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Buying a Cheap Used Dirt Bike – The Ultimate Buyers Guide

When it comes to buying a cheap dirt bike that’s new to you, there are many different factors to consider before making a purchase. Cost, condition and included features can all be deal breakers in the moment if expectations are not met. Preparing yourself for these possibilities in different ways will help you make a smarter decision when the moment is right.

So, where do you start? TeamMA’s cheap used dirt bike guide below has you covered! We’ve put together some questions and answers that will be sure to guide you in the right direction. Our handy technical and inspection checklists will ensure you’ll know what you’re getting from the used dirt bike in question, so that a cheap used dirt bike doesn’t mean getting ripped off. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or just getting started, we know how important it is to get what you want!

Should I buy new or used dirt bike?

Should you buy new or used dirt bike?

The new-or-used question ultimately depends on what you’re looking for out of your dirtbike. A new dirt bike will have all the features you desire and will be a clean slate for all of the experience you’ll rack up. However, new dirtbikes are also considerably more expensive which is not ideal in some situations. Aside from waiting for a sale, you’ll almost always be paying more for what you want. Similarly, it’s hard to say whether the used dirt bike of your dreams will pop up near you. Buying new eliminates this risk if you’re willing to eat the cost for specific dirt bike models or features.

Buying a used dirt bike brings a ton of other factors into the equation, but it also gives you more room for negotiation. While there’s always a risk of unforeseen problems, using our handy checklists below will help give you more peace of mind when buying your next cheap used dirt bike. There are plenty of details to watch out for that may allow you to negotiate for a lower price.

What aspects should I watch out for with cheap used dirt bikes?

Condition is the obvious concern when buying a used dirt bike. Cheap dirt bikes that have endured a ton of use may come cheap, but there’s no guarantee how long your investment will last once it’s officially yours. However, important factors like a solid test drive, visible wear and engine working hours can indicate whether or not this cheap used dirt bike is a solid purchase. Every used dirt bike is going to ride differently, and it’s up to you to figure out whether those differences are acceptable or not. 

More specifically, make sure to check out the suspension, brakes, tires, frames, radiator and gas tank to avoid potential safety issues, and check for any visible damage to the areas you can see. Cosmetic damage to the frame is negotiable, however, anything that’s going to interfere with your safety while riding is a serious concern. You may still choose to buy the cheap dirt bike if you know how to fix it, but glaring issues should be addressed promptly before you do any riding on it.

Which dirt bike brands are most reliable?

Most Reliable dirt bike brands 2022

Reliability comes with brands that have been around for decades. The best dirt bike brands based on both quality and durability include Honda, Husqvarna, KTM, Yamaha and Kawasaki. While Honda, Yamaha and Kawasaki usually include a lower price tag and features considering ease of use, KTM and Husqvarna are known for their high-end features and robust construction.

Ultimately, you probably have a few models in mind to search for. This is ideal both from the perspective of searching by brand or model number, and also for increasing the chances of finding a bike you won’t compromise on.  

Where can I find a cheap dirt bikes?

It’s better to buy from a local seller if possible. This way, you’re able to both inspect and test drive the bike before you ever own it. Online marketplaces like Facebook, Craigslist, Ebay Motors and CycleTrader are all viable places to look for cheap used dirt bikes for sale. Authorized dealers in your area may also have used dirt bikes available depending on what you’re looking for. These pre-owned cheap dirt bikes may be more reliable, but they will almost certainly come with a higher price tag. 

While some used dirt bike owners may know the exact current value of the dirt bike they have, some may not. That’s where negotiation tactics come into play.

How do I negotiate the best deal for cheap dirt bikes?

Possessing a knowledge base for dirt bikes is especially important when it comes to haggling. If this is your first ever used dirt bike purchase, be sure to read up on the standard construction and features of dirt bikes before going to inspect or test drive the dirt bike in question. The physical knowledge that comes from riding is equally as important for your test drive.

First off, play it cool when you come into the situation. Your seller may be more likely to insist on a higher price if they see you drooling over their used dirt bike. Don’t be afraid to come with a prepared list of questions and things to inspect. TeamMA’s list is only the beginning if you know what you want! 

Whether you see some dings on the frame or notice problems on your test drive, use this as a tactic to negotiate a lower price. People are always trying to get as much value as possible out of their used dirt bikes, but sometimes there are problems that aren’t immediately shown until you see or ride the bike in person. 

If there are previous problems combined with problems that became obvious during inspection, this is the perfect storm for negotiating a better price. People are more likely to back down if you found a flaw that they didn’t, especially if they’re not aware of the price to begin with. 

Technical Checklist for choosing cheap dirt bike

Technical Checklist for choosing cheap dirt bike

It’s important to define exactly what you want out of a cheap used dirt bike before pushing forward on your quest. Consider the questions below and take notes on your answers. Doing this exercise will help give you a real-world view of your expectations and how to move forward:

  • How often will I use this dirt bike? Daily, weekly, monthly, yearly?
  • What kind of riding will I be doing? Casual, competitive, a mix of both?
  • What’s my desired price range for this purchase?
  • What are my options for financing this purchase (if applicable)? Am I prepared with savings? Will I need to get a loan?
  • Do I need this bike to be street legal? Is street riding a common use for me?
  • Are there any specific features I absolutely need to have? Seat height, 2-stroke dirt bike, liquid cooling, tank capacity?
  • How negotiable am I on said specific features? Are they needs or just wants?
  • How far am I willing to drive to test drive or pick up a dirt bike?
  • Am I willing to compromise on bike age for cost? What if it’s in great condition?

These are only the beginning of the questions you may ask yourself on your cheap dirt bike journey. Be aware of the features you are and are not willing to compromise on before going to look at used dirt bikes in person. This step will help you be more secure with your purchasing decisions and give you the assurance of knowing you’ll get what you want in the end.

Cheap Dirt Bike Inspection Checklist

Cheap Dirt Bike Inspection Checklist

As with any purchase, it’s ideal to be able to check over your potential used dirt bike for damages and other issues that can hinder safety or potentially bring down the cost. Be sure to print this checklist or make note of it in your phone so you can easily inspect the dirt bike when you go see it.

  • Cosmetic damages – Upon seeing the bike, do you notice any glaring nicks or tears anywhere? Are the handlebars stable? Is the clutch intact and working? While a torn seat may not pose a huge risk, a damaged radiator is a different story.
  • Dirt bike servicing – It’s reasonable to ask the owner about their maintenance schedule before buying a used dirt bike. Skipping oil changes and other routine mechanic visits can seriously affect the worth of the bike. If the dirt bike has undergone a major rebuild, ask for proof of these repairs.
  • Brakes – Check how deep the grooves are within the disks. If they’re not exactly shallow, this dirt bike has seen a fair amount of wear. Check the front brake line for wear along the front fork.
  • Wheels – Check the rims for scratches, bends or dents. Check the tire tread as an indicator for previous wear.
  • Frame – Check the frame for its identifying number. A scratched off identifying number is a massive red flag and shows the bike may be stolen. Otherwise, check the frame for fractures, dents or signs of repair. If you find any wear, don’t hesitate to ask where it came from.
  • Starter – Whether the used dirt bike has an electric or kick starter, check to see how worn it is. A fracture on the kick starter or completely worn button means this bike has had a fair amount of miles put on it.
  • Radiator – Check the fluid level in the radiator and ensure there are no cracks or bends in the fins.
  • Bearings – Check the wheel bearings by watching for movement when wiggling the wheels. Check the steering head bearings by holding the lower front forks and try to move them with the wheel off the ground. Check the swingarm bearings by moving the rear swingarm side to side. If there is any pronounced movement from the above attempts, the bearings will most likely need to be replaced. This is one area that may allow you to reduce the price as folks unfamiliar with dirt bikes may not be aware of the damage caused.
  • Gas tank – Check for leaks or cracks in the gas tank as this can lead to extremely dangerous complications.
  • Listen – On your test drive, listen for any functions that don’t sound right. This could be anything from knocking to gear shifting issues. Ask about it when you get back to hopefully get some honest answers.

While there may not be any guarantees on the bike you get, the above checklist will at least lessen the chances of potential problems down the line. Checking for problems will help the likelihood of getting a better bike while also giving a perfectly good reason to negotiate a lower price for any smaller issues that were not highlighted beforehand.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best cheap dirt bike?

This is going to depend greatly on the size, age and experience of the rider. Kids are going to require a low-power, smaller used dirt bike so they can work on getting their bearings while riding, whereas an adult will probably want at least moderate power and a seat that matches their height. More experienced riders will most likely want more power and efficiency in comparison.

Many times it is most convenient to do your research first. See what you want in a cheap used dirt bike and pick out a few models that have the details you desire. Having a few comparable cheap dirt bikes picked out will make your search easier and allow you to draw simpler comparisons than having to look into every bike you run across.

How much is a cheap dirt bike?

Again, the answer to this question is going to depend on a few factors. Experience comes into play here with the seller. Does the seller know what they have and how much value it has retained in the current condition? If not, you may be able to get a lower price as a result of them wanting to get rid of it. However, if the opposite is true you will probably be looking at an overpriced bike.

As a general rule, most bikes depreciate by $500 – $1000 for every year they age. This means the approximate age of the bike is going to determine the approximate value, plus or minus any extra damage. It’s useful to look up the Kelley Blue Book value for the bikes you have in mind beforehand. All of the reliable brands above are listed, and this will help you have a price in mind going into negotiations. Don’t forget to account for any damages in addition to depreciation!

Where can I find cheap dirt bikes?

Living in the internet age means you can find almost anything with the flick of your fingertips. The same applies to finding used dirt bikes for sale. It should go without saying that shipping may not be ideal both for the cost and the risk of damage during transport. So what’s the best approach?

Start by exploring local options online. Motorcycle dealers in your area may have used dirt bikes for sale depending on the brand you’re after. The one perk about going with a dealer is the verification process of resale. Many dealers have a guarantee or pre-owned warranty, but this will most likely come at a higher cost than finding a cheap dirt bike elsewhere.

If heckling with a dealer isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other options to explore. Facebook Marketplace is a common place to look and is likely to have a decent selection depending on where you’re located. There are also plenty of used dirt bikes on Craigslist to explore. While searching by the term “dirt bike” is useful, it’s also beneficial to search by the brand or specific bike you want. For example, if you’re looking for a Honda 250cc dirt bike, you could search for “honda dirt bikes” or simply “CRF250” for a more specific search.

Ebay Motors and CycleTrader are also viable options, however many of the folks on these websites know the equipment they have and may not be as easy to negotiate with. These options are your best bet only if you’re looking for a super specific or customized used dirt bike that you’re willing to pay for.

Is it cheaper to buy or build a dirt bike?

If you are a highly experienced mechanic who knows the ins and outs of building and fixing a dirt bike, building a cheap dirt bike may be ideal both for your wallet and creative side. The knowledge base is half the equation however, and many people would not consider themselves well-versed in this department. If you’re in this category, it’s generally cheaper to buy a used dirt bike. The frustration of learning and making mistakes is its own tax and can ultimately go against your goals of keeping things cheap.

This is also true if you’re planning on modifying a bike. Even if your selected cheap dirt bike doesn’t quite have all the bells and whistles when you buy it, there will be less work involved to elevate it into the bike you want.

How much does a dirt bike cost?

It depends! Top of the line dirt bikes coming from a dealership are obviously going to be top dollar if they are from a dependable brand. The same can be said if you’re buying from someone who truly knows what they have and what it’s worth. 

Since depreciation normally means almost $1000 less than the previous year, it’s safe to use this as a reasonable metric for pricing a used dirt bike. Using the above checklist, it’s also reasonable to knock even more off for separate damages whether or not they directly relate to the dirt bikes usage. Pricing will depend on many factors, but a used dirt bike will usually be dramatically less than a brand new one.

There are many factors that go into finding the right cheap used dirt bike for your situation. Whether you’re after a super specific option that requires a specialized approach or a simple used dirt bike to get you started, hopefully you’re heading in the right direction after reading this post.