A Quick Guide to Buying a Second-Hand Motorbike

On Tuesday, August 7th, 2018

If you’re looking to purchase a bike, whether it’s your first one or the latest in your collection, many people choose to go the second-hand route.

It’s usually a lot cheaper, but there are some important things to know before looking for a second-hand bike.

Dealer or Private?

The first thing to decide is whether you want to buy through a dealer or a private seller. If you buy through a dealer, you’ll usually get some kind of warranty, and they may even take your current bike as part of a part-exchange if you have one.

However, the obvious downside is that you’re probably going to have to pay a bit extra if you go down this route.

Of course, part-exchanging will help with this, and the dealers may also offer payment plans or other finance options, but buying from a private seller means you’re cutting out the middleman, so ultimately, you’re going to get a better price (without a warranty though).

Checks to Make

Before agreeing to anything, there are some important checks that you need to make. For example, check the mileage and make sure it is what the seller is claiming it to be and have a look for any obvious scratches or damage on the bodywork.

Other things that you can easily check include the steering, the suspension, the brake discs and the lights and indicators.

It’s really important you do these checks, not just for the long-term health of the bike, but also because it means you’re in a good location to haggle the owner down on price.

Also make sure you know whether the bike has had any modifications, as these could affect the insurance on the bike.

According to MotorbikeTrader.co.uk, who buy thousands of second-hand bikes each year: “We often find that people who come to sell bikes to us will find some pretty creative ways to mask damage to the bike to try and get a little bit of extra money for them, such as using sticks to cover up scratches and dents, so make sure to be thorough with your checks!”


The paperwork is the boring stuff, but just like the physical checks on the bike itself, it’s super-important.

This includes a valid V5 registration, MOT certificate and service history. If all these are present, do make sure to check that all the details match up to the seller and the bike.

You can also use a site such as HPI Check to find out whether there are any other issues with the vehicle such as whether it’s been stolen or if there’s any outstanding finance on it.

Test Drive

Be sure to take the vehicle out for a spin on the roads before agreeing to anything, just to get a feel for it and make sure that it’s the bike for you.

As well as how it generally feels to ride, you should be checking things such as how easy it is to start up, how easy it is to change through the gears and how well the suspension holds up when tackling bumps.

Check out this article for more tips on what to do when test driving a second-hand motorcycle.

Once you’ve done all of this, you can be fairly confident that you’re getting a good deal, so sign on the dotted line, jump on and hit the road!

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