How to buy a Used Bike

Saturday 11 December 2010, 00:00 AM by

Similar to people facing the challenge of buying a used car, many people face a dilemma when buying a bike. Let us consider a person with Rs 30,000 cash looking to buy a bike. He would be in dilemma whether to go for a used bike with a cash payment or a new bike with same money as down-payment and the remaining amount financed through a loan.

As a general experience, many buyers after doing their research, not satisfied with the used bike offers, choose to go for a new Bike under a loan scheme. Main reason is the difficulty in getting the desired powered bike within the available budget, especially considering the number of new models being launched frequently and the fact that maintenance of a new bike is easier than a used bike. Thus, the new bike is often more accessible for the bike buyer than a used one.

This being said, there are often many good used bikes available, if only the buyer knows how to go for one. Today, we take a look at the process of buying a used bike.

Choosing a bike

The first step in purchasing bike is to decide which make and model to buy. Here, we typically see two large preference types. Youngsters often prefer power, performance and styling whereas working people prefer the combination of style and mileage. Especially people with excessive travel per day tend to look for mileage rather than power and style.

Some of the bikes that rank in power and style include the Royal Enfield Thunderbird, Bajaj Pulsar 220cc, the Karizma, Yamaha R15 etc and many other 150cc bikes found in the Pulsar, Yamaha FZ, and Hero Honda Hunk series.

Finally, bikes where preference for mileage is important lead to the set that includes 100cc bikes such as Hero Honda Splendor, CD Dawn, Bajaj Platina , etc.

The bikes which are in the middle - i.e. reasonable power and mileage, are in the 125cc and 135cc bike segment, including the Bajaj Discover, Hero Honda Glamour, Honda Shine etc.

The Yamaha RX100 and RX135 hold a special place in the used bike segment. Till date they are the most preferred used bikes for youngsters. Being two stroke engines, with high reliability, and the suitability for off-road racing and wheeling makes it the preferred choice.

In general thus, depending on whether the buyer is looking for a power bike, an efficient bike, or an in between performance bike, the cubic capacity of the bike is decided. Examining spec sheets thus leads to the available universe of bikes.

Price Range of Used Bikes

Besides the Cubic Capacity preference, budget is of course also an important constraint. The table below gives some indicative prices of used bikes in current situation, to get an idea. There is of course a large universe of used bikes and this table is just as an example.

Sl no Make Model Year App price
1 Bajaj CT 100 2005 20000
2 Bajaj Pulsar 150 2005 35000
3 Bajaj Pulsar 150 2008 50000
4 Hero Honda Splendor 2008 37000
5 Hero Honda Karizma 2007 48000
6 Honda Unicorn 2007 40000
7 Honda Shine 2006 35000
8 Royal Enfield Thunder bird 2007 65000
9 TVS Motors Apache 2008 55000
10 Yamaha RX 135 2000 25000
11 Honda Activa 2005 35000
12 Suzuki Access 125 2007 42000

This is the generation of newness. Customers want something special in their bike. Almost all manufacturers tend to keep ahead of trends and introduce one or two special features in every model launched. For Example Bajaj introduced the Pulsar 150cc with a twin spark engine in order to get higher volumetric efficiency. Hero Honda introduced a special feature in the Glamour wherein the engine automatically gets off if it is inclined beyond certain limit. Similarly today, electric start is common in almost all bikes, and at least there would be a option for the same.

The development in features in new bikes has implications for used bikes also. Every new feature tends to deprecate the old, outdated feature, and thus cause some reduced attraction. Hence, it does affect the price of used bikes to some extent. It’s worth keeping this in mind when negotiating.

Where to find your used bike?

Finding a used bike is quite a bit simpler compared than locating a used car. This is mostly due to the size of the market, where there is a much larger number of used bikes available for sale. As a result, the sources for used bikes are just a lost more, including advertisements in websites, magazines, used bike consultants etc. Even a two wheeler mechanic in nearby location would be a good place to buy a bike.

Keep your wish-list in hand while browsing or discussing with such sources, and you can be confident to find the bike that you are looking for.

Inspection of a Used Bike

The inspection of a used bike is a relatively easy task, since the system is quite a bit simpler and thus many will be aware of maintenance problems, troubles during riding etc. However, the taking help of a friend or a mechanic would still make it easier to take a decision.

There are some points important during the purchase of a used bike.

First of all, while inspecting a bike don’t put much faith in the odometer reading. It’s a simple procedure to disconnect the worm from the front wheel to avoid the running of the meter.

Check the condition of tyres; excessive wear would also mean a larger number of punctures, hence both tyre and tube have to be changed. Make sure you reduce this from your purchase price.

While inspecting the bike’s body, pay attention to scratches, broken fenders, indicators, modifications done to the handle, seat cover, tank cover, etc. All these things indicate possibility of an earlier accident and hence some structural damage.

After checking the bike’s exterior – not a large task for a bike, it’s time for a ride. Start the bike and check for the ease of starting. Also be sure to check horn at this point - a low tone horn would not only indicate that the horn needs to be replaced, it can also mean a weak battery.

Take the vehicle for a test ride and check the ride quality, brake efficiency, chain noise etc. Excessive chain noise would mean insufficient lubrication and necessity to replace the same. In many modern bikes, the chain does not need lubrication and chain cover will not be there. In such cases excessive noise indicates the necessity to tighten the chain and a probable replacement in near future.

During test ride pay good attention to the bike’s movement and pickup from when the clutch is engaged. A draggy effect indicates a worn out clutch plate, which will soon need your attention. After the test ride, inspect for leakage of oil from shock absorbers, grease leakage from wheel bearings etc.

Buying procedure of the used bike

After taking a test ride and being convinced by the condition of bike, ask for the original RC book, Insurance, Emission certificate, and check the number of owners. Pay attention to any possible hypothecation on the bike. In case the two-wheeler was under loan which has been cleared, there would be an authentication from RTO for the cancellation of hypothecation. Absence of it can mean that the bike is under loan. In such case, you may want to avoid the risk of clearing the loan from your side. Simply wait till loan is cleared and the hypothecation cancellation is done.

After ensuring that all documentation is perfect, the final stage is to do negotiation and finalize the deal. Awareness of market price of the said make and model matters a lot. By examining the market listings on for used bikes one can be aware of the current market price of bikes.

Once the deal is finalized, get the sign of the seller on the concerned form for transfer of ownership. It is often advisable to stay on top of the transfer of ownership even if the bike is bought from a dealer or consultant.

Seller’s point of view

For bike sellers it will be a humbling task to quote a price suiting market trends. This is because given the constant entry of new bikes into market with their new features, buyers tend not to be interested to invest much for used bikes. Two wheelers being a necessity for most people, if we sell one, we will have to go for another which will mean extra investment. Seller would thus be caught in dilemma whether to use the same bike for few more years and go for new one with extra investment which many times leads to taking loans.

Once again, browsing for used bikes will help a lot to know the approximate market price of said model and use it for quoting.


Buying used bike is a relatively simple task in principle but it can be very confusing task due to the availability of plenty of bikes of different segments. First, one has to decide about whether mileage or power is preferred. Then, using various sources such as internet, one needs to focus on the model of bike needed. Then consult friends and dealers to locate the suitable bike.

With all this done, hopefully now, you will be the owner of a new used bike!

The above was an overview of the used bike buying process. Do ask your questions or provide your feedback on the article.

Follow Shiva Shankar on
Popular Cars
Upcoming Cars
    No New Cars