As the prices of new motorcycles are going up, not every one is able to afford them. Even I feel that most motorcycles are way expensive and overpriced and if I ever had to buy them, I will buy them second hand or used.
Not every used motorcycle is trouble free, there is much chance that due to some trouble or issue one has sold his machine. Or it may have been accident or involved in a crash. Accident bikes don’t have a good repute and tend to keep on giving issues, also re selling them later isn’t easy. I have compiled a small check list which I will follow if I ever have to buy a second hand motorcycle. It may help you too.
Pay close attention to the appearance of motorcycle, try to observe any mismatched panels or mismatched color shades or shines. One may have replaced a panel after accident so it may explain fresh shiny paint and mismatched panel means that the repair job isn’t satisfactory. Try to look handle grips, lever ends, foot rests for any scratches, if a motorcycle is dropped and dragged these parts will have marks on them.
Always visit early morning to check a bike, make sure its not cold started already. Listen for worn starter motor or rattling ring pistons. In case of 4-stroke motorcycle if a machine smokes on cold start, it requires head work and it will cost time and money. Checking a bike in day light is always better and its also advised to stay away from badly maintained machines as they are money pits usually.
Ask the owner for a test ride, try to see if the handle bars and front end is aligned. Feel the difference of height in foot rests, uneven foot bar means the bike has dropped so the foot bar is bent. Also look for any oil seepage or oil burning while riding. If a 4 stroke bike is continuously smoking, it needs a top end redo and it will cost money. Try to listen for any rattles or bad squeaking sounds.
Checking the documents and verifying the engine and chassis number is a must. Please never make any deals with out doing that. Its better to purchase a machine from 1st owner or the owner should have title in his name. Make sure that you have all required documents for transferring the owner ship.
Hopefully the purchase made after these few check points will help in getting a better motorcycle with many more happy miles left for you.