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Buying & selling

A Guide to Buying Your First Motorbike

So you want to buy a secondhand motorcycle? There are plenty out there and there’s always a deal to be had – but do you really know what you want? A bargain is not a bargain unless it’s what you need in the first place. You need to consider what will suit your needs and requirements, rather than just what you want, as they are rarely the same thing! A “pocket rocket” is no good for cruising; just the same as a cruiser is useless for off roading. So before invest in your motorbike, you might want to consider your real requirements.

What’s your price range for buying a motorbike?

When budgeting for buying your new motorbike, you will need to consider not only the price of the bike itself, but also the insurance. There’s no point in spending your hard earned cash on an expensive motorbike and then not being able to insure it. Trawl the Internet and motorbike magazines and check the small ads to gauge prices.  Check out reviews online and weigh up the best options within your price range – you can never have too much information when buying a motorbike. Refine your searches; Preloved can help with price range and model specifics within the search filters which makes the job quicker and easier.

Before you go to view a motorbike:

Does the bike have the necessary documents? A V5 document should be available for any bike which you go to look at. Check the details; do the details on the V5 form belong to that bike and is the person selling it the current registered owner? If you are not viewing the bike at the registered address on the V5, you’ll want to ask why. Check the service history and current MOT to ensure that the bike has been looked after by previous owners too. Check this information before you go (use the DVLA website) and when you arrive, if alarm bells ring, politely walk away.

Be prepared

If all the documentation seems to bein order and the bike looks suitableyou’re your needs, you will need a test ride, so remember to take your helmet and jacket. Provide your own insurance (you may end up as a pillion if you don’t) and make sure the bike is road legal. Once out on the road check everything works as it should, no crunching gears, screeching brakes or suspicious knocks and bangs. Check the chain and sprockets, the tyres and brake pads, these may be okay but could also be a bargaining tool. If it needs work, are you prepared or capable of doing it? Be careful it doesn’t just become a project sitting in the garage or shed…. unless that’s what you wanted! When viewing a motorbike which you’ve found online, always arrange to go with a friend or relative, especially if carrying cash. They can help in your decision about buying the motorbike and also give you a lift there if you are prepared to ride it home if the viewing is a success!

Rounding off

Don’t be afraid to make an offer, but be fair, insults can go both ways! If your offer is accepted, check all the documents are present and get a receipt for the sale. Ensure you fill in the V5 correctly, as you should have the New Keepers section to keep whilst the seller sends the rest away to the DVLA.  A new V5 will then be sent to you and the motorbike is legally yours.

Most of all enjoy and ride safely!



Matthew Pitts

Matthew Pitts

Community User

Matthew Pitts is a Preloved member based in Cheshire, who regularly scours the Preloved classified ads for second hand Motorbikes to restore.