1. Check fluid levels
--Oil, brake fluid
, coolant levels, etc. Also if you can look
at the oil and its condition. A bike with fluid levels that haven't been
maintained, especially the oil could mean trouble.
- Tires are
often neglected, but can run a few hundred bucks right off the bat. Make sure
they are not brittle or cracked, no nails, plugs, or flat spots. Check the tread
life, you can go through tires quick so be prepared to replace them if the tread
3. Chain/belt drive
--Rusty chains will need to be replaced,
see how much slack is in the chain. Check for kinks in the chain and if possible
put it on a rear stand and spin the back tire to see how the chain looks.
Properly lubed chains should be free of rust and move smoothly.
--Look for damage in the spots on the frame that are most likely to
be scuffed up in a crash or drop. Check out the sub-frame on sportsbike as this
can be bent(get behind the bike and make sure the rear end lines up over the
rear tire) Check the stator cover, and the clutch cover
for touch up paint(touch up paint is a sure
sign the bike has been down one way or another). Forks, check for leaks or
cracked seals, this could be a couple hundred bucks easy.
--Make sure they line up and match up. Slightly different colors
could mean replacements from a crash, misaligned fairings could mean the same.
Beware of "custom" or new paint jobs, most of the bikes I have seen repainted
were repainted because they were down and the fairings were bondoed instead of
being replaced. A warning with street figher/***** bikes that weren't originally
a ***** bike. Most bikes that are streetfightered have been wrecked and instead
of replacing parts, the bike was chopped down to a fighter, just know that going
to look at a fighter.
6. Handle bars
--Check the ends of the bars for
scraps, another sign the bike has been down. Turn them both ways as far as
possible, there should be some clearance on the gas tank. Check to make sure all
levers move freely and the throttle is smooth both ways.
over the pegs, see if they are scrapped, another way to tell if the bike has hit
the ground.( Also with aftermarket levers, another red flag that they might have
been replaced due to a crash).
--Check to see that all
lights and blinkers work, check the condition of the battery, and all wires
leading to it. A dead or weak battery is another 90 bucks or more to have to
- Check to see that the forks are true and straight.
Check the fork seals for leaks, any oil coming out of them is a sign they will
need to be replaced and it isn't cheap, also if the fork oil leaks down to the
brakes a rebuild on them is necessary as well.
10. On the bike
riding, and you are comfortable, let go of the bars and see if the bike rides
straight at 20-30 mph, it should, also check
for any excessive shaking. Check brake condition, and acceleration. Also if
possible hear the bike start up from a cold start. You can hear a lot of weird
noises on startup that won't be there once the bike is warm. Let the bike run to
operating temperature and make sure it doesn't overheat and that the radiator
fan(if applicable) turns on.
11. ASK ALOT OF QUESTIONS
-- The best
thing to do when buying something used is to ask every question you can think
of. I.E. How long have you owned the bike? What problems are you aware of? When
was the last oil change? Valve adjustment? Does it pass inspection? Has it ever
been down, or dropped? Asking these questions will help you get a feel for the
buyer and a lot of times people are 100% honest about things like that, but you
won't know until you ask.