Top 5 Tips for Buying a Used Motorcycle

5 Tips for Buying a Used Motorcycle

Buying a used motorcycle is a great way to save money. If this is your first time, you’re likely looking for a bit of guidance before you get started. 

We’ll tell you what to expect so that you don’t hit any roadblocks along the way. 

Continue below for tips on how to buy a used motorcycle! 

1. Avoid Scams

If you plan to buy a used motorcycle from a private seller, you’ll want to be cautious of scams. But, don’t worry. Scammers are usually pretty easy to spot once you know the signs. 

The Red Flags  

  • The seller tells you an elaborate sob story. (i.e.: family member in the hospital with way too many details, needs money immediately)
  • The seller claims they cannot meet with you because they are relocating. (i.e.: in the military, out of the country, etc.) 
  • The seller sends you a link to an unfamiliar website. (i.e.: a fake escrow company, fake shipping company)
  • The price is too good to be true.
  • The seller makes up excuses as to why they can’t talk on the phone or meet in person.
  • The VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) on the motorcycle doesn’t match the VIN on the title. (This motorcycle is probably stolen.)

How to Avoid Scams

  • Don’t rush into anything. Be open to negotiating. 
  • Use a reputable shipping company. 
  • Talk on the phone, video chat, and/or meet in person.
  • Don’t let emotions cloud your judgment. 
  • Check businesses for legitimacy.
  • Use a trusted escrow service. 
  • Confirm payment with your bank.
  • Double-check website domains. 
  • See the motorcycle in person before you send the seller any money.  
  • Guard your personal information. 

For more information on how to avoid motorcycle scams, check out this post!

2. Avoid Liens 

When speaking with private sellers, you should always ask if there are any liens on their motorcycle. At the meet-up, you can verify this by looking at the Certificate of Title. Any liens will be listed on this document. 

If the motorcycle has a lien, this means that the seller still owes money to their lender. You cannot buy a motorcycle that has an outstanding balance. 

However, you could make an agreement with the lender to pay off the remaining balance in exchange for the motorcycle. 

For more information on how to buy a motorcycle with a lien on it, check out this post! 

3. Recognize Damage

It’s not uncommon for pre-loved motorcycles to have damage. The extent of damage can vary greatly, from a scratch on the gas tank to dents from a fall. 

Some riders don’t mind paying less for a bike that needs work. Others want a bike that’s been maintained and is in excellent condition. 

To get a clear picture of the bike’s condition, you can:

  • Ask questions.
  • See the bike in person. 
  • Ask the seller for repair/maintenance records.
  • Get the VIN and order a vehicle history report.
  • Check the title of the brand on the Certificate of Title. 
  • Buy a Certified Pre-Owned motorcycle.

For more detailed tips on how to spot damage, check out this post on how to avoid buying a lemon!

4. Know the Motorcycle’s Value 

When purchasing online from a private seller, it’s important to know how to determine a motorcycle’s value. 

When you find a bike you’re interested in buying, use Kelley Blue Book to determine its value. All you need to do is enter its year, make and model. 

Next, select “typical listing price.” This is the average dealership price. 

To get an estimate for the private sale price, we recommend subtracting $500 to $1,000 from the typical listing price. 

For more detailed information, check out this post on how to use KBB to determine motorcycle value!

5. Negotiate 

You can get a great deal on your motorcycle simply by negotiating with the seller. Keep in mind that to negotiate successfully, both parties should feel that they’ve won in the end. 

For a smooth negotiating process, consider the following guidelines: 

  1. Create a budget.
  2. Look up the motorcycle value. 
  3. Select two or three motorcycles of the same make and model.
  4. Create a plan.
  5. Speak with the seller. 
  6. Adjust your offer, depending on demand. 
  7. Close the deal or consider other options. 

For detailed information and tips, check out this post on how to negotiate when buying a motorcycle

In Conclusion 

Keep this list on hand when you begin the process of buying your used motorcycle. Or, share this post with a friend who is buying a motorcycle for the first time.

By the way, which do you prefer? Buying used or new? Let us know below! 

2 comments on “Top 5 Tips for Buying a Used Motorcycle”

  • I find myself in a position that requires me to used, cash flow . I’ve had a new model before and was very happy, but times,and value has changed dramatically,

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