Buying my first motorcycle

The excitement, the sensation, the fear, the lack of knowledge and especially the joy and satisfaction of buying my first (second-hand) motorcycle.

My father used to ride a Yamaha R1. When I had to go to elementary school, I always wanted my father to bring me by motorcycle. Not much later I got my own mini bike. very cool! A red one where #1 and my name were put on it.
I always made rides with my father and later on with my brother. Which meant that I couldn’t really stay behind with my driver’s license.
It still took a while, currently 26 and from the summer of 2020 the feeling to ride myself became bigger and bigger. So I started.

I said to myself to not look seriously at motorcycles before my end exam was scheduled and therefore in sight. If you would know me, you would know that if I want something I’d rather have it yesterday than today. Failed… All around I got questions if I already had something in mind or what type of motorcycle I would like. If my family could decide for me, it would be a race monster. But I wasn’t really that excited about this (yet), the motorcycle from the driving school is a Kawasaki (Z)650. Really fantastic, so I was looking for this one.
Not much later, a Honda CBR and a CBF also became a possible option. I found it very difficult myself to look for a motorcycle, because I never really sat on another motorcycle. At home we had a Yamaha R3, R6 (old model), R1 and an Aprillia RSV4. The Yamaha R3 fell off because it was too low in horsepower for me. All the other motorcycles are too big and too massive for my 164 cm high self.

The Kawasaki is the one I went looking for, my father also watched the internet for me. My brother on the other hand, was looking for every motorcycle. We looked at a lot, but didn’t really visit anything. Goedhart Motorcycles had a big motorcycle day on a Sunday. There were different types of stands and a lot of (outlet) clothing. I had hoped that they had all the motorcycles that were in my head… But they didn’t. I found out that almost all motorcycles are too big for me. So for me the choice was already made, I want a Kawasaki (Z)650! At the store someone told me that I can buy a motorcycle with financing. My dream came true can I buy a NEW motorcycle?! I saw it all in my head, racing with myself on the highway and cruising through the mountains on vacation.

Because it was a motorcycle event, you guessed it… Almost everyone got on the motorcycle. I saw a lady get off an Yamaha R6, this was a newer model than I had been on before and this motorcycle was lowered – the perfect solution for me! I asked if I could sit on her bike for a while, to see if this would fit and it did!! Unbelievable, but that didn’t make it any easier.

Which one am I going to choose now?

The search continued, a bit more focused on the Kawasaki than the Yamaha. When I had some more information about the financing and what this would cost me, I looked at a Yamaha a bit more and did not regret it. I went to look at three motorcycles. This is also an assignment on its own. I had a whole conversation with the seller beforehand and then hoped that that person was honest. I myself have no knowledge of motorcycles and so I hoped for the good. I’ve asked things like:

– Has the motorcycle ever fallen/crashed?
– If so, how bad?
– How many owners has the motorcycle had?
– How long did they have the motorcycle?
– What was the reason for the sale?
– Have there been any cures in the past?
– Is there a service history?
– Are there parts that are not original?
– If so, are the original parts still there?
– Are all keys present?

If the motorcycle is actually worse off in real life, there will be few sellers who are honest about this. It’s tricky though. The conversation went fine, a Yamaha R6 in Amsterdam – Let’s go. Once there, the motorcycle turned out not to be quite what it was supposed to be, despite the fact that I actually wanted it. Some scratches all over the motorcycle. The motorcycle stood outside, no paperwork, fake exhaust, you could hear that the engine needed some love and service. The seller did not want to drop in price, so we left because it was not worth it. The next engine was in Nunspeet, also an Yamaha R6. This one wasn’t quite it either. He did have all the service papers, all the keys and all the original parts that go with it. But the motorcycle, according to my father, did not sound completely pure. So we didn’t get this one either.

Things you can check to see if the motorcycle is ok:

– Visible damage – which doesn’t always necessarily mean it’s a bad engine, but something to draw extra attention to!
– Brake levers
– Mirrors
– cockpit
– Bottom of the front forks
– Chain, sprocket and tires 

A good owner will have maintenance the chain with love. A chain that is too loose or rust can mean that it didn’t got any love. When the teeth of the sprocket are worn out, this can add up considerably in costs.

– Tires; check carefully if there is enough tread. With everyday riders there will be more wear in the middle of the tire, motorcycles that have ridden on the track have more wear on the outside.

– Suspension, discs and brakes; check if there is a leak at the front forks, this could mean that the suspension needs to be replaced.

To check the suspension, sit on the engine for a moment and push the steering wheel towards the ground. This should be going smoothly and quietly. Squeeze the brakes as you roll forward and backwards. When you have to completely squeeze the brake before the engine is stationary, this may indicate that the brake pads need to be replaced.

– The battery & electricity
 Always ask in advance if the seller does not want to start the motorcycle. If someone has done this or is difficult about this, this may indicate that the battery is due for replacement. You can feel at the outlet by arrival whether it is hot or cold. A motorcycle should start in one go. When the engine is warm, it should run constantly. A coughing or faltering engine is obviously not a good sign.

Check if the flash lights, the lights and the odometer are working. Many motorcyclists replace the flashing lights themselves and this can cause errors in the wiring.

– Test drive
What can be useful for yourself is that before you make a test drive you already make an offer or an indication for a purchase price. If you have something in your head and someone does not want to go along with it, for example… Then you can better save yourself the test drive. If you can, choose a dry day and don’t forget your equipment! You must also be in possession of a valid motorcycle license for test driving! A ride through the built-up area and the highway is a logical combination. Start slow and see how the motorcycle responds. Check out all gears, brakes and how the motorcycle accelerates. Shifting should be smooth and the transmission should feel firm without slipping out of gear. If you dare to do so, let go of the handles for a while, so that you can determine any deviations and see if the motorcycle is straight. Also make a few large slaloms to see how the motorcycle reacts. This should be going stable and easily correctable. Meanwhile, listen carefully to the engine (in any gear). Noticeable rattles or vibrations are red flags to keep an eye on. After the test drive, put the motorcycle in sight for a while, to check for any leaks.

– Essential Negotiations

o When in doubt, it may be wise to walk around without the seller to reflect on the state of the motorcycle. It’s better to walk away from a deal than to make a bad decision under pressure. If you do want to continue with the purchase, discuss any defects that can lower the price. Ask the buyer for his floor price. Of course you won’t go along with this! If you play it cool, you can probably still get a lot off the price. Come up with a price that is even below the price you have in mind. The buyer (probably) does not go along with this, but hopefully the final price will be somewhere in between his/her price and yours. When you have made a deal, you go to the ATM, so you can think one more time about whether you really want the motorcycle or not. What you also can do is take the exact amount you want to pay for it in cash. As a result, you are forced to negotiate extra well. Phrases like: ‘I have cash for you here (x amount in euros) ‘ always do well. Then you arrange the transfer and the rest of the paperwork together, thank the seller and drive away on your new gem!

From there we went directly to the next one in Reeuwijk, which immediately made me feel like it was right. I couldn’t quite place what the reason was, but I had the feeling that this was going to be it! There were already cool options on it, such as: smokey front and rear lights, integrated turn signals, handle heating and the motorcycle was already lowered! The seller was a man who had the motorcycle under maintenance when the motorcycle was owned by the previous owner, she hardly drove it and he then bought it for his girlfriend. When I got there I immediately thought: ‘YES’. I want this one. There was some minor damage on it, these were on the back at the bobbins. There is a good chance that this was due to friction when moving the motorcycle, so it is manageable. Furthermore, the motorcycle ran super well, drove fantastic and looked amazing! So we made a deal and took the bike home at the same day!! From that moment on I was an proud owner of a fantastically beautiful black Yamaha R6 from 2006.

Every moment I look at the bike, I’m proud of myself

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