Bike Buyers Tip: Careful, the bike you’re buying might be on its last legs

Bike Buyers is in the business of purchasing motorcycles which find themselves on the showroom floor of the famous Fire It Up dealership in Fourways, and the number of motorcycles on the Fire It Up floor suggests they are damn good at what they do. Collectively, they have many decades of bike buying experience and will be sharing their knowledge with The Bike Show Website every Monday offering tips, advice, guidance and warnings regarding your bike buying or selling experience. For this week’s tip, we look into how people, who know there is something massively wrong with their bikes, would rather sell them than pay to get them fixed.

Bike Buyer used might be on last leg

We wrote previously about how the CPA dictates that all bikes bought through dealers must carry a six-month warranty, even when they are used. This is true when buying through a dealer but not when buying privately, meaning you buy it as you see it when you purchase a bike directly from the previous owner. This has its benefits, as it means you might get a better price but it is inherently risky, and bike owners are now using that to their advantage.

It happens in two ways – either someone is trying to sell their bike, so they take it to a dealer for evaluation, only to discover that there is a massive flaw somewhere that the dealer has found. It’s usually picked up when they plug it into their diagnostic machine that picks up a load of faults, sometimes they find chunks of metal and oil pump bits stuck to the magnetic oil sump and sometimes it can be wear and tear goods like a clutch on its last leg. Either way, the dealer insists that these faults are fixed before they will buy the bike, and the response from the seller is often: “Nevermind, I will just sell it privately”.

It gets worse, because the other way this happens is that the owner takes the bike to a dealer because of a fault, and when they find that it is going to be costly to repair, they attempt to hide the fault by such means as getting their buddy with a diagnostics machine to clear all the faults so that they temporarily won’t show up on the dash, or something like putting thicker oil in to mask the noise of a big fault in the motor, and even going as far as taking the dash apart and putting Prestik over a warning light globe.

Obviously, the unwary buyer purchases their new baby only to discover big problems afoot and a huge bill to fix them in their immediate future. The previous owner will simply shrug it off, happy with the extra dosh in their bank account.

There are ways to avoid this – the first is to insist on taking the bike for a test ride. This will often unmask such faults as the warning lights on the dash that will come back on within a few minutes, or the higher revving motor and warmer oil will reveal the unnerving sound in the motor. If the previous owner isn’t happy with you test riding it – and this is not unwarranted because how does the previous owner know you will return? – then the other method is to ask to have the bike taken to a trusted dealer for an inspection. They can usually tell when there is trickery afoot.


Bike Buyers offers the public a free motorcycle inspection for any private deal at no charge. If you are buying privately and want to ensure that the bike you are buying is sound, ask to have it taken to Bike Buyers where they will do a visual inspection, plug it into their diagnostic machine and even check the oil, all for free.

Bike Buyers contacts:
Tel: 011 467 0737

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