It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a new bike to to tour the country – used bikes are the route most people take.

Even though the depreciation level in motorcycles is much less than it is in cars, the sheer expense that is involved in purchasing a new model is sufficient to put a lot of people off. Unfortunately, in choosing the ‘cheap route’, there is a much bigger pre-purchase checklist to cipher through – particularly if you decide not to shop via a reputable dealer.

One section of the buying checklist revolves around past crashes. Unsurprisingly, a lot of sellers fail to mention if their bike has been involved in a crash in the past, as it’s a sure-fire way to put potential buyers off or to see the price dwindle down. In a bid to thwart such sellers, we’ve now put together the following tips that should help to identify whether a bike that has been crashed in the past.

Scratches: anything parallel is a warning sign
The general assumption is that scratches signal some form of serious damage, although this isn’t necessarily the case. To gain a more specific insight over what sort of damage has resulted in these scratches, you need to analyse them closely.

The general rule is that if they are not very deep, and crucially not parallel, they have been caused by something completely innocent. They’ve probably got there because the bike has just tipped over once or twice and suffice to say, this doesn’t warrant pulling out of the deal.

Something that should set the alarm bells ringing is if the scratches are deep and parallel. This is much more likely to have been caused by a crash, especially if they have occurred above the foot peg.

Check the brake levers
Whether it’s the brake or the clutch levers, this next tip will apply. Bikes which have been involved in a crash will usually have to have their levers replaced and if they’re not, there’s almost always some damage which has resulted in them becoming bent. Therefore, firstly check to see if they have been bent and if they appear in sound condition, ensure that both are of the same style. Quite often, it’s not always possible to source levers that match the other side of the bike so they might be a different color.

Again, it’s still possible that this has been caused by a tip-over. However, the chances are much bleaker and it will generally take a crash to warrant the replacement of brake levers.

How does the bodywork look?
If you’ve followed the above tips, you should have already scrutinised the bodywork for scratches. However, this next suggestion revolves around a much more thorough investigation.

Crashes not only cause scratches, but they can also cause bends in the bodywork. This can make it not fit together properly and in order to check this, merely turn your hand between the joints to make sure that the bodywork is even. While you’re at it, also gently press the bodywork in a bid to see if it’s secure and hasn’t been weakened by the impact of a crash.

Keep an eye out for ‘sneaky’ tricks
Finally, always be aware of the potential for a seller to pull the wool over your eye – or, in this case at least, put the stickers over the evidence.

If you notice any stickers placed in strategic places, it could be an indication that there’s a scratch or something else underneath which is due to a crash in the past.

Of course, this doesn’t mean to say that you should start ripping stickers off every bike, but if you have already seen evidence to suggest that a crash may have occurred it might be advisable to ask for them to be removed so you can investigate further.

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