Buyer Tips

Buyer Tips
Do your homework and find the market price for a similar make, model and mileage. A good guide is the National Auto Dealers Association NADA price guide and be sure to explore the detailed information on Japanese Motorcycles – the site is definitely worth a visit for Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki and Honda motorcycles.
When responding to an advertisement, get as much additional information about the motorcycle over the phone. If the advert does not mention it, ask:
* What is the condition of the tires (expensive to replace)?
* ASK: “Has it ever been in a motorcycle accident?”
* Will you be able to take it for a test ride – if the answer is no, don’t even bother
* Does it come with the owner’s manual, service manual and any spare parts or motorcycle accessories (Used helmets have NO value – a new helmet is an absolute must!)
* Has it been used for racing (reduces the price drastically)?
* What modifications were made (buyer beware)?
* What is the mileage?
* Is the upholstery in good condition?
* Does it have a full service history – and proof of this!
* Is the registration current?
* Are there any monies outstanding with a finance institution. The seller must guarantee that there are no monies outstanding on the motorcycle bill of sale.

The Actual Inspection
The motorcycle bill of sale will state that the bike is sold “as is”, so do a thorough inspection. Choose a safe place and do it in BROAD DAYLIGHT. Unless you are a motorcycle expert, take a mechanic or somebody who really knows motorcycles with you.
Ask for a copy of the registration document and compare all the numbers with the actual numbers on the motorcycle.
Do the whole motorcycle inspection first and thoroughly before you start the bike – this allows the engine to cool and you can better judge if it will start from cold. Take the odometer reading before the test drive to verify that it is working properly.

First Impressions
Check for:
* Obvious different paint work that may have been done to cover up damage, or stickers trying to hide damage
* Bent or replaced levers, mirrors or forks and dents that may indicate that the bike has been crashed.
* Any misaligned panels
* Do the tires have reasonable tread left and are there any signs (wear in the center of the tire) of tire spin
* Check for holes or rust in the exhaust
* Can the gas cap be locked with the motorcycle key and are there any signs of rust inside the tank
* Is the upholstery in good condition and does that lock work with the motorcycle key
* Does the front and back suspension move smoothly and quietly when pressing down and releasing
* Is the chain in good condition, is the tension correct and are the sprocket teeth not bent or worn
* Is there tension in the front brakes and do they work properly when tested on a rolling bike (same with rear brake)
* Do the wheels have dents
* White deposits on motorcycle batteries are not a good sign
* Check the oil color through the sight glass or use a dip stick to see if it was recently changed
* Check the coolant color – bright green is normal and may confirm that the motorcycle was not used for racing
The Engine and Batteries
* Does the motorcycle battery start the engine easily from cold and does it run smoothly
* Is the oil pressure light working properly
* Test the headlights, indicators, neutral light, hooter and brake light
* Is the side stand cut-off working
* Does the kill-switch on the handgrip work
* Are any fluids leaking from the engine

The Test Drive
* Preferably on private property or a very quiet private road and do not attempt high speeds on a bike you do not know
* Does the throttle respond properly – accelerating and snapping back
* Does it emit blue smoke even with the engine a bit warmed up – BEWARE
* Test the clutch and brakes
* Check if the transmission can go into neutral easily and if the shifting between gears is smooth
* Confirm the odometer is working properly and enter the reading on the motorcycle bill of sale

* The Department of Motor Vehicles may supply a lot helpful information about the motorcycle if you give them the VIN number
* When in doubt … throw it out! There are plenty more to choose from
* Negotiate – the seller probably listed it a bit higher, expecting some bargaining
* Get motorcycle insurance in place before riding off into the sunset
* Get the title signed over to you by the OWNER
* If the seller does not provide it, download your
Free Motorcycle Bill of Sale and Get it in Writing!
reference free legal documents at