If you are starting to look at used motorcycles, there are some guidelines to help you in your search. Obviously, you want something at a reasonable price. But you also want to make sure that it will be safe as well.
First, you need to think about the type of riding you will do most often. City traffic, back roads or highway driving can each indicate a different type of motorcycle that will be best. You want to make a purchase for the type of riding you will do a greater percentage of time.
One of the most important considerations is whether or not the bike has been in a crash. Take a good look at any dents or scrapes for indications as to possible accidents. If the bike has been repainted, there is a good chance that it was done to hide such evidence. These scars may just be cosmetic, however, they may also be clues pointing to be more severe underlying problems such as alignment issues.
It is also good to know if the bike has been raced before as this can put a lot of added wear and tear on a motorcycle. Things that will give you a hint that it may have been used in racing are: use of frame sliders, stress cracks in the frame, holes drilled through the heads of bolts and tires with rough edges.
Try to get the seller involved in a casual conversation about motorcycles and riding. They may unintentionally give you a clue as to their riding style. You also need to get an explanation for anything out of the ordinary, such as mileage that is unusually high.
Make sure the seller has the service record for the motorcycle and that it has received all the proper maintenance at the right time. You will want to see what has been replaced and when as well.
Sifting through a lot of used motorcycles can be tiring. But the time will be well spent when you make a purchase that you can be confident in.