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Tips on buying a pre-owned motorcycle

Why buy pre-owned motorcycles?

Buying a used motorcycle is not always as attractive as that of buying a new motor motorcycle model, but hey, sometimes we just feel that we might get a better deal or just hang in there until you can purchase a new one. There are many advantages to pre-owned motorcycles: You can afford a higher model with more luxury or performance. Our current market means there are loads of good quality, well priced pre-owned motorcycles to choose from. It may also be easier to obtain motorcycle finance as prices are lower. Motorcycle insurance rates are generally more affordable. Many pre-owned motorcycles might still be under manufacturer warranty.

Which pre-owned motorcycle can I afford to buy?

Before looking at pre-owned motorcycles, decide what your monthly budget can afford. As with any motorcycle, but more so with pre-owned motorcycles, things can and do go wrong. Make allowance for this so that you are not unprepared should such an event arise.

Does the pre-owned motorcycle for sale meet my current needs?

Depending on your personality and where you are in life, your motorcycle needs (and wants) will vary hugely. If you already have a used motorcycle brand that you like, take the time to have a look at other motorcycle brand competitors which may provide the same features and better suit your financial needs. There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding different motorcycle brands, this may be due to bad experiences in the past or exposure to different marketing campaigns. Remember, different motorcycle manufacturers have different target markets and offerings, finding the ideal brand of motorcycle that suits your requirements will mean you are not paying for features you may not actually need.

Finding a good Pre-owned motorcycle for sale - or a good deal.

The market value of pre-owned motorcycles is based on their condition, mileage and of course their popularity and availability. Certain pre-owned motorcycles are very popular in the South African market, these motorcycles are usually snapped up quickly or overpriced, which means that if you're desperate to get hold of one of them, you'll pay a premium! You may also have to sacrifice on certain features as choice is limited. Other motorcycles are readily available and with plenty to choose from, here you may find a motorcycle or many motorcycles that closely meet your needs. Popular, available pre-owned motorcycles for sale are usually where the bargains are found.

Test ride pre-owned motorcycles.

Pre-arrange to see the motorcycles you've found and that you think are viable options to suit your lifestyle and budget. Be careful to buy motorcycles only from reputable sources where the bike have been properly checked and are fully road worthy. If you are buying privately, ensure that you meet the seller in a safe environment and be vigilant.


Each and every bike had been through that checklist before ending up at my place. I’d like to share some of the pointers with you to ensure a sound deal takes place.

Firstly, and this may not seem obvious, heading towards spring as we are now is actually the perfect time to buy – once the warm weather arrives prices definitely seem to go up.

Bike-buying checklist:

1 Paintwork - Check all painted parts carefully. Look for rust on metal parts and for cracks on plastic items. Side panels often have missing mounting-lugs.

2 Chromed bits - Again look for rust. Chromed mudguards are particularly troublesome as they rot from the inside.

3 Wheels and tyres – Check for loose spokes, buckled/damaged wheels and the rims should be free from corrosion. Check tyres for remaining tread life, always a good bargaining tool if they’ve seen better days.

4 Wheel bearings - Grasp the tyre and try to rock the wheel on its spindle. If there’s excessive “play” this could be a sign of a bike that’s been neglected.

5 Brakes - Discs can score badly and are expensive to replace, but more importantly check for cracks and determine existing brake-pad life.

6 Forks - These should move freely without leaking. Check for straightness, if they’re slightly bent it could be a sign of repair damage. Look for pitted stanchions, split boots and gaiters.


7 Rear suspension – Inspect the suspension in a similar fashion to the forks. You should make sure there’s plenty of damping. The condition of these components will reveal how well the bike has been looked after.

8 Chains and sprockets - Unless it’s one of the bigger BMWs with shaft drive, check these parts carefully. Never confuse a loose chain with a worn one. If the chain lifts off the rear sprocket and exposes the teeth you are going to need a new rear chain and sprockets. Sadly these are never a cheap purchase.

9 Exhaust - These items are costly and will always show signs of a road tumble, no matter how slight. Beware of after-market silencers unless top quality (Yoshimura, etc).

10 Seat - Seat pans rot especially around the hinges. Check that the base and covers are sound and there’s no sign of tears.

11 Electronics - Check that everything works; indicators should flash even at low revs if the battery is in good condition. Has the wiring harness been tampered with or showing cracks in the headstock area? Good auto electricians are hard to come by.

12 Modifications - Many bikes have modifications, consider if they suit you and always check how well they’ve been done, especially regarding handlebar/fairing replacements.


Last but not least, be sure to ask for verification that the bike has been paid for and all the licence and ownership papers are up to date. At the same time check that engine and frame numbers match the paperwork. If they don’t, walk away.

This shouldn’t present a problem to a genuine seller. You don’t want a stolen bike that’s going to be repossessed, do you?


Please note that tips provided on buying used motorcycles, are meant only as a guide to the Motorcycle buyer.

Used motorcycle searching on

The MyBike Team


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