When buying a used dirt bike, the most important questions are the ones that you need to ask yourself! Asking the dirt bike seller questions is okay but they may be lying to you to get the sale. Don’t believe anything the seller says without proof to back up their claim!
So ask yourself these questions –
#1 What is the true value of the dirt bike? If you don’t know what its worth then how can you properly negotiate the right price for it?
Make sure you do some research on some bike sales websites first so you know the value of the bike in good condition and in bad condition with comparable mileage.
Write down your findings on a piece of paper and carry it with you when you are inspecting dirt bikes so you can remember the value range.
#2 What type of dirt bike riding will I be doing? If you will be riding in the dirt but also need it for road use, don’t buy a motocross and try to convert it later!
You are much better off buying a road compliant dual-sport dirt bike to be able to handle road conditions as well as dirt trails.
If you will be riding on dedicated dirt trails, don’t buy a motocross as they are too peaky for the forest, get yourself an enduro.
You get my point here? Make sure you get the right bike for your style of riding.
#3 Am I going to buy the first dirt bike I look at? I get it! the thrill of buying a dirt bike is exciting and all you want to do is get out there and roost!
The problem with being impatient and dropping your hard earned cash on the first bike you inspect though is that most likely you will buy a piece of shit.
Make sure you are patient, inspect a few bikes and wait for a bike to come up that is in good condition before spending your cash.
This process will take a few weeks but trust me, it’s worth it.
#4 What parts of a dirt bike need to be inspected? Used dirt bikes need to be inspected very carefully and you need to go through a list of things to check methodically to uncover problems on the bike (there’s at least 28 things to check).
If you don’t understand all the points on a dirt bike then you may miss an important problem which may end up being expensive down the track.
If that is the case then I would recommend bringing a dirt bike mechanic along with you or a friend that knows dirt bikes back to front.
To learn about all the points that need to inspected on a dirt bike plus a whole stack of other useful tips, read my 9 golden rules for getting a good deal when buying a used dirt bike.
#5 Does the bike have a service history? If the owner says yes, get them to produce receipts. If no receipts are available then assume that the bike has not been serviced much.
If the owner says that they have serviced it themselves, they should have a decent garage with tools to back up that claim.
It’s easy to spot a dirt bike mechanic, their garage is brimming with tools and spare parts lying everywhere and their knowledge and skills will be obvious.
#6 Has the engine been rebuilt? If the owner says yes to this question, then they should have the receipts to prove it.
If not, then assume that the bike hasn’t been rebuilt or they are a dirt bike mechanic who has rebuilt the bike themselves.
If so, make sure they are actually a mechanic and not just talking shit.
A good mechanic will have super amounts of mechanical knowledge about the bike and will be able to tell you what has been done on the bike and probably even show you the old parts to prove it.
#7 Are there any issues I can notice on the test ride? The all important test ride will uncover any issues that may be hiding from you.
Make sure you get the bike warmed up completely as this is where the problems will start.
Don’t rev the shit out of the bike and ride the bike respectfully.
The last thing you want is to piss off the owner as you will probably lose your negotiating power if you do this.
Take the bike through its paces, check every gear, check the brakes, check strange noises, check the electricals, bounce on the suspension and watch for leaks after the engine is warm.
Once you have identified the issues (if any), calculate how much they will cost to fix. You will need this amount for the negotiating stage.
I believe there is at least 1 problem with every used dirt bike out there. You just have to find that problem and figure out whether it’s worth fixing the problem. Be wary!
#8 How much should I offer for the bike? If you have gone through the inspection process and are happy with what you see, it is now time for negotiations to begin.
The way I negotiate is to first use the value of the bike as a starting point (Question 1) and then calculate the costs of fixing any existing issues on the bike.
So lets say the value of the bike is $3000 and I have worked out that it will cost me $600 to fix the problems.
I would offer the owner $2400 and explain exactly why I have offered that amount. The owner will appreciate your honesty and will more likely want to do business with you.
#9 The deal doesn’t stack up, what should I do? Maybe there are too many issues on the bike, maybe the owner is asking too much, maybe there is a funny noise in the gearbox?
What ever the problem is, if you don’t feel right about the deal, WALK AWAY!
Don’t ever think you are missing out because you aren’t. Trust me, there will be 5 more quality bikes pop up on the market to inspect next week, there always is. Patience is the key here.
#10 Should I buy a worn out bike and rebuild it slowly? This is a common question dirt bike riders ask themselves.
The problem is that unless you have TOTAL skill and commitment and are prepared to spend every evening for the next few months rebuilding the bike, not to mention spending a TON of cash doing it,
I would not recommend this option. This option is more suited to the expert mechanics out there that enjoy a good dirt bike project.
Personally, I prefer to ride a bike rather than build one.
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