What to Look for When Buying a Used Motorcycle | Timber Town HD

What to Look for When Buying a Used Motorcycle

When you want to buy a used motorcycle, the options can feel overwhelming! But if you do a little research, you can get one amazing deal in Portland. Timber Town Harley-Davidson is here to walk you through the process, so you know exactly what to look for when buying a used motorcycle. Take a look at our best tips and tricks, and check out our current used motorcycles for sale in Salem!

Researching Your Options

Whether you buy from a private dealer or a dealership, it’s important to get the big picture before you purchase. Just because you can buy a used motorcycle in your budget doesn’t mean it’s the right choice if the condition is questionable. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Bike Type: What type of riding do you prefer? Smaller and lighter models like the Street Glide® are great for commuting around Albany, but you might want a more plush option for long cross-country travels through Lebanon.
  • Model Research: After you narrow down your search to a specific bike type, start looking at your options. Check as many sources as possible to uncover the good and the bad.
  • Mechanical Research: It’s not a bad idea to brush up on your basic mechanical skills, so you can inspect potential bikes with greater confidence.
  • Find a Seller: Private sellers may have lower prices, but dealerships tend to have more benefits – in-house financing, warranty, consumer protections, incentives, and others.

Checking Overall Condition

If you shop at a dealership, it’s easier to get a good idea of the bike’s condition because each model is inspected professionally. But if you choose a private seller, you’ll need to have a keen eye to do the work yourself. Here are some key areas to examine:

  • Fuel tank — Good overall condition, no paint chips
  • Fenders and side cover — Few scratches and dents, no broken side-cover tabs
  • Seat — No tears, missing trim, or collapsed foam
  • Paint and chrome — No repaired body areas, good general condition. Shiny and rust-free chrome
  • Windshield — Properly mounted, no cracks or glazing
  • Saddlebags — No signs of damage on hard bags, no tearing or abrasion on soft bags
  • Tires — Plenty of tread, no signs of dry rot
  • Wheels — No dents, no wobble when you spin the wheel. Snug, straight spokes
  • Battery — Can start the bike without strain

Checking Performance Components

In addition to assessing the bike’s general condition, we recommend paying attention to the performance components. This includes the engine, transmission, and clutch. Run through this checklist on each of your candidates:

  • Oil — Correct oil level, no leaks
  • Ignition — The engine starts easily when cold, and warms up within minutes
  • Smoke — Move on if you see heavy black or blue smoke
  • Engine Noise — Quiet engine with no knocks, rattles, or rumbles
  • Transmission — Engages smoothly and never jumps out of gear. Ask to road test or watch the owner run through gears.
  • Clutch — Properly adjusted, does not slip or drag during a road test
  • Exhaust — No exterior rust bubbles, no leaks, and no broken hardware at the cylinder head

Find Quality Used Motorcycles for Sale at Timber Town Harley-Davidson

There’s never been a better time to buy a used motorcycle and now that you know what to look for when buying a used motorcycle, you have everything you need to get an incredible deal on your next bike. Take a look at our inventory at Timber Town Harley-Davidson to get started, and contact us in Salem for more information about used motorcycle mileage and more.

Race Into Summer Open House

Harley-Davidson Open House

Get Revved Up

Racing has been part of the Harley-Davidson experience since the very beginning. From the Hillclimbers to the flat trackers to today’s King of the Baggers™ led by our H-D® Factory Racing team. Join us to honor our roots with the Race Into Summer Open House on Saturday, June 22. Summer has arrived. It’s time to roll.

  • Be among the first 55 to RSVP below and claim your exclusive H-D® Racing Pin*
  • Earn additional Prizes & Giveaways*
  • Celebrate the power and performance that only Harley-Davidson® motorcycles can deliver – from the 2024 motorcycle lineup to custom P&A packages and all-new riding gear


H-D® Membership event Special***

  • Paid H-D® Members, earn up to 2,000 Bonus Points with a $100+ in-store purchase ($20 Value)
  • Free H-D® Members, earn up to 500 Bonus Points with a $100+ in-store purchase ($5 Value)


Harley-Davidson® 2024 CVO™ Road Glide® ST

Register For Your Chance To Win An All-New 2024 CVO™ Road Glide® ST**

Stop in to register for your chance to win** a 2024 CVO™ Road Glide® ST, a 2025 King of the Baggers VIP Race Experience and a Trip to Daytona for 2 OR 2 VIP Tickets to a King of the Baggers Race, plus other great prizes. Ask us how to earn additional entries.

Harley-Davidson® Event Pin

RSVP to get a special gift**

Be one of the first 55 to RSVP AND attend our event for an exclusive racing pin. Just fill out the form below and show us your confirmation email when you arrive at our Race Into Summer Open House.

* While supplies last. Offer limited to the first 55 attendees.


* While supplies last.

** Sweepstakes entry period June 21, 2024, 9am EST through June 23, 2024, 11:59pm EST. No purchase necessary. Purchase does not increase odds of winning. Open only to legal residents of the continental United States, including D.C. and Alaska and excluding Hawaii who are 21 years or older, and legal residents of Canada, who have reached the age of majority in their state, province, or territory of residence at time of entry. Void where prohibited. Need not be present to win. See participating H-D® dealerships for details or visit official rules at HD-SummerOpenHouse.com.

*** H-D® Members earn up to 2,000 bonus points ($20 value) on a purchase of $100+ between 6/21/24 9:00 am EST through 6/23/2024 11:59 pm EST participating Dealers only; H-D® Membership must be activated at the time of sale. Points apply to a single transaction for eligible purchases of $100+ before tax and after any sales discounts are applied. Promotion good for genuine H-D® and H-D® licensed products only. Usual point restrictions apply. Please allow up to 72 hours for points to appear in your account. Visit bit.ly/HD_points for details.