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Tips On How To Inspect A Used Motorcycle

Tips On How To Inspect A Used Motorcycle

If you are a motorbike enthusiast but don’t have the time to get a new bike, you can always settle for a used one. However, you don’t want something that breaks immediately after you get it out of the shop. That’s why you need to know how to inspect used motorcycles before purchasing to make sure they are still in a good condition when you’re on the road. Here’s what you need to know about inspecting used motorcycles from


  1. Maintenance Records

Make sure you choose a bike with a verifiable history. Note that, there’s much more to the history of a bike than the mileage alone. For instance, you might find a motorbike with low mileage with no indication of a service or maintenance history while one with high mileage but a good history of maintenance. Therefore, take your time to go through the maintenance records before settling for a bike.


  1. First Impressions

The best used bikes might be banged a little but should also look clean and a little decent. Therefore, a few things you need to check include the following.


  • Paperwork –  There should be a valid bill of sale or title as well as registration where all  the numbers match.
  • Look at the paintwork for dents, chips, dings and scrapes.
  • Does the bike seat have any tears or rips? Also check the latches, locks and hinges to make sure they are working properly.
  • Also, check the handlebars to make sure they are straight and all the controls operate efficiently.
  • Check for any missing, loose or damaged bolts, nuts or cotter pins.


  1. The Engine

After checking the overall look of the bike from the outside, you also need to take a look at the engine.


  • Ask the previous owner when the oil was last changed to determine the current condition.
  • There are a few engines that might have a hard time starting but without any special circumstances, it should be a walk in the park.
  • Check the idle status because when the engine is cold it should idle on the choke. However, a warm engine should idle at the mentioned rpm without misfiring or loping.
  • The engine should have a smooth response to the throttle without sputtering, coughing or hiccupping.


  • Whenever you start the engine, there shouldn’t be odd noises such as bangs, wheezing or rattles. However, you can always ask a qualified mechanic to check for you if there’s any doubt.
  • Check if there are any fluid leaks such as the coolant, fuel or oil.


  1. The Chassis


Here, you need to look at the overall body of the bike. You should check the following.


  • Are there any signs of crash damage or repair?
  • Does the steering head show a little denting or poor adjustment?
  • Are there any signs of physical damage?
  • Make sure the forks are aligned parallel to each other and with the handle bars. They should also operate very smoothly in any direction without sticking or binding.
  • Check the rear shocks to make sure they operate well in both directions and look out for any leaks.
  • The rear wheel should be centered and in a square position to the swingarm. Check if there is excess play with the bearings/bushings.
  • Check the springs to make sure they support your weight as the rider and that of any passenger you might be carrying.
  • Finally, check the mounting hardware to make sure it’s all present and in a good working condition.


  1. Tires/Wheels


  • Check the front and rear wheel for any bent, missing or broken spikes. Also look for any worn bearings. Don’t forget to check the sidewall condition, tread depth and pressure.
  • Also, assess the tire alignment for a tweaked frame, especially if there was a crash damage which might have been repaired with time.


  1. The Brakes


  • Check the fluid condition and level with the front master cylinder. Squeeze the level to make sure it’s firm.
  • Take a look at the front hoses to identify any chaffing and if they are properly secured without any leaks.
  • Make sure there are no leaks with the front caliper and the mounting hardware should be present.
  • As for the front and rear pads, check if there are any wear indicators.
  • Look at the rear hoses to check routing and the current condition.
  • Check the rear master cylinder for pedal travel and fluid conditions.
  • Check for adjustment and wear indicator in the rear drum brake.


  1. The Electrical/Lighting


  • Does the bike turn over easily? Then it’s in a decent condition. The same goes with the starter.
  • Flick the kill switch and observe what happens.
  • Check if the clutch or neutral interlock switch is present.
  • Look for signs of damage in the wiring harness. It might be hard to do so, unless you disassemble the bike. Check around the steering head or under the seat. If there’s a smoke whenever you turn the key, there’s something wrong with the bike.
  • If you want to know whether the charging system is working without the charge indicator, you should start the engine and let the bike idle. Turn on the high beam then turn a signal and the brake light. The signal should brighten if you rev the engine.
  • Make sure the running (taillight), the brake lights (front and rear), turn signals, horn, accessory lights, instrument lights, sound system and instruments are working,
  • Check the low and high beam and the indicator as well as the flasher if it’s present to make sure they are working properly.


  1. Do A Road Test


Of course, you need to test the bike on the road to identify any other problems that might not be noticeable when the bike is stationary. For instance, check the clutch while on the road to make sure it engages smoothly without slipping. Make sure the bike doesn’t jump out of gear and is shifting well. With light handlebar pressure, the bike should go straight. When riding, the engine shouldn’t have odd noises and should run smoothly.

Samantha hails from Virginia and is a proud wife to a retired Deputy Sheriff and mother to two amazing little boys named Jack & William. A veteran product reviewer; Samantha has been reviewing products for 8 years and offers high quality product reviews with original photography.

Samantha hails from Virginia and is a proud wife to a retired Deputy Sheriff and mother to two amazing little boys named Jack & William. A veteran product reviewer; Samantha has been reviewing products for 8 years and offers high quality product reviews with original photography.

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