Used Dirt Bike Sales - Buying a Used Dirt Bike, Trail Bike, MX or Enduro Bike Part 1 - Help, Hints & Tips to save riders time, money and hassle.
What you can do to reduce the chance of getting ripped off. Private Used Dirt Bike Sales and Retail Used Dirt Bike Sales, which is better?
Getting thorough documentation and Proof of Ownership when buying a used bike can prevent a great deal of grief.

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 Buying a Used Dirt or Trail Bike Part 1
 Private vs Retail Purchase
 Help, Hints, Tips and Strategies

 Dirt Bike Australia - HOME 

 Dirt Bike Australia - HOME

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Key Points To Buying A Used Dirt Bike
  Know What You Want and the expected Price Range
  Know How Much You Can Afford
  Insist on Proper and Complete Documentation
  Always Remember ... Buyer Beware !!
Buying a Used or Second Hand Dirt Bike - Part 1
How To Get A Better Outcome
- Advice, Help, Hints, Tips & Strategies

Buying anything second hand (or pre loved :-) always has its risks. In the case of a dirt bike, it may have been thrashed, trashed or may even be stolen. Be particularly wary when buying any unregistered dirt bike.

If it is a private sale of an unregistered dirt bike, make sure you see some paperwork for proof of ownership before you part with your cash. If it turns out to be stolen and is recovered by the Police (for example, when you try to register it), the dirt bike will be confiscated and you will be out of pocket.

Let's assume for the moment that the ownership is legitimate. You're looking at a dirt bike, it has a few knocks and dents (as you would expect), how do you know it's worth the price the seller is asking? Sadly, the short answer is, you don't.

Even if the seller is only asking for an amount that is more or less the current market value for that dirt bike in "good condition", the truth is (unless you happen to know the seller and the bike), you have no way of knowing whether it really is in good condition.

Buying a dirt, trail or MX bike second hand is somewhat of a leap of faith, where you are relying on the integrity of the seller (whether private or retail). Hence that old latin expression "caveat emptor" (buyer beware).

In fairness ... Most private sellers and retailers are just normal people and businesses. They are not "out to get you" or necessarily out to "rip you off". But that does not mean you shouldn't be careful ... very, very careful!


Buying a Used or Second Hand Dirt Bike via Private Sale [ BACK ]

Some things to consider are:
  Documentation and Proof of Ownership
Buying a used dirt bike by private sale does not have to be fraught with risk and danger. The first way to reduce the risk is to see some documentation. Start with Proof of Ownership. This would ideally be the original purchase invoice.

Next ... politely ask to see invoices for maintenance, repairs and parts. This can provide an insight into the history of the bike and possibly reveal repaired damage.

If the bike has been sold previously and the original sales invoice is not available, registration documents might do, if they are accompanied by receipts for maintenance & repairs spanning a reasonable period of time (more than 12 months). If you buy a used dirt bike without the appropriate documentation ... it will become Your Problem.

If the situation seems in any way suspicious, consider getting some details (make, model, frame number) and check the dirt bike out on the Stolen Dirt Bike Register web site. If the bike is not listed, that does not mean that it isn't stolen. But it may be worth checking just for little more peace of mind.

Buying a dirt bike that has current registration papers and a Roadworthy Certificate (RWC) is always a good idea.

  Why are they are selling their Dirt Bike?
There a many legitimate reasons for offering a dirt bike for sale. If however, the seller's response sounds fishy, evasive, like a load of BS or is for any reason unconvincing ... say no thanks ... and walk away.

  Be wary of "Bargains" and Unregistered Dirt Bikes
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If the asking price is very low, chances are the dirt bike has serious mechanical issues (that is, problems that maybe you can't easily see) ... or it is hot (stolen). If the dirt bike is unregistered, insist on seeing proof of ownership. If they no show, you just go.

  Avoid Pushy Sellers and Rushed Decisions
Don't let the seller push or rush you into buying. Trying to close the deal quickly is often a tactic to put you off balance. Possibly in the hope that you won't notice something, that the seller doesn't want you to see. Don't play their game ... instead, be thorough.

So maybe the seller does already have another offer ... and maybe they don't. Approach the transaction on your own terms, take your time and carefully consider ALL your options. Caution is always cheaper than ending up with some one else's "lemon".

  Keep It Business
Don't be too eager and don't be too chummy. This is not about making new buddies, but rather about a potential financial transaction. You should be respectful, polite and even friendly ... but always remember, this is business. Don't give out personal information unless you are completing the transaction.

  Know the Market Value
 [ BACK ]
Always research the dirt bike make and model offered for sale before going to check out the bike. Spend some time on the Internet and shop around to get an idea the current price range for what you are interested in.

To find the current Market Value of a bike see The Red Book. If in doubt, when you go to check out a potential purchase, also bring a friend or associate who has more experience. Don't bring all your mates, just some one who can give you good advice when you need it.

Red Book Motorcycle Values for popular makes.

  Making A Lower Offer
If you are seriously interested in buying ... and if the asking price is approximately the going market value or higher, consider making a lower offer. Perhaps start with an offer that is 10% to 15% less that the expected market value. You may be able to negotiate a reasonable cost saving.

Be careful though, some people (and I'm one of them) do not like to haggle and may simply tell you to get lost. It is however worth a try, particularly if you have found the dirt bike has noticeable defects or damage (bargaining points) when you inspected it. (see also The Pre-Purchase Inspection in the left-hand sidebar.)

  Is the Dirt Bike Roadworthy
If the dirt bike is currently registered, make sure it comes with a Roadworthy Certificate (RWC). If the seller gives you the old line "Oh yeah, it's roadworthy, I just haven't had time to book it in for testing yet ...", then politely tell them to call you back when it's a done thing.

Most of the time, the reason for a lack of a RWC is that there are a bunch of (often expensive) things that will need to be fixed or repaired. If you buy the dirt bike "as is" without the Roadworthy Certificate, you will have to bear the cost of whatever needs to be done to bring it up to "roadworthy" standard ... at least, you will if you want to road register the dirt bike.

Since a RWC is usually only valid for one month, make sure it doesn't expire before you submit the transfer of registration documents, or you will have to have the dirt bike tested again. And wouldn't you know ... it's not unusual for a subsequent roadworthyness test to find stuff that was missed the first time around ... which of course you will now have to get fixed at your expense. Sadly, this is how some testers squeeze that extra buck out you, by then offering to make the required "repairs".

  The All important Test Ride
Taking the dirt bike for a test ride is a good way to discover whether the bike lives up to the seller's claims. see the Taking a Used Dirt Bike for a Test Ride section in the left-hand sidebar for things to watch and listen for.

Buying a Used or Second Hand Dirt Bike via Retail Sale [ BACK ]

  Warranty & Documentation
Buying a used dirt or trail bike from a retail bike shop usually has the advantage and added protection of some kind of warranty (probably in the range of three to six months). The used dirt bikes offered for sale are probably trade-ins and are likely to have been cleaned up, tested ... and at least be roadworthy with appropriate documentation.

  More Expensive
Retail used dirt bikes are also likely to be at the higher price range for a given make and model (possibly as much as double the average price of a private sale).

There is a trade-off here between the uncertainty of a potentially cheaper private sale ... and the warranty, plus higher price of a retail purchase. And that is not to say that you won't get ripped off at a bike shop, it's just less likely, because the bike shop may have a reputation to maintain. Most reputable dealers want you to come back and buy your next bike from them as well.

  Trade-in Options
Another advantage of dealing with Retail sellers is the possibility of trading in your existing bike. As a rule of thumb you will always be offered a better trade-in deal if you are looking to buy a new bike. However, if you're looking at the high end of the used dirt bike market, dealers may be interested in making an offer on your current ride.

  After Sales Service
Along with the warranty, there may also be other "After Sales Service" features that makes dealing with a retail outlet more desirable than a private sale. The retail bike shop will often have a workshop and a mechanic (or three).

This means that you will have somewhere to take your dirt bike for tuning, tweaking and repairs when you bend it. Having experienced mechanics work on your machine can actually save you money in the long run, and leave you with a better machine for resale when it's time upgrade.

  Finance & Insurance
The bike shop may also be able to offer both financing and insurance, which can be a big advantage (sometimes).

  Up-Selling and Over-Sizing
The biggest problem with the availability of financing is "up-selling". This is where the bike shop tries to talk you in to buying a more expensive used bike, by offering you a finance package so you can then pay the bike off.

These sorts of deals may sound good at the time, but can get very ugly later if you miss making any payments. Financing agreements may include clauses (usually the fine print) that will see your trail bike repossesed in the twinkling of an eye if you don't make your payments on time.

  Don't Over Spend
Never over-commit your financial resources, regardless of how good the offer sounds. Before you go to the bike shop, you might want to practice saying "No Thanks", just to get a feel for it :-)

Many bike shops employ sales people, who get commissions, and their job is to sell ... right?

To this end they will generally talk up the merits of a particular bike and gloss over some of the bike's failings. If you go there well informed and with a clear idea of what you are after, you are much more likely to be treated with respect and get an outcome that you will be happy with.

  The Cooling Off Period and Returns
Most states of Australia allow for a "Cooling Off" period (usually 30 days) for retail sales, finance and insurance contracts, etc. During this time the buyer may change their mind and essentially back out of a deal.

Most people are unaware that they even have this right, most likely because it usually buried in the fine print of contracts (let's face it, this is not something that retailers want to promote).

Usually the contract will specify that the purchased goods must be returned in the same condition as when sold, and fees & charges may apply in the case a "product" is returned, whether it is deemed to be damaged or not.

See Also: Buying a Used or Second Hand Dirt Bike - Part 2