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Thread: Secondhand Motorbike : Buying Checklist

  1. #1
    Hmmm, whimsical WiseBuddha's Avatar
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    Default Secondhand Motorbike : Buying Checklist

    NOTE: This is just a brain dump at the moment, I will improve this article by adding explanations for some of the items over the next few weeks

    Thinking about buying a second hand motorbike, the checklist below might help prevent you from buying a lemon

    General
    Make:
    Model:
    Date of registration:
    Advertised Price:
    Registration:
    VIN Number (check that the same on all docs):
    V5 Issue Date (UK Only):
    V5 Serial Number (UK Only):
    Service records?
    Service receipts?
    Part receipts?
    Do the receipt dates all tie in correctly?
    When is the next service due?
    Whats due on the next service, is it a big one?
    What is the service schedule?
    All MOT certificates?
    Do the MOT mileages tie in correctly?
    When does the current MOT expire?
    If on SORN how long for?
    Is it taxed?
    When does the tax expire?
    Any warranty left?
    What does the warranty cover?
    HPI Status?
    Has it ever been raced?

    First Impressions
    How clean is the bike (1 to 10) ?
    Is the bike kept garaged, outside, in a wooden shed etc?
    Is it always kept garaged, outside, in a wooden shed etc?
    Any non-standard parts (i.e. exhausts, belly pans, heated grips etc)?
    Centre stand?
    Side stand?
    Does the side stand have a cutoff switch?
    Does it work?
    General opinion on mileage vs condition?

    Mechanical - Engine
    Is the engine cold?
    You need to start the bike as part of your checks, starting from a warm engine is always easier. You need to see it start with ease from cold.
    Does it start first time with ease?
    When was the last service?
    What was serviced?
    Last oil change?
    Last filter change?
    Who did the servicing?
    Clutch operation?
    Does the oil pressure light go off immediately after starting?

    On the straight and narrow
    Is it straight down the centre line?
    Exhaust condition (rusted, holed)?
    Collector box (rusted, holed)?
    Mileage on tyres?
    Does the throttle snap closed when released?
    Is there any play in the headstock?
    Are the headstops there?
    Whats the condition of the seat?
    Any rust inside the tank (use a torch)?
    If the bike has been sat, how long for?
    Are the fork seals intact?
    Are the fork stantions pitted?
    Any hooking on the sprockets?
    When were the sprockets last changed?
    Were front and rear changed at the same time?
    When was the chain last changed?
    Does the bike use a chain oiler?
    What is the rear axle position?
    If a duel exhausts is the pressure the same on both sides?

    Electrical
    Do all electrical switches operate smoothly?
    Do all electrical switches work?
    Does the number plate light work?
    Indicators?
    Front lights?
    Rear lights?
    Clocks lights?
    Does the bike have daylight running lights (DRL)?
    Does it have an alarm? Does it work?
    Does it have an immobiliser? Does it work?

    Fluids - Last change, Change History, Colour
    Brake fluid
    Oil colour (honey or tar black? If the latter it hasn't been changed recently)?
    Coolant

    Scrapes and Scratches
    Everything that sticks out has potential to have some surface scratches, typically this are cosmetic but may give you some scope to negotiate on price.
    Bars?
    Exhausts?
    Plastics?
    Fairings?
    Hand levers?
    Foot levers?
    Foot lever rubbers?
    Indicators?
    Frame?
    Mirrors?

    Misc - Locks
    Do the locks all work smoothly, or do they need a "knack"? The latter may indicate worn barrels, on a ignition this may mean having to replace the entire unit.
    Seatlocks?
    Ignition?
    Others?

    Tyres, Wheels & Brakes
    Tyre age
    Tyre code / make / model
    Tread depth
    Squared off
    Are the rims dinged in any way?
    Any play in the rear wheel bearings?
    Any play in the front wheel bearings?
    Rear brake pads age?
    Rear brake pads mileage?
    Front brake pads age?
    Front brake pads mileage?
    Front brake pad binding?
    Rear brake pad binding?
    Any pulsing / vibration from the front brakes?
    This can only really be tested on a test ride, if you find this issue it most likely indicates a warped brake disc
    Any pulsing / vibration from the rear brakes?
    This can only really be tested on a test ride, if you find this issue it most likely indicates a warped brake disc

    Misc
    Is the bike toolkit present?
    Does the toolkit have all the important stuff in it?
    Some bikes have unique tools that can be expensive to source when you need it
    Ask - So, what's wrong with it?
    Reason for sale?


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  3. #2
    Really Bored whysub's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secondhand Motorbike : Buying Checklist

    And if buying privately, what is the owner like? I've gone to buy a bike, but on seeing and talking to the owner alarm bells rang. And this was on a sub 500 hack.

  4. #3
    Should Get Out More TheEnglishman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secondhand Motorbike : Buying Checklist

    Some questions:-

    Clutch operation?
    What to look for?

    Is it straight down the centre line?
    How do you check this?

    Is there any play in the headstock?
    How best to check?

    Are the fork seals intact?
    If they're not leaking how would you know?

    What is the rear axle position?
    Other than 'at at the back of the bike' what's to look for?

    If a duel exhausts is the pressure the same on both sides?
    How to check?

  5. #4
    Should Get Out More demographic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secondhand Motorbike : Buying Checklist

    Check the MOT history of the vehicle, ideally BEFORE you drive a few hundred miles to see it.

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  7. #5
    Should Get Out More
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    Default Re: Secondhand Motorbike : Buying Checklist

    Quote Originally Posted by WiseBuddha View Post

    General

    If on SORN how long for? Doesn't matter because a new owner must tax or SORN it.
    Is it taxed? If this list is to be used after 30th September 2014, a new owner must tax or SORN it. The tax will not carry over.
    When does the tax expire? See above.
    First on my list is "Do my feet reach the floor when sitting on it" but I know other people don't worry about that.

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    Should Get Out Soon Screwdriver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secondhand Motorbike : Buying Checklist

    Screwdrivers checklist:

    Does it run?
    How much is it?

    S.

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    Default Re: Secondhand Motorbike : Buying Checklist

    Quote Originally Posted by TheEnglishman View Post
    Some questions:-


    What to look for?


    How do you check this?


    How best to check?


    If they're not leaking how would you know?


    Other than 'at at the back of the bike' what's to look for?


    How to check?
    I would also like to know the answers to these questions

  10. #8
    Should Get Out More TheEnglishman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secondhand Motorbike : Buying Checklist

    Quote Originally Posted by gazonline View Post
    I would also like to know the answers to these questions
    I'm guessing this is the Bermuda Triangle of the TRC forum?

  11. #9
    Hmmm, whimsical WiseBuddha's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secondhand Motorbike : Buying Checklist

    Quote Originally Posted by TheEnglishman View Post
    I'm guessing this is the Bermuda Triangle of the TRC forum?
    Yep, only person who comes here is me - I haven't got around to updating this yet

  12. #10
    Should Get Out Soon Screwdriver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secondhand Motorbike : Buying Checklist

    Quote Originally Posted by WiseBuddha View Post
    Yep, only person who comes here is me - I haven't got around to updating this yet
    Nonsense. I pop in here all the time to update my checklist and make sure everything is there.


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    Default Re: Secondhand Motorbike : Buying Checklist

    I just found this thread. And I have created a list of my own:

    Q: Do you like the bike?
    A: Yes/No

    Simples

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