Bike Buyer Guru: Bikes with low mileage are not always a good deal
Craig Langton has quite the CV. Here at The Bike Show we refer to him as King Midas because, as you might’ve guessed, everything he touches turns to gold. Apart from previous businesses that were massively successful under his watch, he is the owner of Fire It Up in Fourways and within a year of opening its doors it has become the biggest selling motorcycle dealer in the country by a long way. Much of this is down to good honest hard work by him and his team, but much of it also has to do with decades of dealing in motorcycles, spotting trends and noticing nuances. Craig will be passing on much of this knowledge to our esteemed readers in his Bike Buyer Guru column that will be posted every Tuesday. Herewith this week’s column:
In these articles I have debated the effect that high mileage has on the value of a motorcycle. With touring motorcycles that predominantly travel long distances, the motorcycle’s components have less wear and tear than a motorcycle that has travelled the same mileage in traffic. The motorcycle that has travelled the same distance in traffic has more brake, clutch, body and engine wear. I would rather take the bike with higher touring mileage but less wear and tear if it was my money.
Taking the above into consideration, are motorcycles with less mileage always worth more? Not always. Another example, I was offered a 2013 BMW R1200GS that had only travelled 500km’s from new. The bike had been purchased, ridden a few times and then parked. A normal reaction would be that a motorcycle that is 5 years old with such low mileage is worth far more than the same motorcycle that has travelled 5000km’s.Not always. If you are considering a motorcycle with extremely low mileage you need to be just as cautious as a motorcycle with higher mileage. As an example:
- The original tyres might need to be replaced immediately if they have expired, despite their appearance of being brand new.
- Check the tank for rust which is common on a bike that has just been parked.
- You will also need to consider that if there are signs of rust in the tank then the fuel pump will need replacing or at the very least cleaning. The injectors will also need specialist cleaning.
- All the fluids will need to be replaced despite the low mileage.
- If there are no service books be cautious as I have noticed an increasing trend where motorcycle mileage is being tampered with as many manufacturers do not have the facility to track or verify mileages.
- A motorcycle that has been ridden a few hundred kilometres and then parked may not have had an applicable recall applied.
- A motorcycle that has been ridden only a few times and then parked and is now out of warranty, so any latent defects might not have had the chance to make themselves visible.
An important note is that if you are purchasing a motorcycle that has been parked and has not had its annual service, despite its low mileage, it is critical that the engine oil is changed before the bike is ridden home, as the oil is most certainly contaminated and engine wear and damage will most certainly occur. Rather pick it up with a trailer and have it serviced thoroughly.