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✔ Article reviewed by Ethan Orenstein. Bringing motorcycles back from the dead since 2013. Learn More.

What to Look for When Buying a Used Dirt Bike

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Buying a used dirt bike is a great way to get off-the-road inexpexpensive. However, if you don’t know what to look for, you could also wind up with a pricey pile of junk.

If you’re not in the mood for a restoration project, use this guide to find out what to look for when shopping for a used dirt bike. 

Things to Check when Buying a Used Dirt Bike

The first thing to do when buying a used dirt bike is to ask the seller some questions. 

Get an idea of how the bike has been used and cared for. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s probably best to walk away. This can save you a lot of headache down the line. 

Assuming everything checks out, it’s time to take a closer look at the bike. 

Check how many hours that bike has accumulated. The more hours, the closer you may be to an engine rebuild. Keep in mind that 4-stroke dirt bikes will typically need rebuilds sooner than 2-strokes. 

Be sure to ask if the seller has already had anything fixed or replaced. 

Next, ask about the maintenance routines and oil changes. Changing the oil on a dirt bike regularly will keep it in much better condition than if it has been neglected. 

Inspect the front and rear suspension for leaks, damage, and proper rebound. Sit on the bike to get a feel for it. The dampening should feel smooth and controlled. 

Check out the rims, spokes, and tires for wear, damage, loseness, etc. Ask about the age of the tires and when they were last replaced. 

Next, you’ll want to start the bike up to listen to it run and shift through the gears. If you can take it on a test ride, that’s even better. 

Abnormal sounds or excessive knocking should be a red flag. 

Finally, take a closer look all around the bike for any signs of damage, cracks, or undisclosed repairs. 

Paperwork when Buying a Used Dirt Bike

The sale is not complete when you find a used bike you like. 

You’ll need to be sure to get the proper paperwork from the seller when you pay them. 

Paperwork you should get when buying a used dirt bike includes:

  • Signed over and filled out ownership documents (the dirt bike title or MCO).
  • Registration documents/off-road permits. Copies may suffice. 
  • Bill of Sale.

It’s also a good idea to check the dirt bike VIN to make sure the bike advertised matches what it actually is and to make sure it’s not stolen.  

Need help choosing the right dirt bike? Check out some of our other resources:

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Content Editor: Ethan Orenstein

Ethan is not just any motorcycle enthusiast. With a decade of experience riding, maintaining, and restoring a range of motorcycles, Ethan brings a wealth of knowledge to the table. Many of the tips and tricks shared on this site are born from hours spent wrenching on personal bikes. Paired with his experience as a journalist covering DMV & insurance topics, MotorcycleZombies.com is a must-visit site for any home-mechanic. Every article has been carefully reviewed and edited to ensure accuracy, authenticity, and simplicity - all to help bring your bike back from the dead and onto the road.

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