Things to know while buying second hand motorcycle

26 November 2023

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Whether a new motorcycle or a second-hand bike, the amount of love a biker has towards the motorcycle is the same. Owning a motorcycle for the first time is a special feeling. Some people need help to afford a brand-new motorcycle but should keep pursuing their dreams. Buying a second hand motorcycle is a good option for those on a tight budget.

second hand motorcycle buying checklist India

Find the purpose

Think about the purpose of buying a second hand motorcycle. Purchasing a motorcycle is not the only expense; you must look after the maintenance, motorcycle insurance, fuel, etc. For example, do you need a motorcycle that can help you commute fuel-efficiently or a cruiser motorcycle that you can ride on long road trips?

Where to find second hand motorcycles

Dealers: If you buy from a reputed dealer, chances are that you will get a machine that has been thoroughly checked. Second hand motorcycle dealers examine the whole motorcycle before buying any inventory. As he has to sell it down the line, he would have ensured the basic checks.

Private sales: Buying directly from a private seller will save you some money but involves a bit of risk. If you have experience or know the motorcycle owner, check and opt for this option for a good motorcycle at a good deal.

Test drive

A second hand bike might look impressive outside, but you must ride it to know how it feels. Test riding the second hand bike will let you know the motorcycle’s performance in totality. Even a five-minute ride can tell you about the motorcycle’s health if you are well-versed in motorcycle mechanics. If you are a novice, you can get an experienced friend or a trusted mechanic to test-ride the motorcycle.

Check the chassis number.

After you are comfortable with the motorcycle you are about to purchase, take some time out to check its chassis number. The number on the plate and the engine should match. Locating this number on old motorcycles might be challenging, but a mechanic can find it easily. Check whether the chassis number is the same as the registration certificate.

Motorcycle condition

Suppose you’re looking to conduct a thorough inspection on the motorcycle for sale. In that case, there are a few essential items to pay attention to if you want to save a bit of money on service down the line.

Engine health

  1. Make sure that the engine is completely cold.
  2. Start the engine and ignore any excessive ticking sounds.
  3. Check for exhaust smoke and any persistent ticking sounds once the motorcycle is heated to operating temperatures. If these symptoms arise, the engine may be due for a fuel system tune-up or a valve clearance and timing adjustment.


Replacing a motorcycle clutch can be costly to repair. To check if a clutch is operating properly, ensure the cable has enough slack and is tightened correctly. Afterward, get the motorcycle to operating temperature and take it for a drive. Cruise at about 40kph, bring the motorcycle to 4th or 5th gear, pull in the clutch, rev the motorcycle up, and abruptly release the clutch. The clutch should engage as soon as possible. If the clutch takes almost a second to return to running RPMs, the clutch may be due for a replacement.


Inspect the engine and suspension components with a flashlight. This could be a red flag if you see any heavy oil stains or fresh oil leaks. You could also use your finger to touch and inspect for oil leaks or stains around these components. Gasket and o-ring leaks, depending on location, can be costly to repair.

Accident damage

Another item to check would be any history of accident damage. This damage typically presents scratches at the handlebar levers, handlebar ends, side fairings, footpegs, and even the motorcycle gas tank. If you prefer to avoid buying a motorcycle with an accident history, inspect these telltale signs and decide accordingly.


Generally, small amounts of rust shouldn’t harm the motorcycle’s performance. However, rust on the motorcycle’s crucial areas could cause safety concerns in the long run. Check for rust on the motorcycle’s frame, frame welds, rear shock mounts, swing arm, fork clamps, and wheel hubs. Surface rust should be easy to fix; however, excessive rust can be a headache to deal with in the long run.

Oil leakage

Look for oil spillage around the engine. If the second hand bike has been washed recently, the portion with the oil spillage will shine more than the rest of the area. Also, ask for the motorcycle’s service details.

Electricals and Battery

Check all lights and switches to make sure all things work correctly or not.

Fuel tank

Open the fuel tank and check for rust or corrosion. Don’t use a lighter or matchbox to see the fuel tank.


Look for oil leaks around the suspension. Also, look for scratches/bends/twists in the leg.


Check the wheels for cracks. The wheel should be examined for rust corrosion and cracks if it is spoke-based.

Servicing record

It will be ideal if the seller has a servicing record of the second hand bike. That way, you will come to know how much maintenance work has gone into the motorcycle and how much more needs to be done. You can ask for an estimate if there is no written record.

Check paperwork

RC (Registration Certificate) book

The engine and chassis number printed in the RC book should match the engine and chassis number embossed on the engine and chassis.

NOC (No Objection Certificate)

An NOC is necessary from the RTO where the vehicle is registered, especially if a vehicle registration is going to be transferred from one RTO to another.

Owner’s manual/ service book

This is not mandatory. However, an owner’s manual/service book would ensure that proper maintenance has been carried out periodically.

Motorcycle Insurance

Whether you opt for buying a second hand motorcycle, you must insure it. You can now purchase or renew two-wheeler insurance online easily. However, compare two-wheeler insurance before going for two-wheeler insurance online. You can save a lot of money and find an ideal policy when comparing motorcycle insurance online. Remember to renew the motorcycle insurance policy before its expiry date to keep it active.

The motorcycle’s title or registration should be readily available and in your name if you buy it in person. Suppose the seller cannot provide either of these. In that case, you should ask for a steeper discount because that might mean they do not own the motorcycle, which entitles you to refuse the purchase. Get all the details of the buying process from the insurance company, and make sure to ask for retail pricing guides. Remember to ask for the owner’s manual, which most dealerships miss out on. A hot engine is a sure sign of excessive wear for the motorcycle.

Make sure to consider all these things before deciding whether or not you want to buy that specific motorcycle- especially if there is no price negotiation involved with your purchase.

Consider Overall Safety

Always set a lower price if the motorcycle is in overall poor condition or there are signs of rust, corrosion, and other damage that may be dangerous for riding. It will always be preferable to find a used motorcycle in good overall condition because it might cost you more in the long run, especially when it comes to expensive repairs that need to be made. The best way to avoid that is by ensuring your motorcycle is safe before purchasing it- whether new or used.


A second hand bike is a good deal when saving significant money. Take your time to decide which motorcycle you want, as an option available will always exist.

While buying second hand motorcycle things, you should look after

  1. Decide where to buy from dealers or private sales
  2. Test drive
  3. Check the chassis number
  4. Check motorcycle condition like engine health, clutch, leaks, accident damage, rust, oil leakage, electricals & battery, fuel tank, suspension, wheels, servicing record
  5. Check paperwork like RC, NOC, owners manual, motorcycle insurance
  6. Consider overall safety

Check all the papers like RC, NOC, and owner’s manual. And check the overall safety of the motorcycle. Once everything is green, race ahead and enjoy riding a motorcycle.

Be vigilant when purchasing a second hand motorcycle, and thoroughly research. In addition to all the checks mentioned above, make sure also to ensure you have all the proper documentation that is necessary for the transfer of ownership of the motorcycle.

If you have any other doubts or queries, email us at We are always eager to help and assist you. Also, here are several social media platforms of Bikeleague India to raise your suspicions.