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If you’re like me, you’re always looking for your next bike. If there’s an empty space in your garage and a handful of cash burning a hole in your pocket, there’s nothing like browsing the ads, looking at helmets, lacing up a set of motorcycle boots, or walking through your local dealer. It becomes an addiction. Soon you’ll have 12 browser tabs open and five vendors calling out to you at any time of the day.
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With so many avenues available to find the perfect used motorcycle, where do you start? Today’s online environment has made buying a used motorcycle a lot easier, but there are still some pitfalls you need to understand so you don’t end up with two wheels of a locked engine and a bunch of smokers.
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To help you on your mythical quest for wind in your eyes, bugs in your teeth, rain in your pants, and good ol’ American freedom, I’ve put together this guide to help you find the best places to buy a used motorcycle. I also removed everything to see. You’re welcome, Internet. Let’s get into it before I go down another Ducati Hypermotard rabbit hole.
While there are anywhere from 500 to a million used car options, motorcycles are still a niche hobby/passion, so you only need to know about a few dealerships when shopping for a used motorcycle. These are your local motorcycle shops, eBay, (the killer’s favorite) Craigslist, Cycle Trader, and Facebook Marketplace. Each of them has its pros and cons, so we will talk about them in more detail.
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Your local motorcycle dealer will be the easiest and most common way for you to find your next used motorcycle. There are thousands of motorcycle dealers across the country to choose from. The good thing about these dealers is that there is often a wide selection of used motorcycles, there is no hassle with online private parties or arranging a viewing time, and best of all, the dealer makes it extremely easy to finance the purchase .
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Dealers usually have finance departments where you can fast track the loan and walk away with your new pride and joy that beats going to the bank, talking to the lender, being told all about the bike by your super trusted friend Jimmy and they they say no. Local sellers are one-stop shops that reduce the complications of shopping.
However, there are some problems, including the same credit department. If you don’t buy a loan, you can get bad terms, including six to eight year loans, higher interest rates and predatory lending. It is best to read all the fine print and go through the terms and conditions yourself. You can also use an online rate calculator to find out what you’re willing to put down and how much it will cost you each month. Go armed with information.
There is also the issue of higher prices compared to a private seller. Sure, the seller will offer you below market value for your trade in, but they are not in the business of selling their below market value. Sellers are likely to ask higher prices than private sellers because they need to make a healthy profit.
Maybe I’m dating myself, but eBay still looks like an online sale to me. I know, I know: Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist are much better candidates for such a designation, but eBay is always the last place I look. It shouldn’t be, as the site’s motorcycle listings are some of the best around.
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With auctions and Buy Now options, and everything from sport bikes to cruisers, the eBay interface lets you choose exactly what you want to see on your next motorcycle. It then narrows down the field with a number of useful drop-down menus. You can search not only in your zip code, but across the country to find that perfect car. The site even has financing and shipping options, so you can complete the entire transaction without leaving your lock. But it costs something.
Without seeing the motorcycle, you miss the opportunity to discover its mechanical and cosmetic problems. You’ll miss the opportunity to try it out and find out if it’s the right bike for you. You lose the personal experience that most of us rely on to make purchasing decisions.
Not just for lost connections between swingers and cannibals, Craigslist is a valuable tool to use in your next motorcycle purchase. Organized by geographic region, Craigslist gives you the opportunity to shop from the local community and see the motorcycle in person before exchanging cash.
The site offers similar drop-down menus to narrow your search and find the right bike for your specific needs, including year, price, make, model and more. It will also give you an idea of what the market is like in your particular area, whether there is high demand with high prices or lower demand and lower prices.
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What’s not great about Craigslist is that it can be sketchy—extremely sketchy. And you won’t get any financial help you give to the seller or eBay. There’s also the difficulty of getting your own mechanical inspection done, and the dealer won’t always let you take the motorcycle to a licensed mechanic for a full diagnostic inspection.
While Facebook – I mean Meta – is where your Great Aunt Edna can post from all parts of the intellectual dark web, Facebook Marketplace is also a satisfying way to find bikes that are local and very local to you.
With the ability to map these listings to within 5, 10 or more miles, Marketplace offers much of the same information as Craigslist, but does so in a more tactical way. You can find bikes in your neighborhood, in your city or nearby, making browsing, mechanical inspections and test rides easy. It also reduces the chances of flat tires from across the country.
However, as with Craigslist, there is no financing option and you will have to do the checking yourself. That said, in my experience with the service, it’s less sketchy than Craigslist, people respond more quickly, and fewer killers use it to catch their latest victims. Now, Meta right? Who knows.
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One of the oldest classified ads for used motorcycles is Cycle Trader. What started as print (yes, on real paper in the real world that anyone could touch) has since transformed those same ads into Web2.0 format for anyone to read.
The current setup of Cycle Trader is very similar to eBay in its interface, and you can choose motorcycles from private individuals and traders from all over the country. But while eBay can be both a broker and a lender, Cycle Trader is simply a broker and does not offer additional financing or shipping. It’s just classified ads. This means you will have the same problems you have with eBay, but none of the benefits.
Cons: No personal inspections of cosmetics or mechanical parts for problems and defects, no financing or shipping options
Now that you have an overview of where to find a used motorcycle and have talked to your doctor about whether a used motorcycle is right for you, we can get down to what to look out for when buying one. .
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Maintenance records are a look into the past of your future motorcycle. They tell you part of its history, part of its life, and whether the last owner(s) really cared about the health and well-being of the car you’re about to spend a little on. You can get by without them, but you’re doing yourself a disservice when body repair turns into a pocket-draining headache.
If the bike you want doesn’t have its records or only has an oil change record from five years ago, you may be better off looking elsewhere.
Bikes fall. This happens. And while not all crashes are worth mentioning—some simply land on the author’s Volvo after his father-in-law decides to move the Ducati—some crashes break and damage bikes in real ways that the previous owner didn’t have to fix properly, or you have a professional arrangement. address.
When looking at a motorcycle, check every aspect of it. Look for mismatched mirrors, scratches on the edges of the steering wheel, scratched parts or suspicious looking interiors. It’s really up to you to do your due diligence, so bring a flashlight when you’re prospecting.
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