Time to buy a new bike? If you are looking to purchase a second-hand motorbike, you may be concerned that it could have potential problems or defects just waiting to be uncovered.
Whilst buying any kind of second hand or used goods can never be 100% fail safe, there are ways to reduce the risk of potential future problems.
In this article we look at the safest ways to buy your next bike and how to protect yourself in the short term.
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Motorcycle Dealer Warranty
Buying a used motorcycle from a dealer may cost you a little bit more than a private sale, but in theory you are better protected should something go wrong with your bike.
Any reputable dealer will give a bike a thorough check over before they put it on the forecourt for sale. They will fix any issues that could affect the value and will usually offer their own warranty over and above your standard consumer rights.
If you find a problem with your second-hand motorbike soon after you’ve bought it – let’s say you hear a rattle from the engine which you’re worried about or it turns out not to be what you’d been told it was – you should be able to reject the motorcycle or scooter and get your money back.
If your used purchase was any time after 1st October 2015, you have 30 days to reject it and get a full refund under the Consumer Rights Act. If you are going down this path, you must stop using the motorcycle immediately, write a dated letter and post it, recorded delivery to the company you bought the bike from. Also make sure you call the dealer and make them aware of the issue as soon as you can. Document all correspondence.
Second Hand Motorbike Dealer Warranties
Different dealers will offer different levels of warranties. If you buy from a main dealer, you will usually pay a higher purchase price, but the bikes will have lower mileage and usually come with a 12-month warranty.
Independent traders can offer anything from a 30 day warranty to 6 months of cover.
Both main dealers and independents will usually offer customers the opportunity to purchase extended warranties for an additional cost. If you do consider taking them up on this, be sure to read what is and isn’t covered before you commit.
If you buy from the bloke down the pub, or through an advert in a trade magazine or online, you are not protected by a warranty. Use your gut and only buy a bike that has a full-service history as well as receipts for any work that has been undertaken by the owner prior to sale.
You will also need to see a current MOT certificate, and should make yourself familiar with any advisories that may cause you problems or expense later down the line.
Always ensure you HPI check the vehicle to make sure it isn’t recorded as stolen, damaged or on finance.
Additional Protection and Your Rights
If you buy from a dealer, there are also certain statutory remedies available to you if you have bought a bike that isn’t fit for purpose or as advertised.
Under the Consumer Rights Act (which replaced the Sale of Goods Act from 1 October 2015) a dealer must ensure that every bike is:
- In satisfactory condition (taking into account its age and mileage)
- Meet the description that you were given either in an advert or in a discussion prior to purchase and
- Be fit for purpose
If your bike does not meet with the above requirements you can claim against the used-bike dealer for breach of contract.
If your bike is not as described you can ask for a remedy which could be either that you hand the bike back in return for a refund, or the dealer pays for repairs.
Remember though, if you buy a bike that is not described as low mileage, great condition, excellent working order etc. – you are basically buying as seen and you have no right to remedy should it go wrong.
Dealers vs Private Sales – Which Is Best
If you want to feel reassured that there is assistant available to you after purchase, then a dealership sale would be best for you.
If you are looking for a bargain, and have the skills or the money to get a bike fixed at any time, then a private sale could save you money and if anything goes wrong, you know you can fix it. Most private sellers are honest and genuine, but no one can predict what might happen to the bike a mile down the road.
Questions or Comments?
If you’ve got a question about this article and you need a bit more guidance, drop a comment below and we’ll get back to you.
Likewise, if you’ve got something to add to this article or an experience you’d like to share, let’s hear it!
We love reading your comments and helping our readers.
I purchased a 2018 z900 Kawasaki motor bike private sale I’m the 3 owner would the bike still have warranty as I want to sell the bike again
Hi Andy, manufacturers have a different policies. With Kawasaki, when the time comes to sell or trade in the machine the cover is transferable to the next owner at no additional charge increasing the resale value. But the warranty has to be valid. It’s worth calling your local dealer who can assist you with paperwork.
Hi bought a bike off of a dealer with three months warranty, just before covid lock down. Had it out the last two week ends and has broke down leaking oil. RAC land Dealer hve said it’s out of warranty and not there Issuee how do I stand only done 300 miles
Hi Dean this all depends on the smallprint of your warranty but my feeling is that unless your warranty mentions mileage, it will be based on time and unless it mentions major events, like this pandemic (which is unlikely) then your warranty may have expired.
I would read the paperwork and then contact a different garage to get an estimate of repairs. Then contact the seller to explain the situation. They may offer to fix the issue or meet you halfway on costs.
How does the warranty work on a second hand motorbike from a dealership 300 miles away.
Hi Edward, it depends on the terms and conditions in the warranty. They are all different. It might include a replacement bike, it might include collection and drop off, it might come with an excess. You have to read the paperwork.
I bought a Yamaha ybr 125 custom, in a dealer. From 2010 with 2160 m. I paid £2.600.00 plus £120.00 for an alarm fitting .
I think the dealer took advantage of me. Think I paid a lot more. It was 4 days ago, I haven’t used the bike yet, can I get a refund?
Hi, I’d like some advise please, I bought a 1987 Suzuki slingshot that has been customized to a high standard to make it look like a street fighter, I’ve only had the bike 2 weeks from a dealership, it was fine for a week but now it keeps cutting out when I release the revs off and the rev counter is fluctuating, unfortunately there is a “no parts warranty” wrote on the receipt, do I have any rights on the bike I’ve just spent £2400 on?
I purchased a used bike from a private dealership a few weeks back. It came with three months warranty. So far it has been back to the dealer for the headstock bearing replacing and a few smaller issues. When the dealer repaired the bearing, they broke a clip on a suspension wire, giving me an error code every time the wire works loose. They were made aware but assured me it wouldn’t work loose. Some of the smaller issues weren’t fixed either, giving me half hearted excuses. I don’t want to kick up a fuss as it is not my nature but what rights have I got? Could I ask for a refund? I used my old bike as part ex, would this change the outcome? I am still within the warranty period.
Bought my used bike from a main dealer on July 11th with 3 month warranty / 1000 miles and the suspension collapsed tonight on my ride home on the motorway. I am still within the 3 months period but have exceeded the mileage. I have also emailed the dealer straightaway so he has been notified of the defect.
What other advice can you give please?
Hello I purchased a CBR 600 2003 model from a dealers on the 28th of May this year now in the garage with a blown gearbox and they are saying it’s going to cost roughly £3,000 to fix the Warranty I have says it will only pay up to £1,000 for 6 claims what is my rights and shall I go back to the dealer
I bought a bmw r1200gs from a main dealer with a two year approved bmw warranty. A couple of weeks ago one of the pillion pegs snapped off when my partner was getting on it. It was put on as a extra by bmw when the bike was originally sold and I but they are now saying that because it is not a standard peg they won’t cover it under the warranty. I was never told this when I bought the bike. I feel that if they sold the bike like that and didn’t inform me at the time then they should honour the warranty. Is this unfair? Thanks
I bought a Harley Davidson trike off the showroom floor. 2 day’s later the reverse went out. What can be done?
Hi Don, you need to read your warranty information from the dealer. However I suspect this should be an easy one for you to get sorted by the garage.
Looking to buy a motorcycle from an independent dealer, they are saying there is no warranty with the motorcycle. He is selling it for a friend. What is the law surrounding this.
Should a Honda dealer give at least a 30 day extended warranty on a 2017 new scooter?
It’s up to the dealer as it’s second hand and beyond Honda UK’s warranty period. But a decent dealer would no doubt offer a warranty.
Bought a used dirt bike from dealership ,$ 4500 1 week later engine seized , problems from the start , day bought it wouldn’t crank , took it back they fixed it 1 week later engine seized up, help
Am I entitled to a full refund If I have bought a faulty 2nd hand Motorcycle and have given the dealer 3 chances to fix the Problemproblem And have driven 2000 miles on the bike