When buying a second-hand motorcycle, you must spend a good time checking its condition yourself; looking at a few key indicators, you will be able to know the health of the motorcycle and the care and maintenance that it has.
The propeller is the most delicate part and where the most significant number of problems can be hidden. And we effectively say "hide" because many of them will be inside, and you may not see them, and there you will have to trust your touch when trying it.
Take a good look at the exterior that there are no possible oil leaks, screws in bad condition, or any blow from falls. Also, think that a dirty engine can hide damage, keep that in mind. If the motorcycle has liquid cooling, pay special attention to all the connections if you discover any leaks.
The Chassis and Swingarm
It is the skeleton of the bike, so pay close attention to this. Pay particular attention to the welding points, that there are no cracks or rusted areas. Look for possible blows or rectified tubes; they are always symptoms of a fall or some dubious quality repair. If the frame is in poor condition and you think it will need to go through the workshop, the cost may not be worth it. Also, pay special attention to the swingarm and look for play in the rear wheel.
Chain and Transmission Kit
Please find out how many kilometres it has and when it was last replaced if there is corrosion if it shows lack of lubrication and the level of wear of the teeth. If you see that it is in poor condition and that it is necessary to replace it, you can always consider it when negotiating the motorcycle price.
Brakes and Tires
Even before testing the bike, you will be able to know the state of its brakes by taking a quick look. The first thing is to look at the level of wear of the pads, in case they need to be replaced soon. The next thing will be to look at the discs, run your finger over their surface to check that there are no grooves and that the touch is smooth and uniform.
Since you have ducked down, take a look at the tires, that they do not have bumps or dents, and if they are made of spokes, make sure that they are all and stay correctly tensioned. What less.?
Take a look at the suspensions, especially the fork. See if it shows any oil leakage from the seals, and make sure the bars do not have black rings. Load weight on it to see how it moves, if it sinks, and returns to its place without bumps or hesitation.
Take a look at the pattern, if you need to change the tires soon, and the type of wear. If you are going to have to invest in it, it is always a good reason to negotiate the motorcycle price. If it is a sports bike, it is convenient that you pay particular attention; some more worn tires on the flanks in the centre usually indicate that it has been used in the circuit, and many times it is generally hidden.
The instrument cluster
In addition to the price, the number of kilometres is the first thing you have discussed with the seller. Just in case, it never hurts to spend a few minutes to check that it corresponds to what was announced. Manipulating them is illegal, but who knows?
Grips, Levers, Switches and Counterweights
Here you will find good indicators about the condition of the motorcycle. The wear of the grips will give us an idea about whether the mileage shown on the instrument panel is actual or not, and the counterweights and the levers about whether the motorcycle has suffered a fall since it is the first thing that always touches the ground. While you're there, check that the lights, turn signals, and other switches are all working correctly.
Check that the liquids have the correct levels. Please start with the brake, both front and rear, that their level is not low and that they do not show leaks, and do the same with the clutch in case of being hydraulic.
Also, take into account the engine oil level. If you see that it is deficient, its owner does not take care of his motorcycle too much, or that the last change was not "last month", as they may have been able to tell you.
Battery and electrical system
Another of the critical points of the motorcycle is the electrical system; if the bike is years old, it is not uncommon for you to find some other damage. Take a look at the battery, which is probably under the seat, and check the condition of the terminals, that there is no corrosion or signs of deterioration.
The exhaust pipe and the silencer
Pay attention to possible corrosion points, both in the manifolds and exhaust and in the silencer. That there are neither pits nor holes. If the silencer is not the original, ask why it was changed; sometimes, it is a symptom of having suffered a fall. Pay attention and look at its sound; if you see that something vibrates, it may be because it has a loose piece inside. And beware, a non-original silencer must be accompanied by its corresponding homologation form.
It is a case similar to that of the grips; if they tell you that the motorcycle has few kilometres and the rubber of the stirrups are very worn, then something does not add up. The buzzers can also count many things, a little scraped buzzers may be average due to the inclination in a curve, but excessively scraped ones may be hiding a fall or drag.