As riding season is just around the corner, we found it fitting to talk about some common mistakes that are made when purchasing a used bike. Hopefully by touching on some of these important points we can help some, would-be up sh**s creek victims, avoid that mess. It is fair to say that the majority of riders at some point in their life purchase a used bike. With that in mind how do we know where to start looking for underlying issues? Well that’s just it. Unless someone shows you what to look for, you will be left without a clue and with a broken bike before you get a chance to ride it. Let’s just jump right in.
- The first common mistake is not paying enough attention to the motorcycles chain and sprocket. When looking at the chain you should be checking if the chain is too tight or too loose. This can generally be done by using your foot to push the chain up towards the swing arm. There should be some slack in the chain. Most experienced riders should be able to gauge roughly if a chain is too loose or too tight by feeling it out. Look for rusting or stiff links in the chain, which also indicate the chain is at the end of its life. For belt driven bikes, inspect the belt for signs of tear/stress. Inspect the sprocket for broken teeth or long/pointed teeth. Short rounded teeth indicate ware and time for a new sprocket.
- Forks are another easily overlooked, essential part of a healthy bike and our second focus point. Forks are essential the front end suspension of your bike. They help absorb impacts of the road you are riding on. As forks wear it is common that oil within the forks beginnings to escape. If this oil gets onto your front break it will become very hard to stop, which will put the riders life in a very compromising position. Be sure to check the forks for any dents or leakage as this is imperative to your safety.
- Third point of inspection are the brakes. More than just looking at the thickness of the pads on the bike, it is important to pay attention to the feel of the brakes. Identifying a sponge feel as opposed to a firm feeling when squeezing the front brake or stepping on the rear brake. A sponge feel may indicate air in the braking system, which you want to avoid. Also take a look at the colour of the brake fluid as it should be clean and clear depending on the type of brake fluid being used. Dirty brake fluid should be flushed and replaced as soon as possible.
- Signs of a dropped bike is another big thing to pay attention to and our 4th inspection point on the list. Throughly examine the plastics and frame of the bike. Look for signs of scratches, aftermarket plastics, or missing screws from plastics. It is not uncommon to take plastics off of the bike and notice there are scratches on the frame of the bike, stator cover, or other not as easily accessible parts.
- The 5th and last part may be the most important detail of all. When buying a used bike make sure to bring someone who is experienced with bikes. They will know what to look for and can more easily identify possible issues. This is a high level guide to inspecting and purchasing a motorcycle. Hopefully this read will spark some questions or ideas in your head once you find the bike you are interested in owning!