Simply Ride Blog

Top 5 things to look for when purchasing a pre-owned motorcycle

Posted By: Ole
Post Date: 02/05/2020

Tires: Tires are one of the most common wear items on a motorcycle. It’s also one of the more costly parts of maintenance that we run into with tires going for up to $500 before labor comes into play. You always want to check them and make sure they have a proper tread depth. On most tires, you should find a wear indicator located inside the treads themselves. You also want to see if there’s cracking going on in the tire from being old or improperly stored. Ole mentions running your hand on the tires, which helps you see if there’s any uneven wear like flat spots or cupping. Depending on the severity of those types of wear it may not be something you need to worry about right away but you may notice definitive changes in the way it handles. 


Brakes: For every bike that goes fast, you will need to stop fast. Brake pads are also one of the most common wear items. Usually, they cost around $40 a caliper for pads or $60 for new shoes plus labor it can easily turn into a couple of hundred dollars you weren’t expecting to spend after buying your new bike. You never want to run pads down beyond the limit, I’ve seen them fall out of calipers without locking pins or destroy a rotor which puts an even bigger hit to your pocketbook and more importantly your safety. 


Fork seals: One of the biggest safety items and more expensive fixes on the list is the fork seals. The only things keeping your oil contained in the forks are the dust and oil seal. After age or contaminants get into the oil seal it will leak. This is bad for a few reasons. First off you lose a lot of the dampening that keeps your bike handling well. Second, depending on the severity of the leak it can get all over your tires, rotors, and even soak into your brake pad which almost completely negates your ability to stop. Usually, you will be able to see fluid and feel it on the fork tubes themselves. Depending on parts I usually see this job running you anywhere from $400-550. It’s an easy thing to check and is a good negotiating tool. 


Drive Train: Whether it's a belt, chain/sprockets, or a rear differential there are a few things to be looking out for. When it comes to chain and sprockets you want to be looking at chain tension, loose rollers, kinks, tight spots and you should be able to tell if sprockets are worn out by the condition of the teeth. A belt drive is similar but you’ll want to be looking for weather cracking on the belt or even bigger, missing teeth. When it comes to a gear drive in the rear with a differential you’ll want to check for any leaks present and really try to listen for any unhealthy noises or clunks when the bike is in motion. 


Fluid leaks: Sometimes it’s as simple as a bad seal or gasket that’s causing a minor weep but we have seen some very serious oil leaks come into the shop that causes serious safety concerns to our guests. It’s always a good thing to check out so you don’t run into some bigger problems down the road.


With all these things just remember we can offer inspections to catch all these before you buy and any other issues that may be present. Also if you’d rather buy a bike without all the headaches our certified bikes have a 53 point inspection performed on them and these issues are taken care of if present. They also come with a 30 day or 1000 mile warranty. 
 

 

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The Simply Moto Life Podcast is the podcast for everyone interested in motorcycling. Our episodes feature motorcycle industry insiders who offer insights into universal motorcycle topics. It doesn’t matter what kind of ride you have, or the type of riding you do, if you enjoy motoring on two wheels, you will simply enjoy our program. Email us with episode ideas at simplymotolife@simplystreetbikes.com

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