Take a look at our tips to ensure that the bike you purchase arrives at your door without a scratch.

Evaluate the Seller

In general, it’s a safer bet to purchase from a licensed dealer or established site such as eBay or CycleTrader than an individual. These retailers have policies in place to help you if the product doesn’t meet your standards and provide some recourse if there is a dispute on the purchase. If you are shopping on eBay be sure to check the feedback from other customers on the seller’s page. Look for a high volume of sales with at least 90 percent positive comments.

If your ideal bike is being sold directly by the owner, there are still measures you can take to protect yourself from fraud in the purchase process.

Evaluate the Item

The best way to make a smart motorcycle purchase remotely is to thoroughly educate yourself on the model. The more you know about the bike, the easier it is to ask the right questions and spot any potential issues. Pictures are your best tools for evaluation, so don’t hesitate to ask the seller for additional shots or close-ups of particular parts. Once you get serious about a bike, look up the VIN with an online service such as cyclevin.com or cyclechex.com to check the vehicle’s history. Another way to be more confident in purchasing from an individual is to use an inspection service such as InspectMyRide to examine the bike in person and provide an independent evaluation.

Use the Right Payment Method

A direct bank-to-bank transfer is the fastest and most secure way to make a large out-of-state purchase. An escrow service is also very safe, but many sellers will not use them because of the delay in payment and the high rates of escrow fraud. A cashier’s check is also a secure option, but expect the purchase and paperwork process to take longer because the seller will have to wait for the check to clear. If you are financing your purchase, be sure to discuss the fact that it is an out-of-state vehicle purchase with the lender.

Hire Motorcycle Shipping Experts

When you’ve finally found the perfect bike, inspected it thoroughly, and provided payment, the last thing you want is to have it damaged in the shipping process. Discuss the shipping options and methods extensively with the seller to ensure the vehicle arrives safely. The two most common motorcycle shipping tactics are direct hauls and crating. A direct haul is when a company picks up the bike and drives it directly to your location, while crating involves packing the bike securely and using Less than Truck Load shipping to deliver the vehicle. Take a look at our page on motorcycle shipping to get more details and tips on how to get your ride across the country without a scratch.

When shopping online for a motorcycle, always keep in mind that you get what you pay for. If a bike seems like too good of a deal to be true, it probably isn’t true. Don’t let a vision of your dream bike override your common sense. Good luck and remember: “Four wheels move the body. Two wheels move the soul.”