What to look for in a used motorcycle (VIDEO)


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WingAdmin
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What to look for in a used motorcycle (VIDEO)

Post by WingAdmin »



This is a list I've used for a long time when evaluating used motorcycles. I made a video about this as well, talking about (and demonstrating) a lot of these items:



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This is my list. I'm interested to hear what others look for - please add your own ideas and list items!

When calling to ask about the bike:
  • Mileage
  • Clear title?
  • Maintenance records?
  • Any accidents
  • Any electrical/mechanical issues?
  • Are you willing to do a mechanic inspection?
Once you arrive to inspect the bike, check these items:
  • Where is it stored?
  • Check the odometer
  • Trip reset button
  • Clear windshield/scratches
  • Clear headlights/scratches
  • Clear gauge windows/scratches
  • Rear view mirrors L/R
  • Paint/plastic condition
  • Wind deflectors if any - loose? Broken?
  • Air vents - loose? Broken?
  • Seat condition
  • Back rest condition
  • Storage compartments - broken doors?
  • Storage locks - check all of them
  • Luggage rack - cracked mounting points?
  • Tools - present?
  • Manuals - present?
  • Intercom - functions?
  • Side stand - loose?
  • Center stand - loose? Pivot point loose? Corrosion?
  • Driver foot pegs - scraped/worn
  • Passenger foot pegs - worn
  • Feel under any tip-over guards for damage
  • Belly pan cover (GL1800)
  • Muffler corrosion
  • Timing belt replacement?
  • Front brakes - function, firm
  • Rear brakes - function, firm
  • Brake pads - wear
  • Front tire - wear, damage
  • Rear tire - wear, damage
  • Clutch - smoothness, friction zone
  • Throttle - smooth, snap-back
  • Shifter - solid, loose
  • Reverse - function
  • L turn front/rear/dash lights
  • R turn front/rear/dash lights
  • Headlight low beam
  • Headlight high beam & dash light indicator
  • Hazard lights
  • Horn
  • Radio
  • Speakers (check each individually)
  • CD if any
  • CB (bring a friend to test)
  • Antenna(s) - damage, folding
  • Cruise control - function, lights, lag
  • Kill switch
  • Neutral light
  • Engine gauges
  • Spare fuses
  • Other dash lights/controls
  • Start/run engine for a while
  • Oil: dipstick visual inspection
  • Test drive


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blupupher
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Re: What to look for in a used motorcycle (VIDEO)

Post by blupupher »

Pretty inclusive video of what to look for.
I think one of the biggest things (especially for a carbureted bike) is you need to do a cold start on it.
Also knowing how often it is ridden (or at least the last time it was ridden) is important.

As for test rides, I will not buy a bike I can't ride before hand.
No need for an hour long ride, but a quick around the block to get a feel for shifting and braking issues is a must for me.
Both as a seller and buyer I am OK with handing cash over before actual sale for a you break it you bought it.

Another thing is be familiar with the title/registration process for your state.
Make sure you have the correct forms to be signed before you go pick it up.
Know if the plate can stay with the bike or not.

I know in Texas, you need to have the title and a form 130u signed by both seller and buyer.
The plate can be removed from the bike if the seller wants to (or has to for specialty plates).
Texas also has a form (VTR-346, paper or online) that allows the seller let the state know that the vehicle has been sold and who it was sold to so they are not responsible for any issue from that point forward.
1994 GL1500 Goldwing SE
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Re: What to look for in a used motorcycle (VIDEO)

Post by DenverWinger »

When I bought the 1500 PO was trusting and nice enough to offer a test drive after he photographed my driver license.

I went for a 15 minute drive including some 55 mph highway. Bike performed very well, cruise control didn't work (cruise "On" switch wasn't working, turns out it was just dirty, some other switches not working either.) Rear E3 tire was cupped and noisy, No 4th gear issue. I was pleased with the purchase. PO stated fluids were overdue for change except for fresh engine oil and the timing belts were still original. So I took care of that stuff soon after purchase.

PO was nice enough to leave his tags and insurance on the bike when I took it home with signed title. Next day I mailed him back his license plate and told him I had added the 1500 to my insurance policy, he could discontinue his.

It was a very good buying experience, I hope everyone to have an experience just as good.
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Andy Cote
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Re: What to look for in a used motorcycle (VIDEO)

Post by Andy Cote »

The first thing I check is whether the right side handlebar control switch housing rotates with the throttle. :lol: :lol:

Sorry; too easy to pass that one up.

Seriously, very comprehensive list there. Perhaps I might include battery visual and voltage check (off, idle, 1500RPM).

I don't place a high value on the VIN background research sites, I prefer my own inspection to look for crash repairs. Some guys check in advance for open recalls. Not as big a deal for me. Just take to any Honda dealer and if there are any open, they will accomplish at no charge.
2015 Goldwing, basic black

Previously: GL1200 standard, GL1200 Interstate, GL1500 Goldwing, GL1500 Valkyrie Standard, 2000 Valkyrie Interstate, many other Hondas
DarthJ
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Re: What to look for in a used motorcycle (VIDEO)

Post by DarthJ »

blupupher wrote: Sun Jan 23, 2022 4:26 pm Pretty inclusive video of what to look for.
I think one of the biggest things (especially for a carbureted bike) is you need to do a cold start on it.
Also knowing how often it is ridden (or at least the last time it was ridden) is important.

As for test rides, I will not buy a bike I can't ride before hand.
No need for an hour long ride, but a quick around the block to get a feel for shifting and braking issues is a must for me.
Both as a seller and buyer I am OK with handing cash over before actual sale for a you break it you bought it.

Another thing is be familiar with the title/registration process for your state.
Make sure you have the correct forms to be signed before you go pick it up.
Know if the plate can stay with the bike or not.

I know in Texas, you need to have the title and a form 130u signed by both seller and buyer.
The plate can be removed from the bike if the seller wants to (or has to for specialty plates).
Texas also has a form (VTR-346, paper or online) that allows the seller let the state know that the vehicle has been sold and who it was sold to so they are not responsible for any issue from that point forward.
Great info, Reminded me of selling my old truck, had to get a replacement title (got to love moving :roll: ) Always want to make sure the buyer has the easiest time, So I told people coming to look "No sale until I get the title done" When a guy said he'd buy it, agreed to price, he did certified checks, So I said when you come back, I'll have all the paperwork ready (title, the 130-u, a bill of sale) Filed a VTR-346 online as soon as everything was signed and money cleared.

My policy on test ride/drive is cash in hand for full asking price, no negotiation, you come back and everything is ok, I'll hand it back and we'll hammer a price if you want it. You drop it, crash it, don't come back, you bought it full price.
You ain't lost, you're just somewhere you ain't been before.
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Sassy
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Re: What to look for in a used motorcycle (VIDEO)

Post by Sassy »

Well, I talk to the guy first to get a feel if he's someone im ok dealin with then I look in all the boxes and baskets! Lol, the junk I usually buy im more worried about the story Im gonna tell Marilyn then if it's complete. :lol:
When I bought the wing, i talkef to the guy blipped the throttle twice and handed him the cash.
Enjoying the 2xDarkside
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Re: What to look for in a used motorcycle (VIDEO)

Post by Greenwinger »

I guess I would look for a leaky oil drain plug as shown on the bosses bike during the under carriage part of the video. :D :D :D :D :D
The avatar is of me and the Mrs. on the dragon a few years back.
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Wildwilly018
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Re: What to look for in a used motorcycle (VIDEO)

Post by Wildwilly018 »

Another good video Scott. Went over all that when I bout my 88. I am not a big fan of test pilots either. When I bout mine, i was a private seller and he offered me to take it for a test run. I told him I didn't want to ride it. 1 thing was not being used to is so didn't want any mistakes. He tossed me a helmet and for the first time in my 48 yrs of riding, I rode in the passenger seat on a bike. He really wanted me to feel the bike, feel the ride, hear that everything run quiet, it shifted nice. And he was truthful about everything. Very nice ride and quiet. I have since put on progressives, but old shocks were still good. My 5 cents on this.


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