The lower price of a used motorcycle can be tempting for bikers on a budget. Although online shopping is often reserved for goods like clothes, electronics, and even groceries, used car and motorcycle marketplaces have cropped up in recent years.
In Singapore, these online marketplaces include SGBikeMart, Carousell, and SingaporeBikes. These sites are packed with used motorcycle listings, so the supply is definitely there. Motorcycle enthusiasts and buyers simply have to scour through the lists and find the right bike.
The risk in purchasing a second-hand or pre-owned motorcycle, though, is exactly that it has been used. It can be difficult to ascertain how the previous owner has treated the bike and how reliable it will be for you. And if it’s your first time to buy a motorcycle online, that uncertainty is likely to increase.
Fret not. With due diligence and enough time spent on comparing marketplaces, you can improve your chances of finding a used bike that meets your needs and desires, even from an online marketplace. Here are some tips to do this.
1. Consider how you’ll use the motorcycle
Based on the class of your motorcycle licence, you will know what type of bike you can go for. Consider your lifestyle and riding experience when getting a motorcycle. This will help in narrowing down your choices.
For example, if you are a new rider planning to cover only short distances daily, you probably will not need a large engine size on your motorcycle. Those who often go off-road or motopacking, on the other hand, will need to look out for bikes that meet their need for adventure.
Head down to the stores and do a survey of the various brand new motorcycle models. At the same time, you’ll be able to find out the market price for new bikes to use as a gauge. The used bike you’re eyeing would be significantly cheaper due to the depreciation of value over the years.
Knowing your requirements, check whether the online marketplace has a filter for finding motorcycles that match the features and specs you’re looking for.
2. Get others’ opinion
Once you’ve selected the make and model of bike that suits you and your lifestyle, read up on the actual experience of riding it—how smooth it is to handle, how responsive it is, what its flaws are, how the bike sounds when revving up.
You’ll find this information on virtual forums, as well as on online and offline bikers’ groups. You can also reach out to the seller and ask questions about their experience with the bike and understand why they’re selling it.
3. Compare different marketplaces
Take your time to look through the various online marketplaces to get an idea of the price range the motorcycle is selling for. Make sure you’re comparing not just the selling price but also any other fees that may be tacked on to the purchase (see tip #5).
It’s also a good idea to compare different marketplaces’ payment schemes, as well as other products and services they offer, like arranging test drives, assisting with documentation, and guaranteeing after-sales service.
4. Inspect and consider the value of the bike
A motorcycle makes it convenient to get around, especially in heavy traffic or narrow lanes, but it can easily be a safety liability if the machine is not in tiptop condition. When buying a secondhand motorcycle, riders can be placed at a greater risk due to the lack of safety and assurance checks that dealers provide for brand new vehicles. The onus then lies on the buyer to thoroughly inspect the used bike.
Ask the motorcycle’s owner about its history of ownership, repair, and maintenance. Knowing how many hands the bike has gone through and the extent of its wear and tear can give you a hint of how much it should cost. Keep in mind the effect of the bike’s age, too; for instance, the tyres should have been replaced at least every five years.
If the motorcycle has gone through many owners, it’s possible that some records have been lost, but you must still try to get as much information as you can from the owner.
Don’t be taken in by expensive modifications done to the motorcycle—they’re secondary to the machine’s age when determining the bike’s worth. Also, if not done properly, modifications can put the rider at risk, increase the cost of insurance, and even void existing warranties. Where possible, ask for records or receipts of the changes that have been made to ensure that the modifications adhere to LTA regulations and were performed by a reputable workshop.
5. Consider other extra costs
Research on hidden costs you might need to fork out. These can include remaining road tax payment, late fees for fines, or motorcycle maintenance fees. If the motorcycle needs restoration, keep in mind of the cost of replacement parts you’ll need to purchase to make sure the bike can be legally ridden on roads. Used helmets that come with the motorcycle are not part of these extra costs, so don’t shell out more for them.
Before transferring ownership of the motorcycle at LTA, you’ll need motorcycle insurance, so set aside some cash for that as well. DirectAsia offers five-star quality motorcycle insurance from as low as $0.28/day. It’s the only insurer that allows you to customise your policy, so you can complement your new motorcycle purchase with a comprehensive insurance package that will not only protect you, but also your pillion, from unexpected expenses.