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Things to keep in mind while buying a pre-owned motorcycle

Things to keep in mind while buying a pre-owned motorcycle

While everyone would like to go for a new motorcycle, if given a chance, sometimes a used motorcycle may very well be your best bet. The reasons can be many; budget constraints, the choice of motorcycle, category of motorcycle that one may be looking for, and sometimes, an irresistible deal. Buying a used motorcycle can be a boon or a bane, depending on how one goes about it. And in order to make the process a little easier and to make sure that that you do not get a ‘lemon deal’, xBhp and Castrol POWER1 have come up with a few pointers that one should keep in mind if they decide to go for a used motorcycle.

A motorcycle has a lot of moving parts so wear and tear are imminent. How well someone has taken care of their motorcycle is the key. While a motorcycle may look all tidy and shiny on the outside, it is the innards that are the real deal. And that includes everything from the chassis to the electricals but most importantly, the heart… the engine.

Something as simple as the choice of engine oil of the previous owner can reveal a lot about the condition of the motorcycle. As an example, at xBhp, we love our motorcycles and take care of them to the best of our abilities and so, Castrol POWER1 is the engine oil of our choice. It makes sure that the engines of our motorcycles are in good health and therefore, ensure longevity and performance.

Moving on, here is a list of things that you should always keep in mind to make sure that the used motorcycle that you have set your eyes on is just as good on the inside as it is on the outside:

1. Check for the joints of the plastic body parts. They shouldn’t be broken or loose. Plastic panels usually come with locks and notches to keep them in place and these little protrusions are the first to break through misuse or in an accident. And plastics are usually expensive to replace. So beware.

2. Check the chassis for cracks, paint chipping, weld burn marks etc. A damaged chassis renders the motorcycles scrap as it usually means more damage than can be feasibly repaired.

3. Check the brakes. Any screeching sound from the brakes when you apply the brakes means the brake pads/shoes are spent and need to be replaced. But remember it could also need some simple cleaning if the bike has not been used for a while.

4. The chassis and engine number should be in line with the registration. Match the engine and chassis numbers with what is mentioned on the RC. If there is a discrepancy walk away.

5. Check the health of the battery. The horn should be loud enough even when the engine is not running. Also, all the indicators should be working fine. A motorcycle with a healthy battery should respond immediately to the pressing of the self-start button. If it doesn’t, the battery needs to be replaced. Negotiate accordingly.

6. Check to see for electrical modifications like horns, alarms etc. If the wire harness was cut for these mods, then it could cause problems later on. Also, too many electrical accessories added could mean an over-stressed alternator, over-heated wiring and damaged switches.

7. Start the bike and again, check all electricals. Everything including, horn, indicators, headlight (both high and low beam) etc should be working fine

8. Now start the bike and let it idle without touching the throttle. A well-maintained bike should have a steady idle for as long as you leave the engine on. Unstable idling could indicate something as simple as bad fuel or bad tuning and something as bad as a severely worn out engine.

9. Check for any signs of oil leakage from the engine, clutch assembly, or the shock absorbers. Oil leakages usually indicate bad maintenance practices, over-stressed components or wrong grade of oil used within. And so, when it comes to the engine, engine oil of the right grade and good quality, like the ones from the Castrol POWER1 range, are one’s best bet when it comes to engine’s performance and protection.

10. Ensure the bike engine is not hot before starting it. A cold engine exposes most of the ‘loose parts’ noises that might vanish as it warms up.

11. Ensure that they are no modifications done on the engine of the bike. These usually reduce the life of the motorcycle. Yes, even a free flow exhaust, if badly designed, can severely and adversely affect engine reliability.

12. Open the throttle slowly and feel the engine response. It should be smooth and without much vibration. There should be no misfiring.

13. Watch out for any smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe when opening the throttle, especially in 4-stroke engines. If you see any white smoke coming out of it, it means the engine is damaged and needs to be repaired.

14. As you open the throttle, pay attention to any kind of unusual noise coming out of the engine or any body part. There should be none. Keep a sharp ear for metallic ringing sounds.

15. Now take the bike for a test ride. Check for the smoothness of the gear shifts & also the clutch lever. Once you put the bike in the gear & let go of the clutch, the bike should come in motion smoothly without any jerks. The jerks mean the clutch plates or worse the entire clutch assembly might require a change.

16. Also when you ride the bike & open the throttle, the bike should accelerate freely. It should be devoid of the feeling that something is pulling you from behind. This generally is a sign of worn-out clutch plates. The road speed should increase in sync with the rise of the engine RPMs. Even if the clutch plates are alright, sub-par engine oil can also cause sluggish acceleration in motorcycles. In our experience gained from 2 seasons of Team #xBhpRacing, the Castrol POWER1 range of engine oils ensures optimum performance and #UltimateAcceleration.

17. Once you come back from the test ride, again check the bike for any signs of leakage. Check the suspensions, the engine, and the clutch assembly for the same. Sniff around the engine area for any burning smell. Any oily soot in the exhaust pipe surefire means a worn-out engine. Avoid buying the bike.


1. You must check the following documents when buying a used motorcycle – Registration Certificate (RC), Insurance, Tax receipt, Pollution certificate. Regarding the RC, make sure that the person who is selling the bike and the RC owner is the same. If this is not the case, insist on talking to the original RC owner. People generally buy a used bike and use it for some time without getting the RC transferred to their name and then try to sell it as a single-owner bike. They will give you the sale letter signed by the first RC owner and will claim he/ she is their uncle/friend/relative and that they are selling on behalf of them.

2. Check the RC to see whether there is any bank loan against the bike. If there is a loan, the RC will be marked as ‘hypothecated.’ Ask the seller to finish off the loan first or give you the No Objection Certificate from the bank stating that the loan on that particular vehicle is over and there is no overdue payment.

3. Check whether the insurance on the bike is still valid or not. Also, check whether the bike has comprehensive insurance or only third-party insurance. In simple words, comprehensive insurance means that you will get the compensation from the insurance company in case something happens to the bike (theft/accident) even if it is an accident involving only you – for example from skidding and falling without hitting any other vehicle or person. Third-party insurance means that in case of an accident if a person other than the rider is injured or harmed, he will get the due compensation from the insurance company, but the bike owner would not get any compensation for the damages occurred to him or the bike. Also, check the history of the bike with the insurance company, if there had been an accident then it will be on the records of the insurance company.

4. If the bike is originally registered in some other state than your home state, then the seller also needs to give you the NOC (No Objection Certificate) from his state RTO, which you will need to get the bike registered in your state. Registering a used bike in Metro cities from other states is not always possible. Check with your local RTO first.

5. When you pay for the bike, make sure that the seller is also giving you the Form 29 and insurance transfer form signed. You need these to transfer the bike to your name.

6. Check the service book and see if the bike is regularly serviced at the intervals prescribed by the manufacturer. Most of the enthusiastic riders keep all the service history, service bills, etc., with them, which basically means that the bike has been taken good care of and you should not mind paying a little extra premium for that bike. Buy from a known enthusiast – they love their bikes and so what you’ll usually get is a well cared for vehicle.

And so, these are the few things that you must take care of if and when you are looking to buy a used bike. Going by the above pointers, you can make sure that the motorcycle that you are getting is in good condition and that your hard-earned money is not going to waste. And once its all said and done, you can finally ride into the sunset on your ‘new’ steed.



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