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· Premium Member
4,574 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK. In helping KAOS out of his recent nightmare, here are some pointers when buying a used bike.

My number one thing that I think ANY rider needs to do BEFORE buying a used bike is EDUCATE yourself on that particular model BEFORE purchasing. Also, educating yourself on other components that make up the bike (tires, aftermarket parts etc).



Feel free to add to this list:

1. Visibly check serviceablility of all components.

a. Is oil clean?

b. Is hydraulic fluid clean?

c. If cable clutch/brake, is cable frayed or worn?

d. How are the tires? Enough tread? What type are they? WHAT ARE THE DATE CODES? Is the size of the tire too big/small for the wheel?

e. Brake pads. Do the brake pads have enough pad? Are they worn beyond the wear bar?

f. Rotors. Are they glazed? Are they smooth on the face?

g. Wheels. If you have a stand (or if the bike has a center stand), prop bike up, spin rear wheel and look for any deviation i.e. warpage caused by a crash. You can also put the bike in neutral, and tilt it on the sidestand enough to spin the rear wheel. THIS TAKES TWO PEOPLE! Front wheel is usually a lot harder. If you have a front stand, go for it.

h. Gas Tank. Peer into the gas tank. Is there any visible rust? Is there a fuel filter installed on the bike (or does the original bike have a stock filter like some Hondas?)

i. Chain. Is the chain rusty? What condition are the O/X-rings? Are there rings missing? Look at the swingarm adjustment marks. Is there some room to move still? Or, is the chain stretched out all the way?

j. Sprockets. Do the sprockets have deeply worn teeth? Broken teeth?

k. Leaks. Check around oil drain plug, all master and slave cylinders and around all banjo fittings. Also check radiators, oil cooler lines, coolant pipes and oil/water pump fittings.

l. Forks. Do the seals leak? Is there rust on the tubes?

m. Battery. Are the filler caps all in place? Is there a drain tube?

n. Rubber. Hoses is what I am talking about here. Check all rubber brake, fuel and coolant hoses to see if there is dryrot. Also check for leaks in the hoses.

2. Starting the bike.

***Check for leaks AGAIN after starting the bike.

a. Try and make sure the bike is COLD before starting it if at all possible. A lot of small hidden problems can actually be hidden by a warm motor (weak battery, hard starting due to old plugs/dirty carbs, top end rattle due to worn out valve guides etc.)

b. How does it fire up? Quickly, readily, slowly? Some bikes ARE cold blooded by nature, but you should have an idea of how your bike should perform by the RESEARCH you should have already done.

c. Rev the bike. How is the throttle. Snappy? Drags?

d. Noises. Any unusual noises?

e. Battery. IS IT CHARGING? If you have access to an ohm-meter (multi-tester), it is easy to test. Set meter for volts. While bike is running, drop the leads across the positive and negative terminals of the battery. As you rev the motor, the volts should jump to anywhere between 13.5 and 14.5. That indicates that the alternator is working.

f. Let it warm up, still check for leaks.

g. Test headlight, bright lights, all signals, tail and brake lights. Also see how many dash lights are still working by cupping your hands around the instrument cluster.

3. Test Drive (if allowed).

a. Start slowly. Check all brakes etc. to make sure they are working properly.

b. Do several acceleration tests once on a freeway. YOU DON'T HAVE TO SPEED AND BREAK THE LAW TO TEST THE BIKE.

c. Run it through all of the gears, up and down several times. How does the transmission feel? Tight? Slick? Loose? Hard shifting?

d. Do roll on acceleration tests in 2nd and 3rd gear. Mainly to see if that bad boy will pop into neutral indicating a bad gear fork, but also to see if the clutch is slipping. You also want to see how the bike pulls. Is it smooth? Are there flat spots or stutters in the power curve indicating bad jetting or a remap required? Is the throttle sticking?

e. Try some hard braking. Is there vagueness in the lever? Is there a motion sensation in the lever, perhaps indicating a bent rotor?

4. Cool Down

***Check for leaks AGAIN after turning off the bike.

a. Do a good once over again. Check for anything out of the ordinary.

OK. Hope this helps.

- Nut

· Registered
3,027 Posts
Great job Nut! I think you just came up with another sticky!

On test rides, I always sit centered on the bike and let go of the bars. Just keep your hands near them. If it has been layed down it may pull or drift indicating a tweaked frame or fork leg. Something you can't always see but can feel in the way it handles.

· Registered
3,934 Posts
Great write up Nut.

This is sooo easy to do and doesn't take an enormous amount of extra time.

Just the fact that you are being so critical is enough to force some shady sellers into disclosing "extra" details that they might have let go unmentioned.

· Registered
3,027 Posts
Hey Mods, Admin? Worthy of a sticky I think! :bluethum:

· Registered
13 Posts
I wish I had read something like this before I bought my bike! The guy kinda duped me, when I purchased it there was barely enough fuel to do a test ride, and then start for home. Little did I know that there was a reason he had left it empty. The next day when I filled it about 15 minutes later fuel started running down the side of the bike. Come to find out the weld point on the bottom of the tank had cracked. To dupe the unsuspecting buyer he had left it almost empty and put a bunch of goop on the crack. I got the tank re-welded at a radiator shop, but the fuel remover they use strips the paint, so, of course, new paint job too. In the end I love my bike, but caution everyone that there are alot of dishonest folks out there!!!

· Registered
13,196 Posts
walked away when the current owner "didn't have insurance"

So I can't take a test drive on something you want me to drop $4k on because of $150 of insurance?
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