5: Check for Recalls
Compared to motorcycle recalls, car recalls often dominate the news, but only because there are more cars on the road. A motorcycle recall can and does happen. You don't want to buy an indeterminate motorcycle that needs to be recalled. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a year-by-year, brand and model vehicle recall database that you can search to find out if there are any recalls on the motorcycle. If it does, get documentation from the seller that the bike has been fixed. If it hasn't been fixed, you'll probably want to pass.
4: Get a Used Motorcycle Bill of Sale
If you buy a used motorcycle from a dealer, you will get a formal sales list showing the number of motorcycles you bought, any taxes you paid, and the person who owns the bicycle title (if you pay for the loan) for it ). Some private sellers may not automatically give you a sales order, which is a problem. You will need to provide proof of purchase and price for document registration and other paperwork. Finding a sales template template online is easy, print and fill out. When you buy a used bicycle, insist on buying a sales slip.
3: Make Sure the VINs Match
Like a car, a motorcycle has a vehicle identification number (VIN). When buying a used bike, you need to make sure that the VIN on the bike matches the VIN in all paperwork - otherwise you may buy the wrong bike. The worst case is that you bought a stolen one. Sales notes, registration and ownership VIN should match. You also need to make sure that the VINs of the various parts of the bike match, so you won't eventually buy Harley with a Honda engine. Check and double check all VINs, if they don't match, go away.
2: Get Maintenance Records
One of the risks you take when buying a used motorcycle is that the bike may not have been well maintained. Like any machine, a motorcycle needs regular upkeep. If it's been sitting during winters, you need to be sure it's been put to bed properly each time.
If you're willing to put up with not knowing how the bike was treated, you can forego getting maintenance records from the seller, but you shouldn't pay as much for a bike with no maintenance records as you would for one that has a fully documented history. Get the fullest picture of the motorcycle's maintenance history as you can.
1: Know How a Used Motorcycle Has Been Modified
Modifying and personalizing bicycles is one of the main attractions that many people own motorcycles. Loud pipes, custom chrome and drilled engines are the center of ownership for bicycles for some people, such as edges and leather. However, if you buy a second-hand motorcycle, you need to make sure that any modifications you have made have been completed correctly. Custom paint work or seating is not a big deal (believing that paint work can be used to hide repairs caused by accidents) but other modifications can significantly alter the performance of the bike or even illegal.
Before you buy, get all of the documentation you can from the seller about modifications, and check that the modifications to the bike are legal in your community. Once the bike is yours, you'll be on the hook for any changes that have been made to it, even if they weren't made by you.
Author's Note: 10 Tips for Buying a Used Motorcycle
One of the scenic routes in Laconia, New Hampshire is near my home. This means that every June, I hear thousands of motorcycles heading north to Laconia Bike Week, one of the country's largest motorcycle gatherings. You will see a lot of bikes for sale in the bike week - after all, the seller has an interested audience. You can also see many of the pitfalls you might encounter when buying used bicycles during the bike week, including dark sellers, modifications and bicycle wrecks. I hope these 10 used motorcycle buying tips keep you upright and heading happily down the road on a new-to-you bike.