Buying a bike

For a committed motorcyclist buying a new bike is a big investment so it's important to make the right decision. Aside from picking the right brand, model and spec, you will also need to decide whether to invest in a brand new or second hand bike.

We have put together a few pointers to make sure that when buying second hand, you look out for yourself, and your wallet!

Log book and service history

Buying second hand can get you a great deal but you need to ensure that you are getting exactly what you are paying for. The first thing to check is that the current owner has the logbook available to prove the bike they are selling is theirs to sell. It's also important to check out the full service history so you know where the bike has been. You should also examine the bike for evidence of a crash, looking for scratches and dents.

You can carry out a vehicle check online to find out more about the bike. Information is available on whether the bike has been stolen, clocked, has any outstanding finance recorded against it or if it has been written off.

Vehicle inspections

Even if you know your way around a bike it might still be worth getting an expert to take a look. A vehicle inspection can prove to be a sound investment, pointing out problems that could lead you to change your mind or at least knock some money off the asking price.

Second opinion

If you do decide to go ahead without the advice of an expert then consider taking someone with you. A second opinion can be valuable when making such an important investment.

Examining a bike

While it is advisable to get the advice of an expert or second opinion, there are a number of checks you can do when examining a bike. They could tell you what condition the bike is in and if any problems are likely to arise. At the very least you should assess the bike for any scuffs and scratches which could show if the bike has been dropped or involved in an accident. Damage to the exhaust, handlebar ends or foot pedals should also be queried. Check all the electrics, inspect any rust, and ensure the tyres have a tread of at least 1.6mm, the legal minimum.

Document checks

After checking the bike, you should also go through the legal documents that will come with it. Always ask to see the V5C registration certificate (log book) and check that the 'DVL' watermark is printed on it by holding it up to the light. It must also match all the details stated in the log book. If the vehicle identification number (VIN) is missing or has been altered you should not purchase the bike.

Buying from a private seller

While you may pay less for a motorbike when buying privately, you do have less protection if something goes wrong. It's advisable to write down a list of questions to ask the seller before contacting them. Consider important factors including has the bike been imported, does it have any modifications and how many registered owners have there been. Make sure you find out as much detail as possible so that you can build up an accurate picture and avoid a potentially wasted trip.

Buying from a dealer

This option can give you more security than buying from a private seller however you should never feel pushed into buying a motorbike, particularly if you feel it is unsuitable or you haven't made up your mind. One of the benefits of buying from a dealer is the added peace of mind that your bike will be under a form of warranty for a period of time, and you may also have the option to take out a finance deal should you wish.

Buying from eBay

There can be many bargains to be found on eBay, providing you tread carefully. Before bidding there are some important things to remember, the most important is, you should check the seller's feedback. As a general rule, you should only be interested in sellers with a feedback rating of over 90%. Always ask any questions or request more pictures before bidding; a seller who refuses or ignores you is sending out a clear warning sign. You should also arrange for someone to inspect the bike and don't forget look at the seller's refund policy.

Test Drives

Not all sellers will be comfortable with offering a test drive for fear of the bike being stolen. Offer to leave your keys or I.D whist you take the bike for a spin. It's important to know that it is right for you.

Doing your Research

Motorcycles aren't cheap so it's advisable to do some research online first to check you will be paying the right price for the bike. That way you will go into the transaction armed with all the facts and in a much better position to negotiate.

Making a payment

If you do decide to go ahead with the purchase then you will probably be expected to pay cash. If this isn't an option for you then ask for a receipt and allow the cheque or bank transfer time to clear before you collect the bike. Don't forget to take the New Keeper section of the V5 log book with you and write your details and the mileage of the bike in the main section of the V5. The seller will send this to the DVLA who in turn will send you a new copy.