What to Look for in a Used Motorcycle

A parked motorcycle on display

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When you’re shopping for a used motorcycle, there are tons of options on the market. You can head to a dealership or buy from a private seller. You can choose a vintage model or something a few years old. With so many possibilities, it can be challenging to know where to start.

What should you look for in a used motorcycle?

Look Out for Rust

You’ve found a bike you love. Now what? First, check for signs of rust. You can remove rust with sandpaper, primer and paint. However, the process might be more time-consuming than you’re interested in.

Repainted sections could indicate the seller is trying to hide a previous accident. Perhaps a repair wasn’t performed correctly. If something looks wrong, but you’re still interested, have a trusted mechanic take a look. An expert will quickly pinpoint problem areas before you buy.

Take a closer look at any used motorcycle — inside and out — before you hop on.

Check the History

The VIN on your motorcycle can tell you a lot. The history of the bike, from accidents to mileage, is tied to that number. Some people may lie about the motorcycle’s worth, as an accident or repair can tank the value.

Use a VIN report service to get a basic rundown from the National Insurance Crime Bureau. You can also plug the VIN into the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s database. On this website, you can look up recalls for a specific make and model.

Know the Market Value

If you’re selling a used motorcycle, the first thing you probably look at is the fair market value based on age, mileage, make, model and condition. You should do the same research when looking to buy a motorcycle. Knowing the fair value prevents sellers from taking advantage of buyers.

For example, say a seller demands $8,000 for their used bike and won’t budge. You can use your research to show the going rate is $1,000 less. Look on sites like Kelly Blue Book or Edmunds, where you can plug in the motorcycle’s details and determine how much you should pay.

Look for Certified Pre-Owned

When you buy a used motorcycle, you can’t always anticipate problems that may occur. If you’re skeptical of backyard dealers, you’re not alone. Instead, check out dealers that specialize in motorcycles, and look for certified pre-owned options.

While these motorcycles are not new, experts have inspected them from bumper to bumper. Certified options guarantee you won’t breakdown as soon as you drive off the lot. It’s the next best thing to a new bike, but it’s easier on the budget.

Buying a Used Motorcycle? Enjoy Your New Ride

Once you know what to look for in a used motorcycle, all you have to do is sign the dotted line and enjoy your new ride. With a little bit of research and preparation, a used motorcycle can be a cost-effective addition to your collection.

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