What style is for you?
Make sure you know what kind of bike you seek for before you start your search. Choosing a style of bike isn’t just about looks, but also functionality and accessibility. Some bikes will make terrible commuters, and others may be nearly impossible to maneuver for a particularly small rider. Here are some popular styles to help you choose wisely:
These are the hogs — the kind of bikes epitomized by Harley Davidsons and Orange County Choppers. Usually, with extreme rake angles, loud pipes, and possibly exotic bodywork, they will be noticed and heard just about everywhere you go. The wilder the ride, the higher the price tag. Used ones may have serious sentimental value factored into the cost, too. This may not be the kind of bike you want to take on a cross-country trip.
A little less extreme than a chopper, these bikes are the quintessential American motorcycle. With cool lines and manageable sound output, versatile cruisers can serve you well in a variety of circumstances. This kind of bike is easy to find. It’s also easy to service and source parts.
Sportbikes are some of the fastest motorcycles you’ll see on the road, and they must be handled accordingly. Not for beginners, these get out of hand quickly if you don’t know what you’re doing. A sportbike could make for a great weekend at the track, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find any amenities.
A touring bike is made for long-distance traveling and will have many creature-comforts to make the trip more enjoyable. These bikes can feature advanced stereo systems, storage compartments, windshields, and comfy seats. For the smaller rider it should be noted, these are the heaviest kind of motorcycles available and will not be muscled around easily.
What’s the condition?
Naturally, a primary concern in buying a used motorcycle will be its condition. While many people aren’t familiar with motorcycles, the good thing is there’s a lot less ground to cover than on a car. A careful inspection of a used motorcycle can reveal a lot of information about its history.
Shiny side up
Examine the paintwork and chrome carefully, noting dents or dings that may have been repaired poorly. This could be a sign that the bike was dropped or maybe even in an accident and didn’t receive quality repairs. Poor cosmetic condition is usually an indicator of poor mechanical condition.
Kick the tires
The tires should be in excellent condition; there’s really no room for “iffy” tires on a motorcycle. In a car, a flat tire may inconvenience you for an hour or two, but on a motorcycle, a flat could be a tragic accident. Don’t take chances on your safety. Make sure the tires look up to snuff.
Buying a used motorcycle doesn’t have to be any harder than buying a used car. If you take the time to assess just what you need, you can find one that will serve you well for years to come.