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What You Should Know When Purchasing Your First Preowned Motorcycle

by Norman Nelson

Many people choose to check out pre owned bikes before looking at new motorcycles. A preowned bike will typically cost less and can work well as a beginner's bike, or a bike to practice on. However, even if you're picking up a used bike for those reasons, you still need to show diligence when picking one out. Here's what you should know.

All the Usual Stuff Still Applies

All the legal requirements for owning a motorcycle in your state will still apply. You will still need to obtain your license, and you will still need to insure the bike. You may also have to take a motorcycle safety class.

Have the Motorcycle Inspected

Whether it's a private seller or a dealership, you need to inspect the motorcycle. If you're knowledgeable enough to do it yourself, then make it a priority to go over the motorcycle as thoroughly as you can. Otherwise, have a mechanic take a look. Don't be shy about it. No one should have a problem with you asking for an independent inspection.

Ask for the Bike's Service and Title History

A well-maintained bike will likely have service records and other documents that show its history. You can see what kind of care the bike received, as well as what types of issues needed repairs.

You can also pay for a VIN check, or do a title search online. Having a clear title for the motorcycle is of the utmost importance. Without a clear title, you can't register, sell, or legally do anything with the bike.

Take the Motorcycle for a Test Drive

Many dealerships don't allow test drives, or only allow them on specific days. In some cases, you can rent the bike you want to test it out first. Test drives are important, but they're not always feasible for new riders.

If you're not yet comfortable with taking a bike out, then have someone with experience test-drive it for you. Even if you can't test drive it, you should definitely sit on it and make sure you and the bike fit each other. You'll want to get a feel for it. Unlike cars, the demand for comfort and compatibility are much higher for a motorcycle.

Make Sure You're Ready

If all goes well, you will purchase a new-to-you motorcycle. Understand that ownership isn't the final step. You will need to learn how to maintain your bike and how to drive it safely. All motorcycles are different, and they're not all for beginners. Take your time with your new motorcycle, and learn its behaviors.