Things to look for when buying a used bike
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Thread: Things to look for when buying a used bike

  1. #1
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    looking for new bike

    Things to look for when buying a used bike

    For all who have years w/ experience!
    was wondering when buying a used bike, what are the main components about bike are you looking at to not get totally ripped off?
    ... excluding cosmetic damages and the fact that the bike can start.

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  3. #2
    Moderator Array jeckyll's Avatar
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    *** mod note***

    1) Moved this to it's own thread
    2) OP: Please read the 2nd link in the FAQ
    3) Google has some great answers for this as well

  4. #3
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    I found this link somewhere here before:

    http://www.clarity.net/~adam/buying-bike.html

  5. #4
    A very fast 250! Array silence's Avatar
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    Only in my head right now =(
    Take it to a mechanic at EMS. =)
    2011 Ninja 250R -> 2011 - 2012 (crashed)

  6. #5
    Registered User Array Lokheed's Avatar
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    Unlike a car, bike's can't really hide their weak points as well. The first thing you should look for is the little window that shows the current oil level (if it's got one). If it's black, like utterly black, walk away. You're not just looking at the condition of the oil so much, but the condition of the steel plates behind the window. If they are covered in build up, the bike has been neglected and will either already have problems or manifest them later; big problems. You should be changing the oil at half the intervals listed in the manual (not by season or what other's are fond of doing). My CBR calls for oil changes at 12,000 km, so I do them at 5,000 km (sometimes less if I ride hard). Some people look at missing an oil change as saving $50. But the damage done by gritty oil is exponential. So "saving" an extra $100 a season will manifest into having to spend thousands down the line. Do yourself a favor, and walk away from any bike whose window looks like it's been painted black from the inside. No amount of engine cleaners will save it and if you shove in enough of them, you'll burn out the seals and gaskets. Any kind of cleaner is going to hurt the engine some; the trade-off is the removal of carbon build up.

    Next things to look for are carbs. If it's got them, then it's an older bike and chances are they will need to be synced (if not now, then down the line). That's about $500 depending on where you go. And you gotta make sure they do them properly. It's a tedious and annoying bit of work and if you try to do it, you'll probably wish you just bucked up the dough. It's a nightmare.

    Another big issue the lack of a power commander when guys put on aftermarket pipes. Bikes are specifically tuned for the mixture of fuel and air based on factory specs. The moment you change the exhaust profile, you change that mixture, leading to either alterfire or backfire. The bike then runs either too rich or too lean; both manifest into serious problems. You can usually tell by rubbing your finger on the inside of the muffler's pipe. If it's packed with soot, that means there's heavy carbon build up and even if the engine is still fine, the baffle in the muffler will likely be packed, leading to an early change. Those aren't really fun to do, though not that pricey. The damage to your engine is probably the major concern.

    Also look for signs of abuse. Bent handle bars are a sign that the bike went down and while most people may repair the fairings and the bar ends, they often don't notice the handlebars have bent. If you look close and see they are not aligned, that means the bike's been down. You can also pull the vehicle history from ICBC which will tell you what happened. It'll cost you a little, but what's spending another $100 if you are ponying up $6,000 on a used bike. Dirt packed forks and heavy dirt deep in the engine are also signs that the owner beat the hell out of the bike. Dirty brake fluid too, which almost everyone I see has, is a sign of a lack of maintenance. It's not a huge deal, but you probably want an owner that took really good care of their bike.

    Naturally, how much chain is left, sprocket condition, and tire tread are of course something you should consider as if any of them are going, that's money you will have to pony up soon. Probably should factor that into the asking price if it's going to need a new sprockets and chain in 2,000 km.

    A common misconception is that racing kills bikes. It does not. These machines are meant to run hard. They are race machines provided they are well maintained. A well maintained race bike will be in much better condition than one that has never seen redline. By riding soft, you bed in the pistons that those low RPMs. That makes for a slow bike. If you ride hard (even only on occasion), you wear them in nice, across the entire range of the shaft. This makes for really responsive and fast bikes. Like I said above, I do my oil changes at 5,000 km. And it's usually pretty dark when I drain it. But I ride hard. The damage is done when you're riding hard and not up on your maintenance. I've swapped my ride with friends who had the same one and they couldn't believe how fast mine was. "That's because I don't baby it!" I reply. Stunting is what kills bikes, not racing. You aren't buying a Corolla... these are built to be pushed.

    I mean, read this: http://blog.motorcycle.com/2011/05/2...honda-cbr125r/

    Dude took a 125 to Alaska from Florida. Said he redlined it the whole way (pretty much have to). The bike stood up (aside from cosmetic damage).
    Last edited by Lokheed; 05-21-2012 at 05:19 PM.

  7. #6
    Registered User Array Jonny Quest's Avatar
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    If it looks like a well maintained bike test ride it. If it rides straight take it to a mechanic to have inspected. Btw oil colour tells you absolutely nothing. Motor oil has detergents in it to keep internal components clean. It can be darkened from oxidization and wear but it could also be completely normal. Feel the oil and smell it, those are better indications for oil being past it's drain interval. There is absolutely no reason to change your oil or filter more frequently than what the manufacturer recommends unless you have an oil analysis report that tells you otherwise. If you don't know what you're looking for take the bike to a mechanic you trust.

  8. #7
    Moderator Array jeckyll's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bansal View Post
    I found this link somewhere here before:

    http://www.clarity.net/~adam/buying-bike.html
    That's the one! I like that layout and it seems to cover most things well.

    I agree with the overall condition and "is it straight" as the first things to check. Then: What are common failures on that model & year and have they been addressed?

    When it doubt, take it to a reputable shop to have it checked out.

  9. #8
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    thanks a bunch everyone!
    I had a quick question about blue book value, I'm looking for an r6 - yr 1999-2003 (blue book value is around $2500-3500) but everyone selling wants them for $4000+up.
    Is it a scam, or does legitimately cost that much to buy a used 2000 R6 (average mileage = 30-40km) for 4000k?

  10. #9
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    Even if its worth $2500.. if theres a lot of demand for it, the seller can jack up the price. Simple supply and demand. Its not a scam haha

    Quote Originally Posted by BabyBoyBiker View Post
    thanks a bunch everyone!
    I had a quick question about blue book value, I'm looking for an r6 - yr 1999-2003 (blue book value is around $2500-3500) but everyone selling wants them for $4000+up.
    Is it a scam, or does legitimately cost that much to buy a used 2000 R6 (average mileage = 30-40km) for 4000k?

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