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Used Motorcycle Buying Guide

Are you thinking of getting a used bike and can’t completely decide? I absolutely assure it is worth it and there are plenty of reasons for it:

Purchasing a used motorcycle can be an exciting and cost-effective way to fulfill your two-wheeled dreams. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a beginner, buying a used motorcycle requires careful consideration and research to ensure you make the right choice. With a plethora of options available in the market, it’s crucial to arm yourself with knowledge before diving into the purchase. In this used motorcycle buying guide, I’ll explore essential factors to consider, steps to follow, and tips to make an informed decision.

Pros and Cons of buying used motorcycle vs old

Where to find used motorcycles?

There are several popular websites where you can find used motorcycles for sale. Here are some of the most commonly used platforms:

CycleTrader ( CycleTrader is one of the largest online marketplaces for motorcycles. It offers a wide selection of new and used motorcycles from dealers and private sellers across the United States.

Craigslist ( Craigslist is a classified advertisement website where you can find a variety of items, including used motorcycles. You can search for motorcycles in your local area or expand your search to other regions.

eBay Motors ( eBay Motors is an online auction and marketplace specifically dedicated to vehicles, including motorcycles. You can browse through a wide range of motorcycles listed by private sellers and dealers.

Facebook Marketplace ( Facebook Marketplace is a popular platform for buying and selling various items, including motorcycles. You can filter your search by location, price, and other criteria to find used motorcycles near you.

Facebook Groups: there are several groups uniting thousands of people wishing to sell/buy used motorcycles. You can join these groups and find anything you may wish regarding used motorcycles, including a piece of advice from fellow riders. Some of the largest groups of used motorcycle buy/sales are:

Twitter: Buy Used Motorcycles:; UsedMotorcycle&PowersportsParts : ; Vertu Motorcycles : ( provides listings for new and used motorcycles across the United States. It allows you to search by make, model, location, and price range.

CycleSoup ( CycleSoup is an online classifieds platform that specializes in motorcycles. You can search for used motorcycles by location, make, model, and price.

Local dealerships: Check the websites of local motorcycle dealerships in your area. They often have a section for used motorcycles available for sale. Visiting dealerships in person can also give you the opportunity to see the bikes firsthand and take them for a test ride.

Is it worth buying a crashed used motorcycle?

First, assess the extent of the damage to the motorcycle. Minor cosmetic damage may not affect the overall performance, but structural damage can compromise the safety and handling of the bike. Be sure to thoroughly inspect the motorcycle or have a qualified mechanic do it for you to determine the full extent of the repairs required.

Secondly, keep in mind that safety should be a top priority when considering a crashed motorcycle. Some repairs may be straightforward, but others could involve critical components like the frame, suspension, or engine, which require expert knowledge and precision to fix correctly. Make sure you are confident in your ability to restore the bike to a safe and roadworthy condition. At the same time, it is essential to check your local regulations regarding buying and registering a crashed motorcycle. Some jurisdictions may have specific requirements or inspections for rebuilt or salvage vehicles. Ensure that you can legally and feasibly make the necessary repairs and obtain the appropriate documentation to use the motorcycle on public roads.

On the other hand, restoring a crashed motorcycle can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive process. Consider whether you have the skills, tools, and patience required to undertake the repairs. Additionally, obtaining the necessary replacement parts and coordinating repairs may take longer than expected, resulting in additional costs and delays.

Ultimately, buying a crashed used motorcycle can be a viable option if you have the expertise, resources, and time to restore it safely. However, if you lack the necessary skills or are uncertain about the true extent of the damage, it may be wiser to invest in a motorcycle in better condition to ensure your safety and avoid potential headaches.

Lower PricePotential Hidden Damage
Negotiating PowerDifficulty in Obtaining Financing
Customization Options Higher Insurance Costs
Salvage ValueComplicated Repairs
Learning OpportunityReduced Resale Value

Let’s go into more detail about each point:


  1. Lower Price: Crashed motorcycles are typically priced lower than their undamaged counterparts, allowing for potential cost savings.
  2. Negotiating Power: Since crashed motorcycles have existing damage, buyers have more room for negotiation to secure a better deal.
  3. Customization Options: If you enjoy customizing motorcycles, buying a crashed one can provide a blank canvas for modifications and personalization.
  4. Salvage Value: Certain parts of a crashed motorcycle may still be salvageable and usable for repairs or for selling as spare parts.
  5. Learning Opportunity: Purchasing a crashed motorcycle can be a valuable learning experience for individuals interested in motorcycle repair and maintenance.


  1. Potential Hidden Damage: Crashed motorcycles may have underlying damage that is not immediately visible, which can lead to unexpected repair costs down the line.
  2. Difficulty in Obtaining Financing: Some lenders may be hesitant to provide financing for a crashed motorcycle due to the increased risk associated with its condition.
  3. Higher Insurance Costs: Insurance premiums for a crashed motorcycle are likely to be higher due to the increased likelihood of future claims.
  4. Complicated Repairs: Repairing a crashed motorcycle can be more challenging and time-consuming, especially if the damage is extensive or affects critical components.
  5. Reduced Resale Value: When you decide to sell a crashed motorcycle, its resale value will likely be lower compared to an undamaged bike, as potential buyers may be wary of its history and condition.

It’s important to thoroughly assess the extent of the damage and consider the associated costs before making a decision to purchase a crashed motorcycle. Consulting with a trusted mechanic or expert can provide valuable insights to help you make an informed choice.

Where to buy crashed used motorcycles?

Finding crashed used motorcycles can be a challenging task, as they are not typically listed on conventional online marketplaces or dealerships. However, there are a few potential avenues you can explore to find such motorcycles:

  1. Online Auctions and Salvage Yards: Websites like CrashedToys (, Copart (, and Insurance Auto Auctions ( specialize in selling salvage vehicles, including motorcycles. These platforms often have listings for motorcycles that have been damaged, crashed, or declared as salvage.
  2. Online Classifieds: While it may not be as common, you can occasionally find crashed motorcycles listed on online classified websites such as Craigslist ( or local classifieds websites. It’s worth regularly checking these platforms for any potential listings.
  3. Local Salvage Yards and Scrap Dealers: Visiting local salvage yards or scrap dealers that deal with vehicles can be another option. They may have crashed motorcycles or know of any available locally. It’s advisable to call ahead and inquire about their inventory before visiting.
  4. Online Motorcycle Forums and Groups: Participating in motorcycle-specific online forums or groups can help you connect with other enthusiasts who may know about crashed motorcycles for sale. Websites like Reddit ( have dedicated motorcycle communities where you can seek advice or inquire about any available crashed bikes. You can also try the Facebook or Twitter groups listed above. 
  5. Networking and Word of Mouth: Spread the word among your friends, fellow riders, or mechanics that you’re interested in purchasing a crashed motorcycle. They might come across one or know someone who does. Networking within the motorcycle community can sometimes yield fruitful leads.

Repairing an old motorcycle can be quite fun. Especially if you find a good piece of vintage motorcycle to restore and give a new life. On the pages and groups mentioned above you can also find motorcycle spare parts to start your journey.

Used Motorcycle Buying Guide – What to consider

  • Determine Your Needs: Before starting your search, it’s essential to determine your riding needs and preferences. Consider the type of motorcycle that suits your style: cruiser, sportbike, dual-sport, or touring. Think about the intended use of the bike, whether it’s for commuting, long-distance touring, off-roading, or track racing. Understanding your requirements will help narrow down your options and make the selection process easier.
  • Set a Budget: One of the most critical aspects of buying a used motorcycle is setting a budget. Determine how much you’re willing to spend on the bike, keeping in mind additional costs such as insurance, registration, and maintenance. Research the market to get an idea of the average prices for the type of motorcycle you’re interested in. Setting a budget will help you focus your search on motorcycles within your price range and avoid overspending.
  • Research: Once you have a clear idea of your needs and budget, it’s time to start researching the specific models you’re interested in. Look for reviews, ratings, and reliability information about the motorcycles you’re considering. Check online forums, motorcycle enthusiast websites, and trusted publications for insights from owners and experts. Pay attention to common issues, recalls, or any known problems associated with the models you’re considering.
  • Find a Reputable Seller: Choosing a reliable seller is crucial when buying a used motorcycle. You have several options, including private sellers, dealerships, and online marketplaces. Private sellers may offer lower prices but may lack the guarantees and warranties provided by dealerships. Dealerships, on the other hand, may offer certified pre-owned motorcycles with additional benefits. Whichever option you choose, research the reputation of the seller and read customer reviews to ensure they have a track record of fair dealings.
  • Inspect the Motorcycle: When you find a potential motorcycle, it’s time for a thorough inspection. If you’re not confident in your mechanical abilities, consider bringing along a knowledgeable friend or a professional mechanic to inspect the bike. Check the overall condition of the motorcycle, including the bodywork, tires, brakes, and suspension. Look for signs of damage, rust, leaks, or any visible issues. Test the lights, indicators, and all electrical components to ensure they are working properly. Don’t forget to check the mileage, service history, and any modifications made to the bike.

It is advisable to check the bike while it’s cold. Concealing starting and running issues on a stolen motorcycle is remarkably effortless. To ensure that the motorcycle is in proper condition, touch the engine cylinders and exhaust pipes to confirm that the bike is completely cool. If the seller encounters difficulty in starting the bike or if it produces a disturbing noise resembling a blender filled with rocks during the initial minute of operation, it is likely that you will encounter some issues with the motorcycle.

Here’s a checklist for motorcycle technical inspection of the things you should look at when buying a used motorcycle: 

  • Overall Appearance
  • Electronics
  • Frame 
  • Exhaust
  • Suspension
  • Breaks 
  • Chain
  • Clutch
  • Fuel Tank
  • Tires and Wheels 
  • Oil leakage
  • Test Ride: Before finalizing the purchase, always request a test ride. Riding the motorcycle will give you a feel for its performance, handling, and overall comfort. Pay attention to how the engine sounds and performs, the responsiveness of the brakes, and the smoothness of the transmission. Evaluate the bike’s ergonomics to ensure it suits your riding style and body type. During the test ride, be cautious and follow all traffic laws to ensure your safety and the safety of others.
  • Check the Legalities: Ensure that all necessary legal documentation is in order. Ask for the motorcycle’s title, registration, and any maintenance records available. 

Verify that the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) on the bike matches the paperwork. Personally verify the identification numbers to ensure they haven’t been altered. In case you’re considering motorcycles that are frequently targeted by thieves, such as Harley-Davidsons, it might be wise to carry pictures of factory-stamped numbers to compare them, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the appearance of tampered numbers. Once you’ve visually inspected that, confirm that the numbers on the title match those on the motorcycle’s headstock. I have personally experienced mistakes and corrections related to title documentation. While it’s possible to profit from title errors if you can navigate through the local motor vehicle bureaucracy, for the majority of individuals who are not involved in the business of selling vehicles, inconsistencies in title documents can be a source of frustration. It is advisable to avoid such situations.

Research your local regulations regarding the transfer of ownership, taxes, and insurance requirements. It’s always advisable to consult with your local motor vehicle department to ensure you follow all legal procedures.

  • Negotiate and Consider Additional Costs: When it comes to buying a used motorcycle, negotiating the price is often expected. Use the information you gathered during your research to negotiate a fair deal. Be prepared to walk away if the seller is unwilling to meet your price or address any concerns you may have. Additionally, consider additional costs such as insurance, registration fees, and any required repairs or maintenance that may arise after the purchase. Factor in these costs when finalizing your budget.
  • Get a Professional Inspection: If you’re unsure about the condition of the motorcycle or want an expert opinion, consider getting a professional inspection. Motorcycle mechanics or inspection services can provide a comprehensive assessment of the bike’s mechanical and structural condition. Although this will incur an additional cost, it can provide peace of mind and potentially save you from expensive repairs down the road.
  • Consider the Seller’s Reputation and Return Policy: Finally, consider the reputation of the seller and their return policy. If you’re buying from a dealership, inquire about their warranty or return options. Some dealerships offer limited warranties on used motorcycles, providing an added layer of protection. With private sellers, it’s generally a “buyer beware” situation, so thoroughly inspect the motorcycle and be cautious before making the final decision.

How to check a used motorcycle for crash damage?


  • Familiarize yourself with how the bike should look in its standard condition to identify any inconsistencies.
  • Examine the engine casings for scuffs or damage.
  • Inspect the pegs and pedals for wear marks, especially if they appear excessively worn or missing.
  • Pay attention to the tires’ condition. If they are brand new but the tires are heavily worn, question why.
  • Look for any scuffs or damage on the exhaust, as it could indicate a collision.
  • Check the swingarm for signs of damage or replacement parts, as it is an expensive component to replace.
  • Examine the area behind the exhaust on the swingarm for potential marks, which could suggest an impact.
  • Check for scuffs or damage to the pillion pegs, which could indicate a potential accident. 


  • Check the radiator and ensure it looks straight, as any misalignment could indicate an issue.
  • Look for any damage on the radiator, as it could be costly to repair and a sign of a problem.
  • Inspect the radiator for new coolant pipes or Jubilee clips, which could suggest previous damage and replacements.
  • Consider the age of the bike and expect some wear and dirt, but be cautious if certain parts look brand new.
  • Examine the fairings for damage and ensure they are aligned correctly.
  • For fully faired bikes, check the panel gaps to see if they are even throughout, as uneven gaps could indicate crash damage or issues with fairing brackets.
  • Look behind the panels without pulling them apart and search for codes or handwriting, which could indicate marked parts from a scrapyard or manufacturer’s codes.
  • Be wary of polished frames, as it could be an attempt to hide repairs or damage.
  • Frame protectors, such as tank protectors or protective covers, may indicate an attempt to conceal damage, so scrutinize them closely.
  • Look for any exposed areas with marks or scuffs, especially on fully-faired bikes.


  • Look for any exposed areas with marks or scuffs, especially on fully-faired bikes.
  • Check if the top fairing is aligned properly, as misalignment could indicate a previous crash or poor rebuild.
  • Examine the handlebar ends, levers, and mirror ends for scuffs or deep scratches, which could suggest a collision.
  • Question why certain parts like bar ends, mirrors, or levers are new on an older bike.
  • Ensure the handlebars look straight and the bike feels aligned when sitting on it.
  • Be aware of asymmetrical parts on a bike that may appear misaligned, and double-check for any signs of damage or crashes.
  • Consider if the tank shows any specific issues or damage, although the sentence cuts off before further details are provided.

There are some additional points you should check when buying a used motorcycle: 

  • Date of production of tires inscribed on the tires – they should not be older than 4 years. 
  • Damage on points of contact at the steering column that prevents the bars from steering.
  • Check forks for oil leaks.

Finally some advice from users on the used motorcycle buying guide:

Used Motorcycle Buying Guide

Used Motorcycle Buying Guide

Used Motorcycle Buying Guide

Used Motorcycle Buying Guide

Used Motorcycle Buying Guide


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