Written off bikes and cars are typically divided into two categories. A and B are not available to the public, so you’ll most likely come across C or D:


A No parts of the vehicle can be salvaged at all.

B Some parts may be salvaged

C The cost of repair exceeds the value of the vehicle.


D The cost of repair is less than the value of the vehicle, but is deemed uneconomical for the insurance company to bother with.

Be extra vigilant when checking over a bike with a history of being written-off (though no history doesn’t mean it hasn’t been crashed and repaired). Ask for evidence of the work done (or even see the original parts). Steel frames are a lot easier to straighten than alloy, and we’d prefer to know a bike had been on a frame jig after a drop (expect to pay around £90 for a check, plus labour if it needs any work). Take extra care to check for any play in the headstock, swingarm and wheel bearings. You’ll probably need to ask the seller to help you get each wheel off the ground to give them a wiggle.

Tony Carter

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