By Reine Knobbe
First of all, thank you for making Chariots of Fire Customs LLC one of your go-to places when looking for a used motorcycle. We realize that we have a very limited inventory so you will need to look elsewhere when we don’t have what you want. We offer advice and knowledge when you walk into our establishment. But what is a person to do when they are out on their own looking to buy a used motorcycle?
The top three things that Jan and our technicians suggest you look for in a used motorcycle are milage, maintenance records, and overall condition.
Mileage & Maintenance Records
The average miles put on a motorcycle are 3,000 – 5,000 per year depending on the state you live in. If the mileage is very low, great! If the mileage is on the high side that is good also IF the motorcycle was well maintained. That’s when you want to look at maintenance records to see if basic maintenance was performed in a timely manner. If the mileage is low, how are the tires? They might be dry rotting from sitting. Not everyone realizes that tires need to be changed because of dry rot, even if there are low miles on them.
Questions to ask when looking at the overall condition might include:
- Was the bike in a flooded area?
- Was the bike ever in a wreck
- Does the owner live down a long gravel road? If so, the frame may be chipped which could lead to rust in older motorcycles.
- Are the spokes and wheels clean?
- How is the paint?
- Will they allow you to start the bike and run it through the gears?
- Can you take a test ride? Know this question is best saved for serious offers only.
A couple other things to consider is the location of the seller. If it is out of state, is it worth your time and money to travel? Once you meet up with the seller use your basic instincts. Ask questions about why they are selling their motorcycle, such as:
- Not enough time to ride
- In need of funds
- Upcoming surgery
- No longer able to ride.
There are as many reasons as there are people! By asking these questions you can get a feel for how much they love the sport. That can help you determine if the motorcycle was well maintained or not so much. When looking at a potential bike, consider the environment the bike is kept in. If the area is cleaned up and well maintained and the seller is knowledgeable about recent maintenance, it is likely that the motorcycle has been well maintained. If they name their motorcycle and have a special place in a garage you can rest assured, they kept good care of her!