Tips for Buying a Used Motorcycle and Pointers for New Riders

Used motorcycles are one of the most popular items sold at Want Ad Digest, the Northeast's prime classified ads business. This article will arm you with all the knowledge you need to buy a used motorcycle online. We will cover different kinds of motorcycles, from street motorcycles to off road bikes, advice on what to look for when checking out the motorcycle in person, tips for new riders and more.
 


As the cost of gas increases, many people decide to abandon their cars for the cost-effectiveness and freedom of riding a motorcycle instead. Some perhaps owned a motorcycle in the past and are looking to get back into it, and others may be considering motorcycles for sale for the first time. Women are riding more and more these days as well - the most current statistics maintain that one out of every ten motorcycle owners is a woman.

The process of looking at a motorcycle for sale is much like buying a car; buying any vehicle, used or new, motorcycle or car or RV, is always a huge investment. When it comes to motorcycles for sale, if you are new to the riding world then you especially want to go with a used vehicle. Not only does it have the obvious advantage of being cheaper, but it is a reasonable transition vehicle to a more high-tech bike you may want to purchase later on when you are more experienced. Likewise, do not buy a motorcycle that is too powerful because it will end up slowing you down if you do not know how to accurately control it.

The first thing you need to do when taking motorcycles into consideration is figure out what kind of model bike you are looking for. Then, do as much research as possible. Here, we are going to list each different type of motorcycles:

Specialty Motorcycles: Specialty motorcycles, or specialty bikes, are motorcycles that serve a particular purpose. Chopper bikes, touring bikes, and dirt bikes all fall under this category:

Chopper Motorcycles: Chopper motorcycles are bikes that have either been altered from an original design, or built from scratch to create a hand-made appearance.

Touring Motorcycles: Touring motorcycles are intended for long-distance commuting.

Dirt Bikes: Dirt bikes have a very wide range of motorcycles for sale available. Off road dirt bikes understandably need to withstand a lot of hard use, and are therefore bound to have some wear and tear. For instance, normally you want clean and dry tires for a motorcycle, but this standard does not really apply to dirt bikes.

Street Motorcycles: Street motorcycles for sale include cruisers and sports bikes, and they are the most common types of motorcycles:

Cruiser Motorcycles: Cruisers are appropriately named as such because they are designed for a relaxing ride, wherein you lean back on the bike and enjoy the scenery. They have soft seats, wide handlebars, and are quite aesthetically pleasing. The most common type of cruiser motorcycles are Harley Davidsons. Cruiser riders tend to be of an older crowd – the type of riders who are satisfied with a nice, comfortable ride.

Sports Bikes: Sports bikes, unlike cruiser motorcycles, are often ridden by younger riders who have a “need for speed” and a desire to pull stunts like popping a wheelie. Sports bikes give up some of the comfort of the cruiser style motorcycles to ensure a more intense riding experience. Sports motorcycles for sale have a narrow set of handlebars so the rider has to lean forward instead of back, and they are often a bright color. Sports bikes are appropriately more prepared for the event of a crash than cruisers.

Standard Street Motorcycles: Standard street motorcycles for sale are a cross between a cruiser and a sports bike.

When you have found a model of bike that you are interested in, you can start researching the type of motorcycle for sale that you are seeking. Ask for opinions from motorcycle enthusiasts, visit motorcycle websites, and read customer reviews. Know the typical flaws of the model you are looking into. Never blindly commit to a financial investment as import as a used motorcycle for sale before conducting the proper research.

If you do not know how to ride a bike, or if you have not done so in awhile, you will need to learn how and/or take a motorcycle class; there are also motorcycle safety classes available. If you are new to riding, you can also can visit your local DMV before purchasing a used motorcycle and pick up a free learner's booklet they offer for motorcycle riders; you will need to pass a motorcycle driver's test in order to get your license. Also, you should not ride without both health insurance and vehicle insurance.

It is good for new motorists to start out with a smaller, lighter bike than the newest and fastest model, which is one reason why looking at used street motorcycles for sale for your first bike purchase is an excellent idea. Moreover, almost everyone drops or otherwise harms their first bike at least once, which is another reason why to go used. In fact, statistics indicate that you are most likely to crash your first motorcycle within the first five months of riding than at any other time.

Before you think about riding a motorcycle, or test driving a used motorcycle for sale, you need to buy (and actually wear) good pants, jacket, and gloves specifically designed for motorists - this means more than just a windbreaker. Buy a new helmet; do not ever buy a used helmet - you cannot always tell if they are damaged or not and it is simply not worth the risk. Also, it should be said that a safe rider does not assume that taking a quick trip to the corner store means that you do not need your safety gear. Most motorcycle accidents happen during short trips, and you cannot ever let your guard down when it comes to motorcycle safety.

When you have narrowed down which kind of motorcycle for sale you are interested in looking into further there are going to be a number of questions you will want to ask the seller: First, ask why they are selling the bike. Ask for copies of any maintenance records. Ask how many miles it has been since the clutch cable was changed; wet clutches can drag until the bike has warmed up when it hasn't been used in awhile. Ask the owner when the oil was last changed (oil for street motorcycles for sale should be changed at least every 5,000 miles or 6 months, and dirt bike oil should be changed every few hundred miles) and what kind of oil they used.

If the dealer does not know what type of oil they used, that could imply that they do not have a clue about the bike, and therefore may not have taken care of it properly. Ask what modifications have been made to the motorcycle for sale; you do not want to purchase a bike that has been massively modified. Furthermore, ask what kind of work they would do on the bike if they were going to keep it for another year. On a related note, ask if there are any maintenance or safety matters that you need to be aware of.

You may want to look into purchasing a vehicle history check, an investment that will allow you to see if the motorcycle was previously stolen, in a wreck, or has an outstanding financial balance left to be paid on it. If you buy a motorcycle from someone who never paid their financial commitment, then the bike is still technically the financier's property.

It should go without saying that you will want to see any dirt or street motorcycles for sale you are considering buying before going through with the final purchase. If you happen to know someone who is mechanically inclined it certainly could not hurt to bring them along. Ask the owner to not have the bike warmed up when you get there so that you can make sure it will still start. When you do start the bike, be wary of a motorcycle for sale that is difficult to start or emanates clouds of smoke; blue smoke in particular is a bad sign. You will want to bring with you to see the motorcycle for sale a flashlight, even in the daytime, to aid your examination, and appropriate gear to possibly test the used motorcycle for sale.

Which brings us to - some sellers may not give you a test ride for liability purposes, but you should definitely bring your riding gear with you just incase. Also, local commercial dealers may allow you to test drive a motorcycle for sale so that you can at least find a model that feels right for you before looking at used motorcycles for sale. If you do end up doing a test ride, try to do it last after looking the bike over. If the bike looks good, and is a fair price, then you may be able to convince the seller that you plan on purchasing the bike if you can get a test ride in.

When test riding the used motorcycle for sale make sure that when you sit on the bike your feet reach the ground; if they do not the motorcycle is too tall for you. The motorcycle should be fairly easy to stop, speed up, and slow down. Notice how the bike handles corners. Ride the bike on smooth roads so that you will be able to tell if the tires are not in balance or have flat areas. Check the conditions of the breaks, headlights, and turn signals.

Other things to look for when looking over a used motorcycle for sale: Check for bends or scrapes on the bike that could indicate it was in a crash. Look over the foot pegs for wear - worn on top means a lot of miles, and worn on the bottom means a rider leaning over too far in corners. Check the seat - is it comfortable? Is it sturdy and latches on correctly? Look for cracks or tears in the seat, as that could be indicative of the bike having going through a lot. Also, seats can be potentially expensive to replace.

Checking the tires on the motorcycle is essential. Ask how many years and miles the tires have; tires should be changed at least every three years. All tires have industry-standard dating codes stamped on them that reveal when the tire was made (see "additional resources" at the bottom of this article for a link on how to read these codes that determine tire age). If you can, put the motorcycle for sale up on a stand so that both wheels are off the ground. Rotate the wheels and listen for any grinding or squeaking noises. Check for movement in the back wheel - if it is loose that could indicate a problem.

Check the rear shocks by pushing down on the back of the bile and see if it comes back up in a smooth and controlled manner. Make sure that there are no dents or holes in the exhaust, as this could seriously affect the motorcycle's performance. Take a look at the gas tank - make sure the gas cap is working, because they can be expensive to replace, and also examine the gas itself. If the gas is a darkish colored liquid that could mean it has been sitting there for a long time - not good. Finally, make sure the VIN number on the bike matches the one in the paperwork.

When you are making that final transaction with the seller, make sure that you get everything related to the bike that comes with it (except for their used helmet, of course): key, spare keys, spare parts that may be included, an owner's manual, service manual, etc. You do not want to have to go back and bug the seller for it later.

After the purchase is made and you are ready to take your used motorcycle for sale home you may want to have a professional mechanic do a full tune-up on the bike to ensure that it is indeed safe to ride. Be sure to complete the registration process with the DMV - it is illegal to operate a motorcycle that has not been properly registered. Do not ride without a valid motorcycle operator's license, and as mentioned earlier, do not ride without both health insurance and vehicle insurance.

When on the road, wave to other riders you see to facilitate camaraderie. One of the best advantages to owning a motorcycle is the sense of belonging to a community that is bigger than yourself, a sense of brotherhood of bikers, if you will. Riding in traffic with a street motorcycle is quite different from riding a dirt bike for several reasons, one of which is the constant contact with not only other riders, but drivers of other vehicles, and pedestrians as well. Moreover, because you are riding in traffic when you go with a street bike you are more likely to sustain injury or death than with a dirt bike – do keep this in mind when browsing used street motorcycles for sale. Again, we must emphasize the extreme importance of safety when operating and enjoying your motorcycle.

The most important thing to remember when riding in traffic is to do everything you can to be noticed and to ensure that other people can see you. In fact, ride anticipating that they do not see you. Wear neon or florescent clothing. Ride in "open zones" - in any cluster of vehicles there are always some gaps in the traffic, and this is where you will want to hang out. This way, you can keep away from blind spots, and also vary your speed - riding along with the traffic flow can make you go unnoticed by other drivers.

Constantly scan your entire environment while riding, including the road. Be aware of any spilled oil or fuel on the ground, gravel, etc. Watch drivers' heads and mirrors to expect potentially sudden moves. Most drivers will not abruptly turn without first moving their head one way or another, even if they do not check their mirrors. Trust in your own mirrors, but not completely, as you will want to always accompany a look in the mirror with a glance over the shoulder.

More traction is typically available on the sides of the road where car tires go, and not in the center of the lane. Similarly, if traffic slows suddenly stay to the right or left of the car in front of you - this will not only give you a way of escape if need be, but will additionally protect you if the car behind you does not stop.

Some final advice: Never get between a vehicle and an off ramp. Drivers who exit at the last second may not be able to see you in time. Also, watch out for sudden left turners, because they are the leading cause of death for motorcycle riders. It probably goes without saying, but let larger vehicles go first when at an intersection. On a related note, do not charge through an intersection or stop lights the second the light turns green.

Regardless of what type of dirt or street motorcycles for sale you are mulling over purchasing, the intention should be to have a great time while remaining safe. At Want Ad Digest, we have been in the classified ads business for 50 years, and we have a wide array of reputable dealers who have great deals on used motorcycles for sale, but always remember that safety comes first with riding!

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