Where can I buy a good
Budget motorcycle | eBay | Bike dealer | Gumtree | Motorcycle magazines
Your choice is considerable, and we're bound to suggest that you check our Bikes for Sale FREE ads on Sump. We don't usually have a huge range/choice/selection, but you might find what you want—and it will take just a few minutes to peruse the listings (trade and private). We tend to run mostly classic adverts, note. But we accept adverts for modern bikes, customs, and vintage bikes too.
Beyond that, we'd suggest you talk first to a motorcycle dealer. They tend to know their stuff and will offer guidance about which bike will be most suited to your needs. Additionally, you've got more protection legally speaking should things go wrong (Sale of Goods Act, etc). And that's why dealers tend to charge higher prices than private sellers; dealers have other costs to bear, and many (if not most) will offer some kind of guarantee.
You won't get that from a private seller (not unless he or she is a latter day saint). Dealers therefore offer a useful service, and they expect to be paid for it. Just be careful that you know what you're getting into when you finally make a purchase.
So study the market carefully. Study whatever bike you're interested in. Ask as many questions as you need to ask. Be shrewd. Don't be afraid to admit your ignorance (but don't over emphasise it). And don't be rushed into a purchase.
Bikes must be fit for purpose (or sold as projects/spares). They must be properly/fairly described. The mileage must be accurate (or made clear that the mileage is unknown). Accidents must be declared. Basically, they must be fit for sale and use. If a motorcycle fails in this regard after you bought it, you need to gen up on consumer rights law, or talk to a Citizens Advice Bureau, or speak to a solicitor. Tip: avoid the solicitor wherever possible.
If it helps, we find that although dealers will try hard to make a sale, most are perfectly honest and decent businessmen. And women. They spend a lot of time and money creating a reputation, and they want to keep it.
Also, building a relationship with a bike dealer can be very rewarding, long term. Often you'll find that they'll be happy to trade in your old bike, and they'll keep trading up with you year after year in order to consolidate your custom.
We're less happy about eBay private ads. But we have bought through eBay once or twice. The problem is that there are many rogues on eBay, and even if you keep spotting them (which eventually you probably will) it becomes very tiresome. Also, eBay will usually want a piece of the pie, and we're reluctant to let anyone get between us and the seller. As for PayPal, we wouldn't touch it for anything except low value sales (up to £100 perhaps). We prefer cash every time, with witnesses.
Private sales can work out well too via publications such as Gumtree or the usual motorcycle publications. But unless you know a lot about your target motorcycle, you'll be dependant on the seller's knowledge and personal promises—and without the aforementioned dealer guarantee.
Also, remember that a private seller has no reputation to maintain. He or she simply wants to shift their bike, and you've got little come back if things go wrong—although there are some protections under law if a motorcycle has been fraudulently sold, or is very different to the advertised description, or is a write-off that's been illegally put back on the road, or was sold by someone who had no right to sell it. This is a tricky area, however. Just beware when buying from a private stranger.
Whatever you do, check the vehicle online with the DVLA to see its history. Open a web browser and key in: DVLA VEHICLE CHECK. That should get you started. Ask the seller about accidents, mileage readings, previous owners, how long the seller has owned the vehicle, etc. Also check if the seller's name is actually on the log book.
What? No log book present? Okay, it could be honest, and the log book might be easily available from the DVLA. But we'd walk away every time. The seller should ALWAYS have the right documents. We've got no time for people half-heartedly "flipping" bikes.
Meanwhile, if you notice that the details on the log book don't match the details of the bike (registration number, engine/frame number or colour), ask for clarification/explanation. If you're not satisfied and suspect something illegal, tell the seller you'll think it over, then leave and tell the police. Never get involved in stolen motorcycles.
Buying at motorcycle shows can turn up some bargains. But you really need to know your stuff, or take a friend who does. And beware of buying from people you can't later identify.
Check Sump's Classic Bikes For Sale page.
Check Sump's Classic Bike Guides page.
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