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Buying a second hand bike

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by James_Syd, Jul 17, 2009.

  1. Hi all,

    Obviously new here. Been reading through a number of posts for a couple of weeks trying to get myself informed as I am new to riding. I got my L's over a month ago (haven't ridden since which is killing me) and have recently purchased all my gear. Now to buy a bike....

    My questions relate to actually going to see someone selling a bike second hand:

    1. Am I to expect to be able to test ride the bike?
    2. Once I tell the seller I am on my L's are they likely to not allow me to test ride the bike?

    The reason I ask is that my experience on a bike consists only of the two day pre-learner course and limited time on a scooter whilst on holidays years ago. Even though I am new to riding with limited experience I think I would be fine test riding a bike, however in doing this I would be riding on unfamiliar roads (where ever the seller lives) and most likely contending with traffic.

    What are your experiences in purchasing a second hand bike for the first time? And also what do you suggest I should do?

    Any feedback will be greatly appreciated, thanks in advance.
  2. I wouldn't let you test ride my bike, way too much risk.

    What would a test ride really tell you anyway? If you have little experience of bikes then you have nothing to compare to and not much knowledge of what you are looking out for anyway.
  3. +1. However, there is the odd dealer who will let you test ride a used bike. That's definitely the exception rather than the norm.

    As for suggesting what to do.... If you know an experienced rider then there's a chance they'll be able to test ride the bike. If you don't know anyone then possibly a nearby friendly Netrider will check out the bike to see if its ok. Another alternative is to get it checked by a reasonable bike mechanic. Get the bike checked if you're not buying from a reputable dealer. A reputable dealer won't screw you over because they know its not worth it. You'll also pay a little more than getting the same bike privately. Just accept that as the way things go if you get one from a dealer.
  4. Valid points in relation to not being able to compare and actual knowledge of what to look for.
    However remembering I have only rode on the bike provided at the pre-learner course (CB250) and my test ride will show me if I actually feel comfortable on the bike potentially being purchased, I don't particularly want to purchase a bike because another experienced rider says its a good bike, then jump on it and ride and find that I am not comfortable on it.
    I was planning on getting it checked by a mechanic but then that involves getting the bike to the mechanic... and based on what you are saying if a seller doesn't let me ride it how would I get it to the mechanic? Would the seller really be willing to go out of their way on their time to get their own bike checked for someone who they are not even sure will end up buying it?

    I have felt comfortable until now with this whole experience, i.e. not knowing about the gear and looking around and researching for 3-4 months to eventually purchasing gear that I am happy with and at prices I think are good. But in now having everything I am very reluctant to ring up a seller and go and look at their bike due to the reasons previously outlined. I might just have to bite the bullet and go and see a few then decide on what I like and take someone with me to inspect them further.
  5. As far as working out if a bike will be comfortable for you, you can do that by just sitting on it for a while. If you take it out on the road you are unlikely to really notice what the bike is like as you will be concentrating on actually riding on the road.

    It is a good idea to get the bike checked out mechanically if buying from a private seller but it does depend on the state of the bike and its value.

    Remember this is your first bike, you are going to like it a lot until you test ride something better.

  6. Hey James

    As the others have said, I wouldn't expect to be able to have a test ride but some sellers may let you. I let an L plater take my GS for a spin but we were in a real quiet area and he had a bit more experience than you.

    I think once you've decided on a bike be prepared to spend some money on a proper inspection, its well worth it.
  7. What about these guys: motorcycleinspectionservices
    They have a website but unfortunately I can't put up the link until I hit 5 posts. lol

    Any thoughts on if its worth the $200 odd cost? Originally I was thinking of going to see a bike and just visually inspecting it, then getting the guys above to go and look at it and if the report comes back good to purchase it. But again with this scenario I don't ride it.
    I have spoken to the bike shop where I purchased my boots and gloves and they said they would be happy to inspect it, however am I going to be lucky enough to find a bike for sale that is close to their shop.. probably not.
  8. Most people will be tentative to give you a ride but bringing a mate is definitely a good idea and definitely get the bike checked out! It can save an infinite amount of hassles!

    If you're not too far from the sutherland shire area, I don't mind tagging along to prospective purchases, just drop me a PM if ur interested.
  9. I got to test ride 5 bikes before I made my choice! All privately, mind you, apart from an across in Sydney. Left my licence details with them and brought a mate who knew more than me. If you can't get anyone to help, get a mechanic to give it a look over.

    Congrats by the way! Welcome to the forum!

  10. Once I got used to the CB250 when I did my Ls (the first time around) I thought, "OK, this is what its like to ride a bike." I then thought that I wouldn't need anything better and something like a CB250 would do until I got off my restrictions...... then I got a short test ride on a used VTR. It was different - more comfortable, more go and just better everything. Basically, nearly everything is going to be better than the CB250 so not having ridden anything else isn't really going to matter (with the exception of getting on a CB250RR, Fazer or ZX2R if you're inclined to go for one of them. They're a lot different to nakeds in terms of riding position and I wouldn't recommend buying one of them without being on it for at least a little while). I bought a new VTR a couple of weeks after that.

    I bought my current bike without even having sat on it. I knew it'd be ok from past experience. I won't buy a bike in future without riding it because I'll be a bit more fussy with what I want. Basically, until I got some km behind me, I didn't know any better or want anything more.

    In short, test ride or sit on it for a while if you can but its not the end of the world if you don't test ride a bike when you're starting off, particularly if you're getting a naked.
  11. I am looking at a cbr250rr, I have sat on a few and realised the riding position was different, however I still feel comfortable.

    Anyone know about the inspection guys I listed earlier? Perhaps they are no longer in business, I just found it on the net.
  12. http://www.motorcycleinspectionservices.com.au

    The website's a weird java thing - hope you're a speed reader.

    I'd pay $200 for a quality inspection especially as a new rider. If it picks up any defects you can avoid the bike or bargain them down to compensate- either way it'll save you money.

    What about ringing your local bike shop and asking or see if a local netrider might be willing to have a look for a case of beer?
  13. Couldn't agree more, & it also depends on your budget! Much like buying a new (2nd hand) car the cheaper it is the more inherrant prob's it will have. It's important to have an experienced guy/gal with you as some things may seem minor but will end up big & something big may end up a simple repair. Check it ALL out & the replies have all been in the right vane.

    Good luck & happy safe riding :grin: :grin: :grin:
  14. Appreciate all the feedback everyone, big thanks. I have been burned with a second hand car, so will definately get the bike inspected. I will let you know how I go and hopefully get to meet a few of you in the Sydney area once I get a lot more riding experience.
  15. I've used motorcycleinspectionservices a while back had a guy called paul I think its just him running it.. haha. I think it was Paul.. ANYWAY. He's very nice, he'll allow you to be there while he inspects and i did. He taught me alot very nice to deal with.

    Basically he runs though a check list (quite thorough) and he'll go through eveyrthing in detail and write it all down so he can compile a report for you later on. He knows his stuff.

    He was talking to me while judging the bike i had him inspect and he was telling me all these signs of the bike being tracked, from fiddling with stock suspension to the appearance of tyre ware

    highly recommended.
  16. i wouldnt expect everyone to give you a test ride, but as long as the bike moves you wouldnt be able to tell much....

    if u cant afford to get someone(professional) to look at it, bring someone who knows their bike stuff and can ride

    or go to articles <--------- and find the test for buying a new bike. thata help you alot.

    get a mate and pretend to inspect his bike.

    get fimilar with the model of bike you wana get, so you wont be, wheres this part, wheres that part, whats this do?? is this meant to be liek that? etc
  17. I took a mate with me when I was buying my bike, and it was seriously the best thing, I would definitely recommend it if possible.

    I had been looking at bikes for a few weeks - on my own usually, and felt a bit vulnerable sometimes as I was a girl looking to buy her first bike. So when I finally found one I was quite keen on, I asked the owner if I could come back with a friend to have another look. My mate is very knowledgeable, he has been riding bikes for about 16 years and really knew what he was looking at.

    The best thing was that as he went through and really thoroughly checked the bike for me, he was teaching me what to look for as he went, and also pointing out all the things that were damaged or not right or would need fixing - in front of the guy who owned the bike. It got me about a grand off the asking price which was also wicked :)

    I also used the guide given in the link above and read up on what I should be looking for, so that was really helpful too.