So, you are in the market to get yourself a used motorcyle. Your pocket is not feeling particularly heavy, and the clock is running as fast as ever. We took this challenge on ourselves, and have come out with 10 points of a reference guide to buy a second hand motorcycle. Fast, cheap and safe!
Make the right choice
Before getting into a purchase, understand your requirement and your riding style. You don’t want to get stuck with something that you deem uncomfortable later on. Once you have understood what kind of motorcycle suits you the best, narrow it down to make and model.
Check the service history
There is no need to jump into the purchase right away. Run a through check with the motorcycle service and see what parts have been changed on a regular basis. Also, be sure to look at the insurance history of the motorcycle for any previous major accidents or mishaps. Also while walking around the bike, check the condition of the bar ends, as they are the first signs of a fall.
Check the condition of tyres
Sometimes what you want is not what everyone is looking for. This might mean that the bike has been sitting at the dealership for quite some time and the tyres might have gone hard in that duration. Check the tyres for cracks. At the same time, use a coin or a key to measure the depth and amount of rubber remaining on the tyres, as a new set of tyres can set you back another Rs 2000 – Rs 25000 Depending on the motorcycle.
Check the chassis
Although any major warp in the chassis cannot be visible by a mere visual inspection. Remove the seats and thoroughly look for cracks in the frame underneath. Also check the engine mounting points and the steering assembly for cracks and deformations
Check for Rusting
On old vehicles rusting can be a major problem. Although the engines and chassis of modern motorcycles are made from steel that does not catch rust so easy, parts like the fuel tank are still made the old fashion way. Open the fuel tank and examine the insides with torchlight, also look underneath the tank where it is in contact with the frame and around the mounting points. Also check for rust around the fuel release tap for leaks due to rusting. A word of advice - incase the bike you're planning to buy have rusting as in the picture above, you might want to ignore that deal. ;)
If the bike has been ridden for a long time with worn out brake pads, there is a severe chance that the brake discs have worn out too. To check the brake discs, slide your hand over the disc (when they are unused and cold) and feel the texture of the scratch marks on them. If the groves developed are quite uneven and deep, it means its time for a replacement. Also, if the bike has fallen on the disc side, there is a chance that the disc has been bent or warped, check this while driving at a slow steady rate and applying mild brakes constantly. If there is a juddering sensation in movement or in the brake lever, possibilities are that you would need to change that disc soon.
The best way to check suspensions is to compare it with a similar new bike. Over time, suspensions become soft under constant use and stress and become easy to judge the life left in them. Check them for leaks around the fork seals and near the shock absorbers. While riding, go over large bumps at low to moderate speed to understand the suspension travel at the back, if they bottom out, you need new ones. As for the fronts, while carrying a steady pace apply the front brakes and look for two important things. If there is a very heavy dive in the front suspension, it means that they are on their way out. Also, while braking, if you experience the handle bar turn towards a particular dimension without staying straight, that means that there is a deformation in the suspension either due to bad terrain or probably an accident.
Check the gearbox
While on an empty stretch of road, go up and down the gears at least a couple of times and notice for any slip between the gears or any false neutrals. A good condition gearbox should shift gears with a confident click and distribute power linearly to the rear wheels
Check for loose or cut wiring on the motorcycle to ensure that the original wiring harness is not tampered with. While fitting after market accessories such as immobilizers, indicator signals and horns, most mechanics cut the original wiring to add new circuitry. This is not only could blow out your entire electrical system in case of short circuit leaving you helpless in the middle of nowhere.
Strike a good deal
Based on the facts above you would now be well educated about the motorcycle and its condition. Use this information to your advantage by landing the best possible bargain with the seller. Once the seller knows that you are aware of the motorcycle’s exact condition, he would have very little to say and will give in easily.