Buying a motorbike/scooter

Safety First

The most important thing about riding is your safety, so making the correct purchase of a motorbike or scooter is critical.

Does it fit?

Whether buying a new or second-hand, you must make sure that you can sit comfortably and safely, this means that when sitting on the seat, you must be able to touch the ground with your left foot. Young or smaller riders often struggle to fit on a scooter without sliding off the front of the seat. If you are uncomfortable, try a different model/manufacturer. Ask the dealer if the bike can be lowered or adjusted if buying a new one. Often a cost-effective solution is to remove padding from the seat, but a professional should undertake this.

Buying Second Hand

Firstly, we see frequent ads on social media for bikes that are ‘CBT Ready’, but when we inspect them, they fail our basic tests.  You must ensure the bike is roadworthy and generally in good working order. At a bare minimum, you must ensure the following:

  • The lights must be in working order. The headlights and taillights, including the brake light, must work when using the front or rear brake.
  • The steering must move freely without drag or notchiness and must not be restricted by cables. It must be securely mounted, and the grips should not be loose or in poor condition.
  • Brakes: Properly working brakes may just save your life! Check all hoses for leaks, bulges, cracks, etc. Check disk brakes for wear and ensure wheels rotate freely without drag.
  • Nothing sharp is exposed. For instance, it is quite common for second-hand bikes to have damaged levers, i.e., brakes/clutches. If they are damaged, then ideally, they should be replaced. At a minimum, they should be taped up for protection.
  • Wheels and tyres: The tread should meet the legal requirement. Check that the wheel itself is not damaged and that nothing is ‘hiding’ under the dirt. Ensure there isn’t excessive play and that the direction arrows on the tyres point towards the forward rotation. Ideally, the front and rear tyres should be the same manufacturer/model.
  • Suspension should not be leaking, springs/shock absorbers should be in good working order. The suspension travel should operate smoothly.
  • The exhaust must not leak, and baffles should be fitted. Many 2-stroke scooters/bikes can be smoky, but not excessively so.
  • Other things to check should be the condition of the chain and working horn; have the mirrors been removed, and if so, does the current owner still have them? If the bike was fitted with mirrors by the manufacturer, they must be fitted when you attend our training.
  • Look at the general condition of the bike; a dirty bike is usually a good indicator that it has not been looked after. You may pay considerably more to fix issues than the bike cost!

If in doubt, get a trained mechanic to look at the bike before you buy. At the very least, get someone with the correct license category and insurance to take it for a test ride.

Teaching safe and responsible riding in Guernsey