Top tips and checks when buying used motorcycles

Thinking of finally taking the plunge and finding used motorcycles for sale? You have come to the right place! We highlight some of the top tips and checks when it comes to buying used motorcycles.

Finally committing to buying a motorcycle

So you have discovered that you’re an adrenaline junkie constantly chasing the next big thrill. You enjoy feeling the wind blowing through your hair as you drive down the N1 on a warm Sunday morning. You have found out that a convertible cannot quite satisfy your thirst for adventure because you don’t just want to hear your engine roar, you want to feel it. Sounds like it’s time you consider buying a motorbike!

used motorcycles for sale

Motorcycle owners all over the world can agree that there is no greater sense of freedom and thrill than driving a motorbike shielded from danger only by a polycarbonate helmet and a leather or kevlar biker jacket. If you have already decided that you need a motorbike, the next question you probably have is whether you should be looking at brand new or used bikes.

There is always a certain risk factor involved when you decide to buy a used bike. The harsh reality is that buying a used motorbike can sometimes be a risky endeavor. However, since you are probably a risk tolerant individual this alone will not put you off buying a second hand motorcycle. If you are careful there are a lot of benefits you could gain from opting for used motorcycles!

As great as it is to have a new motorbike, if you take time to carry out enough research on your choices and the general reliability of the make of the used motorcycle you wish to purchase you will without a doubt save a lot of money that you could use on buying a cool helmet, jacket and other biker accessories.

test drive a used bike

10 things to look at when buying a used motorbike

To reduce the risk of purchasing low quality or unsafe used motorbikes, there are a few things you can do when purchasing your second hand motorcycle:

  1. Test and inspect the bike by driving it. If you cannot, ask someone with experience driving motorcycles who you trust to test drive the second hand motorbikes you are interested in. Have them note if the bike drives comfortably and that it is a good fit for you. It may also be wise at this stage to hire a mechanic to inspect the bike to ensure that it is in decent mechanical condition before you purchase it.
  2. When test driving the bike, make sure to test the brakes to make sure that the brake discs are still very responsive.
  3. Also listen to the exhaust as this will be an indicator of whether the bike was ever dropped, listen for any noises that do not sound normal.
  4. Ask for all the relevant documentation and full service history. It goes without saying that you will need to understand how often the bike was serviced. As a general rule of thumb, the more extensive the documentation of service is, the better the quality of the bike.
  5. Check the wheels and tyres to make sure they are in good condition and that the bike has quality tyres such as Michelin.
  6. Have a look at the paint and seat of the used motorcycles for sale. Look out for any seat tears, rust or scratches. While the appearances of scratches may not be a deal breaker, this will help you negotiate with the owner or dealership for a better price.
  7. Verify the engine displacement (cc) of the motorcycle so that you get the right amount of power for your needs
  8. Look out for any modifications carried out on the motorbike, stolen motorbikes are often altered to appear different from how they were originally – and you definitely do not want to purchase a stolen motorcycle
  9. Research the market price of the second hand motorcycle you are buying, if it is being sold at a price significantly below its market price, this should raise a few alarm bells
  10. Lastly, make sure you carry out research on the price of replacement parts for the used bikes you are interested in.

Download the Auto Mart Android App and start looking for your dream bike today!

Does your bike match your personality?

The beauty of motorbikes is that there is a motorbike for every personality type. There are many different types of used motorcycles that have different makeups for different purposes, tastes, and styles.


Cruisers – For the laid back-rider looking for comfort while taking a leisurely weekend drive, there is the cruiser motorbike to suit your needs. At low to moderate speeds, cruisers are pretty comfortable, but riding for a long period of time can be tiresome when you’re pulling back on the handlebars to resist the force of the wind. Cruisers are not the bike for you if you imagine yourself turning at extreme angles at high speeds since they sit so low to the ground, but are good for an enjoyable drive moving along with traffic.

Street Bikes – If you would consider yourself to be a speed junkie, looking for a fast motorbike to beat the morning traffic and get you to work in record time, you may want to purchase something as nimble as a street bike. Street bikes are loud, fast, and sporty. You may have seen them zipping in and out of lanes on the highway. Street bikes will definitely satisfy any motorcycle rider’s need for speed.

street bikes and motorcycles

Tourers – If on the other hand you are more of someone who wants to take in the views looking for a motorcycle to help you truly experience the beauty of the South African landscape, you may want to settle for a tourer as it is built for comfortable long distance travelling. Tourers are great for those who want to relax and enjoy the road.

Roadster – For the practical rider looking for either a beginner motorcycle or motorbike that is versatile and can ride on a number of terrains a roadster can be a very enjoyable option. These motorbikes are known for their versatility, generally low prices and very reliable engines and bodies, and can be a great first bike if you aren’t sure if you’re ready for the speed of a street bike or the power of a cruiser.


Making the decision to foray into the world of used motorbikes is an exciting one. Follow these tips and be sure to get the right bike, at the right price, for you!

Ready to start looking at used motorcycles for sale? Check out the awesome used bikes on Auto Mart and find your dream ride at the right price.

Top tips and checks when buying used motorcycles
Article Name
Top tips and checks when buying used motorcycles
Finally taking the plunge and finding used motorcycles for sale? We highlight some of the top tips and checks when it comes to buying used motorcycles.
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Auto Mart
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5 Responses

  1. Brynne Jones says:

    It was helpful that you suggested driving the bike to test it before you purchase it. I liked that you included hiring a mechanic to make sure that the bike is in good condition. My brother has been wanting to purchase a used motorcycle to ride to work. I’ll be sure to inform him of these tips!

  2. Linkon says:

    The bearings, spokes and true-ness need to be checked on both wheels as does the suspension. For the front suspension ensure that it is correctly aligned in the yokes and examine the fork seals. The rear suspension should be checked for leaks as well as wear and signs of seizure.

  3. Nelson Tshepo Mathebula says:

    Thank you, that really helped

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