How to Buy a Motorcycle on/Off eBay [No Scams]

eBay is a good website to buy a used motorcycle on a budget. Unlike a dealership, eBay-listed motorcycles are fair-priced, and I’ll show you how to buy a motorcycle on eBay without getting scammed.

how to buy a motorcycle on ebay

So far, I have purchased seven motorcycles off eBay; two of the deals were not decent, though. I put down additional bucks than I expected on repairs.


When buying a motorcycle on eBay, assume you’re dealing with a liar. Even the sincerest person will lie about their listings on eBay to sell them faster.

How to Buy a Motorcycle on eBay

Before you sign up on eBay, this section of the article contains simplified steps to buy a motorcycle. Trust me; this article is all you need!


Below are the steps to buy a motorcycle on eBay:

  1. Decide What Motorcycle to Buy

Whether you flip motorcycles for profit or not, you should know what motorcycle to buy on eBay. Do you want barn finds? Scooter? Harley? Just decide what motorcycle suits the intended purpose.

If you have decided what motorcycle to purchase, I assume you have researched it. But if you are yet to research the motorcycle, do so using sites like Edmunds and

Focus on the common problems of the motorcycle, consumer reports, and the true motorcycle value. Since you will be buying a used bike off eBay, research the estimated used cost too.


Finally, find out whether there has been a recall on the motorcycle. Visit the manufacturer’s website to determine the recalled motorcycles. Now, when you get the VIN from the seller, look up the VIN on the manufacturer’s site to verify the motorbike recall status.

  1. Search eBay

Get on eBay and search for the motorcycle you researched. If you are looking for a barn find motorbike, include “barn find” in your search term.

How to buy a motorcycle off eBay

Use the sort feature to filter your search. Focus on the most recent listings because older listings may not be available.

Make sure to focus the search on your location; it’s preferable to buy from locals. When you buy from locals, you decide on a nearer location for physical inspection.

  1. Contact the Seller

Before you contact the seller, inspect the motorcycle pictures thoroughly for damages. But if you are searching for salvaged motorcycles or barn find, damages are no concerns to you.

To detect fake ads, download the listed motorcycle images. Go to or search and do an “image search”. If the search engine brings up the same bike image, it means that the eBay seller downloaded random motorcycle images online, signifying a scam.

It is difficult to tell a sincere seller through chats than via the phone. Meanwhile, a typical authentic eBay seller provides straightforward responses to every question.

I have moved the questions to ask an eBay seller to a different section of this article. Just read further.

When you contact the seller, request the title photo, VIN, and images of the motorcycle parts, including joints, wheels, and gas tank, and the engine. The seller will moan but explain that you are just following measures.

  1. Verify the Title

Unless you are purchasing a barn find or salvaged motorcycle, get a clean title. If the seller claims there is no title, ask them to request a replacement title; they may be attempting to get rid of the motorcycle without a title.

Request a photo of the driver’s license, and make sure it matches the title.

Check the lien too. If the title has a lien on it, make sure the lienholder signs it off. In Arizona, for instance, the DMV requires a notary or DMV official to witness the title owner’s signature.

Note: Transfer the title immediately after purchase since you are buying from a stranger.

  1. Check the VIN

VIN checking is one of the tips to avoid buying a stolen motorcycle because motorcycles are easy to steal. The VIN must match the title certificate. Next, check the VIN via any VIN lookup service. You will be charged for detailed information.

Can you buy motorcycles on eBay

Make sure to use at least two VIN checking websites to inspect the motorcycle information because the database may not be up to date.

Phone the motor vehicle department to check the motorcycle theft history. Unfortunately, most officials will restrict the information since you do not own the motorcycle.

  1. Set an Inspection Location

If you stay far away from the seller, you can pay for inspection services. It should cost about $100-$150 to have the motorcycle inspected before being shipped to you.

If the seller lives closer, meet them for personal inspection, but it must be in a public place. Get a mechanic along to spot faults in the motorcycle.

  1. Inspect the Motorcycle

I have written a detailed checklist for buying a used motorcycle to guide you on the things to check and know.

If you are inspecting the motorcycle, request the maintenance records to ascertain how well the owner maintains for motorcycle.

Inspect every part of the motorcycle, starting from the headlight to the taillight.

The joints must not be rusty unless the motorcycle is a barn find. Make sure the brakes, clutch, and shocks respond well.

Check whether the electronics are functional and be sure the odometer has not been changed. The odometer must match the disclosure statement.

Note: Make sure the engine is cold before commencing the inspection.

  1. Test Ride It

The seller should allow a test ride. During the test ride, the seller holds the paperwork. A valid driver’s license would be needed for the test ride; remind your inspection team if you would not be present for the test ride.

During the test ride, the engine should be revved, brakes checked, and regular speed up on rocky oaths to check how the motorcycle responds.

If the motorcycle crashes during the test ride, you’re responsible for the damages.

Tips for Buying Off eBay

When buying a motorcycle off eBay, some tips should improve the deal.

Below are the tips for buying a motorcycle on eBay:

  1. Deal with a Local Seller

It is recommended to buy from a local dealer for easier inspection and a lower shipping fee.

  1. Star Rating

If the seller has poor star rating, it is a sign you should cancel the deal.

  1. Use eBay Payment Service

Do not send payments to an eBay seller directly; you might get scammed. eBay has an integrated payment management system supporting PayPal, credit cards, Apple Pay, etc.

  1. Get Pre-Inspection Done

Do not trust any seller. Make sure to inspect the motorcycle to purchase off eBay.

  1. The Blue Book

Do not pay off the blue book value.

  1. Test Ride

If a seller is fazed at the mention of “test ride”, cancel the deal. They could be concealing problems in the motorcycle.

If you have no license, you can’t test ride the motorcycle. After your mechanic test rides, you can go through the processes of getting a license, including acing the written test and passing the motorcycle road test.

How to Tell if an eBay Seller is Legit

You can tell if an eBay seller is legit to avoid getting scammed. Check the reviews, but if the seller account is new, they might be new to eBay.

Moreover, most legitimate sellers will not offer a motorcycle thousand less than the wholesale price a local dealer would pay.

A legitimate seller will not list a motorcycle on a different website that says eBay will handle the transaction.

A legit eBay motorcycle seller will not offer free shipping, an inspection period, and free return shipping.

Questions to Ask When Buying a Motorcycle Off eBay

  • Why do you want to sell this motorcycle?
  • Do you allow a test ride?

The seller must reply, “Yes.”

  • Are you the owner of the bike?
  • How many miles on the motorcycle?

40,000 is considered high mileage on a motorcycle.

  • How long have you owned it?
  • When last did the motorcycle drop?

If you ask, “has it dropped before,” the seller might deny. So, asking when last it dropped tempts the seller to admit that it dropped/crashed.

  • What are the problems you aware of?

If you ask, “Are there problems?” the seller will reply, “No.” Asking what problems they are aware of confuses them to admit problems with the motorcycle.

  • Does it pass the inspection test?
  • When was the last oil change?

What to Bring When Buying a Motorcycle Off eBay

A Mechanic/Inspection Service

Between $100 and $150 can get your motorcycle inspected before shipping if the seller resides in a long distance.

Tool Box

If you are inspecting the motorcycle personally, get your tool box and gas for a test ride.

What to Do After Buying a Motorcycle Off eBay

Does eBay ship motorcycles

After purchasing a motorcycle off eBay, do the following:

  1. Obtain the Plates

If the license plate is vanity (personalized), the seller may keep them. Typically, normal plates are given to the buyer.

  1. Produce Bill of Sale

Prepare the bill of sale. The seller will send a bill of sale. Endeavor to sign the bill of sale before submission.

  1. Odometer Disclosure

The seller must disclose the mileage on the title.

  1. Transfer the Title

The seller should sign over the title.

  1. Submit the Paperwork and the Fee

When the seller signs over the title, sign and submit the title, bill of sale at your local DMV. Bring the motorcycle along for the VIN.

You may be issued temporary tags alongside the plates and registration.

  1. Sales Tax

When you change ownership, you pay the sales tax on the motorcycle. Meanwhile, you can reduce the sales tax by putting false/reduced price motorcycle price. For example, if you paid $1,000 on the motorcycle, you can put in $800. It is illegal, though.

Note: If you are not registering the motorcycle immediately, do not fill in the sale date. If you fill in the date, you may have between 2 and 30 days, depending on your state, to register the motorcycle. When you register the motorcycle late, you will be fined.

Is buying a motorcycle off eBay a bad idea?

It is not really a bad idea to buy a motorcycle off eBay. However, some sellers mask the problems in a motorcycle on eBay, so an inspection and test ride is important. When buying a motorcycle on eBay, you buy “As Is,” and buyer beware. If you poor at detecting good deals, consider shopping around the local store, but you might spend higher than you would on eBay. Meanwhile, is buying a motorcycle preferable to a car?

Overall, I prefer buying motorcycles on eBay. You will mostly find something you dislike about the motorcycle, but it is worth it for the prices.

Can I get my money back if I get scammed on a motorcycle off eBay?

You are covered by eBay Money Back Guarantee in most cases. If the seller does not respond or won’t refund, eBay gives the seller 3 business days to resolve your issue. If the issue remains unresolved, contact the eBay help center for investigations. The steps are quite cumbersome; you do not want to be there, though. Meanwhile, find out whether you can return a motorcycle after purchasing it and the laws that protect you (the laws may not apply on eBay, plus you may be dealing with a seller from a different country).

Final Thoughts

In this article, you have been drilled on how to buy a motorcycle on eBay. Note that purchasing a motorcycle off eBay means buying from a private seller and not eBay as a company.

eBay is just a link connecting you with the seller. You can always protect yourself from being scammed by not wiring money seller money to have the motorcycle shipped.

Be always reminded that you are buying “As Is” from eBay. Although you can’t trust 100% on eBay, you can always find a decent motorcycle deal. Not every seller is insincere; some are just there to get rid of their old motorcycles or do not have the time to ride them.

If you’re not comfortable buying off eBay, check out how to buy a motorcycle off Craigslist.

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