior through a light amber-colored fuel. If the fuel is dark, it is probably old and requires replacement. Ensure that you flush out the system and change your fuel to be on the safe side.

When you are inspecting the actual tank, look out for any grit, rust, or sediments. Remember that some fuel tanks are coated to cover previous rust or prevent it from occurring. Therefore, you will see a light milky surface rather than the typical shiny silver interior surface.

7. Drive chain

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Assess the tension of the drive chain by pulling it in an outward direction from the rear sprocket. If the chain is good, it shouldn’t be possible to pull it beyond halfway from the sprocket tooth. If it does, it could be time for a replacement. Additionally, the inner side of the chain which is in contact with the sprocket should be smooth, clean, and shiny. If you observe that the sprocket leaning teeth, it is likely that both the sprocket and chain are excessively worn out.

8.Wheels and tires

Smooth even wear on a second-hand bike tire shouldn’t be a cause for worry. However, severe wear on the rear tire could be a sign of performing “burnouts” or freeway riding. “Burnouts” are not suitable for the tire, and they also strain the engine.

The wheels on the motorbike should be in good condition. They should also run smoothly without dinks. Generally, you should be able to replace your tires quickly and easily. However, when you are getting your offer for the bike, consider if you are willing to buy new tires because they are necessary for your bike to be rideable.

After ensuring that the bike checks out all of the above, it is okay to purchase it. Ensure that after your purchase, you take it to a reputable motorcycle mechanic for further inspection. Doing this will ensure that you are safe whenever you take it out on the road.