Monday, August 10, 2009

Buying Your First Motorcycle

When searching for your first Bike, there are certain things that you should look for. This article should help you out so that you or someone you know wont end up with a lemon. I know it may be tempting to you to buy the first bike you look at, Dont! Its always a good idea to shop around and see what your options are, whether it cost, engine displacement, or just the brand or style of bike that fits you. I recommend buying used for a first motorcycle from a private seller via your local newspaper, or a classified website like Dealers are generally very over priced for used bikes, as they mark them up over bluebook value.

When searching for a bike, make sure you bring a motorcycle savvy friend with you if you have one. Also the search requires a certain set of tools. I like to bring a flashlight and a small mirror with me when Im looking for a bike. Even in daylight a flashlight can be a good friend. Start by looking at the overall look of the bike. Does it look shiny and new, or are there scratches and dings? Any kind of damage above the foot peg level, can mean that the bike has been laid down or wrecked. Then move on to the tires. Do they look worn or cracked? Are they slicks or track take offs? Do they have a fair amount of tread left? Looking at the tires is a good way to tell what the bike was used for.

After youve looked at the body work and the tires, move on to the most important part of the bike, the engine. Look for large amounts of grease, oil, and dirt, if there is a very large amount of any of these substances, it can have a lot to do with how well this machine has been maintained. If there is too much dirt, grease, or oil, it could be a sign of problems to come. If the bike is too clean, it could be that the seller is trying to hide something from you. Or it could just be really well maintained. Just keep in mind that a little dirt is normal. Look at the engine covers, are they factory, or have they been replaced? You can tell a lot just by the style of covers are on the engine. If the engine covers have a performance brand name in them, chances are they are not OEM covers. This can mean that the bike you are looking at has been raced. Another way to see if it has in fact been raced is to look at the heads of the bolts holding it all together. If they have holes drilled in them, the bike has most likely been raced. These holes are for small cables that go through the head of the bolt as a safety measure, and are required on most tracks.
Now take a look at the chain/belt and sprockets. These can tell you a lot about how the bike was ridden. If there are missing teeth on the sprockets, it can mean a few things. It can mean that the bike has been ridden hard, or stunted. It can also mean that it really hasnt been maintained as well as it should have been. When looking at the chain/belt there are a few things to look for here as well. Is the chain rusted, has it been repaired, how much play does it have? For a belt the same kind of scenario, is the belt frayed, teeth missing, cracked or broken? Either way I would recommend getting a new one.
Inspect the frame thoroughly. Look at the welds to ensure that they arent broken or cracked. Has the frame been modified, or repaired? This can be a tell-tale sign that the bike has been abused. Look for stickers on the frame that might be concealing damage, also check that the VIN number is stamped into the frame somewhere and matches the VIN on the Title, Overlooking this can cause you a heap of trouble. If the inspection looks good, theres only one thing left to do. If the owner allows it, and you have never ridden before, or do not have a license yourself, have your friend take the bike for a test drive. A simple test ride can tell you how the bike runs, and any quirks that may arise, and also show you how the bike responds performance wise, and to rider input. HAPPY HUNTING!

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