What To Look For When Test Riding A Motorcycle

An individual planning to buy a motorcycle always must opt for taking a test ride first. You can not decide if a motorcycle suits you right just by looking at it and knowing its features, especially when you are a new rider. Taking a test ride of the motorcycle you plan to buy helps you in understanding if you can harness the vehicle well and also helps you in estimating the level of comfort. 

Thus test riding it truly important whether you are buying a 150cc day to day vehicle or higher displacement adventure sport or touring cruiser. Test Rides help you to verify the worth of your buy. 

While taking a test ride you must remember to notice and look for a few behaviors of the bikes and how comfortable you feel as you ride. So, to help you choosing and making up to the ideal we put together a list of few guiding points to show you What you must look for during a motorcycle test ride. 

1. Inspect the bike well before you set out for the Test Ride:

  • Focus on the frame: 

Inspecting the bike in detail to make sure that there is no scratch or fracture on the frame, which can pose a threat against your safety. The frame damage includes dents, kinks, or fractures of any sort. If you spot any frame damage it is preferable for you to walk away.

If required to ask the shop assistants or who so ever at helping to remove the seat and other easily removable frame parts to look into maximum details about the physical exposure of the motorcycle.

Look closely to obtain whether everything looks symmetrical and perfect precisely damage proof. 

As you ask them to remove the bike seats closely notice if the battery leads are properly clean and is corrosion less. Clean leads indicate a well-cared motorcycle. 

  • The chain: 

Next shift to the condition of the bike’s chain. A clean and maintained chain enhances the longevity and better condition of motorcycle while, rusty chains clearly shows that the bike is old and not maintained and also put the rider at risk. 

Examine the sprockets of the chain that their teeth are even, and the tips are not excessively worn down. Worn down chain teeth can cripple down a motorcycle, so better to be careful about it. 

Also, check the flexibility of the motorcycle chain by pilling and pushing the motorcycle and little forward and backward an inch to inspect thoroughly. 

The chain is expected to move roughly 3/4s of an inch to 1 inch in either direction.

  • The Little Bits: 

Check the engine mounts to ensure all bolts are lined up and in place. Since these little parts may seem unimportant, but they can be expensive to replace. Check the fairings, side covers, small nuts and bolts, and trim. Ensure everything is present and working. If necessary, get an estimate to fix any missing components.

  • Tyres: 

Next move to the tyres, where we insist you closely look if the wear is distributed uniformly to hold the rider’s best safety. It is recommendable to check tread depth by inserting the quarter inside the tread. Checking the tread is important as it essential for traction in wet conditions. 

Acquaint yourself with the control and gear shift, also test the light and blinkers. 

2. Know the mechanism well from the dealer:

Though the basic functionality for every bike remains the same yet with time and integration of technology few features undergo modification. So, whether you are or aren’t really sure about all the features, have a talk about those with the dealer before taking the motorcycle out for the short spin.

It is to be remembered that neither you are not taking this ride to create your own records by nor this is your ride. Make sure to hold on to your patience and sense whether it delivers to your expectations or not. 

Make sure to count on the different parts and their performance one after another as you ride.

3. Free from irregularities:

Mount the motorcycle on the center stand, and turn the handle from lock to lock. As you do that see if you feel some irregularities or flex. The irregularity or flex can be identified if the head is not moving smoothly and free in either direction. 

4. As you sit on the motorcycle:

As you sit on the motorcycle for the test ride, it is recommendable to follow the following steps:

  • Try to grab the front brakes, and pushing it down or compress the fork to the extent you can. This helps in understanding the oil leakage and surface irregularities. The fork when compressed and decompressed is ought to cause some firm resistance and they fully rebound to their starting position. 
  • As you sit on the motorcycle, notice 

If the mirror is at the proper position and you can properly see out of the mirrors, 

If you can rest both of your feet comfortably on the ground. 

How comfortable you are with the seat,

If your feet easily reaches the rear brake pedals,

If the motorcycle can easily be mounted and dismounted,

Can you comfortably handle the bike or it seems to heavy for you.

  • Be sure to check the ergonomics of the motorcycle.

5. Be attentive towards the Engine and Engine Performance:

The aspects you must focus on first is sensing the sound, vibration, and feel. The sound and vibrations reflect the engine condition and clarity. And as you are ready to set out remember to be distinct about the clutch and gear shift quality.

These are the most important and basic things which are recommendable for you to pay emphasis on. You finding these few bits satisfied and the motorcycle steps grade up towards buying it. 

Then tune into vibration which you can feel in the pegs, through your thighs and bum and through your hands. Feel the vibration by revving out your bike in a low gear. This will help you in making out how smooth and sweet the bike is actually going to be. 

You may try riding it at low speed at a high gear, and evaluate how the motorcycle responds to the throttle. Changing gear and remarking its functionality in varying gears and feeling the smoothness should be done. Make sure to understand that the motorcycle works well in traffic for no matter what motorcycle you get for what so ever purpose, you have ridden on city streets anyway. 

If you plan to tour and buying a touring cruiser or mountain motorcycles you have to ride it through city traffic, or you have to cross cities to actually reach the highways or pretty scenic road that takes you to your destination. 

6. Let the Brakes hold your attention:

Note how well the brakes work, to fetch results, and know how much the bite is, this try to stop repeatedly and feel if the brakes are smooth or spongy. Though, the brakes of new bikes are expected to be very tough. Brakes are easy to grasp. 

The fast motorcycles are induced to have assertive brakes and can be difficult to control by new or well-skilled riders, so if planning to get one fast street motorcycle it better to be careful about the brakes during a test ride. 

To verify or try out with the drum brakes a couple of decent stops are enough I guess for serving you the full report. Using the rear brakes to test the anti-lock brakes (if any), but make sure it does not lock up. 

7. Must pay heed to,

Try turning the bike, and notice if it tends to seem to pull in a side more compared to others. This indicates that the frame of the motorcycle might be bent. 

Therefore, when turning the bike notice if it turning appropriately. 

Noice closely that no parts scrape as it turns either, which may mean adjustable pegs are set lower than what’s necessary.

Also, be careful about hearing the sound properly for the right sound of the motorcycle designated the good shape of the motorcycle. 

Few other parts where you must be interested in while taking a test ride are as follows:


As you start your motorcycle calmly listens to the sound of the exhaust. If it seems unusual, (as in unusually loud or not like you have heard of the same motorcycle somewhere else), verify it or talk o the dealer as the exhaust system might be entirely affected by rust-caused corrosion. 

This is definitely difficult to understand in the first ride, so in that case, if you have a friend or relative who has some knowledge about these can surely help you to get through.


Suspension enhances smoother rides on rough surfaces. If you feel difficulty with comfort make sure to talk to the dealer as motorcycle without proper suspension can lead to safety issues and compromise the handling of the motorcycle. 

Not replacing the poor featured suspension, can probably be worn out if there is a lot of squeaking or yelping.

Wheel Bearings:

These make a loud droning sound when they’re past their prime, so the unusual noise should make you aware to check the wheel bearings. The wheel bearing is basically provided to reduce friction and bear load forces.

8.  After the spin:

 After you are done taking a small round on your motorcycle, you are to seat back for some time and talk to yourself about the experience and aspects of your test rides. Take it slow and with ease to figure out where you felt like he motorcycle was insufficient. 

Realize if it reaches up to your expectations and ensure comfort. 

Points to remember:

  • The clutch engagement.
  • Are you content with the power of the motorcycle?
  • Does it take a lot of struggle to reach greater speed?
  • Does the shifter feel easy? 
  • Are you comfortable with the gear shift?
  • Did you feel any shake or quiver on the wheels?
  • Is there enough low-end torque to let you get away from stoplights easily?

After you return to the showroom observe the bike from closure for more time and think if you are sure to buy the motorcycle, for a motorcycle is something you do not buy daily. 

This is the time when you make your final decision so it is necessary to stay calm and take the call. 

Recall the and focus on the spots where you felt unsatisfied, and decide whether it is fine to buy despite the dislikes. Ask for the modification that you can make to those parts after your purchase. 

In case you some doubts in you mind after the ride it is preferable not to choose the one, in fact, think about an alternative. Do not compromise on your wish and will.

What are the necessary documents you must carry for a test ride?

Taking a test ride requires authentication documents of the riders, which fall under their formalities and test ride procedures. The set of document for a motorcycle test ride includes:

  • A motorcycle license, which is made up to date, along with motorcycle endorsement. 
  • Insurance card.
  • Helmet and other gears like motorcycle riding gloves.
  • It is recommendable if you wear a full-sleeved shirt if not a riding jacket with proper full stretchable trousers. 
  • Small flashlight or pocket torch to inspecting the parts visually.
  • Carry a tool kit if you will, that will help you to ask the shop assistants for showing the internal parts of the motorcycle, for example, the parts below the seat.