How To Buy A Used Motorcycle

This post has affiliate links. At no cost to you, we earn a commision for puchases made through links in this post. Read more

Buying a used motorcycle can have several benefits. Firstly, you get to buy a bike of your choice at a lower price. Moreover, many passionate bikers use a motorcycle for some time, sell it, and then move on to another model. Buying these good quality motorcycles can be quite expensive. New riders who want to master the art of riding a motorcycle prefer buying a used bike. Despite these benefits and a huge market for used motorcycles, people generally do not have a good experience buying used bikes. Thus, we will guide through all the steps to buy a used motorcycle in this article. 

Things To Check Before Buying

1. Analyze The Market Trends

Just like brand new motorcycles, used motorcycles also have a market. The market comprises dealers, buyers, and sometimes brokers as well. While the dealers analyze market trends constantly, buyers lag behind in this regard. Most buyers directly meet the seller and discuss the deal based on their gut feeling. If they like the bike just for its look or the model, they tend to buy it without making comparisons and assessments. This is the reason why most people do not have a great experience buying used motorcycles. 

If you are going to meet a seller, you should know about the details of the model that they are selling. Also, search for similar used motorcycles in your area that are up for sale. By doing so, you can make a comparison between these motorcycles to assess whether your choice is good enough. Moreover, when you go to meet the seller, and he quotes a higher price than other models on sale, you get something to negotiate. 

Secondly, if they quote an unbelievably low price, it might be good luck, but in most cases, it is a red flag. There must be something wrong with the bike so that the seller is trying to sell it off for a low price. Therefore, you should analyze this market of used motorcycles in its totality before you meet a seller. 

2. Check Motorcycle History Report

Generally, one should not purchase a used vehicle without seeing a history report at the time of the transaction. Unfortunately, most organizations that help in preparing these reports cater to car and truck owners only. Therefore, you will have to scout the market to get hold of a firm that can prepare a motorcycle history report. Usually, motorcycle history reports contain data such as odometer readings, manufacturer details, manufacturer recall history, previous damages, stolen titles, and VIN decoding. 

Separate testing is done for the motorcycle batteries. We advise that you ask the seller for the VIN of the motorcycle on your first visit itself. If you find any defects in the motorcycle, as per the motorcycle history report, you can shelve the deal. If you want to buy it anyway, you can convince the seller to lower the price based on the report.

3. Check The DMV Paperwork

Paperwork is very important for buying used vehicles. The owner should have a clear title in hand so that they can sign and sell the vehicle legally. Moreover, you need a NOC from the owner. Besides, you should also ask for documents for any other transferable benefits. Without complete DMV paperwork, you cannot become the rightful owner of the motorcycle. 

4. Check The Miles 

You need to know how many miles the motorcycle has travelled. Covering more miles leads to greater wear and tear of the components of the motorcycle. While there are motorcycles designed to tread long miles without any damage, the common motorcycle models of dirt bikes and dual sports bikes are meant to travel short distances only. 

Moreover, you can compare the data with an average number of miles that the bike usually travels until it starts giving troubles. Such data is available on internet forums of bikers, all of whom own the same bike. Not just the number, but you also need to know how these miles were accumulated. If the rider took the bike off-road or on tracks frequently, the damages to the power chain would have made it very weak.

5. Check The Tires

Motorcycle experts often say that tires tell a story. You need to look at the tires carefully to know how the owner rides the motorcycle and how well they take care of the bike. It is a complicated task, and sometimes people miss out on minor details that are telltale signs of motorcycle damage. However, there are some basics to assess the motorcycle tires

If the tire is wearing out from the center, it means that the owner rides it frequently on freeways, and uses it for a lot of commuting and touring. If you see damages on the peripheries of the tire, it means that the owner rides the motorcycle aggressively. Also, check the footpegs for any damage.

It is difficult to get motorcycles with tires in an impeccable condition. You should analyze the tire’s condition to negotiate for the price. Moreover, if you get a motorcycle with new tires installed, you should ask the owner why the tires were changed. It might be to cover up some other fault. 

6. Check Servicing Record

Maintenance and servicing are crucial to keeping any motorcycle in a good condition. If the seller provides documents for a good maintenance record, the deal is worth it. 

However, the absence of documented servicing records does not mean that the motorcycle was not taken care of. Many owners are passionate about their vehicles and maintain their condition to the best of their ability. 


So, if you want to learn how to buy a used motorcycle, just follow these tips. Analyzing the market trends and considering several options together can help you get a good deal. If you think that you do not have enough knowledge for assessing different aspects of a motorcycle, you should ask an experienced person to accompany you when you go to meet the seller. If you analyze all the details carefully, you can buy a used motorcycle that can run for several years altogether.

The following two tabs change content below.
Connie Williams

Connie Williams

Williams is an experienced motorist having participated in several biking races and such other events. Her passion for motorcycles as well as for writing drove her to set aside a professional career in engineering to write about bikes.
Connie Williams

Latest posts by Connie Williams (see all)