Buying a used motorcycle instead of a new one can potentially save you thousands of dollars, as well as give you a bike that performs to your standards. While plenty of research and discussions with the seller will help you to gain insight on the motorcycle you're thinking about buying, a test drive is pivotal to help you see how the bike performs. Make sure that you give yourself ample time for the test drive, and don't be afraid to ask for a follow-up test drive if the first one leaves you with some questions. Here are some performance-based things to check during this time.
Every motorcycle owner wants to know how his or her bike accelerates. There are two types of acceleration to check — acceleration from standing still and acceleration when you're already moving. Although you should always be sure to follow local traffic laws and be aware about other motorists around you, don't shy away from testing these two types of acceleration. You can try the former on a quiet road with little traffic and the latter when you're in an open area of the freeway. In either case, you want the acceleration to be smooth and easy, rather than the bike seem as though it's laboring to respond to the throttle.
Braking is instrumental in keeping the bike under control and ensuring your safety, so be sure to test the brakes in a variety of ways. Start by braking at low speeds to see how the bike reacts, and then try braking at higher velocities. Every time you squeeze the brakes, you want to feel an immediate and smooth braking response. You should also take some corners while you're applying the brakes, given that doing so will be common if you buy and operate the motorcycle.
Every used motorcycle test drive should include some time spent on the freeway. Get up to speed and cruise along a long stretch of the road to assess a handful of things. You want to note how smoothly the engine is running; the sound should be consistent, rather than have hiccups. You should also note the stability that you feel at this speed. Some bikes are more stable than others, and your safety depends in part on the bike's stability at cruising speed. Finally, note how your body feels when you're cruising — are you leaning too far forward or sitting too upright for your liking? Ideally, your body will feel comfortable.