How to bag a minter and not a munter
O O Here are the things you should look for when purchasing a bike privately
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.