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6 mistakes to avoid when buying a used motorcycle

6 mistakes to avoid when buying a used motorcycle
PHOTO: Boon Siew Honda

Planning to buy a used motorcycle in Singapore? Here are 6 mistakes you should avoid before completing your purchase.

Congratulations on finally getting your Class 2/2A/2B licence! Odds are, you're probably thinking of purchasing a motorcycle of your own.

It might be tempting to purchase a brand new bike. However, a second-hand one can be a more viable choice, especially if you are tight on funds at the moment, or if you are still studying.

Yes, there are considerations to be made, such as the bike's condition and servicing records. That is why we came up with this guide to help you avoid the pitfalls when buying a used motorcycle.

Failing to choose the right motorcycle for your needs

Are you planning to use your motorcycle as a form of transportation around Singapore? Or do you intend to make long trips to neighbouring countries when borders eventually open?

If you fall under the former, a basic Class 2B bike with efficient fuel consumption should be sufficient for daily use. Similarly, a Class 2A bike would be more ideal for longer trips as they are better built for long-distance travel and come with better torque and stability.

To ensure you get the best bang for your buck, it is best to shortlist your options according to your needs and not your wants.

Failing to go for a viewing or test ride

There are two ways to purchase a second-hand motorbike in Singapore, either from a dealer or direct seller.

Most dealerships allow customers to go for a test ride. This is good, especially if you are looking at a used motorcycle as it allows you to assess the comfort level and its road-worthiness.

Do remember to check for the bike's throttle response, handling and alignment of the wheels and brakes during your test rides. Avoid dealerships that don't offer test rides, as there may be some underlying issues with the bike that they don't want you to know.

On the flip side, test-riding of any second-hand motorbikes sold by a direct owner is not allowed in Singapore. The reason is due to insurance coverage. If you are in such a situation, do request a viewing before buying it to check if the parts are all roadworthy or not.

Failing to identify wear and tear

It is a huge mistake to assume that all parts are in tip-top condition at first glance. It is best to check them thoroughly before making a purchase.

Here is a list of critical parts that you will need to check before purchasing a used motorcycle:

Tyres - Check that both are inflated to the optimum pressure; around 28 to 40 psi range. Also, ensure that there are no cracks and creases on them.

Fuel tank - Open up the fuel tank of the bike and use a flashlight to check for any signs of rusts or corrosions.

Front fork - Check that there are no misalignments by placing a flat, long ruler across the forks.

Steering head - You should try to move it around to make sure that the bearings are not worn out and rusty.

Chain - A fresh chain should wrap around the sprocket snugly. If the chain is totally worn, it will reveal about half of the sprocket. To check, simply pull the chain away from the rear sprocket.

Sprocket - You have to make sure that the teeths aren't in a hooked-like shape or chipped off.

Overall, there shouldn't be any visible scratches, dents and other damages. Always be sure that the used motorcycle is in decent condition before investing in one.

Not asking for its maintenance history

Besides checking for the parts yourself, be sure to get its maintenance history for added assurance. Always request for the motorcycle's servicing history from the seller, as it reassures the quality of the bike.

If the owner claims that regular servicing is done on the bike without producing any servicing record, then ask for receipts as proof.

It also includes making sure that any modifications done are all legal. To play safe, you should always check that every modification made on the bike is LTA compliant.

Despite everything, a safer option is to purchase a motorcycle from an authorised dealer. They will usually play by the book and send it to an evaluation service centre for an inspection before putting it up for sale.

Choosing a long term loan vs short term loan

If you are unaware, buyers can finance their motorcycle loans within 36 to 60 months after placing your down payment of around 10 per cent to 20 per cent.

The interest rates for new and used motorcycles range from 5 per cent to 8 per cent, while the monthly repayments on your motorcycle are determined by your preferred settlement period and interest rate.

Let's assume that a used motorcycle costs $8,000; after deducting a 15 per cent down payment ($1,200), your loan amount totals up to $6,800.

Below is a table comparing a loan tenure of 36 months and 60 months with an interest rate of 8 per cent as examples.

Loan Tenure

Interest Rate

Total Monthly Repayments

Total Repayments

36 Months (3 years)

8 per cent



60 Months (5 years)

8 per cent



The table clearly shows that the total repayments are much lesser for 36 months, despite the higher monthly repayments. Although a long term loan means lower monthly repayments, you will end up paying more for the overall cost of the motorcycle.

In doubt of your loan capabilities? Feel free to approach us for an obligation-free consultation. We will advise you on the best possible loan option to finance your motorcycle. We will even settle the necessary paperwork upon the transfer of ownership.

Not getting protected by insurance

Ever heard of the saying that goes, "driving a car is like an iron wrapping a meat; riding a motorcycle is a meat wrapping an iron".

Well, getting covered by a comprehensive insurance plan is a way to keep yourself protected while riding your motorcycle daily.

In fact, it is mandatory in Singapore for both the main rider and pillion rider to get covered by an insurance plan. There are three plans for you to choose from: Comprehensive, Third-party Fire and Theft (TPFT) and Third-Party only (TP only).

No matter what you chose, they all cover other parties' death or bodily harm and property damages. Both the comprehensive and TPFT policies cover fire and theft, while a comprehensive plan covers accidental damage and medical expenses to yourself and other parties.

If you are looking to compare insurance policies, why not get a free insurance quote from us today? We can help you reduce the hassle of comparing quotes from multiple insurers, as we will always provide you with the most affordable and comprehensive plan for your needs.


Remember to do your due diligence by comparing different models, their prices, and their road-worthiness. Always remember to ask for a second-hand motorcycle's servicing records if you're in doubt of its condition.

Finally, here's a reminder to always ride safely on the road by abiding by the traffic rules. Not only is it necessary to wear protective gear, but also ensure that your motorcycle helmet is affixed with a PSB approved sticker.

ALSO READ: Guide to getting your motorcycle license & buying a motorbike in Singapore

This article was first published in Motorist.

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