Buying a Used Bike

Buying a used bike? Every biker will have this experience at least once.
Here is a checklist that will make it a less painful one.

Used motorcycle viewing check list:

1. Find a bike with the lowest mileage in the desired age range. The lower the mileage, the lesser the maintenance or repair cost.

2. Inspect clutch and brake lever, foot peg and mirror ends for scratches. These are signs of a fall or crash. If the bike was repainted, it was damaged.

3. Is the bike clean? A dirty bike shows it wasn't well taken care of. Is the plastic colour faded, or seat foam hard? These means the bike has not been used and under the sun and in weather for a long time.

4. Check the fuel tank for scrtaches, dents or rust. Open the fuel tank cap to ensure it is not loose or damaged. Look inside the fuel tank with a torchlight and look for rust.

5. Check around the bike for loose parts or covers. If parts are loose, they might be broken or worn.

6. Look for signs of oil leakage around the engine's cylinder head and block. If there is oil there, the bike will need a top or major overhaul.

7. Check the chain puller nuts. Are they extended to the maximum? If they are, you will need to change the chain and both sprockets.

8. Check the clutch and brake levers and cables for stiffness to see if they need to be replaced.

9. Check the brake pads and discs for worn, damage or hydraulic fuel leakage. Push the bike forward and apply the brakes to test.

10. Look under the bike seat. Check for dirt, broken cables and look for the tool kit.

11. Check the tires. Are they worn or have been repaired for punctures? A pair of tires costs about $300 includng labour to change.

12. Apply the front brake and push down on the front forks. Is there any hydraulic oil leakage at the forks? If there is, the fork seals needs to be replaced.

13. While applying the front brake and pushing down on the front forks, do you feel free play or loose, jerky movement on the steering column? If you do, the steering cone bearings are worn or broken and must be replaced.

14. Check the main stand and side stand. Are they loose, bent or damaged? Can the bike be easily put up on the main stand?

15. Put the bike up on the main stand and switch on the bike power. Observe the instrument panel. Is the RPM, fuel level, gear position etc showing? Is the mileage shown as advertised?

16. Check the head lamp, rear lamp, turn indicators and brake lamps to ensure all are working. Also check the turn indicators on the instrument panel.

17. Run the bike engine. Does it start easily? If it does not start easily on the first try, there's problem with the ignition system, injectors, engine block and/or the liquid coolant may be leaking into the engine. A costly major overhaul will be required.

18. Can the engine stay in idle and is revving smoothly? If not, there's problems with the engine, ignition system, fuel injector, fuel filter and/or air filter.

19. Rev the engine to about 2000 RPM above idle. Is there knocking sound coming from the engine? If there is, there's problem with the pistons, timing chain and/or internal parts of the engine are worn or broken. A major overhaul will be needed that may cost thousands of dollars.

20. Listen to the exhaust. Is it too loud or emmitting white smoke? If its too loud, the exhaust system might have been modified or illegal. If there's white smoke, engine coolant is leaking into the engine cylinder and a major overhaul is required.

21. Kick down the side stand. Does the engine cut off switch work? If there is a cut of switch at the side stand, it should cut off the engine.

22. Run the engine again. Does the engine cut off switch at the right handle bar control switch off the engine?

23. With a torchlight, look for the engine and frame serial numbers. They must not be scratched off or tampered with.

24. Finally, never go for a test ride when viewing a used bike, even if the bike seller invites you to do so. You are not covered by his insurance and if you crash due to your mistake or the bike's poor condition, you must repair the bike of all damages, including existing ones (bike owner will say your accident caused the damage) or buy the crashed bike. If accident involves a 3rd party, you will lose your licence for driving without insurance.

Steps to purchasing and owning a used motorcycle:

1. Learn how to choose a used motorcycle. See the above motorcycle viewing checklist.

2. Get quotation for motorcycle insurance. You must have insurance before you can transfer ownership or renew road tax. New riders usually pay more and must get 1st party insurance policy.

3. LTA bike transfer fee. Apply for transfer and pay $25 online at LTA website.

4. Get bike ready for inspection. See bike viewing checklist and ensure all issues are addressed before inspection, otherwise bike might fail and have to pay for 2nd inspection. Send bike for inspection at nearest inspection center.

5. Renew road tax at inspection centre with inspection pass certificate and insurance certificate covering the full period of new road tax.

Have fun and ride safe always!