cars.com On the Road Weekly Publication
11:25 AM EDT, August 3, 2011
- Start with the type of motorcycle you want. Narrowing the field to a specific type, brand or model of bike makes it easier to research particular items
-Although a dealership can be more expensive, it can provide assurances a private seller can't. Ask about inspections and warranties. Since private-party deals are the most common, take plenty of precautions against unscrupulous sellers. Beware of any purchase, such as online auctions, where you can't see, test and examine a bike prior to making an offer or commitment.
- There are dozens of items to check on a used motorcycle to see if it's a well-maintained machine. First, look for crash damage. Minor scrapes on body panels won't hurt reliability, but dents or cracks in a frame are instant signs of danger. See if all the paint matches and if there are cracks or other signs of abuse. Check fluid levels and whether the chain and sprockets are worn or improperly adjusted. Check the oil to see if it's clean or hasn’t been changed in a while. Check the tires to see if they are worn or not the right size.
-Ask to see any documentation that shows the purchase date and any repairs and maintenance. Is the original owner's manual still with the bike? Did the owner purchase any additional repair manuals? That would be helpful, particularly if the previous owner claims to have done their own maintenance.
-If this is your first bike, the cost of proper safety gear is crucial. It is never a good idea to take a used helmet with the bike. A helmet can be damaged simply by being dropped and exhibit no sign of harm.
-Jay Koblenz, CTW Features
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