Buying A Used Motorcycle? Follow These Tips


Riding a motorcycle is always a breathtaking experience. From feeling the power of your bike to seeing the incredible scenery, there really isn’t anything like it. 

As millions of people enjoy riding motorcycles, the industry continues to grow in popularity. According to Fortune Business Insights, the global motorcycle market size is projected to grow from $127.44 billion in 2022 to $223.50 billion by 2029.

While motorcycle manufacturers ramp up production, this means more and more people will be selling their old models—giving you the perfect opportunity to get a used bike! However, before purchasing a new ride, there are some tips to keep in mind.

In this post, we’ll discuss 7 tips to consider before buying a used motorcycle.

1. Request to see paperwork

First things first, you’ll want to see some paperwork before making a used motorcycle purchase. While there are several things to look for, accidents and major repairs are among the most important. That said, if the bike has experienced any of these problems, seeing documentation is vital.

After talking to the seller and asking for paperwork, you should also check the motorcycle’s VIN, or Vehicle Identification Number. You’ll typically find this vertically on the steering neck of the bike. The VIN will tell you all about the reported history of the ride, including if it’s a stolen motorcycle. You’ll also be able to check if the bike has a clean title without any liens.

Buying a motorcycle without looking at any paperwork is a dangerous decision. Not only are you unsure about the history of the bike, but it could even be stolen. Riding around a stolen motorcycle can get you in a lot of trouble, and you could also waste thousands. To avoid the hassle and headache, always check the paperwork before purchasing a used motorcycle! It’s also important to talk to the seller and ask questions about the bike and its history.

2. Ask the owner to leave the bike cold before checking


This is one tip many people overlook, which can cost you big time. Before heading over to check out a motorcycle, ask the seller to leave the bike cold and refrain from starting it. If you fail to do so, you could be left with an enormous repair bill after purchasing.

When motorcycles power on and get hot, this makes it easy to hide a number of starting and running issues. By asking the seller to leave the bike cold, you’ll be able to start it once you arrive, allowing you to understand how the bike starts and runs.

If the seller agrees to leave the bike cold, you’ll still want to double-check things when you get there. You can do this by placing your hand on or near the jugs or pipes. If they’re cold to the touch, the bike is ready to be fired up! As long as the seller is honest and reliable, they should have no issues leaving the bike cold. This vital step can save you thousands of dollars and some much-needed peace of mind!

3. Examine handlebars and foot pegs


A few other essential areas to check include the handlebars and foot pegs. After all, these are some of the most important parts of a bike. If you fail to examine these, you could experience a life-threatening crash, including costly repairs.

Examining the handlebars and foot pegs gives you a good indication of how the bike was treated. If you see visible damage or excessive wear in these areas, you could have a dropped motorcycle on your hands. While this doesn’t mean the bike has serious problems, a dropped motorcycle is still never good for the bike.

Looking at the handlebars and foot pegs should be one of your first steps when examining the motorcycle. While you should obviously look for road rash, a distorted shape is also a sign of concern. If the handlebar levers looked curled, this typically indicates damage. While the seller can buff out a rash, that isn’t the case with curved levers. You’ll also want to look out for “shorty” levers, which the seller could have cut and re-shaped. Most riders do this when they need to replace a broken or damaged lever. Also, if you see an aftermarket handlebar or foot pegs, this is another indication that a crash or accident could have occurred.

As a review, here is what you should check as it pertains to handlebars and foot pegs:

  • Obvious wear
  • Road rash
  • Curled levers
  • Shorty levers
  • Aftermarket parts

If you’re dealing with a trustworthy seller, they should be upfront about if the bike fell over or was in an accident. If the seller claims otherwise, yet you still notice these issues, the seller could be dishonest—which poses a serious red flag!

4. Check the tires


Motorcycle tires are another vital component of a bike. If these aren’t in good shape, you could risk getting into a fatal crash. That said, be sure to look them over before buying a used motorcycle. One easy test is to check the tread life, which can be done by sticking your finger in the tread. If the tread covers the tip of your finger, the tire is in good condition. If it doesn't, there could be an issue on your hands. The problem could simply be old tires or a poor alignment. Another, yet more serious, possibility is a bent wheel. These issues tend to cause wear on just one side of the tire. Also, look for smooth areas on the center of the tire, which indicates burnouts. And if you see any pilling and feathering on the edges of the tire, this means the bike was possibly used on a track.

It’s also important to find out as much information as you can about the tires and wheels. How old are they? Where were they purchased? Is there a receipt? This helps clarify any worries you have about the tires, giving you peace of mind before purchasing. Another tip is to ensure the fender isn’t touching the tires, which could lead to uneven wear and other issues.

5. Examine the wiring


How the bike is wired is also incredibly important. That said, pop the seat and take a look. This is even more essential if components are connected to the battery, such as speakers, GPS systems, or fog lights. If you notice factory connectors and everything looks clean and tidy, you should be good to go! However, if you see tangled wires or a big mess under the seat, there might be an issue. This could be the result of a DIY job, or a professional setup gone wrong.

The items above aren’t the only things to look for; also be wary of the following:

  • Electrical tape
  • Vampire connectors 
  • Wiring in just one color

If you notice any of these, this doesn’t mean the electrical system is busted. Be sure to talk to the seller about what happened, and always try to get paperwork on what was completed. Also, always test the components for yourself to ensure they’re in working order. You could even hire an electrical specialist to examine the wiring for you. Checking the wiring is especially important if you want to add any accessories, including a powerful audio system!

Research Prices


As the motorcycle market continues to grow to new heights, this may drive up prices for used bikes. That said, you’ll want to spend some time researching the true value of various bikes out there. It’s also a good idea to touch up on common motorcycle issues you can check for before purchasing a new ride. Additionally, research questions to ask the seller. This can save you tons of hassle and even thousands of dollars down the road!

If you find a bike to your liking, look up the value of similar models to ensure you’re getting a fair price. Also, if you see what appears to be an insane deal, be a little cautious. While motorcycle depreciation can certainly drive down the price, there could be another issue, such as a stolen bike. However, you can find theft recovery vehicles for sale at affordable prices, even though nothing is wrong with them! This could be a great solution if you want a cost-effective motorcycle.

Add a Motorcycle Audio Kit to Your New Ride

Last, but certainly not least, we recommend building the perfect motorcycle audio system on your new bike! Once you find a great deal on a motorcycle, it’s time to make some serious audio upgrades. First, get some high-quality speakers. You’ll want the speakers to be loud with all that roaring engine noise, so try to find great models that work well at high volumes.

Next, look for a solid deck. This is where you control your audio system, so make sure it works for your needs. Also, to give your speakers the power they deserve, invest in an amp. This component allows your speakers to run with clarity and the reliability you can trust.

If you’re looking for the best motorcycle audio components in the business, Garage Bagger Stereo is here for you! We specialize in top-of-the-line speakers, amplifiers, subwoofers, decks, lighting systems, and much more! With nearly 10 years in business, we know what it takes to build a hard-charging motorcycle audio system.

As buying a used motorcycle is a big decision, it’s important to be prepared. Be sure to follow the tips above to ensure you’re getting a solid bike and visit Garage Bagger Stereo to get your motorcycle audio covered.

This Blog Was Reviewed for Accuracy By Audio Expert, Chris Lowe

Chris Lowe, the esteemed owner of Garage Bagger Stereo, is a globally recognized authority in Motorcycle and Boat Audio systems. With a decorated experience spanning over a decade, Chris has curated audio experiences for enthusiasts and businesses worldwide. His expertise and stellar work are prominently showcased across various social media platforms and can be further explored through the offerings on the official Garage Bagger Stereo website.

Originally hailing from South Georgia and currently residing in Greenville, South Carolina, Chris's fervor for boating and motorcycles is deeply rooted. It's this passion, coupled with his affection for car audio, that has seamlessly interwoven his personal interests with his professional pursuits. This synergy has not only invigorated his daily endeavors but also continually fuels his commitment to excellence in the audio industry.