Unfortunately, the bike market is just as difficult to navigate with many sellers attempting to shift dangerous, unreliable and possibly even illegal motorcycles to oblivious drivers. These are the most common scams to look out for and how to avoid them.
Similar to the second-hand car market, clocking is a huge problem when buying used bikes. This involves winding the odometer back to make the motorcycle appear newer. It can be trickier to spot in bikes, but look at the condition of the vehicle to see if it matches the mileage. For example, a low mileage bike should not have worn footpads and tank paint. You should also check the previous MOT documentation, as this will provide the true mileage at time of its last MOT.
Motorcycle theft is a serious problem and some buyers end up purchasing these bikes unaware of their past, only to then be pulled over by the police. It can be hard to identify a stolen bike, but you should be wary if it is advertised at a surprisingly low price. Additionally, check the Vehicle Identification Number matches what is listed in the documentation. Companies like HPI can carry out a thorough history check which will reveal if it has been recorded as stolen (as well as other crucial information).
The rise of online shopping has seen the rise of this nasty scam in both the motorcycle and car markets. The escrow scam involves the seller stating that the bike is currently overseas and will be shipped over once the funds have been transferred to a 3rd party. This will be a fake escrow company so you will not see your money again and the seller will disappear. Avoid this by always viewing the bike in person and be wary if they want to involve an escrow company, even if the website appears legitimate.
These are the three most common scams to look out for when in the market for a used motorcycle. Sadly, bike scams can be even harder to detect than cars so you must always be very thorough when looking at bikes. The above information should help you to shop with confidence, but it is always worth taking your time and always obtaining vehicle history reports to get a better idea of the motorcycle’s past and whether or not the seller is trying to hide something.