Once you’ve located your used / secondhand motorcycle candidate, the next step is checking it out. A few hot tips: H Go during the day so you can look over the bike in bright sunlight instead of under some dim fluorescent tube.
Always take someone with you, preferably a mechanic who can inspect the motorcycle without the emotional investment of being a buyer.
Always be ready to walk away at an instant. Do not get emotionally involved with the motorcycle yet; there’s plenty of time for that later. H Make sure the registration is current and correct, and all paperwork is in the seller’s name; if not, it could be stolen. Also do not believe any registration fairytales.
Take money. Being able to lay cold, stacks of 1,000 Baht bills in the seller’s hand, on the spot, sometimes can magically shrink the price. As for the bike’s condition, the more ‘used’ it looks, the quicker you should continue your search elsewhere. Conversely, a clean-looking stock bike with a complete service history means you’ve got a live one.
Be smart. Does the bike look straight – that is, are the handlebar and levers unbent, and do the wheels look in line with one another? Bent, scraped stuff means crash damage. Check all the fluids; a seller should be bright enough to have changed them prior to sale, and if he’s not, find one who is. The battery should turn the engine over with some snap, and it should start quickly. All gasket perimeters should be dry. Check consumables: tires, chain, sprockets, and brake pads. If they’re shaky-looking, you have a potential bargaining chip. Ideally, you’ll be able to test ride the bike. Having a friend to leave behind can put sellers a bit more at ease. Let an experienced rider take the test ride.
Okay, you’ve found a reasonable example in decent shape. You’ve done your homework by researching the bike’s known weak points and basic market value. Based on that knowledge, make a reasonable offer; do not insult the seller’s intelligence by making an unreasonable offer. He will either accept your offer or make a counter-offer. At some point, you’ll have to decide if it’s all worth it. If it is, pay the man. If there are any significant doubts in your mind, keep looking. It really isn’t much more difficult than that. Just keep your wits about you, be polite and reasonable, and able to produce in an instant a stack of thousand Baht bills. There’s no reason both of you can’t be happy.