back to articles | February 10, 2023 | Moses Mwangi

Categories: Vehicle & Buying Research

How to Buy a Used Motorcycle from a Private Seller

Buying a used motorcycle from a private seller is an excellent option, especially if you have limited funds. In most cases, the private seller will sell you the motorcycle at a lower price than buying a new one.


Buying a used motorcycle from a private seller is an excellent option, especially if you have limited funds. In most cases, the private seller will sell you the motorcycle at a lower price than buying a new one.

However, the purchase process may not be as straightforward as many may hope. For one, you would need to research to avoid falling into the hands of scammers in the private market. Below is a guide on how to buy a used motorcycle from a private seller.

1. Determine the type of used motorcycle you need

In the market, there are several motorcycle models and makes available. Therefore, your first step should be to determine your desired motorcycle's make and model. Also, ensure you know all the specifications you want the bike to have.

Knowing the type of used motorcycle you need will help you in narrowing down the research process. It will also help you save considerable time, especially in decision-making. In addition, knowing the specifications will help you prepare questions to ask the private seller.

2. Research several platforms

There are various places where you can buy a used motorcycle in the private market apart from family and friends. You can find private sellers on sites like eBay and Craigslist. Also, you can opt to search directly on Bing or Google.

When searching online, look for motorcycles near you. Also, ensure that you do not buy a used motorcycle without actually seeing it.

3. Consider the pricing

The pricing aspect of the motorcycle you desire is vital to the purchase process. Knowing how much you need to pay can protect you from overpaying. It will also help with price negotiation. The NADA Guides is a reliable source you can use to get the price estimate.

NADA Guides considers the year of manufacture, model, and make of the motorcycle you want to buy. In most cases, the price estimates are often accurate. Also, you can compare prices from various private sellers selling the same model and make you want.

The comparison will help you arrive at an average price that will ensure you avoid overpaying. In addition, make sure you have a set budget.

4. Determine how you are going to make the payment

Once you determine the expected price for the used motorcycle, take a few minutes and choose how to make payments. There are two main ways you can pay for a used motorcycle; cash or through a motorcycle loan.

Cash is often less complicated and involves fast processes. However, you can consider getting a loan if you lack the necessary funds. With the private seller motorcycle loan, you will need to use the motorcycle as collateral. Also, most lenders will provide you with specific requirements that will ensure your viability for the loan. Some of the most common requirements are:

  • Motorcycle model and make
  • Mileage limits
  • Year of production
  • Your credit score

5. Get in contact with the seller

When you make a decision on the motorcycle you wish to buy, the next step should be to contact the private seller to see it. Here are some considerations you need to have when scheduling the appointment:

  • Make sure you have enough time to inspect the motorcycle properly.
  • Do not negotiate the price until you see the motorcycle and inspect it.
  • Be polite in your correspondence with the private seller.
  • Schedule a convenient location for you and the seller.
  • Ask the private seller relevant questions regarding the motorcycle

After you contact the private seller, make sure to ask some questions regarding the motorcycle's history. The answer to the question will help you determine the viability of the motorcycle purchase. Here are a few things you can consider asking:

  • Service history of the used motorcycle
  • The number of years the private seller has had the motorcycle
  • Any previous owner of the bike
  • Ask whether the private seller has a motorcycle loan.
  • The reason for the sale
  • Ask whether the bike has a title
  • Ask whether there are any known problems with the motorcycle

6. Inspect the motorcycle

Motorcycle inspection is an essential part of the used bike purchase process. It will help you identify any issues that the motorcycle may have. Here is a comprehensive recommendation of the top things you should look at:

  • Frame: Look for any missing pieces or cracks on the frame.
  • Engine: Check for coolant leaks and inspect for damage or wear on the outside cases.
  • Bearings: Listen for squeaks that may indicate a need for replacement or greasing.
  • Motorcycle tipping: Check for signs of the dented tank and side panels. Also, look for signs of crankcase damage and bent foot pegs.
  • Battery: Check the battery's condition and the date of purchase.
  • Brake pad and disc condition
  • Sprocket and chain condition
  • Horn, indicators, and lights: Look out for their operationality.
  • Footrests and handlebars: Check for signs of damage.

7. Conduct a test ride

The test ride will help you evaluate the amount of liability involved in the used motorcycle purchase. Thus, ensure you ask the private seller whether you can test-ride the used bike. Most private sellers will require you to leave something behind as insurance as you take the test.

Also, the test ride will give you an insight into whether the motorcycle is right for you. It will also help you determine whether there is anything that needs fixing.

8. Negotiate the price

If the motorcycle meets your expectations, negotiate the price. Unless the motorcycle adds states "fixed price," you will always have room to negotiate. Furthermore, most sellers expect price bargaining.

When negotiating, do not offend the seller by setting unreasonable prices. Also, you can ask the seller to reduce the overall asking price if you point out areas that need maintenance.

9. Complete the purchase process

Once you arrive at the desired price, pay for the motorcycle. Also, make sure that you have all the necessary documentation. Below is a list of the top documents that you will need:

  • Motorcycle title: In the title, the private seller must sign a transfer form indicating the title transfer to you.
  • Maintenance records of the motorcycle: These will help you keep track of the necessary maintenance.
  • A bill of sale: A bill of sale is vital, primarily when registering a used motorcycle. It also indicates the transfer of ownership.

After you have all the documents, you can take your ride home. Also, make sure you have the necessary motorcycle insurance before driving your bike.

Bottom Line

Buying a used motorcycle from a private seller can be daunting as it may require you to partake in a lengthy research process. However, if you take your time to do due diligence, you will end up with your dream ride.