Whether you are planning to use it for some off-road antics or as an alternative to a road vehicle, the fact remains that motorcycles have a few elements in their favor over a more traditional four-wheeled vehicle. Unfortunately, not everyone is willing and able to put down the money for a brand-new cycle and it is this concern that inspires this article. Provided below are five vital things to take into consideration when purchasing a used motorcycle.
Already Have Your Protection Purchased/Owned
One of the most important pieces of information to give anyone looking into used motorcycles for sale, let alone brand-new motorcycles, is to already have the relevant protective gear on hand. Before you put money down on your vehicle, you should already have a quality helmet at a bare minimum. When only a maniac would sell a car without seatbelts due to the risk of injury, a motorcycle is a controlled risk that is best handled with the proper protective gear. For a good idea of what you should have, look into a helmet, eye protection (which can be covered if your helmet has a visor), boots, a jacket, and pants. While not necessary when you plan to ride it around, it is a good idea to also have a set of rain gear for driving through inconvenient weather.
Look Over the Entire Appearance
When you are looking to buy a motorcycle, you owe it to yourself to look over all of the details in person. One of the biggest distinctions between a seller who cares about their merchandise and someone who is just trying to off-load their merch comes down to the presentation. Someone who cares about cycles will go all the way with their cleaning, being sure to cleanse away all of the dirt and grime, not just the obvious spots that any layperson would immediately check for. If the cycle has plastic fairings, be sure to verify the security of any connecting tabs; those connection points are often the first point of failure in a crash.
Gauge the Exhaust
When you plan to inspect the bike, your priority should be the exhaust with a cold engine. Because warm engines have a much easier time turning over, it is best to demand your seller not run the bike to wherever you plan to investigate it. If these precautions are met, you should check that the exhaust is sturdily mounted and not misaligned from a lot of engine vibration. You also want to verify any spots where corrosion would have a chance to form, likely spots not visible from standing. You also want to listen for leaking exhaust upon starting up the bike. Also, be mindful of dents along the exhaust header; they are certain to impact the bike’s performance.
Check the Coolant
Normal engine coolant is a neon green color that has a sweetness to its scent. While the engine is cold, unscrew the coolant cap and investigate its contents. While green is a good sign, brownish coolant is a sign of rust or oil in the engine; a negatively affected engine is bound to cost you a considerable amount of money in repairs. If oil is present, there may be a leak in the head gasket or some failed O-rings; fixing O-rings is easy but fixing out a head gasket is only something that a professional should attempt. Note that you can also remove the radiator cap with a cold engine to check for oil; any oil in the system will float to the top of the radiator and an oil slick is a sign of engine issues.
Investigate the Background
Request all of the service records and receipts for the vehicle and consider purchasing an official report on the motorcycle’s history. Double-check the VIN and license plate against the title to confirm everything is on the up-and-up; most cycles have their VIN along the steering head. Make sure the title is held up by a lien.
Riding Off Into the Sunset
Before you go looking into the purchase of a used motorcycle, be sure to check its coolant, paperwork, exhaust, and frame, and have your protective gear handy.