- Are you the guy who stops talking just to hear that sweet melody of an inline-4?
- Are you spending your free time watching YouTube videos of motorcycles you would love to own (but can’t afford in the near future)?
You need to pay close attention to the points listed below. These may save you from plonking down your hard-earned money and getting stuck with a lemon. The Eternal process to buy a used Superbike.
If a deal is too good to be true, it most certainly isn’t
Nothing is free in this world and no seller will sell the motorcycle below its market price. So be sure to check every aspect of the motorcycle in the case where you are being told “Once in a lifetime opportunity”
Let us go in detail about what all you should be aware of –
Facebook Groups, shops selling superbikes, friend’s friend selling his bike are some of the most common places you would be stalking to find your dream bike.
Most of the facebook groups are filled with sellers who run a business of selling motorcycles. Nothing wrong in that. But then the prices quoted on most of such posts are typically 25-30% higher than market value. Similar is the case of a shop selling superbikes. Do you think a person will invest in buying these beauties and then letting them go with an Rs.5000 profit?
The condition of these bikes will be over hyped and not correct in 90% of cases. So be extremely cautious when buying from people you don’t know personally.
This brings us to buy from a friend’s friend. How well do you know each other? Is he a serious rider munching miles or a weekend warrior? We would suggest that you should buy a motorcycle that is not being ridden by a serious rider. Even though he would have cared for it a lot but ultimately the chain, sprocket, fork seals have wear and tear. It is always better to buy from a rider who has ridden say 5000 km in last year. You will get a much cleaner bike even if he has not maintained it much. One last place not mentioned above but where you should ideally concentrate your search on is official company dealers selling used motorcycles. They are usually buy-back for the purchase of another more expensive model. For good customers buying a superbike every couple of years, the dealers have to oblige him by buying back his old bike.
Illegal / DRI cleared / Grey Market
Walk away from illegal / officially not launched in India motorcycles. Illegal (or Grey); as the name suggests were motorcycles that were illegally imported and so can’t be registered. They were most probably imported as spare parts and then assembled by some mechanic. They are usually sold with an RC card mentioning some other model.
Try and purchase a motorcycle less than 5 years old. Technology changes a lot in the past 5 years and superbikes are the cutting edge of technology. Companies put in the latest technology in these bikes first. Unless you are a classic bike buff, you would be compromising a lot if you opt for a motorcycle that is more than 5 years old. Also, getting parts for a 10 year old bike would prove difficult.
Always see the motorcycle in the day time. Lights hide ugly secrets. Daylight shows you all scratches, dents easily. Even if you are buying from a shop, ask them to bring it outside in natural light.
Motorcycles, by their nature tend to be dropped. Someone forgets to put on the stand and drops it in parking, someone’s foot slips and drops the bike on road or someone hits from behind at a traffic signal. Of course, someone crashes while riding. Surprisingly all the superbikes being sold are in top class condition
- Check lever ends, bar ends for scratches. They right away point you out if the bike is dropped or not. No one replaces these for small falls. These are the first things that get damaged.
- Check foot pegs for scratches or bend.
- Check rims. See if there is any damage. Alloys of superbikes are extremely expensive and riding on bent alloys is risky.
- See how the tyre is worn – is it even wear/tear? A tyre that is worn out in centre means the previous owner has ridden it mostly on highways in a straight manner and not done much of cornering. This is an indication that the possibility of the motorcycle being crashed is low. I am not saying that tyres worn out on corners is essentially bad but such motorcycles will be more prone to accidents.
- Check if both front and rear tyres are of similar age and make. If not, start wondering what compelled the tyre change. Superbike tyres are expensive. They cost at least Rs.10,000 each so no one would change it just for the sake of it.
Superbike batteries are expensive 12-15,000/-. It is not unknown for sellers to fit a normal battery just for the sake of selling the bike. In such a case, you will be stranded on the first ride itself. Check that the battery fitted is as per company specifications.
No Claims Bonus (NCB)
One simple aspect is to see the insurance policy of the motorcycle. For any motorcycle not involved in an accident, the insurance company offers a No Claims Bonus (a way of incentivizing you for not making a claim). NCB starts from 10% and keeps increasing every year of no claim. Check if the last policy had NCB and if yes, what is the percentage. This is the easiest way to check if the bike was in a serious accident. In case there is zero NCB, it is time to ask some hard questions to seller. Ask him to show repair bills so you know what all had broken and was replaced.
For small damages, owners typically don’t make insurance claim and can get that repaired at own cost. This is why checking service history is all important.
If it is sold in India, you can check its service history in most near by authorized service centre. Most of the service centres are centrally connected and can bring up service history of that particular motorcycle in one second. In case they don’t provide you that, you can always request to seller to share this history.
See if the numbers and specifications written on the RC card and those present on the motorcycle are actually matching. Ensure that the numbers, model name, cylinders, cc are correct.
Number of owners
Are you dealing with a guy whose name appears on the RC card? Is the dealer willing to let you talk/connect directly with the owner? No? Then take the number of owners mentioned on the RC card with a pinch of salt. It is not unknown for people to buy and keep riding the motorcycle while still registered to previous owners’ name. This is typically done to reduce the number of owners and maintain higher resale price.
Take a test ride on a deserted / low traffic road. Many sellers would try to object giving a test ride but come on you are buying a motorcycle worth lakhs and seller should not expect to sell without offering a test ride. I know sellers are hesitant because they are not sure about your riding abilities. This is where it is your job to convince him that you are a genuine customer.
Try to rev the bike through its rev range (even if it is first gear). This is easier said than done. Litre class motorcycles would do more than 100kmph in first gear. Unless you see the responsiveness across the rev range, you won’t understand if all the cylinders are firing and not losing compression.
Add-on accessories worth a couple of lakhs do NOT add value in the second-hand market. They were fitted by original owner to suit his riding/liking. You need not pay a premium for those. In case the seller wants a premium because of accessories, tell him that you are willing to buy the bike in stock configuration. This will prove a decent bargaining point.
Try not to be desperate. There is no Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. If you can’t crack a deal for this bike, you can always get the next one. No need to go overboard and buy a dud just because you want to show off the bike to your friends. Better to be late than sorry.
I hope this article has provided you sufficient points to make an educated/informed decision while buying a used superbike.
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