We have seen it time and time again. A customer comes in with a used Harley Davidson that was purchased on impulse and with complete lack of research. Their buddy went with them to look at the bike. He believes he is a used Harley Davidson master ever since he installed his own handlebars, even though he now rides around with a sandwich bag of 15 amp fuses. He was no help! Now, the used Harley Davidson owner is crushed when he receives a huge estimate just to make the bike safe & road worthy when he only brought it to the shop for a handlebar swap!
This used Harley Davidson buyer’s guide video is an excellent resource for anyone looking into a used motorcycle. If you will not be able to have a reputable mechanic inspect the bike first; review this video once or twice and take some notes. You can even walk around the bike while you play this video on your smartphone! Sounds funny, but it’s not when it comes to your money and your safety.
Our host and bike builder Tommy Creal takes the time to provide you with a wealth of information, covering what to look for and what to be aware of when shopping for a used Harley Davidson.
You found the year and model used Harley Davidson you were looking for and it is in one of the 3 colors that are acceptable to you. That’s a good start, but now you need to do as much research and inspection as possible. Before even leaving the house, look online to get an idea of the bike’s fair market value. Kelly Blue Book or NADA are best for this. If a membership is required, swing by a local bike shop or general service garage and ask.
We all like to personalize our Harleys. Remember, upgrades do not always increase the value of a motorcycle. Sometimes customizations or add ons can actually decrease the value. Especially if the components are cheap, installed incorrectly, outdated, or are just plain ugly. Remember, the various flame/skull/eagle spirit accents that adorn a bike may have taken a lot of time & money to add. That may look amazing to some but other opinions/ideas like maybe even returning a bike back to stock would have a better resale.
Do your due diligence before committing to a sale. Focus and be patient to avoid an impulsive decision.
Make sure to view Fix My Hog videos to better understand every topic Tommy brings up in this used Harley Davidson buyer’s guide.
Here are a few examples:
Maintenance – Videos
Style and Performance Upgrades
Harley Fairing Removal
Harley Inner Fairing Removal: Part 1
Grips, Pegs, Levers and Shifter
Frame Related Videos
Starting Harley & Safety Check
Top End R&R
Cam Chain Tensioner Shoe
Checking Harley Tire Pressure and Inspecting Tread
Inspect Rear Brake Pads and Discs for Wear and Replace
Rear Sprocket Isolator Inspection
Inspect & Adjust Drive Belt, Sprockets & Rear Axle Nut Torque
Fairing Removal and Custom Gauges including Oil Temp Gauge
Stripped Bolt Removal
Replace Spark Plugs