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Buying Advice - Bikes & Scooters: Checking the Bike

Checking the bike

Examine the bike carefully. If necessary, take along someone who really knows about bikes and don't buy unless you're absolutely sure it's okay.

Here's a short checklist to help you:

  1. Bearings
  2. Bodywork
  3. Brakes
  4. Chain and sprockets
  5. Clutch and gearbox
  6. Controls - clutch/brake/levers/throttle etc
  7. Engine
  8. Exhaust
  9. Fairings
  10. Forks
  11. Frame/engine number
  12. Instruments
  13. Lights
  14. Shock absorbers
  15. Tyres
  16. Wheels

Questions you might ask the seller include:

  • What is the date of manufacture?
  • How long has the bike been owned by you?
  • How many owners has it had?
  • What is the mileage?
  • Is it a UK bike or a type of import?
  • Has it ever been in an accident/dropped or damaged?
  • Is it street legal? - if, for example, it has a race cam then you need to get the road legal system as well.
  • Have you got spare keys?
  • Has anything been replaced recently?
  • Has it been modified in any way?
  • When was it last serviced?
  • Why are you selling?

The Road Traffic Act makes it illegal for anyone to sell an unroadworthy bike unless they make it clear it is only fit for scrap. Check the seller doesn't try to con you by putting this on your receipt, as it may take away your legal rights.

Professional inspection

Do consider having the motorcycle professionally examined before you buy, either through a motoring association, private company or garage. They will examine the bike and be able to give you more safety with your transaction.

next: Motorcycle history checks