Inspect Before You Buy

Inspect Before You Buy


What you see here are the bearings and bushings from a motorcycle’s rear suspension linkage. As you see, everything is rusted and the needle bearings are pretty much bearings in name only. Years of hard use and no care has made them this way.

When the new owner of this bike bought it they were told that they only need to have the rear wheel bearings replaced. That is why they brought it to our shop.

On immediate inspection it was obvious that more work was needed. Visually the rear brake disc and pads were gone. The chain was over-tightened and fairly worn. This was all just from looking at it. Once on the bench the list increased. The rear suspension linkage was worn out, the steering head bearings were loose and, on advice from our head mechanic, a look inside the engine (2-stroke) proved that there was even more that needed addressing – a full engine overhaul.

You might ask why this particular bike was purchased at a slightly higher than at its true valued price considering all the issues it has? The simplest answer is the bike was desirable to the new owner and they overlooked a basic when purchasing a used vehicle; INSPECTION!

Motorcycles make people passionate and when the passion for a particular bike infects someone they tend to overlook rationality. When looking for “That” bike, take a deep breath and step back for a minute. This is where a pre-purchase vehicle inspection comes in. Do not rely one the previous owners mechanical assessment of that bike – are they a certified mechanic? 

Bring it to a reliable shop/mechanic and have them look at it. You may be surprised and what they find or even know about certain bikes. They can also help interpret certain visual aspects that are noticed like, scratches, dents or other anomalies.  It is a $100+ well spent.

Look at it economically, if you buy a motorcycle and are unaware that it needs tires, brake pads and chain & sprockets, this could cost you around $1,000.00. In the event of a “Really Good Deal” or “It was so cheap“, you could be in for a surprise when the service bill to “make it run!” comes in as much as $1500-2000 should the bike need additional carb work, engine work or other TLC. Those “deals” are not always the deal they are perceived to be.

Good advice is to have that bike inspected before you buy. It’s cheap piece of mind and may offer some bartering power with the purchase. If there is a bike you are considering to buy, talk to the owner and let them know you want it inspected. It will be up to you and the owner to get the bike to the shop (you may want to book the inspection ahead of time). Once done, you will know more about what it is you are buying.

Here’s a thought; If the owner refuses the inspection or tells you it doesn’t need to be done, is it worth buying?

Probably not!

Move on! and enjoy another ride.