Things to check before buying a second hand motorcycle

Written by Tejen Dhankhar

Buying a second hand motorcycle is a matter of knowledge and money, and, that is something where people struggle a lot. We had been witnessing countless cases of people buying a used motorcycle that in a few days turned out to be a piece of trash. Paying for something that doesn’t deserve much is not something that you would like to experience in your lifetime, in fact nobody wants to. Here are few tips that can save you from drowning money in front of your eyes.


No matter your friend owns that one or your father, just, look at it and observe. Be calm in a case the bike you are buying, has been your dream bike. Excitement can turn your experience of buying very bitter. Look at the shape and condition of the motorcycle closely. Observe for scratches, rusting and buffing of parts and paint.

Clearly observe the frame, any kind of hair fracture or bent or welding joint in frame means a no! Don’t even try considering such a motorcycle. Remove the seat and clearly look for the under body parts with use of proper lightning for dents, rusting, welding etc. If everything looks fine, then proceed ahead. If possible, lie down and check the belly area of motorcycle for such conditions.

Check the bar ends, levers, mirror ends, footpeg ends, leg guard corners for any kind of skid marks. If you find any that means the bike took a fall. Refrain from such a deal.



Of course you will take a test ride, but, don’t make it a short one. A short ride doesn’t make anything clear. Try taking the bike over bad patches and open wide highways. Check engine performance and power band.

Any kind of noises from anywhere are dangerous and worthless for the money. Ride it slow to check the noises from suspension forks. Look closely if they are leaking anywhere and if yes, avoid that motorcycle.

Chain health is one of the most important thing to note down. Before starting to ride, check the condition of chain and chain sprockets. Any kind of rusting, wear & tear or signs of usage (like slaughtering of one side of chain), loosening of chain or increased chain length (happens mainly in sportsbikes) avoid such bike.

Also check the cam sounds and if the engine uses push rods, do check the valvular settings.


Check it for leakages. Although a non leaked battery won’t have a long life either but it just won’t be rusted and hence a good sign. Do check for sure.



Check for the tyre health (read more about tyre health here). A good tyre structure of motorcycle with good treads left, means, good braking and control. Also look for the quality of tyres being used. Locally manufactured tyres are lost cost but they also have many deformities with them and hence can prove fatal for you and your motorcycle.


Once you’ve taken a look at the individual components, sit on the bike, grab the front brake, and try compressing the forks; they should react with firm resistance, and rebound all the way back to their starting point. Also, inspect the forks for oil leakage and / or surface irregularities. If the bike has a center stand, pop it up and turn the handlebar from lock to lock. The bar should be free from irregularities or bends, and the head should move smoothly in either direction.

Also check for the T of the steering. A bad rusted T or welded T means the motorcycle has either been kept very badly or had met an accident.



Check for wear and tear. If discs, try rotating the tyre with hand by keeping motorcycle on a stand and then listen carefully to any kind of rubbing or sliding voices from disc pads. Also visually check them for the size and wear & tear happened to them over the period of time.

For drums, use the similar process and if you hear a frictional sound, get the drum shoes changed as soon as possible or get it noted down to the first user before buying.


One of the most important thing to note down before buying a used bike. Get the paper work done through a proper channel. Any kind of misleading can prove legally unconventional for you. Try not getting into any hassle afterwards and keep your paper work completed. Check for insurance, history of police record and maintenance sheets from motorcycle owner. Also get an affidavit signed by the owner regarding selling of bike, done through proper legal channel.

Buying a motorcycle is as sense of freedom which most of us wants to gain. Freedom is never second hand and so is your first motorcycle. So, get your deal done right and enjoy your freedom hassle free.