Over the years, I have seen so many people fall victim to buying a cloned bike. Getting a new bike is so exciting you can’t help but rush to your riding buddies and plan for a maiden riding trip for your bike. Now, imagine the cops seizing because it’s a clone. It’s everybody’s worst nightmare!
This is why people prefer buying bikes from known OEM motorcycle parts dealers only. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to tell a legit bike from a cloned one. The good news is, there are ways you can prevent yourself from being caught up in this awful situation.
How is a motorbike cloned?
I am not going to go into the step-by-step process but a summary of how it happens. Unlike cars, bikes don’t have a document that shows the end of life after an accident or uneconomical repair cases. Therefore, the bike frame can be acquired legitimately using a V5 making it much easier to sell. With the legal documents, thieves can steal a similar bike, strip its parts, and put them on the waiting frame. Then voila! A new motorcycle.
They will then throw away the frame of the stolen bike or smelt it to avoid possible incrimination if it shows up.
So, how do you protect yourself from buying a cloned bike?
1. Carry out a background check
The first thing you do before buying anything online is to check out the seller of the bike. Look if they have any previous sales, read the reviews, and be a social media stalker for a while. This might make it hard for new sellers to venture into the market but its better safe than sorry.
2. Check the documents
Have a detailed look at the documents. Ensure the V5 is registered to the address and the owner. Check if both the serial numbers and part numbers match on every document. An extra set of eyes never hurt so asking a friend to help you is always a good option.
3. Ask questions
If someone is the owner, they won’t be afraid of answering the technical questions. Find out where they first bought the bike, the modifications done on it, write it all down. Don’t forget to compare the prices with the current market price to see if its way off. Cloned bike sellers want to dispose of them quickly so they have lower prices.
4. Find out about insurance
This is the best route to follow if you have zero confidence of identifying a cloned bike. Some insurance companies offer pre-inspection services giving you an expert to accompany you while making the purchase.
5. Never pay cash
Use bank transfer while making a purchase this lets you see the account name and bank address details.