Checklist for Buying A Used Dirt Bike – Questions to ask when buying a used dirt bike

Buying a used dirt bike is an excellent option if you want to enjoy off-road biking, which saves you a lot of money. You can purchase the right parts of the bike, replace it with the saved money, and get the bike modified according to your needs. In this article, I am providing you a checklist for buying a used dirt bike to follow and get the best use bike.

Being a buyer, it is your job to check the bike before buying it to not face any problems later. For this, you need to have some mechanical knowledge, or you should take your friend who is an expert in buying & selling bikes.

How to create Checklist for Buying A Used Dirt Bike

Set a Budget

If you are a beginner and just started to drive the school to learn how to ride a dirt bikeOpens in a new tab. and now want to purchase a used dirt bikeOpens in a new tab., then the first task is to make a budget for how much you want to spend on the bike.

Evaluate the current market price and compare it against the price it is valued at. If you are getting a more expensive bike than your budget, then the last option is left for you to buy a used bike.

Estimate maintenance and repair expenses before purchasing a used bike, and along with that, some dirt bike components may also need to be replaced. Some other expenses are added to it, also estimate them. In some states, sales tax may also be levied, so do not forget to include it in the purchase rate’s total cost.

The cost of title transfer and registration from the Local DMV can come in a few hundred dollars. You also need insurance after purchasing the bikeOpens in a new tab..

Do Your Research

Research is vital when buying a used dirt bike. Choose which brand and model bike you want to buy according to your budget, size, experience level, and riding style.

Choose your options thoroughly so that it makes it easier for you to buy a bike. Forums are very knowledgeable in this. You will get to read reviews of every model and also customer feedback. This information proves to be very useful before buying a bike.

Take a look at the price in the area around you. Recommended and will see average rates on websites like Craigslist. Stay updated with all this information, and negotiate the price of the bike with the help of it.

Used Dirt Bike Checklist

Outer Surrounding Area

It is not just for the bike, but when you go to see the bike, look at the cleanliness of the garage, where the bike is, and how it is sitting.

How do the seller’s other bikes look like? If everything is clean and well, then the bike will be excellent, but this is not the only factor to buy a used dirt bike.


If many crashes are seen on a dirt bike, they will be visible on the subframe and frame. Check unusual bends and cracks at the place of weld or where two sections meet.

If the subframe is bent, it will be known by looking from the rear side of the bike.

Usually, it will bend the frame on one side. If it is, then in such a situation, negotiate the price because the used subframe will not be less than $50-$200.


Is the tire terrible or good? You will have to see this. The edges should be sharp; otherwise, you have to change the tires. Sharp edges maintain the grip of tires along the ground. Tires are a bit pricey; if they needed to be replaced, then negotiate the price with the owner.

Fuel Tank

The fuel tank is the stomach of a dirt bike. If there is rust inside the fuel tank, then the performance of the bike will be deficient, so do not buy the bike without checking the fuel tank.

To check the fuel tank, take a flashlight and put that light inOpens in a new tab. every corner of the fuel tank to get a clear vision of the fuel tank.

If possible, touch inside the fuel tank with the help of your fingers. It will give a good sense of rust. Fuel filters are also an excellent way to judge a fuel tank.


Apply the front brake while driving the bike, and when the front suspension is pressed and comes to its place without any loud noise, then the suspension of the bike is okay.

Make sure that the suspension does not make any loud noise. And the suspension should be clean, shiny, and smooth.

Also, see that there is no oil on the fork seal; otherwise, you will have to replace it with a new suspension.

Jump the bike by sitting on top of the seat. And see if the rear suspension comes to its usual place or not, without springing up and down.

Air Filter

It is crucial to check the air filter. It will know whether the maintenance of the bike was being done at the appropriate time or not.

Take some tools with you to remove the seat and check if the air filters are clean or not.

Make sure there is no dust or dirt. It should be nice, clean, and slightly oily, which indicates a well-maintained air filter.


Remove the radiator to see if the coolant is filled to the optimum level. The proper coolant is of green neon color, and its smell is also sweet.

Remove the cap of coolant and see. It should be green in color.

If the coolant is brown, then it means that dust and engine oilOpens in a new tab. have taken possession of it. In such a situation, you may have to spend a lot of money while repairing the bike. So do not buy a dirt bike without doing this test.


Make sure to check the radiator before doing the test drive because after the bike is warm, you cannot remove the radiator cap. Look for dents and broken fins on the radiator.

Make sure that the water pipes are correct and there is no leakage. If the radiator is terrible or needed repairing, then do not buy the bike without bargaining.

Swing Arm

Check the condition of the swing arm and also make sure the wheel should be in the middle. Dent and damage are easily detected on this.

And this has to be taken care of. See it by swinging up and down and make sure it has not any problem.

If it moves freely, that is the right swing arm’s sign; otherwise, you have to replace it with a new one.


The bearing of the dirt bike used regularly needs grease to have a smoother performance.

To check the bearing, rotate the tire the there should be no scrap in the between; otherwise, the bearing will have to be replaced.

Along with this, there are bearings in the handlebars, so check them too.

Clutch & Brakes Lever

Clutch and brake can be easily bent & break. It would not have been so expensive if there were not more than one to replace. Rear brake pedals and shift gears may also break.

The shifter should be slightly tight. If it is crooked, the splines are likely to be damaged and need to be replaced.

Check the disc brakes by looking at the wear indicator. If the brake pads will be exhausted, then it is essential to replicate them, and they are not very expensive.

Simultaneously check the drum brakes and also check the brake fluid in the cylinder. It is necessary to change the dirty oil.


It gets bent very quickly as soon as the bike is flipped or wrecked.

You will easily come to know about it only after seeing it. But once you do a test ride, you will be known whether the handlebar is in good condition or not.


Is the seat not torn from anywhere, is it properly installed? This has nothing to do with the performance of the bike, but our dirt bike should look beautiful.

Engine Condition

This is an essential part of a bike; if it is wrong, then the rest of the bike elements are of no use.

So check it very carefully. See the engine oil level, which should be the lowest.

If there is no oil in it at all, then it is a sign of engine damage, and this is why the engine would have been seized. So before riding the bike, check it thoroughly.

Engine Sound

Allow the engine to start and idle for at least one minute and listen if there are any strange sounds, grinding, knocking, etc.

If it is 4-stroke and ticks with the engine’s RPM, it is likely a worn chain or tensioner, a relatively simple fix on most bikes.

If a rattle appears when the driver is thoroughly heated, it may be a piston rattle, which will need to be rebuilt.


See the head pipe for dents and bends. If there is any significant damage to it, you will have to get it replaced or repaired. A crushed pipe will lack power.

Also, listen to the exhaust note.

In general, you can tell when the muffler packing is little to no because it becomes loud and raspy.

A new and fresh packaged silencer is quite quiet, and its sound is excellent and crisp. Packing is very cheap, but changing it is not a fun task.

Oil Leakage

Look at the oil leaks,Opens in a new tab. especially the front fork seal and at the bottom of the engine.

There may be a possibility of oil leaking at the place where the dirt will stick more, so observe this thing. In most cases, the seller cleaned the bike before you arrived.

So right after the test ride, you must check the bike for oil leakage.


You cannot inspect the carburetor internally, but at the time of riding the bike, you can sense how dirty and bad it is.

If the bike is taking more time to start or is having trouble, then it is a sign that the carburetor is needed to be cleaned or repaired. And this happens when the bike stands without driving for weeks and months.


The bike chains stay suitable for a long time if they are taken good care of.

Secondly, if the chain is rarely or never cleaned and lubed, it can wear out very quickly than the top-end on a motocross bike.

Check the kinks and see how far it is from the adjuster.

If there is no space left in the adjustment, it means the chain is stretched out, and now it needs to be replaced. If there is a lot of corrosion and skips in the chain, it is a useless chain.


The chain usually wears on top of the sprocket.

In general, you get a rear sprocket and two front gears. And you must check that it does not have any worn, broken, or sharp edges.

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

1. What should I look for when buying a used dirt bike?

These are the main points you should be aware of before purchasing a used dirt bike:
1. Size of the bike
2. Check the oil of the engine
3. Listen to sound of engine
4 check the gear by shifting it
5. Check the time of bikeride
6. Check the wheels & tires
7. Visual Instpection

2. How much should I pay for a used dirt bike?

First of all you need to know the price of new dirt bike that is around $8000-$10000, So if you want to buy a bike of model 2018 will have price around $4000. It depends on several conditions too.

3. What is the best used dirt bike to buy?

There are number of bikes which you should look for:
SUZUKI RM250, 2003 – 2008.
YAMAHA YZ125, 2005 & Higher.
HONDA CR250R, 2002-2007.
KTM 250, 2004 & Higher.
KTM 300, 2004 & Higher.
HONDA CR250R, 2000, 2001.
YAMAHA YZ250, 2005 & Higher.


So this is the checklist for buying a used dirt bike that you have read.

If you have a reasonable budget from which you can buy a new bike, then it would be our advice that you buy a new bike.

In that, your maintenance cost will be very lower, and you will not have to face any problems after purchasing a brand new dirt bike.

Before buying a dirt bike, check it thoroughly, take a test ride, and see all the necessary documents.

Now, if you want any more information, then you can take the information by commenting below.

Thomas A. Talley

I’m Thomas. Since childhood, I am fond of bikes and hence dirt bikes are my passion now. Ever since then, I’ve been giving advice to the beginners and this has become my hobby.

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