How to (Safely) Buy a Motorcycle Online

In today’s fast-paced online world, it can seem like scams are waiting just around the corner. From the 100 million phishing emails sent per day to the identity fraud scams that cost us 56 billion dollars last year, it’s safe to say that the risk of scams is the price you pay for getting online.

But when it comes to a major purchase—like, say, buying a motorcycle online for tens of thousands of dollars—how do you make sure your money isn’t going toward a sleazy scam artist?

If you want to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck, in addition to not taking home a lemon, you’ll need to do your due diligence. Here’s what you should know about how to buy a motorcycle online.

Buy From a Reputable Seller

It should be obvious, but the first thing to consider is who you’re buying a bike from. Whether you’re opting for a new or used motorcycle, find an experienced seller with good reviews.

If you’re looking for a company that specializes in motorcycle sales, for example, shop here or look for similar verified sellers. In many cases, doing so can alleviate many of the things you’ll have to check for in later steps.

If you choose to buy a new motorcycle online from an individual seller, you may find bikes at a steep discount—but you may carry an additional risk of getting scammed. Check their online feedback if possible, and then continue to the steps below to minimize that risk.

Inspect the Bike

The bike inspection should start before you even meet the seller in person. Ask to see photos of the bike from multiple angles, and make a specific request, such as placing a helmet on the seat for one of the photos. This ensures that you’re seeing a bike they actually have in their possession instead of a random motorcycle image they pulled from somewhere online.

Next, have a mechanic or dealer inspect the bike for an unbiased analysis. Your in-person check and test drive can help, but a third-party inspection can help you understand the bike’s current condition, and it can also help you get a better sense of the bike’s true worth.

Do the Right Paperwork

No matter who you’re buying from, there are a few things you’ll want to do in order to avoid financial or legal hassles down the line.

  • Check a copy of the title against the bike’s VIN, ensuring that they match
  • Check for any liens on the title
  • Make sure that both your name and the seller’s name appear in all documents, as well as the make, model, and VIN of the bike
  • Use an escrow service to protect yourself

These tips may seem like extra steps during the paperwork process, but the extra time you spend on them can save you from major headaches if things go wrong during the sale.

Use Your Head When Buying a Motorcycle Online

There are plenty of reputable sellers when it comes to buying a new or used motorcycle, but there are also plenty of scam artists hoping to make a fast sale. Anytime you’re buying a motorcycle online, you’ll need to use your head and do everything you can to minimize your risk. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a trusted motorcycle expert for help deciding whether a listing is worth your attention!

Looking for more tips to get the most out of your bike? Be sure to check out our other posts for additional guides.

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