Want To Buy A Vintage Bike?


You want to get a second bike; you have been toying with the idea of getting an older used one, maybe vintage or antique. Antique bikes are ones that are at least 35 years or older and actually defined as such by The Antique Motorcycle Club of America. Vintage is defined as pre-1975 in some cases, pre-1980, and is a loose definition at best. You know that you will stand out when you wear your Men Leather Motorcycle Pants when you ride your new vintage motorcycle.

Do Your Research

This article is going to focus on buying the vintage bike of your dreams from a private seller. To get an idea of what vintage motorcycles should sell for check Kelley Blue Book and NADA Guides. These two publications show what a used bike should sell for based on mileage, model year, and overall condition.

Checking Want Ads and Craig’s List

When reading the want ads or Craig’s List read the ad carefully, is the description clear, are there good photos of the bike, does the price look reasonable? Check out the seller, did he/she include all the necessary information about the bike, mileage, maintenance manual, clean title, and the bike’s condition? Did the seller provide a good contact phone number that when called you reach the seller? Many sellers prefer not to list where they live for apparent reasons, respect that.

Check the Bike out Yourself

You have contacted the seller, have made an appointment to see the bike, and asked him/her not to start the bike. The reason you want to be there when the bike is started so you can hear how the bike starts, does it start clean or not. Before you even leave the house to meet the seller, have your checklist prepared in advance.

Look for Crash Damage

  • Minor damage is inevitable as things happen.
  • If you see what looks like a significant amount of damage, that might become a severe problem later.

Leaking Fluids

  • There should be no oil or coolant leaks.
  • Check areas of the engine where oil might leak and trail down to the ground.
  • Check all hose connections (if fluid-cooled) for leaks.
  • Check all fluids for proper consistency, filled to the appropriate level, and are they the right fluids for the job?

Check Frame, Tires, and Suspension

  • Make sure the frame has no twists that might affect alignment.
  • Do the tire treads have good treads, or are they worn?
  • Are the shocks firm and in good condition?

Chain, Sprockets, Cables, and Wiring

  • Is the chain well greased, free of cracked links, and at the proper tension?
  • Sprockets should mesh with the chain and have sharp teeth with no cracks.
  • Cables should not be frayed, broken, or unraveling and operate smoothly.
  • Wiring should have no signs of fraying, be of the proper color coding, and have no signs of being repaired.

Bar Ends, Footpegs, and Brake Controls

  • There should be no signs of being bent or distorted as an indication of going down.

Every component of the motorcycle you are looking at should be checked for damage, excessive wear, and shady repairs. Let the seller see you are bike knowledgeable by wearing Mens Motorcycle Leather Vest to check the bike out. Go through A Beginner’s Guide to Selecting a Motorcycle Jacket to select a perfect match for you.

Other Things to Consider

Service record is essential as a well-kept service manual will show you how well the bike was treated or not treated. The title should be clean, that is, the seller’s title can be signed without restriction, no leans, no back payments, clean. The VIN number is readable on the frame, and you can check it through Car Max for accidents or thefts. This is especially important as the seller may choose not to tell you about these events. You can also ask about the owner’s manual and the factory tool kit. If the seller does not have them, you can probably order them through a dealer.

The Test Ride

A test ride is a tricky subject as the seller may not want to let you go for a ride. There are some liabilities to deal with, you have an accident, and you are not insured to ride that motorcycle. If the seller does allow you to go for a test ride, he/she may want a partial down payment as collateral. If you do get to take a test ride, then you can get a feel of how the bike runs. The clutch is smooth, the brakes stop the bike with ease, gears shift as expected, no rattles or shakes, and the engine purrs like a kitten. Don’t forget the wear your All Season Motorcycle Jacket for that all-important test ride.

Now It Is Time to Negotiate

Once you have taken the test ride and assessed the bike’s overall condition, you can haggle over the price. Make a note of all the things that need repaired or replaced and let the seller know you expect those issues deducted form the price. Make your offer a specific dollar figure that you are prepared to pay but, come in a little low. Offer first, don’t let the seller tell you what he/she wants for the bike.

Be open to haggling over the price; the seller may have decided what he/she will take for the bike. If you brought cash, the seller might take your first offer as he/she will end up with money in hand. Once the price is established, pay the seller, get a bill of sale, title and take the bike home.

Now that you have a new (to you) bike hoop onto Wicked Stock, check out all the gear, accessories, and custom stuff for the recent purchase.

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