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Buying Advice - Bikes & Scooters: Motorcycle History Checks

Motorcycle history checks

We have teamed up with Experian to give you the reassurance you need when buying a used motorcycle.

Inadvertently buying a motorcycle that is then found to have been stolen is likely to result in you losing all rights to ownership, as well as the money you originally paid.

We check key registers from Experian for every private motorcycle placed on the site for sale. This should prevent a bike that is stolen from being advertised on our site.

However, we also recommend you purchase a full history check from one of the leading providers before you're about to buy a used car.


Clocking does still occur unfortunately. Clocking usually involves removing the whole assembly from the dash and changing the milometer i.e. winding the clock back. Check that the digits align and examine the screws, and if you are in doubt, walk away.

Outstanding finance

A history check may reveal that the motorcycle has outstanding finance and that it's legally still owned by the finance company. But this is not necessarily bad news - you can still come to an agreement with the finance company, and end up owning the bike. But don't rely on the seller's word that he or she will settle the outstanding amount.

Insurance write-off

The check may also reveal that the motorcycle had previously been written off or recorded as a total loss by an insurance company due to damage or a theft-related insurance claim. This doesn't necessarily mean that you shouldn't buy the motorcycle, but if you do you should consider the following:

  • Tell your insurance company about it - if you don't they may refuse a claim. It is unlikely to affect the premium you pay, but it may reduce the amount paid out in the event of a claim
  • Have a mechanical inspection carried out to ensure it has been repaired to a high standard - an MOT certificate is not sufficient
  • The market value will have been reduced considerably by the write-off - don't pay full price for it
  • You may have some difficulty selling the vehicle in the future. Dealers often won't accept them in part exchange and the market for it will be limited. A potential buyer will also have the same concerns in the future as you do now

next: Paying