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Bike buyers pack

A guide to buying a used bike

What's Included In The Pack?


  • A Guide To Buying Safely

  • A Guide To Doing Your Research

  • Things To Look Out For When Buying

  • A Handy Bike Buyers Checklist

Find out how you can buy a motorcycle safely and securely with MCN - empowering you to make the best possible choice.

Buying a used bike isn't always straight-forward and it's easy to overlook things when you're caught up in the excitement of buying your first or next motorcycle.

Here at MCN we've tried to simplify things for you with this very accessible bike buying pack to help ensure you're getting the motorcycle you want at the right price.

The guide is free to download and offers a wealth of information - simply fill your details in below and download the guide free of charge.


Our used bike expert Neil Murray has listed the most important things to check when you view any used bike to make sure you're getting what you want. For more even more, download the guide.

Check the V5

The V5 is God - it records the bike's registration number, its date of registration, its colour, the engine number, the chassis number and the name and address of the registered keeper. If there is any discrepancy, be very careful. If either the engine or chassis number is not as recorded on the V5, walk away.

Is it warm?

Be suspicious if the bike is already warmed up when you arrive to view. It might have taken 15 minutes and a set of jump leads to get it going. Arriving half an hour early is a good way of preventing this.

Number tampering

Always check the frame and engine numbers for any sign of tampering. Look at the rivets of the VIN plate to see if it might have been removed and replaced.

Lock stop impacts

Check the lock stops for signs of impact. These are very hard to repair or replace, and are a sure-fire give-away of a shunt, even if all the bodywork is nice and shiny and the forks straight.

Get on your knees

Look underneath the bike. Seriously. This is where exhausts rot, or oil leaks start. Are there signs of a weep by the oil drain plug? That'll be because some idiot has stripped the thread and replaced the plug with a layer of added PTFE tape.

Check the electrics

Electrics - take a multimeter and check the charging rate. A brand new battery will start the bike OK, but if it's still registering 12.7 or so volts across the terminals when you rev it, that means either the alternator or the regulator/rectifier is fried. Or both.

Have a good feel

Run your fingertips over any aftermarket stickers on the bodywork. If you feel a ridge under the sticker, that'll be fairing damage. Also examine the gaps between the various panels - a fairing bracket distorted in a crash will throw these out, and replacement brackets are rarely cheap.

Aftermarket parts may hide damage

Aftermarket fork gaiters almost always conceal pitted forks. Likewise, aftermarket paint is generally due to crash damage.

Easy fixes

Never assume something is an 'easy fix'. If it is, why hasn't it been done? Or is the seller not clued-up enough to realise there's an issue. And remember that for every fault you spot, there will be one that you don't.

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