How to bag a minter and not a munter

O O Here are the things you should look for when pur­chas­ing a bike pri­vately

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

1 Take your pick

There are thou­sands of used ma­chines on the mar­ket – in an av­er­age week there are more than 12,000 to be found across our mc­n­bikesfor­sale.com web­site and also in the tra­di­tional clas­si­fied pages in the pa­per. Do your home­work be­fore set­tling on a par­tic­u­lar bike – see what sort of prices ma­chines are go­ing for and re­search any com­mon is­sues you need to quiz the owner about when you get in con­tact.

2 Check the his­tory

Make con­tact with the seller and ask them any ques­tions that you need clar­i­fi­ca­tion on. If you still find the bike at­trac­tive af­ter the ini­tial chat, ask for the bike’s reg num­ber then go on­line and search for ‘MCN bike check’. This ser­vice costs as lit­tle as £5.33 and checks the bike’s his­tory for past in­sur­ance claims and out­stand­ing fi­nance, then re­ports back to you in­stantly. All you have to do is en­ter the reg num­ber.

3 Check the mileage

This is an­other check that has been made pos­si­ble by us­ing an on­line data­base. It checks the bike’s cur­rent MOT sta­tus, and also its MOT his­tory – list­ing things like ad­vi­sories and any fails. This has the added ben­e­fit of show­ing the ve­hi­cle’s recorded mileage for ev­ery year it’s been tested. It’s a free ser­vice and is on­line only: www. gov.uk/check-mot-sta­tus

4 Do the num­bers match?

Ar­range to view the bike, ideally at the reg­is­tered keeper’s ad­dress. Have a look over the bike and check the Ve­hi­cle Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Num­ber ( VIN). This is usu­ally a multi-digit code stamped on or near the head­stock, or fixed to a metal plaque on the frame. The num­bers should look neat and un­tam­pered with, and should match the V5.

6 In­ves­ti­gate sus­pi­cious ar­eas

A sticker can cover up a scratch or a low-speed spill – be sus­pi­cious of any de­cals that could be hid­ing scuffs. Ask the owner if it’s there for any par­tic­u­lar rea­son, or see if they’re will­ing to peel it off. Also look around for signs of dam­age, han­dle­bar ends, footrests and scuffed mir­rors etc.

8 Take a closer look

Check the chain and sprock­ets for wear and cor­rect ad­just­ment. Like the con­di­tion of the tyres, this can give you an in­di­ca­tion as to how the bike has been looked af­ter. An­other thing to check for is oil leaks; try and es­tab­lish where the bike is usu­ally stored then check for any stains on the floor which would war­rant fur­ther investigation. Give the bike a good look over – take your time and al­ways try and view in day­light.

5 Ser­vic­ing investigation

Next check the ser­vice his­tory. On higher mileage bikes ma­jor ser­vices need to be done by a fran­chised dealer or a rep­utable in­de­pen­dent ser­vice cen­tre. Do some re­search be­fore­hand and make sure you know when any costly ma­jor ser­vices are lurk­ing on the hori­zon – they give you some­thing to hag­gle about.

7 Giv­ing you ex­tra

Buy­ing a bike with aftermarket parts al­ready fit­ted can be a way of sav­ing your­self some money, as ex­pen­sive ac­ces­sories don’t re­ally have that much of an ef­fect on a used bike’s over­all price. With items like ex­hausts, make sure they are le­gal and able to pass MOT. And ask about whether the parts have been pro­fes­sion­ally fit­ted.

9 Feel the heat

Feel the en­gine cases for warmth. Ideally the bike should be stone cold, as a pre-warmed bike could be mask­ing an en­gine prob­lem or start­ing is­sue. A four-stroke en­gine in good or­der shouldn’t smoke when be­ing started from cold, and there should be no rat­tling or ex­ces­sive me­chan­i­cal noise. Once warm, check the tem­per­a­ture gauge is func­tion­ing cor­rectly.

Proper checks made, it’s time to seal the deal

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