If you are setting out to buy a secondhand motorbike for the very first time, it can seem really intimidating. But the process isn’t as complicated as it looks to be, however, caution should be exercised before proceeding or you could end up spending hard-earned money on a bad deal.

Figure out what you want

Identify what it is you want from a bike and how much you have to spend. That way you can dive into the many online selling platforms with a bit of intent – sifting through hundreds of potential deals becomes slightly easier. Chalk out a budget and stick to it, without getting carried away. Zero in on the style of bike or bikes that you're looking for; wheel size, suspension travel, frame material etc. While looking for bikes, opt for the newest model year bike possible – technology such as Boost spacing, metric shock sizing and so on is important for resale value, although slightly out-dated bikes cost less.


Do you know where to look?

There are loads of bike-specific sites where you can find second-hand bikes at great prices and good condition so you don't have to buy an expensive new bike

Narrowing down the best ads


By knowing how to identify a legitimate ad from a phony one and a potentially hidden bargain from a no-hoper, you set yourself on track to securing a great deal. Here are a few points to remember:

  • Always check if the ad has a phone number. If yes, send the seller a message or call them straight away and ask as many questions about the bike and its history as possible. If they can’t answer your queries, the bike might be stolen or the entire thing might be a scam.
  • If the phone number is missing, get in touch with the seller via message. Have a list of detailed questions ready – where the bike had been bought, where it has been ridden, and so on. If their answers are incoherent, it is best to steer clear.
  • A bad photo and/or description don’t necessarily mean you should avoid them. On the contrary, sometimes people don’t have time to take good photos and write a decent overview, so the engagement and interest is low. That means you could be looking at a bargain. Get in contact straight away for more images and those prepared questions.

Striking a deal


After you have shortlisted the bikes that have captured your interest and are satisfied with the answers, it is time to decide on the price. It is advisable to start with a low offer at first, as there are chances the seller has listed the bike at a higher price than they are expecting. If possible, meet up with the seller – it gives you a clearer insight regarding their reliability. Even if you don’t intend to pick the bike up personally, ask if it can be done – an affirmative reply is a positive sign for sure.


Time perform checks

Once you have selected the bike and agreed to meet the seller, it is time to check the bike thoroughly to ensure you are getting your money’s worth. Even if you aren’t there to check the bike in person, you can still ask for photos of these key areas.

  • Severely worn tires, brake pads down to the metal and rubber-less grips are probably a sign to stay away.
  • Tilt the bike upside down to check all welds and look for severe dents, particularly around the bottom bracket.
  • Don’t forget to check the suspension for obvious damage to the fork stanchions and shock shaft – scratches and scrapes are bad news for longevity.
  • Ensure there are no leaks from the brakes, that they engage well and don’t stick – if they do, it is a sign of poor-to-zero maintenance. Check the rotors for scoring, which is a sign that the pads are for the bin and that the bike probably hasn't been that well looked after.


Purchasing the bike

If you intend to buy from afar and get the bike delivered, make sure you consider the cost of postage and/or import taxes when looking at pricing. Avoid any non-protected bank transfers unless you already have the bike in your hands (meaning you are actually with the seller). The likes of PayPal offer good buyer protection for online transactions.  If you haven’t met up and you paid online, what happens if your bike never shows up? As long as you have paid through a secure service then you can raise a dispute against the seller. Keep all correspondences and provide everything – emails, text messages, notes from phone calls – to the payment platform (i.e. PayPal) when you do so.






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