It’s that time of year again, buying season. We’re on the cusp of summer yet again, and used motorcycles are slowly beginning to flood the market. One of the most popular sites to buy reasonably priced motor bikes is Craigslist. I personally have had good experiences both buying and selling on the website. Below, I’m going to offer my top tips for making safe purchases.
First things first, looks do matter. If a seller is posting an ad to sell a used motorcycle it needs to have a few key things to be a viable prospect. The post needs to have multiple photos of the motorcycle that’s for sale. These should be quality photos which showcase different angles, and highlight any special features, or defects the vehicle may have.
The post should also list the number of miles on the bike, the mechanical health should be stated, and make/model/year presented as well. All of these things factor into a buyer’s decision. The more transparent the ad, the better. A firm price should also be set on the posting. A lot of times I’ll see a post for $1 to drive views to the post, but it also sets a buyer up for an unknown expectation from the seller.
So, once you’ve found a bike you like, contact the seller. Don’t discuss money over the phone, instead set up a meeting to see the bike in person. A lot of times the sellers want you to come with cash in hand to meet. If this is the case, take someone with you. First time buyers should most definitely take a more experienced rider with them, and if you can, take someone with mechanical experience.
Once you’re meeting with the seller get to know him/her. Find out why they’re selling this bike. If the deal sounds too good to be true, there is probably a reason, and you want to know this reason. Also, attempt to take the bike on a test drive. Most times sellers are okay with this, but they’ll want you to leave collateral with them, or they’ll want an agreement that if you drop the bike you buy it. These terms tend to be negotiable, but I believe riding the bike is an invaluable bonus.
However, if the seller is unwilling to allow you the test drive, have him/her turn on the motorcycle. Listen to the engine, pull back on the throttle a few times, and check under the bike to see if any liquids are leaking onto the ground. Check the signaling indicators, sit on the bike, turn on the brights, and really simulate a ride while stationary. Sometimes you can have a bike checked by a professional shop (at your expense) before committing to a purchase as well, which may be a good idea if you’re not sure some of the things to look for.
Finally, if you feel like you’ve found a bike you wish to purchase there are just a couple things you need to collect from the seller. These things are, a bill of sale form, title, and both sets of keys for the motorcycle. Once you’ve done all these things, congratulate yourself on making an informed and vetted purchase.
Stay safe in these streets!