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What to Look for When Buying a Used Motorcycle 

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Find The bike


  • Kijiji, Craigslist, Classified, Etc.

  • Clear pictures: ask is that the bike in the picture? Do you have a picture of the other side?

  • Good description

  • Ad language: be wary about language like Phat tires, wife made me sell, clearing out, youre bike, sikkest bike, mintest bike in town 

  • Decent price point

  • Shop around

  • Research specific issues to that model and year

  • Time: Wait, Look around, perfect jewel for cheap

  • Effort: TLC, Upgrades, DIY

  • Money: How much are you willing to pay for it and to put on it


The inspector Kit (what to bring)


  • Multimeter

  • Sunglasses

  • Flashlight

  • Pressure gauge

  • Test Strips

  • Helmet & riding gear


Connect and check

  •  Contact Seller

  • Mechanical Inspection

  • Owners and registration (comparison)

  • Set up meeting

  • Leave bike cold: watch warning lights, ensure it starts easy, listen for noises as it warms up, warm up all the way

  • Verify Title

  • Check that Vin # matches

  • Check license name against title name

  • No title, mismatched documents = take no excuses


Asses Bike

  • Fluid leaks/seeps (drips/pooling)

  • Fluid quality (oil, coolant, brake)

  • Fluid quantity (oil, coolant, brake)

  • Bike that is too clean underneath

  • Lever ball (crash damage)

  • Bar Ends

  • Scuffs

  • Rashes

  • Gas tank condition

  • Paint condition (well-waxed shinny is best)

  • Seat condition (will tell you if it was protected against the elements)

  • Tyres condition (this will tell you the type of rider and how the bike was treated) Burnouts? Track days? Brand new tyres?

  • Different colour parts

  • Chain condition/ slack  

  • Rust for hard to see places

  • Check voltage (alternator)

  • Battery Wires

  • Suspension (leaks, alignment, bents)

  • Clutch should be smooth & easy gearing


Ask, ask, ask… keep them talking

  • When was it last service (service records, receipts, etc.)

  • Why are you selling the bike?

  • When did you last ride this bike?

  • Last Sticker (good indication of when the bike was last on the road)

  • Ask for manuals

  • Have OEM parts

  • Ask about where you rode your bike: trips, etc.

  • Do you have any other spare parts?


Test Ride - No Ride= No Buy

  • Assess your abilities

  • Bring a rider friend

  • Negotiate price

  • Leave damage deposit (if seller prefer/ brake it you buy it)

  • Safety check (tyres, controls, lighting, oil and chassis)

  • Take ten deep breaths and relax… write on a piece of paper (cellphone) your maximum.

  • Do not go over that maximum; plenty of fish in the sea

  • Brake check (pulsating, grinding, slippage)

  • Smell for burning

  • Hear for clicking, weird noises


Close the deal

  • Title signed (give back the plate portion)

  • In Ontario, you require a dated & signed bill of sale (you will pay taxes on the price stated on the bill of sale)

  • Transfer it to your name

  • Insurance

  • Transportation home

  • Safety certification (certification)


Get her going

  • Buy your helmet and gear $$

  • Extra parts $$

  • Maintenance $

  • Storage $

  • Unforeseen expenses $

  • The bike needs what? $$$$$$$

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