Guides: How To Spot A Crashed Motorbike

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Buying a bike that hasn’t just been wheeled out of the crate at the dealers is always going to involve some risks, but you really don’t want to buy a used bike that’s been crashed.

The first things to look out for are the obvious signs of a slow speed or standing still drop; check the sticky out’y bits like bar ends, mirrors, levers and engine casings. Another good place to check is the rear seat cowls - these can get damaged if the bike was moving at a fair lick.

Check where the exhaust can joins the pipe - this is often the first bit to touch down. Also check to see if any of the panels have been resprayed or if you can see any faint lines which look like cracks – these could have been repaired by a professional plastic welder. Look inside the main belly-pan farings, compare the panels on the different sides of the bike – do they look the same inside? Pattern or race parts are often left white inside!

Check the handle bar stops on the lower yoke for damage. Handle bars also bend, check that they are both the same distance from the tank when the bars are on full lock.

Its not just the things you can see - bear in mind when buying a bike that may have been down the road, it’s the things you can’t see that will cost you the most.

Most importantly if you have any questions ask the seller. If you’re not happy with the answer, walk away.

A check such as carried out by CheckABike ( will highlight any write-off details against the bike and whether the bike is legally allowed to go back on the road. If you discover the bike has been written off in the past and is now back on the road, or you’re thinking of putting it back on the road, don’t forget to tell your insurance company and bear in mind that you may have trouble selling it on in the future.
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