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Tips for buying a used motorbike

Sep 13, 2021 | Insights

Want to find the best used motorbike for your needs? Take a look at some tricks to help you find the best motorbike and get value for money.




A used motorbike can be a cost-effective way to get out on the road, especially if you are after an alternative vehicle to a car.

While there are always plenty of used motorbikes for sale, it can be difficult to know whether or not you are the one who is being “taken for a ride”.

Generally, your objective should be to find a reliable, cost-effective used motorbike that you can rely on. Here are a few tips that may help you find some good options.

Do your research

Motorbikes come in a range of styles so you need to know what type of bike will suit you. Think about what you want out of your bike and decide what you are looking for before you start your hunt. Once you do have an idea of the style of motorbike you’re after, check out the models available on the market, and how they compare.

If you hunt down some online reviews and check message boards, you should be able to get a better idea of which motorbike models and makes are reliable and which have issues or idiosyncrasies that you will want to avoid. Your research should also include investigating the costs and availability of replacement parts and the ease of servicing. Some motorbikes may seem like a great deal at the time but turn out to be impossible or very expensive to fix if they break down.

Keep your eyes peeled

Once you know what type of used motorbike you’re shopping for, make sure to look closely at the seller’s pictures. A lot of online advertising photos will spruce the pic up at least a little bit, but you should still be able to spot major issues like deep scratches or broken levers. Check what the price will likely be to repair these issues, before you decide to buy the motorbike. Ultimately, the anticipated costs of these repairs might add enough to the total cost of the motorbike to make a particular sale not worth your while.

Check the motorbike’s history

At bikefacts.com.au, you can check the history of any used motorbike. To do a history check, input the motorbike’s details into the site and you can see if there is any outstanding debt that will transfer to you after the sale. It will also tell you whether the bike has ever been stolen or written off. This is valuable information when it comes to choosing a motorbike or negotiating price. Sites like this and redbookinspect.com can be a lifesaver.

Analyse the used motorbike

Once you go to see and inspect a motorbike in person, make sure to check it out fully. You can start by checking the lines. Try to find a way to have the bike stand straight and get down behind the rear wheel to see if it lines up with the front wheel. You may also want to check the forks for symmetry and give the wheels a spin as well.

After this, have a good look at the tyres. Check for wear and cracks as well as tread depth. Tyres are easily replaced but often at a cost. If you feel the tyres will need replacing, then this is a good negotiation point when it comes time to discussing price. It can also be a good move to bring a torch (or use the one on your phone) to check the bike over for rust and wear.

Try before you buy

Ask the owner if you can have a test drive around the block (as long as the bike is registered).

Before you start the bike, have a feel of the engine case. A warm engine case may be a sign that the owner has started it up beforehand, meaning it has hidden issues. To prevent any possible confrontation, a good option may be to ask the owner not to start the bike before you arrive.

On a test drive, you should soon notice any major or obvious issues and know whether you like the feel of the bike.

Final checks and questions

Before you agree on a price, check the bike’s service history and ask about the owner’s manual. Have a look under the seat for the original tool kit and have a quick peek at the battery too.

One final tip which may cost you a little more, but could pay off, is taking the used motorbike to a good and reliable mechanic before buying the bike. The mechanic can look the bike over and let you know if they believe it is worth the asking price and what kind of offer you should consider making.


Need to finance a used motorbike? Head to Finance One. We can offer motorbike loans for bad credit, and would be happy to discuss your options with you.

Disclaimer: The information above is of a general nature only and does not consider your personal objectives, financial situation or particular needs. You should consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice to check how the information relates to your particular circumstances. We do not accept responsibility for any loss arising from the use of, or reliance on, the information.

Article by: Clea Sherman

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