Tips For Buying A Motorcycle


The NZS.nz New Zealand motorcycle article contains information on motorbikes in NZ, including tips on how to buy second hand motorcycles and motorbikes in New Zealand.

Buy a second hand motorbike the safe way, with our guide to shopping for quality used New Zealand motorcycles. Don’t get taken for a ride when buying a New Zealand motorcycle.

Whether you’re after a grunty bike or a nippy scooter, buying a second hand New Zealand motorbike involves the same risks as buying a used car. Here are some words of wisdom for those buying New Zealand motorcycles:

Buy An Original

Do your research before going to look at a potential bike: find out what to look for in an original of the make and model you want. Buying an original is much more worthwhile than getting a custom motorbike if you are considering reselling in future.

Get A Good Fit

Check that the bike is suited to your height. You should be able to reach the ground easily, get the motorbike easily on and off its stands, and adjust the seat and levers.

Check Registration And WOF

Ensure the motorbike has current registration and Warrant of Fitness (WOF). When buying used New Zealand motorbikes you should also check when registration is next due; take this into account when negotiating a price. A current WOF should signal that the motorcycle is roadworthy, but it also pays to check tyres (should be undamaged with legal tread depth), indicators, brake lights and headlights. Registration and WOF stickers should be visible.

Find Out The Bike’s Maintenance History

Ask what work has been done on the motorcycle and check for aftermarket parts and telltale signs of corrosion or rust. The bike’s owner may have a recorded history; this is ideal and will allow you to see at a glance any alterations, repairs or potential problem areas. Do your research, so that you know what a new bike of your chosen make and model looks like and can compare this with the second hand bike.

Check How The Motorbike Runs

The area beside the engine should be cold; if it’s been pre-warmed, this could be a warning sign. Ask the owner to start the bike – it should run smoothly as it warms up (although a small amount of smoke is acceptable when the bike is first started). Check for a quick response to the throttle by gently revving the engine – it should return immediately to a normal idle speed of between 1,000 and 1,200 rpm. You should check: tyres, chain and sprockets, steering, brake pads, lights, muffler and suspension.

Ride Before You Buy

If possible, take the bike for a spin round the block. You might want to take someone with you who can stay behind, or alternatively, give the bike’s owner your driver’s licence. Needless to say, you should ride with great care. Take this opportunity to check that the bike manoeuvres well, brakes without jerking, accelerates smoothly, has easy gearshift and a functioning speedometer.

Negotiate A Fair Price

Do your homework and find out what you can expect to pay for a used bike of your chosen make and model. If the seller’s asking price seems high, don’t be afraid to bargain.

Once you’ve settled on a quality used New Zealand motorbike and negotiated a fair price, it’s time to ensure you have a current New Zealand motorcycle licence. Land Transport NZ’s site is a handy reference, letting you know the what’s and wherefore’s of learner, restricted and full motorcycle licences in New Zealand. Once you’re legally allowed on the road, enjoy a cruise into the sunset on your (near) new wheels.