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Checklist for Buying Second-hand

bike check list




  • How many previous owners are there and what did they use the motorcycle for?
  • The overall condition of the motorcycle - a clean machine would suggest its been maintained.
  • Does the mileage reflect the condition? well-worn footrests and grips on a motorbike with 10,000 Kms is suspect
  • Does it have a service history? If so, is there a record of it and was it carried out by an authorised dealer?
  • Did the owner buy the motorbike from a shop or privately?
  • Tyres - check for wear and damage a new set can be expensive
  • Chain and sprockets - check wear, damage (if any), tension and if it's oiled
  • Worn brake pads? Scored brake discs will be expensive to replace
  • Brakes work and aren't spongy
  • Oil leaks both from the engine and fork seals and rear shock absorber
  • Check oil and water levels - if they are low it would suggest the owner might have neglected them
  • Damage - dents, scratches or broken lenses
  • Cables - throttle moves freely and the clutch is smooth
  • Has it been re-sprayed? If so, was it crashed?
  • Was it used on track days? Check underneath footrests for wear
  • Is there excessive smoke from exhaust even when the motorcycle has warmed up?
  • Any sounds from the engine, rattles or anything unusual - then walk away
  • Wheel bearings and headstock bearings - rock the rear wheel from left to right check for looseness also move handlebars from side to side
  • Is the clutch slipping? Only riding the bike can tell you this put it into a high gear at low speed and pull the throttle quickly to see if rev's rise excessivley
  • Rust - Was it garaged or left outside?
  • Ignition damage - Was it ever stolen?
  • Electrics - Are the horn, lights, indicators and brake lights working?
  • Do the switches move freely?
  • Are there mirrors on it?
  • Check that the chassis and frame numbers haven't been tampered with and that they correspond to the registration document.

  • No second-hand motorcycle will be perfect so any faults with the bike should be highlighted.This will affect the overall selling price. Never buy the first motorbike you see be prepared to walk away. Always ask if there are any extras but never accept a used crash helmet - not only could the previous owner have head lice but it may also have damage which is not visible; this will reduce the level of protection it provides in the event of an accident. If you are calling a private number always start the conversation with 'I am calling about the bike' if the reply is 'which one?' then hang-up as this would suggest it is a dealer posing as a private seller.


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