Your guide to buying a pre-owned two-wheeler

Over the last few months, two-wheeler sales took a massive hit due to obvious reasons and the lockdown period saw numbers sink to an all-time low. However, the figures from June, though nowhere near as high as those from a year ago, come as a silver lining. As people slowly start getting back to their normal lives, the need for an affordable, personal mode of transportation has increased; especially when public transport is something many will be trying to avoid.

Considering that we live in the largest two-wheeler market in the world, there are a lot of used two-wheelers out there that one can choose from. We have listed out some steps you can follow to ensure a hassle-free purchase.

Be prepared

As self-explanatory as this might be, it is best that you know exactly what you are looking for and what your budget is. Once you have narrowed down your options, do your homework by going through forums and speaking to your local mechanic or service centre to know more about the bikes.

Many bikes have dedicated forums with owners’ experiences and these will give you a lot of insight. Search for similar offerings as that will help you compare prices, consider service and running costs — things that you usually look into even if you were buying a brand-new motorcycle.

Where should you buy from?

There are three main avenues you can buy your used motorcycle from: a used-bike broker, an online platform, or directly from a motorcycle owner who is interested in selling to you.

Your final pick depends on which of these options has what you are looking for and how convenient each of them is for you. A broker gives you the opportunity to physically inspect the bike before you lay down your money.

Most establishments like this also have an in-house workshop that usually services the pre-owned motorcycle before it is put on the market. So even if you are not the most mechanically adept person, you can rely on a trusted broker to offer you a bike that is not riddled with issues.

Your second option is to use an online portal. Droom and CredR seem to be two popular options at the moment. The former also has a rather extensive list of tools that will make the buying process a whole lot easier. For instance, it offers help with the certification process — namely, transfer of ownership and insurance. Droom also offers add-on benefits like roadside assistance and a full refund scheme if the bike does not match the buyer’s description. Considering the safety net you have when making a financial decision like this, an online marketplace seems to be your best bet at owning a pre-owned motorcycle.

However, let us assume the motorcycle you are looking for is not listed on one of these websites — we have listed some pointers to make the process simpler:

Talk to the seller

Some questions you should be asking the seller are: Why are they selling the motorcycle? How often has it been serviced? Has it had any falls or major alterations you should know of? If the seller is able to provide you with service slips and bills of what they have spent on the bike, it usually points towards a well-looked-after motorcycle. Nevertheless, it is always safer to be wary and do your own inspection.

Physical inspection

Unless you are looking to acquire an older model in particular, it is usually best to avoid one that is over five years old. It is also worth noting that mileage sometimes has little to do with how well a bike runs. A bike that has seen regular oil-changes and proper maintenance at 20,000 kilometres is typically a better deal than one that has ridden half the distance, but with half the care.

In most cases, a thorough physical inspection should tell you what to be wary of. As the most expensive component on the motorcycle, the engine is the first component to inspect. Ideally, a short test ride should give you a better understanding as to how well it runs. Check for rust on the frame and do not be afraid to question the owner about anything that seems out of the ordinary. See if all the electrical components are working and that there’s no questionable wiring to be seen. Also take a look at the bearings and seals. Prop the bike up on its centre stand and see that the wheels spin freely, and that the rear shock and fork oil seals aren’t leaking. Next, look at consumables like tyres, brake pads and the chain sprockets. These could be worn out and that is something you should factor into the final price negotiations.


Once a motorcycle fits your requirements, the last part is the paperwork. Important documentation includes the registration certificate, vehicle insurance papers, original purchase invoice, road-tax receipt and the valid pollution certificate.

You will also need Form 28 — the No Objection Certificate (NOC); Form 29 — the intimation of transfer of vehicle ownership; and Form 30 — the report of transfer of ownership of a motor vehicle. If the vehicle was financed, you will also need to submit Form 35 to the RTO, along with a copy of the NOC from the financing company stating that there are no more dues to be paid.

Keep in mind that any change in the vehicle, like engine replacement or a new body colour, has to be updated in the registration certificate as well. Also, make sure that there is no accident history associated with the vehicle.

Making your decision

Buying a used two-wheeler can be a daunting prospect, but remember to stay grounded and think with your wallet if you are on a budget. Follow the steps and guidelines we have listed here and buying a pre-owned bike will be a seamless experience.

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Printable version | May 21, 2022 12:27:56 pm |