Buying a bike that has been cloned is everyone’s worst nightmare. Sadly, many people fall victim to it. We all get excited when buying a new bike that we just can’t wait to show off to our riding buddies. Just imagine telling them all about it, planning a ride out, then not being able to show up on your new ride because the bike has been seized for being a clone!
Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to distinguish a cloned bike from a legitimate one. We Buy Any Bike are here today to share some tips on just how you can try and prevent yourself from being in that awful situation!
Why do people clone vehicles?
There can be many reasons why people feel the need to clone a motorcycle, car, or tractor (yes, that happens too). Some people deem it acceptable to use the method of cloning to get out of parking and speeding fines. Others even do it to bypass parking charges, but the most common is to shadow the identity of their stolen bike.
1. BUYING A BIKE:Are you buying a bike? Do your background-check!
The first thing you want to do when you’ve seen a bike online is do a background check on the seller. Have they sold anything previously? Sometimes it can be very difficult because they might be venturing into new territory themselves. On the other hand, they might not – you may be looking at a bike that has been stolen by the seller! Look into their reviews; scout them out on social media if you can! Our top tip is to do as much research as physically possible.
2. As well as the seller – Check the documents!
Whilst you’re next to the bike, grab the documents and compare every specific detail. Make sure the V5 is registered to both the owner and the address. Equally so, make sure that the serial numbers and the part numbers match up to each document. Study each piece of paper that is available, there should be a DVLA watermark on the Logbook.
3.Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
The good, the bad, and the ugly – write them all down or make a mental note. Don’t be afraid to ask technical questions. So, this person claims to be the sole owner of this bike, where are the listed MOT stations? They should be able to point you in the right direction! On the other hand, where did they buy the bike from? What repairs and modifications has the bike had in detail?
4. HPI Check!
This is one that we highly recommend, and we do recommend it to people on collection if they are planning on buying a bike too! A HPI, formerly a Hire Purchase Investigation started as a service that allowed buyers to check if a vehicle had any outstanding finance on it. Nowadays, you can find out absolutely everything to do with a vehicle.
For a small fee of just £14.99, you can check if a vehicle has previously been written off and stolen. As well, you can also double check the mileage and the V5 – especially convenient if you’re ready to buy a bike with the paperwork right in front of you. Get yours here!
5. Dig out your tools
When you go to buy a bike privately, don’t be reluctant to bring your tool kit with you. Ask the seller if it’s okay to take the seat off, get on in there and look at the codes on the parts. If they have nothing to hide, they should be okay with it. This way, you’ll be able to examine the engine and frame numbers to see if they are genuine. Check out the British Motor Cycle Racing Club’s guide to comparing forged and genuine numbers here.
6. Invest in a UV Torch
You can invest in a UV Torch for a really affordable price. It doesn’t have to be an ‘all singing, all dancing’ one, but it could potentially put your mind at ease if you’re concerned about buying a cloned bike. If you shine a UV torch along the panels of a bike you may be able to find a code from Datatag. This may or may not work, it completely depends on the previous owner but Datatag do have this facility! It’s also advisable to place one on your own bike if you haven’t already!
You can purchase an official Datatag torch for £9.99 here.
7. Enquire about insurance
If you didn’t know, there are some insurance companies who provide a pre-inspection service within their policy. It is certainly the best way to go if you aren’t confident about spotting a cloned bike. To have an expert eye on your new potential pride and joy is a great way to see if the bike has been in a previous accident, or if the parts don’t seem legitimate, which will immediately call alarm bells for a cloned bike.
8. Pay By Bank Transfer
Politely tell the seller that the only form of payment you would be happy with providing would be by bank transfer. This will open the window to allow you to examine the address of the bank. The name on the account should also replicate the bike’s documents – if it doesn’t, stay clear.
Whatever you do, do not pay cash!
9. Bring a friend!
You can’t go wrong with a second pair of eyes to see if a bike has been cloned!
TOP TIPS TO STOP YOUR BIKE FROM BEING STOLEN/CLONED:
Make Your Mark
If you haven’t done this already, make sure to! One top tip is to make a mark on your bike, somewhere that is hidden from plain sight. This could be in the engine, behind the headlight, absolutely anywhere that is completely unique to you! This won’t necessarily prevent someone from cloning your bike, but it will certainly help the police recover it if it’s in the process.
Covering up your bike not only prevents theft, but it also prevents the theft of the identity of your bike. Many ‘cloners’ simply do their business by taking note of a bike’s number plate from a distance; they’ll do their research on it later. If your bike is in a well-lit, CCTV-covered area with a cover on it, they’re more likely to give your bike a miss.
Fortunately, motorcycle trackers are on the rise.
Unfortunately, thieves are getting wise to the idea and know how to disarm
them. On the other hand, tracking companies are getting clued up on this; they
are constantly evolving their products to make motorcycle theft a dying phase.
Granted, the tracker will not prevent your motorcycle from being stolen, but it will certainly be the best option when it comes to potentially recovering it.
FUN FACT: In 2018, UK-Based company, Tracker teamed up with the Metropolitan Police. Together they recovered £12m worth of vehicles throughout the year!
Get a Helmet Cam
We all know to turn to Helmet Cams in the unfortunate case of an accident. Not a lot of people think of it when it comes to vehicle cloning! There could be the occasion where you come across a bike with the identical number plate to you, how handy would it be to pass this evidence onto the police! On the other hand, you may pass a vehicle that replicates another one in every way shape and form. Likewise, it could be very handy, and you could help solve a crime!