So, you’re ready to get back on two wheels and hit the open road!
Whereas some may change their bike bi-monthly, others may be buying a first used bike – but for seasoned and first time buyer alike, here are some simple and effective pointers that may help:
1) Ask to see the registration papers and when the registration expires (and possibly even check this using your state’s online facilities. As you may be aware, the laws requiring that Rego details need to be displayed have changed some time ago, meaning that it is your responsibility to ensure that the vehicle is registered appropriately!
2) Is there are user manual with service history? Check that the bike has had regular servicing. It’s a good idea to find out the common failures/service intervals for your bike and keeping an eye out for whether they have been tended to!
3) Check for modifications – not essential if they’re done to your liking, but be wary that modifications can void the road-worthiness of the bike and land you a yellow sticker. It may be an idea to ensure that the original parts are included; you may well be needing them in the future! Drilled holes through bolts, particularly for the brake calipers and oil plugs is a tell-tale sign that the bike has been prepared for the race track. Not bad in itself with many track bikes being maintained much more diligently than a road bike, but if it hasn’t been disclosed – you have to ask yourself why!
4) Brake pads and Tyre wear – look out for even wear with plenty of meat left in the pads and tyre tread – which can even give you some ammunition for bargaining!
5) Chain and Sprocket wear. Check that the chain moves fluidly and is free from rust or twisting. Check that the sprockets are uniform and not ‘wonky’ looking indicating lots of wear. All of these can spell extra cost to you and also tell you how well looked after the bike has been!
6) Check for any fluid / oil on the fork legs – this will be indicative of leaking oil seals which will need attention!
7) Ask if the bike has ever been dropped and check for any crash damage. When a bike goes down, usually the pegs, levers, bar ends, fairings, swing-arms and forks take the brunt. Check for scratches, abrasions, cracks and bent components. Scratched fairings are usually an undeniable sign of a slide; and you want to be particularly cautious of any frame or swing-arm damage.
8) Engine – does the bike idle nicely, with no excess smoke? A little condensation causing white smoke from cold, particularly in the winter is normal but should soon fade – ideally you want to view the bike cold and view it warming up yourself before riding.
9) Clutch – does it engage with a good amount of movement? you should start to feel the clutch engage/disengage through the first couple of centimeters of lever movement. Does the accelerator turn smoothly and hold the revs at any given position? This will indicate that the throttle cable is in good condition. Check that it returns smoothly and isn’t sticky.
10) Test ride – many people won’t offer a test ride on a bike; it’s normal and very understandable. But you should at least have a ride after the sale is agreed to ensure it is all good prior to taking it off their hands for good and heading home. Check that there are no ticking or rattly noises at a constant RPM which could indicate anything from valve clearances to dodgy tensioners and cam chains. Check for erratic noises that might appear under acceleration or breaking which could indicate loose components but minor or more major.
and a bonus one for luck;
11) Get a revs check. Arguably the most important thing you could do, a Revs check will detail potentially hidden facts about your intended purchase. Check that the bike does not have any finance or is written off before handing over any money. These cost money, so by all means examine the bike and do a revs check as a last stop before paying for the bike.
Remember, every time you jump on your bike, you will be trusting your well-being with her; so it’s only right that you ensure that a purchase is safe and any genuine seller with nothing to hide will understand that!