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5 Tips for Buying a Second-hand Bike

By Juhi Walia
20 July 2022, 10:36 AM

Stylish bikes capture the fancy of owners and the attention of onlookers. Sometimes, they become necessary for commutating or completing daily chores. Irrespective of the reason, you can own one at a cost-competitive price by purchasing a second-hand bike. You can enjoy a comfortable bike ride at optimum fuel efficiency by keeping certain things in mind while buying.

5 Important Tips to Remember While Owning a Second-hand Bike

This article will shed light on aspects you must consider to get the best deal while purchasing a second-hand bike.  

1. Conduct a Thorough Check to Ascertain the Bike’s Condition

You must ensure that the second-hand bike is in top-notch condition. For this, you must check the bike from different perspectives, as outlined below.

Check ParameterInformation to Keep in Mind
Oil Leakage Stains Around the EngineThe area exposed to oil overflow will shine more after washing the bike.
Corrosion or Rust in the Bike’s FrameIf the rust runs deep and the iron parts of the chassis crumble upon deep pressing, the bike's structural integrity is not good.
Brake Condition
  • The brakes must hold and release smoothly.
  • The brake pad should not be too old.
  • No pulsing sensation upon brake application should be felt.
ClutchThe clutch lever can be effortlessly held and released.
  • Spot scratches that run deeper.
  • If the chassis has been painted recently, enquire if the bike had met with an accident before.
  • Tyre treads should be deep all along the surface.
  • Damage marks, chipping off, or abnormal wear should not be visible.
Fuel TankThe fuel tank should be free from corrosion or rust.
  • Chain and sprocket conditions should be good.
  • Wear or damaged signs should not be evident.
  • The chain should produce a uniform sound when the rear wheel is rotated.
Battery and Electrical WiringAll switches and lights should be functional.
  • Oil leakage should not be visible
  • The leg shouldn’t be twisted, bent or cracked
Wheel Frame and SpokesThey should not be corroded, cracked or rusty
Exhaust PipeOil leakage shouldn’t be there; valve guide seals and rings must be in good condition.

You must enquire about the additional accessories installed on the bike and their warranty status.

2. Inspect the Bike Visually and by Taking a Test Ride

Inspect the bike minutely to figure out flaws, dents, scratches, fractures, etc, in the structure. Always take a second opinion, as relying solely on your sixth sense can prove wrong in the long run.

Some important tips you can follow for the best results are outlined below -

  • While inspecting, park the bike on the central stand and check the symmetrical alignment.
  • Take a test ride with an experienced biker to understand the performance.
  • Check out if the odometer or kilometre counter is updating itself properly.
  • Intently hear the sound of the engine to judge its condition.
  • Look out for signs that may show that the bike has been abused.

3. Check the Relevant Bike Papers 

Once you are ready to take possession of the bike from the previous owner, you must ensure that the documents mentioned below are readily available during handover. These documents will indicate the health and statutory compliances of the bike.

Check ParameterInformation to Keep in Mind
Bike Insurance Policy
  • The bike should be covered with valid two-wheeler insurance with related add-ons/ riders.
  • Third-party bike insurance coverage should be present.
Registration Certificate (RC)
  • Chassis and engine numbers mentioned in the RC book must correspond to the numbers inscribed on the chassis and the engine.
  • Owner details, bike colour, and other parameters should be tallied from the RC book.
Pollution Under Control (PUC) CertificateValid PUC Certificate must be present.
Tax Certificate
  • Road and other taxes for the bike should have been paid.
  •  If pending, the penalty has to be paid.
No Objection Certificate (NOC)
  • NOC will be issued compulsorily by the RTO where the present owner has registered his bike.
  • This NOC will be considered for re-registering the bike in the new RTO.
  •  Usually, RTO forms No. 28, 29 and 30 must be filled in.
Service Book (Owner’s Manual)
  • Carries specifications and recommendations from the manufacturer of the bike model.
  • Indicates that the bike has been serviced at regular intervals from authorised service centres.
Sales ReceiptThis will confirm your ownership of the bike.

4. Purchase the Second-hand Bike from a Reputed Dealer

It is advisable to buy a second-hand bike from a renowned and authorised dealer only. This is because -

  • The dealer will comprehensively check the bike for apparent and hidden problems.
  • All basic and advanced assessments will be done sincerely as the dealer will sell the bike subsequently.
  • The dealer shall set the right issues that may have shown up and will put the paperwork in order before selling.

If you buy the bike from an individual directly to save some money, no harm in letting a professional or an experienced rider examine the vehicle thoroughly. This will prevent you from getting duped.

5. Bargain on the Sales Price Based on Insights Collected from Your Inspection

Never accept a second-hand bike at face value demanded by the private owner. You must negotiate the price by citing the findings of your inspection. If the structural integrity of the chassis, for example, is not found okay, you should demand a discount. This is because you will have to bear the expenses of getting the bike road worthy. If the road tax or bike insurance policy are improper, insist on further price reduction.


A second-hand two-wheeler can let you ride for less. You just need to be a little careful before sealing the deal. A thorough inspection will ensure you save money during the purchase and in the long run. Look for different options available and invest time to examine various bikes, needful papers, components’ condition, etc. Once done, enjoy the comfortable ride on the motorcycle of your ambitions with peace of mind.

Read more -


1. How can you ascertain if the previous owner has maintained the bike properly?

This information is available in the owner’s manual or service book issued by the manufacturer.

2. Is it preferable to buy a second-hand bike from a private owner?

You can buy, but it is better to purchase from a renowned dealer as professional engineers conduct a thorough check of the bike, resolve issues and certify it for a safe ride.

3. Which forms need to be filled out while taking the NOC from the RTO (Regional Transport Office)?

Form nos. 28, 29 and 30 are generally needed.

4. What are the different components of a second-hand bike that you should check?

Check engine, chassis, bike frame, oil tank, brake, clutch, tyres, suspension, wheel frame, sprocket, chain, exhaust pipe, and electrical wiring, etc. 

5. 5. Which important papers should you possess while buying a second-hand bike?

Registration certificate book, pollution under control certificate, NOC from the RTO, service manual, owner’s book, Bike Insurance policy and road tax payment receipt need to be taken from the previous owner. 

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