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16 Essential Things to Check When Buying a Used Motorbike

While finding a used motorbike for sale can be exciting, you must physically inspect the bike and view it cold before warming the engine to spot starting issues with the components. After finding a reputable dealer or seller, let’s discuss what to inspect when buying a used motorbike and why you should take a test ride.

1. Visual Check

Before inspecting, visually compare the motorbike to images in a showroom to ensure it’s in good condition.

2. Engine

Inspect the engine for signs of external damage, engine block, or fluid leaks where different parts meet. You should also check the coolant leaks above the engine, oil leaks at gasket seams and drain plug and oil drips under the motorbike.

3. Frame

Check the steel frame for missing paint or corrosion protection that could cause rust. You should also look for cracks and missing pieces, whether they fell off or someone intentionally removed them.

4. Chain and Sprocket

Check the chain to ensure the previous owner lubricated it adequately with a waxy chain grease that protects it from dirt and moisture. The oil must also not come off as you rotate the chain.

Moreover, ensure the sprockets are clean and free from visible cracks. The component’s teeth must be sharp, pointy, or slightly rounded, not entirely worn down like a dull butter knife.

5. Suspension

Check for leaks in the shocks or struts that may require replacing the seals or the entire unit. You must also ensure the protective boots or covers don’t have cracks. Moreover, check the bushings that connect suspension components to ensure they’re not dry and cracked.

6. Bearings

If the bearing’s exterior is oily, it may indicate more grease on the outside than inside. Move each part and listen for squeaks because it could imply that the component needs re-greasing or replacement.

7. Fluid Leaks

Check for signs of liquid leakage on the ground or inside the motorbike while in motion, and ensure the engine isn’t leaking oil. You can also detect a leak by its unique smell; the coolant has a sweet smell, while the oil has a strong odour. Moreover, inspect all rubber hose connections and radiator for coolant leakage.

8. Cables and Wiring

Check cables for fraying or resistance and ensure they operate smoothly. You must also do the same for the wiring and look for additional connections that indicate repairs or modifications.

9. Tyres

The wear indicator between the tyres’ treads will determine if they’re unsuitable for safe use in wet conditions, and cracks or dry rot can indicate that you should replace the wheels. You must also check tyre pressure with a pressure gauge before riding.

10. Bodywork

Check the bodywork for scratches, missing parts, or changes. If the bodywork looks perfect, the previous owner might’ve replaced it, so ask if it's the original.

11. Battery

Check battery tag date, vent tube, cleanliness, and tight terminal connections and ask about additional links.

12. Forks

Check the forks are straight and scratch-free and the seals aren’t cracked or leaking. If they look worn, replace them in the future.

13. Bar Ends, Brake Levers, and Foot Pegs

Check for scuffs and scratches on the bar ends, levers, and foot pegs when buying a used motorbike. Ask the seller why they’re there and ensure they’re not bent.

14. Lighting

All lights, like the turn signals, indicators, and the licence plate light, must work. If one of them doesn’t work, ask why.

15. Brake Fluid

Check the brake fluid level and its colour, refill if needed, and replace if it’s dark brown. See the owner’s manual for the recommended replacement schedule.

16. Fuel Tank

Ensure the fuel tank has a tight cap, no gasoline odour, rubber mounts between the tank and frame, no cracks in connection points, and no visible leaks in fuel lines.

Should I Take a Test Ride?

Testing a motorbike can be challenging because of liability concerns, and sellers and dealerships may not allow it. Pay attention to how the bike runs and odd noises or vibrations. Always discuss the issues with the seller or dealership.


While finding used motorbikes for sale can help you save money, you must always find a reputable dealer and physically inspect the vehicle before buying.

York Motorbikes offers used motorbikes for sale in the UK to help enthusiasts enjoy a safe and affordable ride. We also provide quality services to ensure your vehicle’s good condition. Buy now!

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