How to choose a used motorcycle

The secondary market provides Ukrainians with relatively affordable motor vehicles. But, as in the automotive segment, there is plenty of overt rubbish here.

Finding flaws in a motorcycle is much easier than in a car. Most bikes have almost everything in sight.

The best option is to entrust the assessment of the motorcycle to a professional mechanic. However, if you carry a specialist to each viewing, you can go broke before buying. Paying attention to a few quite obvious nuances, you can definitely distinguish a motorcycle in good condition from scrap metal on wheels.

To begin with, we are trying to assess the real age of the motorcycle. All assurances of the seller that the bike is 5-6 years old may be false. They knew how to “correctly” clear customs with us before, they know how to do it now. So find out the design features of the model you like. If it has been in the manufacturer’s line for more than 10 years, a restyling has been performed at least once every couple of years. Even the company logo in different years can be applied in a different way. Not to mention technological improvements: installing other brake calipers or changing the shape of the gas tank. The main thing is to make sure that the model was really produced in this form precisely in these years.


What age?

By the way, you should not be afraid of 10 years old. The age of the motorcycle is usually divided into two. In most European countries, and even in Japan, the season lasts on average six months. A “survivor” is a bike with a 20-year history. However, exceptions are possible here. The owner, as they say, “could pray for him”: he rarely traveled, blew off dust particles. Such options in perfect condition – although very rare, but still found. Although there are some dangers. After removal from the conveyor, the manufacturer supports the model with spare parts up to 10 years. And if the deadline is over, finding many parts and consumables will be problematic. The actual age of the motorcycle can be indicated by the state of the seats (cracked leatherette) and burnt buttons: for example, turning off the engine on the right handlebar (its red color fades over time, turning into pale pink).

Another point is the condition of chrome or aluminum parts. The latter fade over time and become stained, as they poorly tolerate an aggressive moist or chemical environment. This is typical for bikes from Japan. Chromium chips off due to physical impact (stones or sand).

Well, and the most obvious is rust. Even on motorcycles presented in the salons, one can find rusty chains, brake discs, traverses, etc. All these are not only visual flaws. They may be followed by the replacement of very expensive parts that still need to be found.


Not a bit, not beautiful

Traces of falls – an important factor in the evaluation of the purchase. They are indicated by erased crankcase covers, rumpled exhaust pipes, traces on the arches and steps. Perhaps the bike “lay down” at low speed, or maybe the blow was even more serious, which could affect the geometry of the frame or lead to a distortion of the fork. In any case, the presence of such damage should make the future owner think.

This also includes all sorts of inexplicable tuning. The plug from another model, the headlamp of the main light and front turn signals, in the absence of similar improvements on the entire motorcycle, often speak only about one thing: after a serious collision, the “face” of the bike, as they say, “completely disappeared”. So she had to be replaced. How well, not every mechanic can determine.

Another visually visible element is the condition of the exhaust pipes at the exit of the engine. In used motorcycles, they are rarely ideal. However, too dark or even burnt pipes on a relatively young bike can talk about the character of the previous owner. He probably unscrewed the engine in full, which markedly reduced its resource. All kinds of rubber bands can say a lot: seals, anthers, etc.

Not at all trifles

If the anthers are cracked – they must be replaced. After all, the task of these parts is to prevent moisture or abrasive from entering high-tech components. For example, to the gearbox. If the moment is missed, a very unpleasant surprise may await you at the showdown.

The condition of brake discs and pads can also be determined without the help of a professional. Excessive production of both of these entails replacement. And if the pads are a relatively inexpensive consumable, with the disks you can already fly into a pretty penny.

Tires are usually paid attention to first. After making sure that the tread height is normal, they usually calm down or even get excited. However, most drivers forget: the motorcycle came from abroad and, perhaps, spent several years in the cabin. Therefore, attention should be paid not only to the tread, but also to the release date. Year and week can be found in the rectangle on the side of the tire. Tires 8-10 years ago are far from uncommon. And over the years, rubber has lost its properties.

The condition of the shock absorbers is more difficult to check, but at least approximately the front one is possible. To do this, when the front brake is held down, it is necessary to load (force to “peck”) the fork several times. There should be no knocking, as it should not be on the feathers of an oil film. Only a professional can evaluate the serviceability of the rear shock absorber.

Main detail

But even all these shortcomings can be relatively easily addressed. Another thing is the engine. Its serviceability and resource is about half (or even more) the price of a bike. There certainly should not be any mistakes.

Knocking motors are one of the reasons for selling bikes on the secondary market. You can also meet such motorcycles in the salons, but, as a rule, the owners themselves sell them (naturally, silent about this fundamental problem).

And finally, it is worthwhile to prepare for the fact that after purchase you should immediately replace all fluids and filters. How long the bike stood with them is unknown. The same may apply to the battery. Its service life is several years. And it is unlikely that the age motorcycle will be in perfect condition.

All of the above usually applies to bikes of at least 10 years of age. But if the transport is 3-5 years old, most of these problems may not exist. Although you should remember: too low a price for both of them is a signal of the presence of hidden malfunctions, which sellers are not required to admit. Indeed, each product has its own merchant.