Instead of going out and buying a brand new dirt bike you can get really good deals on a used bike. So let’s go through a checklist of what to look for when you’re shopping for a used bike. Before you head out there to look at the bike when you’re on the phone or text with the seller obviously ask questions about how well the bike was maintained, what kind of condition the bike is in and just get a gauge if you can trust the seller not that’s a huge thing when you’re buying anything used.
But you can take the opportunity to specifically ask the seller about, they have the title in hand if the price is negotiable and what type of riding they did with the bike, whether track or trail. Whatever they’ll give you a good idea of what to expect when you go look at the bike and I would also recommend bringing a buddy with you that we have the stuff to go through and you got back up and it also prevents you from making a rash decision based on emotion anyone looking at a bike is usually pretty excited so it’s easy to be too excited and missed some important stuff on the bike.
All right so you decided to go check out the bike in person and I’m gonna go over the most important thing first, how well does the bike run and operate before you go to start the bike or have the seller start it feel the side of the engine see if it’s warm if the seller decide to start the bike before you showed up that may be an indicator that there is some sort of starting issue just something to be aware of, kick the bike over slowly a few times before you actually start it this will give you an idea if it’s got good compression.
Even better bring along a compression tester that’ll give you a really good idea of the condition of the top brands so you can figure out the PSI a bike should be pumping out. Just a quick Google search for an example of the bikes you are looking for. eg., 3YC 250 2003 model compression PSI and you should have some info right there and then when you go to start the bike if you’re kicking forever that’s obviously an issue on a two-stroke bike if it’s hard to start that could indicate a warm top and which is low compression or it could possibly be a carburetor issue as well.
If the bike you are looking for is a four-stroke, the valves being out of adjustment is the most likely scenario for being hard to start and also could be low compression in a warm top and or a carburetor or fuel injection issue too.
Now start the bike and take a ride for a test. What you have to check basically is the brake, let the power go through all the gears and feel the gear is playing well and make sure everything works and check the brake at the end. Make sure the brake engages properly, no pausation and brake cut off.
If it four stroke bike make sure it’s not popping or backfiring that will be an indication that the valves are out of adjustment.
Okay, so you went for a test drive and everything checked out fine and now you really want to inspect the bike the next most important in check over would be the air filter that will give you a good indication on how well the bike was maintained. I would really insist that the seller let you pull the seat off and inspect the air filter it’s always a good idea to bring some tools along for this.
If you come across a filter that is disgusting I would almost take it a step further and pull the filter off and look inside the air boot action what it’s not a bad idea to do that either way.
If you have a light on your phone normally you should have just run down the light into the air boot. Take a look around in here and if you see any dirt that’s a good indication the air filter was not clean on a consistent schedule once you have dirt in air boot chances are it’s going to work its way into the engine and eventually wear out the top bad so the piston rings would be the parts that would wear out causing low compression and then on a four-stroke into where the bell faces and then a valve adjustment or valve replacement will be necessary
Another simple thing to look over would just be to pull the radiator cap and make sure you got blue in there. Yep, this is definitely for I would also definitely check into the oil as well on a four stroke if it’s got a dipstick check the oil level and the oil color as well. If you don’t have a dipstick just stick your finger in there and lean the bike over and you should be able to see what color the engine oil. If the oil is not black and muddy that means the oil has been replaced regularly.
So if the gear oil is pretty black definitely needs to be changed out also not a bad idea to just ask the owner how often they change the engine or transmission oil, really depends on what kind of riding you’re doing whether track or trail but ten to twenty hours is usually a good interval to change the oil.
Like any machine, it’s gonna have a lot of bearings but the bearings that wear out most frequently under bike are the shock linkage bearing, wheel bearings, and steering head bearings. Check over those right now to check of the linkage bearings you can either have the bike on the stand with the rear wheel off the ground or if the bikes on the ground you can just pull up on the subframe or the back of the bike and test for swapped here in these bearings.
I’m gonna tell how I do it on the stand it’s going to grab the wheel and tug upward on the back of the bike and if you feel any movement there most likely it’s in the link its bearings, the bearing that wears out most frequently is the lower shock bearing.
Some bikes you come across might have it on the slop in the linkage so be aware that could be a couple of hundred dollar expense.
Now for the wheel bearings, all this makes it spin smoothly without any squeaking or grinding noises. Grab the wheel and shake it and if there’s any play or movement there those Bearings will need replacement.
Over the steering stem Bearings, is pretty simple. Just turn the steering back and forth make sure those bearings are operating smoothly and then a check for slop in those bearings take the bike up to stands grab the front brake and rock the bike back and forth and if you feel any slop there probably not a good sign.
Check over on the brakes and the important things to check are the rotors and pads. For the rotor all run my finger from the mounting surface to the braking surface there’s any sort of lip right here that indicates somewhere and eventually you’ll need some attention and then for the pads of what I’m looking for is the amount of material on either side of the rotor, if it is getting down they’ll need replacement pretty soon.
Now check for a bent brake rotor spin the wheel and if the rotors bent the be some vibration and pads or some section there and also when you’re on the bike push down the brake pedal or pulling the lever and if there’s any pull sitting there that means you have a bent rotor.
Another thing that frequently gets damaged under bike or the wheels so you want to check over the spokes and rims so with the spokes just make your way around making sure there are no missing or broken spokes and then you can grab on and make sure that is tight definitely don’t want the spokes and then for the rim it’s going to crack they usually crack on the outer edge here so once again go all the way around the edge make sure you don’t see any cracks or bends and if you guys can see it and it’s pretty minor so not the end of the world it’s pretty common deal on a dirt bike but if you see a rim with a ton of bends in it, not a good sign.
One thing you definitely don’t want to skip over are the chains sprockets. Let’s take a look at the teeth and make sure they’re not bent or cut down in at the tip of the teeth are worn down to a point pretty good indicator the sprocket needs replacement. A worn out chain will have a ton of play when you pull up on it when it’s on the sprocket.
You could check the side to side movement in the chain as well there’s a ton of play there that’s something I would definitely consider it when it comes to negotiating the price the chain guidance letter should definitely be checked over as well the chain guide you want a bunch material here underneath the chain saw this one looks pretty good and then for that swingarm chain slider.
I don’t really need to cover the obvious like plastics, graphics, seat cover, and tires that kind of thing but a lot of times that’s a pretty good indicator of how well the owner kept up on the bike.
Now for leaks what we’re dealing with here is engine oil, coolant, suspension fluid and brake fluid for the engine just give a good look around all the mating surfaces and see if you see any oil build up but of course any leak is gonna be on the bottom side and this is where I’d be really handy if the seller allows you to lay the bike over on side.
If bike has a skid plate on it so you can’t see the full underside the engine you can take a look at the clutch cover sealing surface and you a notice any leaks coming from there if you really want to go all out you can pull the skid plate off and take a look under that as well and check for coolant leaks, look around the ceiling surface for any leaks and the hole in the bottom side to cover if any coolant come out of that your water pump seals need replacement and when you have the bike laid over on its side it’s a perfect chance to look at the bottom side of frame, Linkage, swing arm and the bottom side of the force for any dents or cracks.
Suspension seals so compressed shock and the forks and if you see any oil build up on the tubes you’re looking at a blown seal or a seal that needs to be cleaned out, either way, it’ll need some more things to keep in mind. For the radiators are leaks repairs and obviously seeing if there are any bends, so it’s pretty common to see radiators being repaired with JB weld you’ll see a blob of grease stuff stuck to the radiator.
Last but not the least but it’s pretty important to look at the bike directly from behind and see if the fender and the tire line up. If the fender is shipped off the side or twisted chances are it’s got a bent subframe.
Now after some careful inspection of the bike, it’s time to make a decision or negotiate a price. If you see a lot of stuff that needs replacement or attention on the bike you’re definitely gonna have to do some negotiating or just walk away from the deal completely. On the other hand, if you like what you see, it’s what you’re looking for and it’s within your budget then go for it but it still doesn’t hurt to negotiate just a little bit.
So obviously before you look at a bike you want to do some research on what they’re going for in your area, look around get a general idea of what they’re worth and we are not paid too much or not be a complete lowball when you’re negotiating.
The best way to typically negotiate the price is a bring up everything that’s down on the bike that might need attention and show that you are serious, you definitely don’t want to insult them or be a crook and low ball. Just be respectful and generally people be willing to work with you on the price so negotiating is pretty simple if you like the bike and everything checks out fine see what the seller could do on the price. If he is asking two thousand my counteroffer with eighteen and then you just go back and forth until you’re both happy with the price.
There’s no point in insecure over here everyone’s gonna get their fair share of the deal but if you do your due diligence with checking over the bike you’ll be fine.