Six Tips For Buying a Used Dirt Bike

Six Tips For Buying a Used Dirt Bike main image

Buying a used dirt bike can be daunting, especially if it's your first time. We've developed six tips that will help you in your efforts to buy a bike, ensuring you get the most value for your money and don't get stuck with a lemon!

Set a budget: The first tip is setting a budget, as this will give you a good idea of what you're working with. You'll be able to do some research and find what dirt bikes are within your budget, and whether they're suitable for you. You might find holding off a month or two to increase your budget could get yourself a bike in a much better condition, rather than spending less on a heavily used bike, which will cost you more down the track.

Do your research: Building on the above tip, do your research! Get a feel for the type of off-road bike you want including brands and models, as well as what condition you want it in or maybe even a certain number of hours you'd prefer it to have. By doing this, you can hit up classified websites such as Gumtree, Bikesales and even Facebook in the weeks and months leading up to when you're ready to buy, and you'll be able to get a clear idea of what's available on the market in a particular price bracket.

Don't be impatient: It's important not to rush into buying a used dirt bike immediately, as you might rip yourself off. If the bike doesn't completely meet your requirements, walk away from the deal and wait for the next one. There are always bikes going up on classified websites, so the bike you really want could just be days or weeks away.

Ask questions: It's incredibly important to ask lots of questions to the seller about the motocross bike, so you can some more context on the background of the bike, such how it's been used and how often, as well as its service history and any potential damages. Use the below questions as a guide: 

  • Why is the bike for sale? 
  • How long have you had the bike - are you the only owner? 
  • How often has the oil been changed? 
  • What's the bike's service history?
  • Has the engine had any work or been rebuilt?
  • How often has the bike been used? 
  • How many hours on the engine?
  • What has the bike been used for? (racing/recreational) 
  • Has the suspension had any work? (different spring rates to standard or revalved)
  • Is there any damage or issues I should know about?

Inspect the bike: If there's one thing you take away from these tips, it's this one! Inspecting the bike is obviously a no-brainer, but there are a number of areas of the bike that you should put particular attention towards. Those areas are: 

Chain and sprockets - If the chain and sprockets are severely worn, then that's a good indicator the bike hasn't been well looked after. Any rider who takes good care of their bike would never let their sprockets get worn down to a serious level, so if this is the case, it raises a red flag.

Airbox - If the airbox is dirty (and the filter!), that's also an immediate red flag, as there's a good chance dust has - or could - make its way into the motor. A well-maintained bike will have the airbox cleaned after every ride with a freshly oiled filter installed, so if there are any signs of dirt, step away from the deal.

Signs of use - It's always good to check for signs of use and see if it aligns with how many hours the owner says the bike has done. Look at the frame and engine cases, as well the brake lever and gear lever - they will always have wear, but if the seller says the bike is 20 hours old, yet these things look like they've been hammered, then it doesn't really add up. Also check beneath frame for any dents, as well as near the headtube for any cracks. The wheels should also be straight and without any serious dents to them.

Oil and coolant levels - By checking the oil and coolant levels, you can get an idea on the bike's service life. Make sure the coolant is topped up and good in colour, while check the inspection window or dipstick to ensure the bike has the right amount of oil.

Start the bike - This is an obvious one, but make sure the bike starts easily and doesn't have any odd sounds, vibrations or rattles. If the seller allows it, take the dirt bike for a test ride and ensure the bike changes smoothly.

Trust your intuition: Last but not least, trust your intuition! If something doesn't feel right or what the seller says doesn't add up, walk away from the deal. There will be plenty more dirt bikes for sale that come and go on classified websites, so as we said, be patient and wait for the right bike that completely satisfies you.

Having a basic level of mechanical knowledge will be super beneficial in buying in a second-hand bike, so if you don't have that, we recommend bringing a friend who does!


Leave a comment

Comments have to be approved before showing up