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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

I'm new to the forum and I was hoping to receive some guidance to purchase my first bike. I know I want to buy used and I think buying from a private seller would save a lot of money. I want to have a skilled mechanic inspect the bike before purchasing. Any idea on how to find a skilled motorcycle mechanic or someone with good knowledge who would be willing to do this (I live in the LA area). How much should you pay a mechanic for this? Thanks!

Any other tips or direction to another useful thread would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time!
 

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FIRST AND FOREMOST: Take the motorcycle safety course and learn on its loaner motorcycle. I've known people, including myself, who have ridden for over 50 years and are still learning. This is more than a bicycle -- it is a full-fledged MOTOR vehicle. Always test the waters before diving in headfirst. Your motorcycle can be your best friend or your worst enemy, depending on your skills and knowledge.

If you can't find a skilled motorcycle mechanic at least find a very experience motorcycle rider who has experience and knowledge of the specific kind of motorcycle/s you are considering. Some people - often with good intentions claim to be a "motorcycle" mechanic without knowing as much as they think.

It also helps to speak to someone who has owned one like you're interested in even if he/she isn't a mechanic. They will usually know a good bit about the history along with the good and the bad of each model. A lot of motorcycles with a really good reputation can still have some gremlins that appear with age.

Don't overthink the miles on the odometer. I would take a Gold Wing or well kept HD with 100K miles on it over a sport bike with 2K miles on it if it was owned by the wrong person.

Also consider:
-what you will use the motorcycle for - daily rider for commuting or weekend cruising in good weather
-who will service it
-how long you will keep it (do you plan to upgrade soon or keep it till you are too old to ride)
-its size vs your body size
-who you will ride with (can you keep up)
 

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excellent info above.
reading between the lines, i am guessing that your mechanical abilities are minimal and that funds may be tight. this puts you in a tough position in the world of used bike buying.
a few questions to add to the list ...
how urgent is your need/desire for a bike ?
how much are you able to spend on a bike and helmet, not to mention other riding gear ?
are you at all interested in maintaining/repairing your own bike and if so, do you have the time and workspace to do so ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the advice guys really appreciate it. As for some context I am looking to buy a used bike with a budget of around $5,000 everything included. Looking to use the bike as a commuter for school hoping it would be cheaper than owning a car. Planning to keep it for about 2-4 years. I would love to work on the bike as one of my hobbies is RC cars but unfortunately do not have the tools/workspace
 

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Find an independent motorcycle repair shop that specializes in the types of bikes you are interested in. For example, in my local area, there's are 2 very good indies. One specializes in BMWs and the other in Japanese bikes. It's not uncommon to ask the seller to ride over to your mechanic to have the bike checked out. Price will vary but expect $50 to $60.

A couple of years ago one of my daughters wanted to buy a used Subaru. I encouraged her to take it to my mechanic and he discovered 2 blown head gaskets. She dodged a bullet and it was well worth the $60 bucks he charged.
 

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Another thought: Some motorcycle mechanics actually have some used motorcycles for sale. If he/she has one you like and you buy it, you may even get some kind of limited warranty as kind of a good will gesture.

One of the things I've liked about all of the old motorcycles I've owned - I've never bought a new one - is they had low mileage and very low prices. I learned how to do simple repairs and how to recognize problems so that I could do some troubleshooting before anything serious happened. If you're even slightly mechanically inclined, you will have the opportunity to develop a wonderful hobby even if you don't get your hands dirty.

If you find anyone to ride with, whether it's just an individual or a group in a "poker run", you will have exposure to a wealth of knowledge and an opportunity to find your next motorcycle, as well as a buyer for your current one.
 

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I took the MSF course in July 2017. I now have 2 used motorcycles, Yamaha vstar 1100, 2005 model, was $4200 out the door, Kawasaki Ninja 250, 2002 model, was $2600 out the door. I chose to buy them from a dealer to have a little better recourse if something major happened, dealers DO charge a reconditioning fee, a court of law would probably see that in a little better light if a major mechanical incident occurred versus private party. Shop around (online then in-person) at some dealers if you are hesitant about getting a good motorcycle private party, here's 2 dealers; Bert's Mega Mall in Covina, CA & Mountain Motorsports in Ontario, CA. It might surprise you how far $5,000 will go at these 2 places. Ask for Jayde at Bert's, ask for Luis at Mountain, both good guys. Good Luck.
 

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Here's a dandy at Mountain Motorsports in Ontario, CA, just at your price range https://mtnride.com/Motorcycles-Kawasaki-Vulcan-900-Classic-LT-2011-Ontario-CA-b269fdf0-17d1-414a-ac26-a901017c54cf
 

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Like Oz said, find a PROFESSIONAL to check it and pay for the service.
Just keep in mind, some problems on the way but not showing symptoms yet can not be predicted by anybody.
On the other hand...
Sometimes a mechanic can take a quick look at a bike in the parking lot and see enough to know you don't want it.
 

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Like Oz said, find a PROFESSIONAL to check it and pay for the service.
Just keep in mind, some problems on the way but not showing symptoms yet can not be predicted by anybody.
On the other hand...
Sometimes a mechanic can take a quick look at a bike in the parking lot and see enough to know you don't want it.
A professional may find something needing attention that can be used to negotiate the price down. It could save you more than the cost of the inspection. Plus a good shop will check recall notices. Those problems can be fixed at no cost to you.
 

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One of my local dealers has excellent reputation and a top notch pair of techs working the shop.

They had done most all the service work on the used bike I got and were just great.
They did the new cam chain tensiononers and put a new belt on the bike along with tires, gave it the once over.

If it goes haywire they would make it right if it craps out right away.
The dealer handled the paperwork and it was the easiest sale I have been through in my life.

My dealer experience was great, Im not so sure how I would have liked a private sale, id be cussing if it did not start or some other trouble from a private party.
 
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