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When it is time to purchase a motorcycle, there are several options to think about. However, buying a used bike makes a lot of sense. While this is true, it is necessary for the buyer to make sure they don’t get burned.

When it comes time to find a used motorcycle, be sure to keep the things here in mind. By doing so, a buyer can feel confident they will get the quality motorcycle they want and need.

Check the VIN Number

This is the best place to start when buying a used motorcycle. The rest of the information here is completely useless if the bike is stolen. Take a look at the numbers and be sure they have not been re-stamped. If someone is looking at a make and model of a bike that has a higher theft rate, such as a Harley-Davidson, it is a good idea to take along factor-stamped numbers to compare. This is essential for individuals who do not know what the original looks like.

Once the VIN number is looked at, be sure to check that the title numbers and headstock match. There have been reports of titling errors and fixes. This is another important step that a buyer cannot afford to overlook.

Examine the Bike While It Is Cold

This is especially important if someone is looking at an older bike. Ask the seller to leave the bike cold before arriving. It is very easy to hide all types of start-up and running problems when the bike is hot. Feel the pipes and jugs to ensure the bike is completely cold. If the seller is unable to get the bike running, or if it sounds more like a blender that is full of rocks as it starts up, there could be some serious problems that have to be dealt with.

Examine the Foot pegs, Levers, and Bar Ends

These are some of the first things that any buyer should take a look at. The age should coordinate with the age of the bike. If they look to be damaged, then it means the bike has been wrecked. Look for a rash, of course, but the levels can also provide a few clues to a buyer. In many cases, the levers are going to “curl” when they come in contact with the pavement. While they may not be completely broken, and the seller could buff the rash away, if there is a curved appearance, it is typically an indication of damage. The same is typically true for “shorty” levers that a seller has cut or re-shaped. Usually, this is not done unless they have to replace a lever that has been damaged or banged up.

Aftermarket pegs and levers are also a sign that the motorcycle has been involved in a crash at some point. If the seller admits to this, they may be honest and willing to explain what happened and the fixes they made. However, if the issues are not mentioned, it may mean that the seller is being dishonest and that the bike has been suffering under its prior owners riding.

No matter what equipment is discovered, it is a good idea to look for any additional damage. Issues like tweaked handlebars, busted fins, or cracked oil pans will all add to the cost of repairing the bike.

Check to Find Out How “Hard” the Bike Has Been Ridden

There is no need to believe that redlining a bike is necessarily bad. However, there are some people who are harder than others. Be sure to start by examining the tires. If someone notices longitudinally, flat grooved tires, these are signs of many burnouts. For sports machines, it is a good idea to look at the tire edges. If there are signs of piling, or little blobs of rubber or signs of feathering, which causes ripples in the surface, all the way to the edge of the tire, this is a sign that the bike has been used on a track.

It is also smart to check the hero blogs. These are the small indicators located on the foot pegs that provide the rider with feedback when deeper into a lean that they are getting very close to scraping something more expensive on the bike. If these have been ground way down or if they are completely gone, it is another sign that the bike has been used on the track. While this should not disqualify a bike from being considered, if the seller does not disclose this information, they may not be telling the truth about other aspects of the bike.

See if the Hooptie Has Been Ripped Off

Take some time to check the fork lock along with the ignition lock. If either of these looks like it is busted, or if the keys do not match, it is likely that someone has gone joyriding. If the buyer has checked the title, they have likely seen the “Salvage” label. A vehicle that has been recovered after being stolen can and often do wind up on the road. It does not mean that the bike is complete junk, but these bikes have much lower resale prices, so it is important to keep this in mind when making an offer.

Pop the Seat

Do this to look at the wiring, especially everything that is hooked up to the battery. If there are factor connectors and nothing looks out of place, that is a good sign. However, if there is a GPS, two power leads, or fog lights hanging off the bike before getting into the bike’s guts, this is an indication of a problem.

When someone is interested in purchasing a used motorcycle, there are several factors to consider. With the tips and information here they should have a basic understanding of what to look for and how to avoid a “lemon” in the motorcycle world. While this may seem difficult, being observant and knowing what to look for will pay off in the long run.


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