Bike Buyers Tip: Is your bike “custom” or crashed?

Bike Buyers is in the business of purchasing motorcycles which then 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 “customising” is a good way of hiding the fact that it has been crashed.

Bike Buyer Tip is your custom or crashed

There are some brilliant motorcycle custom artists in the industry, turning average motorcycles into beautiful canvases of exquisite beauty. However, as is often the cases, people don’t customise their bikes out of choice. Typically, it’s because the standard bodywork is in a skip somewhere after an unfortunate incident where the rider ran out of talent.

And this is why buyers of used motorcycles need to beware, especially when buying privately. A seller is supposed to disclose if a bike has been in an accident, but it’s far easier to make the sale when the seller says, “I didn’t like the standard look, so I customised it”.

Very often a crash damages only the bodywork, and the chassis and motor are still perfect, however, it’s possible that the frame isn’t quite straight or something is cracked and waiting to snap. So a person might be buying a custom bike and, instead, getting a death trap. What makes this whole situation even more doubtful is that usually insurance would cover everything and either write the bike off or fix it with original parts.

The question the potential buyer needs to ask is why didn’t they do that with this bike?

There are cues to look for that makes the “custom” job suspicious, and the first is when the motorcycle’s appearance is worse than the original. We realise that taste isn’t necessarily given, but the easiest and cheapest way of mending ruined body panels is to buy a cheap, pre-painted set from China. Sometimes you can tell just by looking at the bike that the panels are not original, but some are remarkably good.

To find out whether the panels are fake or not, start by asking where the originals are, as very often people just like a certain look, especially the iconic ones like Repsol Honda or Fiat Yamaha. If the owner cannot produce the originals, then take it to a dealer for a second opinion.

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