15 Issues To Look For When Check Using A Motorbike

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Trying into shopping for a motorbike could be thrilling, but it surely can be a bit disturbing should you don’t know precisely what to search for particularly when it comes searching for potential points. I’ve been there many occasions myself; I purchased and restored over a dozen bikes whereas I used to be going to highschool. Via this expertise, I used to be in a position to get a good suggestion of what potential points to search for in a doable motorbike purchase whereas out for the take a look at journey.

I may get fairly technical with every little thing you’ll must test throughout your take a look at journey. But when I did that, this listing would go on perpetually. There are loads of issues you’ll be able to test, however each motorbike goes to have a small downside or technicality right here and there, even model new bikes. This listing is supposed for consumers who’re searching for the most typical and apparent issues that may save essentially the most cash.


One of many first belongings you (and everybody else) will discover a few motorbike is the way in which it appears to be like. That is additionally one of many first issues it’s best to have a look at if you’re about to check journey any motorbike. I’m not right here to essentially let you know what situation it’s best to and shouldn’t purchase, that every one relies on you, how a lot cash you’re prepared to spend, and what stage or experience you might have. However I can let you know about how a lot it’ll value to repair.

Earlier than you take a look at journey a motorbike, it’s at all times a good suggestion to do a visible stroll round. Take a couple of minutes to essentially have a look at the nitty gritty stuff. Get down in your knees and have a look at locations you couldn’t usually see on the bike. One of many first issues I prefer to search for are any scrapes on the engine or engine covers. This typically signifies that the motorbike has been dropped sooner or later.

A dropped motorbike isn’t essentially a nasty factor (as a result of most, if not all, motorcyclists will drop their bike sooner or later throughout their possession). You’ll simply need to have a look at the severity of the scratches. Lengthy, deep scratches on the covers could imply you’ll want a brand new cowl altogether. It’s doable to shine up components of the engine so the scratches are hardly noticeable. However new engine covers could be comparatively low cost for frequent bikes, particularly if you will discover a good used one.

Together with scratches on the engine, you’ll additionally need to have a look at the situation of the warmth fins, too. These fins serve an vital operate to the motorbike as a result of they assist quiet down the engine. If one in every of these is damaged, you threat gaining a localized warmth spot.

A small chip right here or there isn’t actually a lot of a giant deal and could be patched up with some JB weld to make it look higher. Bigger chips or fins which can be utterly gone is a extra major problem and should require alternative components to the engine which could possibly be expensive. And bigger chips additionally means there was a tough fall or collision.

I additionally prefer to take a very good have a look at the tank to test for any dents on it. Tank dents don’t actually impose on it’s operate, however it will probably actually be a watch sore and a doable costly repair should you don’t know tips on how to repair dents your self. Attempt to have a look at the tank in several lighting to make sure full transparency of it’s situation.

I personally don’t thoughts a number of dents as a result of I understand how to repair them, however in any case it’s actually annoying shopping for a motorbike solely to find a giant dent you didn’t discover earlier than. See my different article right here to study extra about tips on how to repair dents in a motorbike gasoline tank.


Now that you simply’ve made your visible scan of the motorbike, you’ll must take it for the anticipated take a look at journey. It’s essential you at all times take a look at journey a motorbike before you purchase it so you’ll be able to detect any potential issues you couldn’t see earlier than.

The following factor you’ll need to look out for is any unusual sounds the motorbike could also be making. The primary sound I pay attention for is any sounds from the engine. There shouldn’t be any clicking or grinding coming from it in any respect. Any seems like that would seemingly imply it’s about to present out within the close to future.

Subsequent, I take note of the exhaust. Attempt to see if there are any exhaust leaks anyplace. A leak within the exhaust will first seemingly present itself by a popping sound when the motorbike is first turned on and subside the longer the motorbike stays on. You may as well inform if there’s a leak by any uncommon draft coming from anyplace on the pipes moreover the tip of the muffler.

Exhaust leaks from the flange floor on the headers may imply the header bolts are free which is a reasonably easy repair. Pin holes anyplace on the pipes will seemingly imply you’ll want to switch the headers altogether (particularly in the event that they’re brought on by rust). Click on right here to see my different article that discusses in additional depth about tips on how to inform if a motorbike has an exhaust leak.

Additionally discover any backfiring. Backfiring occurs due to the presence of uncombusted gasoline within the exhaust pipe which mostly means the engine is working too lean or too wealthy (which additionally means there could also be some carb points). Backfiring could possibly be a easy repair, but it surely may be an costly repair; it’s onerous to know for positive so that call is as much as you whether or not or not you’re okay with it. See my different article right here to study extra about why a motorbike backfires.

Lastly, I at all times prefer to hearken to the acceleration whereas I’m take a look at driving a motorbike. The acceleration ought to really feel easy and the sound ought to keep linear as you proceed to rev up. Something in any other case, resembling vibrations, rattles, or poor acceleration may imply tire points, engine points, chain points, or carb points.

Clutch Tightness

Most bikes are guide, so the clutch well being is at all times vital to look at throughout any motorbike take a look at journey. Apparent indicators of malfunction to search for are onerous shift and any grinding coming from altering gears. The transition from one gear to a different ought to be easy and sound free (that’s, if you understand how to correctly shift by the gears).

Apart from listening to what the clutch seems like, additionally take note of the clutch deal with and it’s tightness. It ought to be a straightforward pull with just a bit little bit of resistance. Generally clutch handles could be caught which implies it’s tough to tug on it or it’s utterly free with zero resistance. It is a signal of both a nasty clutch cable or just a nasty clutch altogether.

Generally grime and dirt get contained in the clutch and make the plates stick collectively. In any case, it may be loads of money and time to repair the issue. To study extra about clutch well being, see my different article by clicking right here.

Extreme Engine Vibration

You’ll need to be careful for any extreme engine vibrations throughout a take a look at journey on a motorbike. There’ll at all times be a certain quantity of vibration, however an excessive amount of of it will probably result in issues.

Think about the sensation of pushing an outdated garden mower for a number of hours together with your arms feeling like they’ve been rattled and a little bit bit numb. You’ll discover the same sensation if you journey a motorbike that has extreme engine vibration.

An engine that vibrates throughout a journey is an indication of a poorly designed or poorly maintained engine. For instance, my 1969 Triumph was nicely maintained however poorly designed from the manufacturing facility and made my arms really feel like jelly after driving. Extreme engine vibration will ultimately result in oil leaks and free bolts. You’ll consistently be tightening issues up and fixing issues on the engine when there’s a lot vibration.


I can’t let you know what number of a whole lot of hours I’ve spent making an attempt to get the electrical wiring excellent on each single one in every of my bikes. That’s partly as a result of I purchase undertaking bikes, but it surely’s at all times a headache having to take care of the electronics and getting every little thing to work correctly.

Any time you’re take a look at driving a motorbike, you must at all times test all {the electrical} parts to make sure they work. Such issues embrace the horn, flip alerts, headlight (excessive and low beam), and the brake gentle. It’s additionally a good suggestion to pay particular consideration to the speedometer and tachometer; they should come up easily and coincide with the motorbike’s acceleration.

Particular components, resembling new flip alerts or a brand new speedometer, actually aren’t that costly to purchase. It’s wiring them into the motorbike that may trigger a world of headache. By accident grounding the improper wire may have a domino have an effect on and trigger different issues resembling parasitic drain. I’m not saying it’s unimaginable to discover ways to do it your self, simply know that should you’re wanting into shopping for a motorbike that has electrical points, you’re in for a giant studying curve (until you’re prepared to pay somebody to repair it for you).

Tire And Rim Situation

The final vital factor you’ll must test whereas out on a take a look at run is the situation of the tires and the edges. Earlier than you are taking any motorbike out for a journey, examine the tires to make sure they’re sturdy sufficient to journey on. You’ll need to test for any cracks and bulges on the tire and see how worn down the tread is.

Worn tread isn’t essentially a nasty factor, it’s simply an indicator of how quickly you’ll must get new tires. However flat tread is harmful and may by no means be ridden on. If the tires appear to be in poor situation, plan on spending about $100 for every tire plus about $50 to get them mounted onto the rim.

Bikes are sadly extra prone to bent rims when larger bumps are hit on the street. It’s my rule of thumb to by no means journey a motorbike that has any kind of bend anyplace on the rim. So whilst you’re inspecting the tires, check out the situation of the edges, too. Don’t journey the motorbike should you see any bends anyplace on the edges.

Bends on the rim could cause a harmful state of affairs for you, particularly if the tires are tubeless (which most bikes have, until it has spoked rims). Tubeless tires depend on that tight suction in opposition to the lips of the edges, so any little bend may imply the tire deflates out on a run. And a deflated tire throughout a journey could possibly be very harmful.

However typically it’s onerous to see bends within the rim with the bare eye. They’ll manifest throughout a journey on the motorbike as a result of that tire will wobble. Any wobble on a motorbike isn’t a very good signal and it’s best to cease instantly should you discover that occuring.

It’s doable to get a bent rim fastened, however I extremely discourage any beginner to do it themselves. It requires some heavy equipment and exactness that most individuals don’t have of their garages. Should you’re involved in getting a motorbike and observed it has a bent rim, you’ll both must get it professionally fastened or purchase new ones altogether.


To summarize what we’ve simply mentioned, right here’s a test listing that may make a take a look at journey for any motorbike a lot simpler. Be happy to repeat and print this off to take with you if you’re planning on take a look at driving a motorbike quickly.

Guidelines For Check Using A Motorbike:


  • Engine dents/scrapes
  • Engine fins situation
  • Gasoline tank dents


  • Exhaust leaks
  • Backfiring
  • Easy acceleration

Clutch Tightness

  • Exhausting shifts or grinding from clutch
  • Clutch deal with too free
  • Clutch deal with too tight


  • Extreme vibration
  • Ticking or grinding

Tires And Rims

  • Bald spots or bulges on tires
  • Worn tread
  • Bends on rims
  • Tire wobbles