We’ll start with a warning, but don’t let this put you off. Just let it make you aware.

Buying a used 125cc motorcycle is not as easy as you’d hope. These bikes have often had a hard life both cosmetically and mechanically so you’ll need to keep your wits about you.

But, keep a sensible head, take a knowledgeable mate along, make a checklist before you go and stick to it.

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Do this and buying a used 125 is simple. And enjoyable. This is your first motorbike – how exciting is that?

The biggest problems with used 125s…

…are usually caused by two things; crashing and neglect. We all topple over occasionally and new riders do it more than most.

Often it’s just a daft wobble followed by a loss of balance and a gentle crunch of plastics and levers. So, expect to find some scuffs and scrapes on the handlebar ends and mirrors.

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A few cracks in the plastics or bent fairing brackets and marks on bottom of the fork legs and the swinging arm where the exhaust bashed it.

Neglect is harder to spot. Some bikes are immaculately maintained by mature riders who know the value of keeping the oil topped up and the chain lubed.

Others are ridden by people who have yet to learn this. They have been run on the same oil for 10,000 miles, the chain is bone dry, rusty and dragging on the floor and the sprockets look like sharks’ teeth while the brake pads are down to the metal backing plate.

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Where to buy?

If you can afford it, them a dealer is best every time. Used 125s can have all kinds of hidden problems and a bike bought from a dealer will have been through their workshop and properly prepared, plus it will come with a warranty and legally enforceable consumer rights.

Buying privately is fine but you’d be advised to take an experienced rider along with you to check out the bike.

Plus, if your mate’s insurance allows him to ride other bikes, he can at least have a proper test ride for you.

Smaller bikes tend to get advertised locally rather than in the national publications, so try the free-as papers as well as the obvious bigger websites.

Buying on auction sites such as eBay is sine, but remember that the photos don’t tell the whole truth and an owner might not know that there’s a problem with the bike, so don’t make the assumption that everything is fine just because the advert says so.

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