Are you considering purchasing a used motorcycle amid a global pandemic? You aren’t alone. According to Forbes, while most industries are taking a hit due to decreased demand for their goods and services, motorcycle sales are beginning to climb. The Motorcycles renewed popularity may be the result of various factors. Firstly, motorcycling is a socially distant activity that allows riders to escape from lockdown for several hours at a time, providing a sense of freedom in an otherwise restrictive time. Moreover, frontline employees that must commute to work are interested in avoiding public transportation to limit their risk of contracting the virus. However, with many different brands and versions to choose from and the fear of purchasing a ‘lemon’ lingering in the back of your mind, buying a used bike for the first time can seem like a daunting task. Today, we discuss everything you need to know before purchasing a pre-owned motorcycle.

Do: Purchase from a trusted seller

When choosing the right motorcycle, you have two options: purchasing from a private seller or a dealership. While both of these options may provide you with the bike of your dreams, the latter is a safer bet. In general, private party sales pose a higher level of risk if you haven’t done your research on the seller and the machine. As reported by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), motorcycle thefts totalled 41,674 in 2018. In addition to obtaining the proper vehicle documentation to ensure the bike is not stolen, you might want to do a bit of digging into the seller’s social media channels to see if he or she is the motorcycle enthusiast they claim to be.  Instead, purchasing from a dealership will provide you with better consumer protection, like dealer financing and a warranty for your machine. At Alamo Cycle Plex, a premier power sports dealer in Texas owned by Dave Sears, they offer customers specialized payment options so that everyone has equal access to their inventory.  With dealership sales, you can also be sure that the seller has inspected the bike before being placed on the showroom floor, which provides buyers with some peace of mind.

Cafe racer

Do: Shop around

Before you even head to the dealership, buyers should ask themselves this question: what are my basic vehicle needs? If you are even slightly familiar with the motorcycle industry, you will know that there are countless motorcycle models available, each one designed to do a specific job. To help give you an idea of what is available, eight of the most common types of motorcycles include standard motorcycles, café racers, sport bikes, touring motorcycles, sport-touring machines, cruisers, adventure bikes, and dual-sport motorcycles. If you are looking for a vehicle that uses the latest technology and can reach aggressive speeds, then a sports bike might be right for you. For example, machines like the Ducati 4VS or BMW S1000RR are built with maximum horsepower and higher torque levels to ensure exceptional performance. Dave Sears of Alamo Cycle Plex has one rule, “Never buy the first bike you see.” The only way to know you’ve purchased the right vehicle for you is if you shop around and see what makes and models are available.

Do: Understand what you’re buying

Before you sign on the dotted line or hand over a wad of cash to an eager seller, you should understand what you are buying. Firstly, you can usually get a good idea of how well the bike was cared for by its previous owner just from its general appearance. Typically, a passionate motorcycle enthusiast will take good care of their bike’s exterior, which is a great indicator that the bike itself is also in working order. However, you should never purchase a bike solely based on its outward appearance. Dave Sears recommends using an inspection checklist, many of which can be found online, to make sure the used bike you are considering ticks off all the right boxes. At a minimum, you will want to look for any indication that the vehicle has been in a crash and make sure it doesn’t appear to be leaking any fluids. If you aren’t feeling confident in your ability to pinpoint potential issues, take your friend or someone more qualified than you to help look over the motorcycle. Last but not least, double-check all of the paperwork to make sure the VIN on the registration, title, and bill of sale match the VIN on various parts of the bike.

Don’t: Buy without test-driving

Some private sellers may not allow you to do a test drive out of fear you might speed off with their vehicle without paying for it. While visually inspecting the bike is a must, test-driving it is equally important. “If someone prohibits you from test driving their motorcycle, they may be hiding something,” says Dave Sears. In which case, a good rule of thumb is to keep shopping around until you find someone that allows you to take his or her vehicle for a spin. Not only can you make sure the bike is in good working order, but you can also experience its comfort level. If the bike is uncomfortable to ride after just a few minutes and can’t be fixed with some minor adjustments, then it’s probably best to keep searching. When purchasing an older model, ask the seller to leave the bike cold and only start it up once you get there. Unfortunately, it’s easy to conceal starting and running issues on a hot bike. After all, the last thing you want is to get stuck with a vehicle that’s more costly to fix than what you paid for it.

Naked bike BMW

Don’t: Let someone hard sell you

A hard sell is defined as “aggressive high-pressure salesmanship.” If you spot a hard-seller, it may be best to walk away from the sale. While the seller might be legitimate and just looking to make some extra cash, there is a good chance they might be trying to deceive you. More often than not, a pushy salesperson is trying to offload a bike quickly because they are aware that something is wrong with it. “Don’t ever let a seller rush you into closing a deal,” says Dave Sears. At Alamo Cycle Plex, they encourage individuals to come by the store and spend time socializing about motorcycles with the staff. In most cases, customers at Alamo Cycle Plex spend a couple of hours looking over all the bikes in the showroom and learning about the products from expert sales staff.

Don’t: Overpay

Perhaps the main reason individuals opt for a used bike over a new model is the price. A brand new motorcycle depreciates by roughly 5-10% just by being driven off the lot. Although the owner considers their machine to be new, it is now technically considered a “used” vehicle. Fortunately, this means you can get great pre-loved motorcycles in excellent condition for a reasonable price. To understand fair pricing, buyers must do their research. To do this, individuals should consider the cost of new models, understand the difference in pricing between brands, and check out various seller listings. Whether you are purchasing from a private party or a used motorcycle dealership, there may be room to negotiate on cost. However, you must ensure that the price you are asking for is reasonable, or else you will find yourself wasting your and the seller’s time. At Alamo Cycle Plex, Dave Sears focuses on providing customers with the best deals and encourages customers to follow their social media pages to be the first to know about any special promotions they are offering.

The bottom line

Your main goal when purchasing a new product is to avoid buyer’s remorse. Buyer’s remorse is the sense of regret individuals feel after making a purchase that does not provide satisfaction. To avoid getting burned by a seller and suffering from post-purchase regret, follow the dos and don’ts listed above to ensure you get the most out of your used motorcycle purchase.