Tips on Buying a Used Dirt Bike

There is an inherent risk buying anything second hand, especially from a private sale. This is especially true with dirt bikes.

While it is going to be less expensive to buy a bike privately than from a dealer, you won’t know its history. The owner could have thrashed the bike for all you know – it could be even be stolen. Off road bikes can be exposed to tough conditions and as a result can suffer from wear and tear. Whatever road you go down, you need to be cautious so you don’t end up with a lemon.

What if you don’t know a lot about dirt bikes and aren’t sure what to look for? Don’t worry! This blog is for you. In it, we are going to run through a checklist you should make before committing to a sale. It will arm you with enough mechanical knowledge so you can make a good decision.

Used Dirt Bikes

However, if you want to forgo the risk altogether, you should buy a used dirt bike from a quality dealer.


Doing a visual inspection of the bike is going to be important when you buy from a private sale.

When inspecting the bike, look out for things that don’t seem right. Examples include:

  • Oil leaks
  • Coolant leaks
  • Oil on any part of the engine
  • Frame damage
  • Engine case damage
  • Damaged cables, wires and hoses
  • Dirt on the engine – oil attracts dirt

Ask the seller about their maintenance schedule – this will indicate if it’s been looked after. When the oil was last changed? How often is the air filtered cleaned? Has it had any repairs?

If something seems off about the sale, it probably is. Use your gut feeling and walk away if you aren’t convinced about the condition of the bike. If you are unsure, ask a friend with some mechanical experience to look it over for you.

Test ride

If the inspection pasts the test, take the bike for a ride. Any problems you missed during the inspection should become evident when you’re riding.

While on the test ride, test all the gears to make sure the clutch doesn’t slip or that it doesn’t jump out gear. If it does, it’s an indication there is something wrong with the bike. These types of issues are usually expensive to fix.

Test the brakes, steering, acceleration and suspension. Does it feel right to you? Does the dirt bike make crunching noises at any point on the ride? Is the motor making an unusual tapping noise? Is anything feel loose? If it does, make a mental note and remember to ask the seller about it when you’ve finished your ride as these are all signs of problems.

Why a dealer is better

As you can see, plenty of things could be wrong with a dirt that is being sold privately. If you don’t have a lot of mechanical experience, you are likely to miss an issue that could be very costly for you don’t the line.

We’d recommend buying from a dealer instead of a private sale. A dealer wouldn’t sell a bike that has problems – it’s bad for business. They also offer warranties on their products.

But if you’re set on a private sale, you should avoid a lot of issues when buying a used bike if you follow these steps.