Brand-new motorcycles are great, but they’re not always the best choice for riders. For occasional riders, it may not be worth the money and effort to splurge for a new motorcycle. Plus, new motorbikes aren’t always the best investment with how quickly they depreciate. If you want to buy a motorbike, but don’t want all the costs associated with it, a second-hand motorcycle is the way to go.

Before you go shopping there’s some things you need to know. Just like with used cars, buying a second-hand motorcycle has some risks. But you can mitigate these risks as long as you have the right information.

We’ve created a guide to help you get your hands on a second-hand motorbike and make sure it isn’t a total lemon.

Step 1: Know your needs and set a budget

A motorcycle isn’t a one size fits all deal. With so many second-hand motorbikes out there, choosing the right one is difficult especially if you don’t know what you're looking for. Narrow down your options by looking for a motorcycle that fits your needs and budget.

Look at your finances and see how much you can afford. Include maintenance fees and safety gear costs to get an accurate budget. Maximise your savings by getting a good deal on loan repayments. See your estimated bike loan repayments using this calculator.

Next, you’ll need to figure out what kind of bike you want to buy. If you’re dreaming of weekend getaways cruising down the open roads, then a cruiser bike might be right up your alley. Or if you’re a thrill seeker ready for adventure, a dirt bike could be the one for you. List down the must-have features your ideal motorcycle needs so you don’t waste time browsing unfit motorbikes.

Step 2: Find a good bike loan

Now that you have a budget in place and a bike in mind, it’s time to look for a way to finance your used motorcycle purchase. Look at the different bike loans available right now and compare rates. Go to different lenders and see what type of loan they offer. Don’t forget to look at loan types and review lender policies.

Or you can contact Aussie Bike Loans, and we’ll help you find the best low rate bike loan! For an easy, stress-free experience, get in touch with us today by calling 1300 889 669 or apply online. With the help of our team, you can get the best used motorcycle financing rates out there.

Step 3: Look at all your options

When it comes to second-hand bikes, you can either buy from a used bike dealership or a private seller. Buying from a dealership means you’ll be able to look a more bikes up close and in person. Or you can search through their inventory online and follow up with them later. You’ll have access to the bike history report that details any damage or accidents the motorcycle has been through.

A drawback with buying from a dealership is that it’s usually more expensive compared to a private seller. And you may have to deal with pushy sales people trying to get you to buy unnecessary add-ons or pressure you into making a deal.

On the flip side, buying from a private seller usually means getting a bike for cheaper. A private seller will also have more detailed knowledge about the condition of the bike. When you buy from a private seller though, you may lose out on some consumer protections that a dealership is required to provide.

Step 4: Look at the bike closely

After deciding on a second-hand bike, search for an image of the very same model and colour on the web. Make sure to find an image that was taken or released when the bike was first introduced in Australia. Compare the image against your prospected bike and look for possible signs of repairs.

Look for decals or badges that weren’t there when the bike was new because they may be hiding some damage. Conversely, the absence of such decals can also be a bad sign if the brand-new version has them.

Search for other marks or damage. Check out the handlebar, foot pegs, bolts, brackets, and the exhaust pipe. Ensure that there are no bent, damaged, or rusty parts because they could present problems in the future.

Inspect the tyre treads, the rims, and the sidewalls. Do the same with the chain, sprockets, and the battery too. Any dissimilarity between the second-hand bike and the new one on the web image are signs of a bad purchase. Lastly, check the odometer reading. The mileage that’s showing should somehow reflect on the motorbike’s condition.

Step 5: Do a motorcycle history check

To get a better idea of whether the bike has been well taken care of and in good condition, mechanically speaking, ask the seller for the full service history. Ask for the registration papers to make sure it hasn’t expired. Ensure that the engine and frame numbers listed are the same as the ones on the vehicle as well. If they aren’t matched, the bike may have significantly lower value compared to the seller’s initial claim.

It’s also a good idea to find out the reason why the seller is letting go of the motorbike, particularly all the damage and replaceable parts that they know of. Then, find prices of the replacement parts with your local shops. This will give you an upper hand when bargaining for the second-hand bike’s selling price.

Step 6: Test ride the bike

Before you make a purchase, test out the motorcycle first. You’ll get a better idea of the condition of the motorcycle by taking it out for a test ride and seeing for yourself. Here’s a quick list of things you should do during the test ride:

  • Make sure there’s no problem shifting between gears and the bike accelerates accordingly.
  • Use the rear brake, then the front brake to make sure they are working effectively.
  • Check that the bike runs on a straight line with no wiggling.
  • Check that the bike feels right when turning left and right. This means that the fork, swingarm, and chassis are in good condition.
  • Test for the engine’s capability to start even when cold. Do this by touching the engine case and make sure it’s cold before starting. If it doesn’t start after a few tries, then the bike has a problem. If it’s already warm, let the engine cool down first before doing a test start.
  • Test the suspension by pressing the front brake and pushing down the handlebars. Do the same at the rear end of the motorbike. There may be some problems if you hear any noises or knockings on either end.
  • Test that the wheel bearing is in good condition by holding the tyre’s exterior on both sides. Check if there are any lateral movements because even a small one is a bad sign.
  • Test the condition of brake disks by running your fingers along the surface. Ensure that there are no deep cuts or dents around the edges. A good brake disk is around 4-5 millimetres in thickness and with smooth ridges.
  • Test the electrical lines and make sure they are running. Start up the bike then check the high and low beam are lighting. Test the four signal indicators as well as the horn. Push down the rear brake pedal and press the front brake lever and see if the brake light is working.
  • Check the dash lights are all working.

Finally, feel the ride and imagine spending more time with the bike. Make sure that you feel comfortable for the whole duration of your test ride.

Step 7: Inspect the bike

Even though you may be satisfied with all the things you checked and tested, don’t go rushing to purchase the motorbike without making sure that it’s roadworthy.

That means it should comply with all state regulations first before you can decide on whether or not to go ahead with buying the bike. The following should be up to standard:

  • Tyres – The tread depth must still be within the legal requirement both in the middle and on the sides. Make sure to check both tyres on all sides, because some may be compliant on one side but not on the other.
  • Brakes – As mentioned earlier, make sure that the front brake lever and rear brake pedal are working perfectly. Other than that, you also have to check that the brake pads are not worn, there is no fluid leak, and there is no air in the brake lines. All of these will contribute to a non-compliant braking system.
  • Lights – The headlight and taillight should turn on automatically after starting the bike. The brake light, indicators, the high and low beans, and the dash light should also work well when activated.
  • Other bike components – Some machine examiners also check for chain wear, fuel leaks, faulty wiring, and other things. Ensure that everything is in good condition to pass all legal requirements.
  • Have the motorcycle inspected by a professional or a mechanic to ensure it meet road standards.

Step 8: Negotiate with the seller and close the deal

Be upfront with the seller about how much you’re willing to pay. You can offer a little lower to see if the seller or dealership is willing to negotiate but at this point, honesty is the best policy. You’ll save a lot of time by being upfront with sellers about the price.

Remember, the best negotiating tactic is knowing when to walk away regardless of how much the seller insists that there are many people interested in it. Though a second-hand bike is not in mint condition, it’s still a big-ticket purchase so don’t rush. Take your time to think it through.

Once you’ve agreed to a price with the seller or dealership, then it’s time to close the deal. Review and sign off on all the necessary documents to finalise the purchase. And you’re good to go!

Buy a Second-Hand Bike with Aussie Bike Loans

Getting pre-approved bike finance with Aussie Bike Loans can give you some negotiating power. We have been providing assistance to Australians with bike loans and motorcycle financing for over a decade. Call us or apply online to get conditionally approved for a second-hand bike now!


Should I buy a used motorbike from a dealer or a private seller?

It depends on what your goal is for your motorbike purchase. If you want to get the best possible deal, buying from a private seller could be the better choice. Meanwhile, a dealer could offer you financing or trade-ins along with a wider range of motorcycle options.

What documents do I need to check when buying a used motorbike?

You need a Personal Property Securities Register certificate to ensure that the motorcycle you’re buying doesn’t have any outstanding debt, hasn’t been written-off, or been stolen. Ideally, a detailed history of the motorcycle's maintenance records should also be included.

How can I test ride a used motorbike?

Test ride a used motorbike by taking it for a lap around the dealership or taking it out on the highway. Check its components to see if it’s working properly, from the handle bars to the brakes.

What should I do if I find a problem with a used motorbike after buying it?

You can discuss with the seller if they’re amenable to repairing it. However, if you’ve already purchased the motorcycle there’s little you can do about any problems you may find after the fact especially if you bought from a private seller.

If you purchased the motorbike from a dealership, you may have consumer protections but these rules and guidelines differ per state and territory.

What should I look for when buying a second-hand motorbike?

Look for a motorcycle that’s in good condition (look at the engine, tyres, chassis, suspension, brakes, etc) and has very few miles.

How many kilometres is too many on a used motorcycle?

On motorcycles, somewhere around 30,000 kilometres to 40,000 kilometres would be too much for smaller motorcycles. For bigger cruiser bikes, somewhere along 60,000 kilometres to 70,000 kilometres.