Used Bike Buying Guides

Buying a used motorcycle or scooter isn’t really easy, but is definitely one of the best ways to get excellent value for your bucks, provided you know how to go about it. We break down this seemly complicated process for you into eight simple tips, which will help you distinguish a sour deal from a fair one.


    Don’t we all want to own snazzy machines that we can zip around on and make our neighbours turn green with envy? Buying a bike is an exciting thing, but let’s not get carried away. In reality, it’s best to pick a bike that is practical, purposeful and most importantly should be agreeable by your pocket. So, once you have a realistic budget in place, remember to keep some extra cash handy for minor repairs or adjustments that the used bike might need.


    Now that you have a realistic budget, it’s time to weigh your options. Do you research and survey the market for the best available models that you can buy. Visit you’re your local dealers to get an idea or go through to understand your option. Pounder on things like - Is the bike still in production? How is the after sales service? Availability of spare parts? Reliability of the model? This will help you narrow down on the bike that best suits your needs.


    Once you’ve decided on the specific bike model, make sure to read up on it. This will give you a clearer picture on how the new bike behaved and what are its characteristics. If the bike is still in production and is sold by the manufacturer, then take a test ride of a new bike. Now that you’re more familiar with the bike of your dream, or might we say your budget, you’re ready to judge the used bike.


    Picking the right bike is a very personal decision. Most people get vibes from their machines and if you get a positive one, then it is worth considering. Take the bike out on a spin, preferably on a less noisy and sparsely crowded road. Since you’ve done your homework and know the original bike’s characteristics, you have a benchmark to compare the used one with.

    Things to check:

    1. Does the engine sound harsher than usual?
    2. Is the gearbox shifting smoothly?
    3. Is the clutch feeling too hard?
    4. Are the wheels wobbling?
    5. Check the alignment, is the bike going in a straight line?
    6. While braking does it emit some noise?
    These checks will give a fair idea on kind of expense to expect if you decide to buy the bike.


    It’s a good idea to inspect the bike closely after your test ride, so that you can spot any cover-ups the seller might have done to conceal the bike’s defects.

    Here are some important points of inspection:
    Engine head – Leakage around the engine head means that some gaskets / seals need to be replace. It reflects poor maintenance and the fact that there is more expense involved.
    Drum Brakes - See how much adjustment has gone through. If it is on the deeper end, then the brake pads are worn out and need to be replaced.
    Disc Brakes – Brake discs have to be inspected for scars. You’ll need to shell out more to get it fixed.
    Clutch - If the clutch feels hard, then ride the bike in 3rd gear to see if it is gaining speed according to the engine revs. If it doesn’t then clutch needs to be replaced.
    Electricals - Open the side panels to check for tapes on the electrical wiring. This would mean that the owner had installed after market lights, which isn’t good news for the wiring.
    Wheels - Wobbling spoke wheel can be fixed but cracks on alloy wheels must be pointed out to the owner and should be replaced by him/her.
    Tyres – Inspect the tyre wear and tread. Sometimes if the bike hasn’t been used for a long time the treads might be there but the tyre could be old and not fit for use. Check for cracks and the age. Tyres manufacturing is often mentioned on the tyre wall.
    Alignment – The rear wheel and front wheel should fall in a straight line. If not, then the bike might have had a fall.
    Rust - Check the underbelly of motorcycle’s fuel tank for corrosion. On scooter you must have a look at all the covered portions. Scooter wheels are the first to show signs of rust if exposed to excessive rain or humidity.


    Take a friend or relative along when you go to inspect the bike. In the excitement of buying a bike you may oversee something important. Moreover you can always use a second opinion.


    The bike’s documents need to be in order. Check if the person who is selling the bike is actually the owner on papers as well. If the bike is over 15 years old then check if it needs a fitness certificate by the RTO.


    Remember to bargain well before you finalise the bike. Once you close the deal, ensure to get the set of transfer documents signed on the necessary pages. Make sure that the sign match the one on the registration certificate.

  9. Best of luck and happy riding!