Buying a bike is exciting but you don’t want to go into it blind. You have to know how to spot problems to save yourself time and money in the future. It’s also important to keep in mind that there are minor issues that shouldn’t deter you from buying a bike. Our checklist below covers all that and will help you walk away from bad offers and negotiate a good price for your bike.

Scrutinise The Paperwork

This is best done early on. Proper paperwork is a strong indicator if the deal is going to be good or not. It also prevents you from accidentally buying a stolen bike which is guaranteed to be troublesome for you.

  • Look for the VIN of the motorcycle and see if it matches what’s in the title.
  • Check the numbers carefully to see if there’s any sign of tampering.
  • Ask for the registration and check if the information is consistent with what the seller says.
  • For unregistered bikes, ask for repair receipts, proof of purchase and all other helpful related documents.
  • Confirm that the bike is no longer owned by a finance company.

Observe The Body

You may need to get a bit physical with this. With the bike, of course! It might seem like a lot of work or you may feel shy about inspecting the motorcycles body but it’s worth all the effort because it’s only through this that you can see the bike from all angles and discover if it has irreparable issues.

  • Observe the frame and check if there’s rust. Assess what can be done about it and its cost.
  • Plastic frames make bikes look new, take a closer look and see if there are problems hidden underneath.
  • If you could smell petrol when you get close to the bike, check the suspension and the engine case and look for traces of leakage.
  • Lift the seat to see if there’s a powdery substance on the battery that might be a sign of terminal corrosion.
  • Metal parts like sprockets, bearings, chain, spokes are all prone to rusting so you have to know if any of those need to be replaced.

Test The Engine

If you’re checking the bike’s engine then that means, you’re very close to buying the bike. But there are still a few more things you have to do.

  • Tell the dealer/seller that you want to start the bike from the cold. If the seller refuses, he/she may be hiding something.
  • Touch the engine to check if it is cold and take note of how it sounds once you start it.
  • If the seller allows you to go for a test drive, try changing gears and check the breaks.

Negotiate The Price

Everything you’ve discovered about the bike now allows you to make a fair offer. Playing your cards right would get you the price you want.

  • Be firm about the amount you are willing to pay.
  • If the seller seems keen to negotiate the price, talk about the issues you saw and explain how much repairs would cost.
  • If the seller declines your offer, accept it politely and look for a different seller.

Use The Checklist

You have a lot of useful information on your hands and it’s only right to keep it in mind. You lose nothing when you prepare for a purchase. If anything, you gain more because you become more familiar with bikes and you saved yourself from future problems.

Looking for Motocycle Finance?

Found a pair of boots that seem fit for you but have not fully decided about buying a motorbike? Check our Bike Loan Calculator to find your approximate loan repayments.

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