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You Should Viewing a Second Hand Motorcycle Before Buy

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Always be cautious at first

Motorcycles are a common target of theft, so verifying that a motorcycle is not stolen can take some preparation. That should be part of your time looking over the motorcycle. This is not always easy as you have to get the VIN before you check on it. Some services exist online to look these up, but there is no official national registry. Try your local DMV if you suspect the bike to be stolen. If you purchase a stolen bike, you’re out the money and the bike.

Do not forget to bring a flashlight and way to clean your hands – hand sanitizer and a towel at the very least.

Also, bring the advertisement, or a copy of it, along with you when you view the bike. This will keep you from forgetting the previously stated details. You can also record information you learned during your research here so to use it as a central resource during your search.

Tip: If you are not mechanically inclined, bring along someone you trust who knows motorcycles well. Otherwise, you might be able to talk a local mechanic into accompanying you for a small fee. In some limited areas you may find a local service to do this, but they are very rare. Head online and do some searching. This small effort will pay huge dividends later in the money it saves you on any problems you may have missed.

Tip: Never check a bike after dark or in the rain; it will be very difficult to spot any defects in such weather conditions. Even if the motorcycle is stored in a garage, artificial light will not give you a true impression and can mask serious defects or misalignments.

Check over the exterior of the motorcycle closely

Walk around the bike a few times glancing at it from different angles to see the light reflect off the surfaces. Sunlight is great for this as it will highlight such defects quite clearly. Examine the bodywork of the bike looking for scratches or dents. Check areas like the rear of the tank for scratches from zippers. Are there any stickers in unusual places? Could they be covering scratches, dents or even holes? It’s possible, so use your eyes.

Check for signs that the bike has been dropped; scratched – and often badly repainted – engine cases, foot pegs or exhaust pipes and brand new turn signals are some good clues. Pay special attention to the condition of the brake and clutch levers, bar-end weights, straightness of the handlebars and instrument cluster. Signs of damage here could mean more exists elsewhere. If you do find some damage, ask the owner to clarify it for you.

Inspect the important components of the motorcycle

Mount the motorcycles, hold the front brake and bounce the front suspension; it should feel smooth and firm. Get off the bike and check the fork tubes for signs of rust, pitting, scratching or oil leakage. Any of these could mean a complete fork rebuild.

Tip: Be careful here. Do NOT bring large amounts of cash with you to see the motorcycle if you are buying through a private sale. This could be dangerous as some thieves will get you to come take a look at the bike, but instead they will rob you. It may take some work, but bringing a significant other or good friend who can help with this is a very good idea. They can hold cash off-site if necessary, and two people are more intimidating.

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