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close up motorcycleBuying any kind of used vehicle has its risks. Whether this is your first motorcycle purchase or your fourth, consider these simple questions and follow this guide to make sure the motorcycle you're buying is working in the way you expect.

Ask the Seller Questions

You need to find out as much about the bike as possible before you decide to buy it. During your initial phone call or email conversation, ask the seller these questions:

  • Was the motorcycle new when you bought it?
  • Have you ever dropped the bike or been in an accident with it?
  • Why are you selling the bike?
  • How often do you ride, and what type of riding do you do?

These questions will give you an idea of how the motorcycle was maintained and its current condition.

Inspect the Bike

The next step is to actually see the bike and thoroughly inspect it. This will help you find any potential problems, while also giving you a sense of how the motorcycle was cared for. If you're uncomfortable doing it yourself, ask a knowledgeable friend to accompany you, or get an inspection from an accredited motorcycle repair shop.

Test Ride the Motorcycle

The seller should be willing to let you take the motorcycle out for a test ride. So be sure to bring the right gear for the ride, including your bike license.

The first thing to inspect is the brakes. They shouldn't pulsate, but be smooth and even. If they grab forcefully, it could be a sign of warped disks.  Next, you'll want to test the gears. The gears shouldn't slip or feel choppy when you accelerate. If they do, there could be something wrong with the transmission.

Then, on a clean stretch of open road weave slightly to the left and right. The bike should respond easily without too much pressure. Also, keep your ear open for any unusual noises. This includes sounds coming from the engine, rattling or creaking suspension or any excessive vibrations. If you hear something that doesn't sound right, ask the seller about it. The bike might just make a unique sound that doesn't indicate a problem.


If you decide to purchase the bike, make sure to sign a Bill of Sale covering all the details you discussed with the seller. You'll now be the new owner of the motorcycle. The last step before you take your motorcycle on an adventure is to insure the bike before you ride it.

Protect your new-to-you ride. Call Auto Insurance Express at (417) 206-3733 for more information on Joplin motorcycle insurance.
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