DETERMINING IF A USED BIKE HAS BEEN IN AN ACCIDENT
When buying a
motorcycle, it is important to determine if a bike that you
are interested in has ever been in an accident.
Examine the bike for the following:
parallel scratches on the engine cases and on plastic (predominantly above
- A different/non-standard paint job. It is common for a bike to
repainted to hide past damage.
- Paint or metal grounded off the balls on the ends of the clutch/brake
levers, or off the ends of the handlebars.
- Gas tank dents as a result of handlebars smashing into it during a
- Dents and deep/parallel scratches in exhaust pipes.
- Turn-signal stalks ripped or bent off.
- Cracks in the body work that may be hidden by stickers.
Mirrors and clutch and brake levers
It is very common for one side of a bike's clutch and brake levers to be
bent as a result of a crash and replaced with a different color lever than the
other side or even with a different style. Or, it may be hammered back into
shape so that it no longer appears bent. Be on the look-out for cracked or bent
mirrors, or mirrors replaced with different types of mirrors. Both are tell-tale
signs that a bike has fallen down. Not necessarily in an accident, but at least
tipped over. Make sure that you examine thoroughly.
It is very typical for the front forks to get bent as a result of a crash. Take
a seat on the bike and see if the forks look twisted or bent at all. A
good idea would also be take the bike for a ride and see if it drives straight.
Fixing twisted forks is fairly inexpensive. However, fixing bent forks is not.
Either type should be a red flag for you to look for other types of damage.
Non-parallel scratches and shallow chips
If you notice non-parallel scratches and shallow chips, it is likely that
the motorcycle has tipped over and has not been in a crash. Therefore, the bike
will only need cosmetic fixing.
It is possible that you will come across a motorcycle with horizontal scratches
on its lower metal and plastic parts. This does not necessarily mean that the
bike has been in a crash, it could merely be a sign that the owner was an
aggressive driver that leaned the bike way over while turning. However,
deep/parallel scratches above footpeg-level are issues to be alarmed about,
A crash can cause problems to the bodywork for two reasons. Besides bending the
mounting brackets of the bodywork, crashes can also break mounting tabs cracking
and scratching the bodywork. Look for an even seam where pieces come together
and the bodywork pieces fit together easily. Also check to be certain that no
aspect of the bodywork is loose in any way.
If you think a bike has been in accident, move on. There are plenty of used
bikes out there. You will find one that fits your needs, in good condition.
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