Red Flags When Buying a Used Motorcycle

Close up of a high power motorcycle, classic vintage style.

Buying a used motorcycle can be an exciting prospect. After all, the individual gets the thrill of riding without spending their life’s savings on something new. However, they must keep themselves from becoming too carried away in the excitement. There are multiple potential red flags that could indicate something bad about a used bike, and the buyer must pay attention to them. To help protect a buyer’s purchase and ensure long-term satisfaction, here are some essential red flags for every shopper to watch when buying a pre-owned model.

The Motorcycle Has Been In a Serious Accident

Motorcyclists considering buying a used Harley must look for warning signs related to its history, like being involved in a major accident. A serious crash can have lasting repercussions on a bike’s frame and engine, no matter how nice it looks or how much the seller insists it runs great. Inspecting a motorcycle’s title may also reveals any previous crashes that may not have been visible to the buyer. Taking the necessary steps to vet a bike helps to ensure a motorcyclist’s riding experience will be enjoyable.

The Bike Has Been Sitting For a Long Time

To ensure motorcyclists don’t end up with an unreliable or unsafe motorcycle, bike shoppers should see if the bike has been unused for a long time. Buyers must check how long it has been in storage and whether there are any problems arising from its dormancy. This will help to ensure they have the peace of mind that comes with having a dependable and trustworthy motorcycle.

The Odometer Has Been Tampered With

When buying a used motorcycle, knowing whether it’s in the best condition can be challenging. Buyers must watch out for evidence that the odometer has been tampered with. Doing this allows the seller to hide how much the motorcycle has been ridden and could mean that hidden damages haven’t been taken care of. Buyers can consider walking away from the sale if they find inconsistencies in mileage or signs of tampering.

The Bike Has Aftermarket Parts Installed

A warning sign to check out is if the bike is already outfitted with aftermarket parts. While these alterations have the potential to be beneficial, they may also come with hidden flaws and problems that only become apparent after purchase. Buyers must always be aware of how these changes affect the quality and value of the bike in the short and long term.

The Seller is Being Evasive About the Bikes History

The most concerning issue when shopping for a used motorcycle is when the seller appears to be evasive about the bike’s history. If they are hesitant to share documentation or answer questions in detail, this could likely indicate they are not being sincere and transparent. 

Motorcyclists must protect themselves by ensuring they get full access to all information before committing to a purchase. They should look for discrepancies between records of ownership, maintenance, and repair histories. Taking time to gather information upfront can save buyers trouble and expense down the road.


Buying a used motorcycle is a great way to get on two wheels at a fraction of the cost of purchasing a new one. However, it pays to do due diligence before making such an investment. Buyers must thoroughly inspect the bike before signing any paperwork and inquire about its maintenance history. In addition, they can always take a test drive and check every mechanical detail to ensure nothing is amiss.

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Brenda Coles
I'm an elementary school teacher who became a stay-at-home mother when my first child was born. I love to write about lifestyle, education, and news-related topics.