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Summer is the ultimate time to take a road trip on a motorcycle. If you can’t afford a brand new bike, then look for the “steel horse” that suite your taste on the second-hand market. The main thing is to know what you’re looking for
There are four types of modern bikes that are suitable as one’s first bike for long-distance trips:
The first is a chopper – a motorcycle with no excessive frills. Its main feature is long handle bars that allow a rider to lean back as if sitting in leather chair and enjoy the wind against your hair.
The second is a road motorcycle. This is the basic form of a motorcycle. The emphasis is on functionality.
Dmytro Orion Klyaz
A used bike is not necessarily an old and non-functional piece of metal. Bikes are often sold not because they are rundown, but because their owners buy more powerful bikes in the new season. In such cases you can find a used, yet a spunky and exhilarating bike that you won’t have any serious troubles with. If you repair a second-hand bike it will cost you two or three times less than buying a new one. Every man should have one as his first bike. He won’t feel bad about scratching it until he get used to it and gets to know the equipment.
The third type is Enduro motorcycles. This bike is specially engineered for the Enduro sport, with the long travel and medium-hard suspension of a motocross bike conjoined with features such as a headlight and quiet muffler to make the bike street-legal for parts of the track.
And finally, there’s the touring motorcycle, or cruiser. Such bikes were designed for comfortable road trips and top-quality road surfaces. Such bikes typically have additional bells and whistles such as coffer bags, ABS, a tape-recorder and cruise control. They are known for their safety and economy since they can ride for hundreds of kilometers.
The prices of these models on the secondary market depend on their power, age and mileage. It is quite common that the owner of a motorcycle rides it only during the warm months of the year, meaning that even a 5-year old bike will not chalk up 30,000 km. However, true grit bikers believe that the most important thing about a used bike is the country from which it was imported: the U.S, Europe, Japan or China.
As strange as it may seem, the majority of the bikes that are brought into Ukraine from the U.S. are Japanese. “The second-hand bike market hardly exists in the U.S. Slightly damaged Japanese bikes of the latest models are exported to European countries, including Ukraine. For Americans that smashed up their bike, it is easier to receive insurance and buy a new one instead of repairing the old one,” said Gorgona, a biker with 20 years of experience.
This is the reason that second-hand bikes made in Japan and from the U.S are cheaper than those brought in from Europe, despite the higher shipping costs. In Ukraine, a Japanese-American bike with less than a 5,000 km run needs only a repair of plastic details sells for US $2,000.
Naturally, the legendary American brands like Harley Davidson are considerably more expensive and are rare birds on the Ukrainian market.
The majority of European models are more expensive than those from the U.S. European bikes with an engine volume of 500 ñm3 sell on the second-hand market at an average price of US $4,000-5,000.
Bikes with an engine volume of 500 cu cm dominate the secondary market. As a rule, they are exported to Ukraine in good technical condition. Besides that, the age of used European bike is quite easy to determine. Unlike Asian bikes, the German and Italian models have reliable information as to the production date.
This is the cheapest variant among the whole lot. One can find a Chinese bike in Ukraine for less than US $1,000. The most popular Chinese brands sold in Ukraine are Zongshen, Keeway, Qingqi and Defiant.
These models generally have a 150-200 ñm3 engine and modest power designed for neophyte bikers. The main advantages of these bikes are their safety level and cheap price tag. But don’t expect to be initiated into a bikers’ gang riding a Chinese motorcycle as they are not taken seriouslyç.
ßJapanese motorcycles are the most popular in the world for their high quality/price ratio. In Ukraine, second-hand Japanese bikes sell for US $2,500-6,000 and the most popular models with 250-400 ñm3 are sold for US $3,000-5,000. Japanese bikes have lots of advantages and a number of flaws. First of all, a bike may be a few years older than the age indicated in the registration. Do not be lazy to check the bike’s year of the model usually indicated on the frame under the steering tube or right next to it, on the wheel rims or on the brake hoses. The level of humidity in Japan is quite high, which coupled with the high level of sea salt content in the air, leads to rapid corrosion of bike parts.
Japanese motorcycles produced for the domestic market are equipped with speed limit devices that prevent them from traveling at speeds higher than 180 km/h. Japanese bikes sold on the European market do not have such devices, which is why they are more expensive on the secondary market.
“If you buy a used bike for the first time absolutely bring along an experienceâ friend,” said Oleksandr Vesnin, director of a company that imports bikes into Ukraine. “Such a person will help you examine a bike, check the registration and VIN number and force salesmen to be up front,” said Vesnin.
“It is very important to check whether a bike’s frame was not shifted or bent, which often happens after serious accidents,” Gorgona recommended.
It is also important to carefully listen to the sound of a working engine, which must be cold before you start it up the first time. That’s the only way if it has any serious malfunctions.
The best way to evaluate the quality of a motorcycle and its performance is by taking it on a test drive. As a rule, a salesperson allows customers to do so. Another test for a salesperson, by the way: if there are some hidden tricks, they will never agree to permit a test drive under any pretext.
So, don’t be shy. Insist on a test drive to find out whether the bike lives up to its price tag. Then you have a clear conscience with absolute freedom and hundreds of kilometers of adrenalin