How To: Buying a Used Motorcycle

HarleyNow that warmer weather is settling in across the United States, people everywhere are rekindling their love affairs with two-wheeled travel. Much like classic car fans, spring is also a perfect time for motorcycle enthusiasts to upgrade their current bikes or possibly add another to their collection. But before you go out and snatch up the first chopper you see, there are a few tips any buyer should heed.

Get an Inspection
While the components are more easily visible on a motorcycle when compared to a car, that doesn’t mean a brief once-over is all you’ll need for an inspection. If you’re buying from a private seller, find a certified motorcycle mechanic in your area and see if the seller is willing to bring the bike to that mechanic for an inspection. If they’re unwilling to do so, you’ll need to find a way to bring a mechanic to the bike or potentially pass on the purchase if you’re uncomfortable with a vehicle that hasn’t undergone an inspection.

Know Your Skill Level
There are varying levels of skill when it comes to riding a motorcycle. If you’re new to a bike, buying a high-performance crotch rocket is probably a bit much for your first purchase. It’s also important to recognize that, while some skills will easily transfer between styles of motorcycles, each style will have its own idiosyncrasies. Dirt bikes a quite different from customer choppers just as street bikes vary quite a bit compared to classic Indian motorcycles. Purchasing a bike greatly beyond your own skill level can be just as bad as buying a motorcycle with frame damage or a blown engine.

Don’t Overpay
It’s important to factor in all the expenses that come with owning a motorcycle. Not only do you need to pay close attention to the price of the bike itself – noting comparative pricing for similar bikes, condition and mileage – but also factor in costs for insurance, licensing, registration and insurance. Depending on where you live, you may also need to purchase a certified motorcycle helmet before you hit the road. These additional expenses can quick drive the total price of ownership much higher than you had anticipated.

Buying Site Unseen
This is a risky proposition regardless of what you’re looking to purchase, but with a vehicle you can get yourself into some sticky situations buying site unseen. If this is the only way you’re able to complete a purchase or sale for one reason or another, protecting yourself with an online escrow service is a great way to go. Online escrow provides a way to hold purchase funds with a neutral third party until the bike arrives and you’ve had the chance to get things a once over. It also helps sellers in that purchase funds are verified upfront, so you know the buyer is genuinely interested and not just window shopping.

Regardless of the type of motorcycle you’re looking to purchase, following the steps above can help you ensure that your perfect, two-wheeled dream chopper doesn’t turn into a financial nightmare.

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4 comments

  1. […] For more tips on buying and selling motorcycles and other vehicles online, check out our used car buyer’s checklist, how to tell if a vehicle has a clean title, and buying a used motorcycle online. […]

  2. […] more tips on buying and selling motorcycles check out our posts on how to buy a motorcycle online, 5 tips for selling your motorcycle online, and how to create a bill of […]

  3. Well, when I bought a used bike last time, I had it inspected by mechanics. This really helped me make a decision and even reduce the price a little bit.

  4. […] more information about owning antique and custom motorcycles, see our posts on how to buy a used motorcycles, and five tips for selling your motorcycle […]

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