motorcycle starts with a good
search. If you haven’t yet decided on a model, try to find comparisons on
specialised websites or magazines that can help you finalise your choice. And
if you haven’t made up your mind, you may be looking for a bargain that will
help you make up your mind! In any case, you’ll first need to find out about
the second-hand price of the model(s) in question in order to know at what
price you can find it according to its vintage and mileage.
Where to look? Whether you want to go through a garage or a
private individual, today, it’s on the internet (even garages put pro ads on
the internet)! Several sites will allow you to find what you’re looking for,
and don’t hesitate to join forums, or even if you’re a Facebook user, to join
pages dedicated to your model. You’ll find ads, advice, you’ll even be able to
see if owners often complain about the same problems… And you’ll be able to
easily exchange with them.
Have you found it yet? The choice of the heart, the wallet
(and/or the banker) and the reason (forget the hypersportive 200hp direct after
the 2 years of A1 licence and its 34hp bridle… You have time to sit on the
whole cavalry!). Call the owner or the garage to indicate your interest and ask
a few questions. The tone of the exchange and the seriousness of the answers
from the person on the other end of the line will already tell you a lot… If
the contact is good and you are no longer sleeping at the thought of having it
in your garage, it is time to call your insurance company to find out if they
agree to insure you on this model and, if so, for what price. Is your insurer
rubbing his hands with the idea of this new policy? Then you can call the owner
or the garage to finally see it!
First thing to do, inspect the general condition of the
motorcycle and its conformity with the advertisement. If possible don’t do the
inventory with a motorcycle wedged against a wall in a poorly lit garage… You
must be able to turn around and see it properly! Don’t be fooled by brand new
fairings: Devil is in the details… The Devil is in the details, you’ll have
to take your time (and if the seller says “no need, you can buy with your
eyes closed”, it will be on the contrary the moment to have them well
opened!) Check that the turn signals, position lights, brake lights are
functional. Watch out for corrosion, especially if the motorcycle has been
exposed to salt on the road in winter or if it sleeps outside by the sea.
Without regular cleaning, the corrosion is irreversible… The general
condition seems to be correct, so let’s go for specific checks:
A common practice: heat the mechanics before the buyer’s visit
to limit any start-up defects. If this is the case, you will quickly realize it
if the temperature displayed is over 60°C (provided it is indicated). Start the
motorcycle yourself. After turning the ignition key (or the switch for a track
bike with a racing beam), the lights should come on brightly. A little push on
the starter and then it should start almost a quarter of a turn. The oil light
(pressure and/or level) should go out. A gas kick: the engine must not
hesitate. Pass your way at the slightest ominous clatter or worrying rattle, or
when faced with thick black or brown smoke in the exhaust (when cold, white
curls are normal).
Ideally, you should dismantle the saddle to check its condition
if it is not a recent model that you buy or if the engine has had trouble starting.
Check that there are no whitish deposits on the terminals or deposits in the
corners of the battery tray. A little test will give you an idea of its health.
With the ignition switched off, you can quickly switch from the code to the
headlight and vice versa. The change must be instantaneous. If there is a
delay, even a slight one, the battery is dying… With the engine running, a
throttle should make the headlight change intensity if the alternator recharges
the battery correctly. The most experienced drivers will even be able to check
the state of the battery with a voltmeter to see the state of the regulator.
The check begins with the condition of the lever, master
cylinder and fluid jar. Looking for leaks, marks or patches… But the check
doesn’t stop there, you’ll have to bend down to look at the pads and discs. The
pads should still have some packing visible. On the disc side, the ideal is to
have a calliper at your disposal to measure their thickness. You will find the
minimum usable rib indicated on the disc. Also remember to check the appearance
of the disc, which should be clean, without large grooves (run your finger over
it to look for grooves that would dig grooves). Finally, if the motorcycle has
a central stand or you can put it on a workshop stand, relieve the front (ask
the owner or your friend to press on the rear), turn the wheel manually and
brake several times to check that the brakes are working properly, then check
that your discs are not warped by turning the wheel and placing a fixed point
(e.g. a pencil) on the periphery of the disc.
documents necessary for the sale
Ask for the maintenance booklet (take advantage of this to check
the mileage) and the additional invoices, check the adequacy between the mileage
displayed and the state of the motorcycle (is the meter original?).
It will also be necessary to check the vehicle registration
document. It is important to make sure that the person holding the vehicle
registration document is the one offering the motorcycle for sale. Still on the
vehicle registration document, it is possible to read a maximum of 3 dates that
can give you a small idea of the history of this motorcycle (if not specified
by the buyer):
– ” date of 1st entry into service “;
– date” which is the date on which the vehicle registration
document in the name of the current owner was drawn up;
– “date and previous certificate number” which will
mention the date on which the registration previous to that of the current
owner was established.