Buying a used motorcycle is easier than buying a car in some ways but is a process that should be approached more carefully, due to the greater inherent risk that you take by simply riding a motorcycle.
1. Be aware, from the beginning, that you may need to be buying replacement parts at different stages over the first few months after buying your motorcycle. Used bikes have taken different degrees of wear and tear, depending on how carefully previous riders have treated the machine. Check eBay and various classified ads to see what pieces of your potential bike sell for.
2. Check wheels and tires just as you would for a car. Look for cracks and holes, especially with the tire inflated to proper pressure. Easier to check on a motorcycle is the wheel-balancing. Prop the bike on its stand and spin the wheel. Make sure that the wheel doesn’t wobble from side to side.
3. Look for fluid leaks all around the engine. Again, this is easier to do on most motorcycles because you can see the engine from all sides. Ask the owner about any leakage that you spot and be sure that any concerns you have are answered satisfactorily.
4. Pull back on the throttle and let it go. If it snaps back into place quickly and cleanly, then it is in good shape. If it’s sluggish in its return, then there is a problem to be looked into.
5. Press the front brake and, with the front wheel off the ground, let the brake go and spin the wheel. See how the wheel turns; make sure that the brake does let go of the wheel and that you have no stickiness.
6. Examine the front fork very carefully. As this part of the motorcycle provides you with primary suspension, balance and steering control, it is imperative that there are no cracks or bends in the metal. Any such deficiency causes you severe problems on the road at cruising speeds.