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Listen for any strange noises coming from the engine other than normal running sounds. Be sure to test ride it at least up and down the alley and hit all the gears. Yeah I know you'll be lugging it big time in sixth but at least try it to be sure it'll go into the gears without any noise or trouble.

Other than that look for notchy or loose steering head bearings and loose swingarm bearings. Check the brake pads. They should be about 1/8 thick or they need replacing. The chain and sprockets need to be looked at. The teeth should look impecably symetrical to your eye. Any visible hooking AT ALL means they are shot and the chain and sprockets will need replacing. Bring along some disposable rubber gloves and check the chain for tight links (there shouldn't be any of course). Tight links due to rust will make short work of the chain and sprockets. Tires that are worn to a slightly flat profile in the center need replacing. Tires older than 5 years should be replaced regardless or at least replace them very soon before you start learning to lean very far. Old tires get hard and slippery as the rubber ages. Check the cables for smooth easy operation. A stiff cable may just need some oil flushing but it might also be kinked or have a broken strand.

Check for crash damage. Bar or lever ends may have scuff marks. Same on the footpegs. Also check that the steering stops on the bottom triple clamp are intact and not bent or broken. Same with the touch pads on the frame. Missing or bent stops means the bike has been in an accident and things were bouncing around more than in just a simple lowside. And look for scuffs on all the other areas as you look at it.

Things you'll have to do anyway with any bike that old. You will want to have the brakes completely rebuilt. On that age bike you'd be shocked at what you can find inside the master cylinder and the calipers. Complete engine tune up and valve clearance check.

None of these things is a deal killer but add enough of them up and the cost will be a LOT more than you bargain for. If most of the above is found on the older used bike you'll probably find that it wil pay you to find a much newer and better condition bike. All those items will easily add up to more than the difference in most cases. Yes parts and servic cost that much. Especially if you need the service part. If you do your own work then the equation shifts slightly but just remember that the parts are not cheap.

Well, there you have the short version. Good luck. I hope we have a new bike owner soon.


PS: Well aren't I an idiot. OK, 40 clicks and dropped a few times. Scared himself did he? Hopefully the guy has gotten the carbs cleaned so the bike can run. If not then at least make sure the pistons aren't seized in the bores. Even if the battery is dead at least shift it up into about 4th and roll the bike with a push. You should feel the "lump, lump" of the pistons moving. And forget about most of the above stuff. All the bearings and chain stuff will be just fine as long as that 40 km claim is real. Check that steering head damage stuff though. Broken stops could easily point to bent fork tubes or a tweaked frame.

What about the plastic? That stuff is pricey. Are we about to see the first ever 250 streetfighter? :D
 

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Premium Member
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OH, 40 THOUSAND. Yeah that's pretty high. That work I outlined to make it so you can trust the bike not to fail on you will run a few hundred dollars. And tires are about $250. Chain and sprockets probably around $150. See how it adds up? If it's really ratty looking and feels very sloppy when you test ride it I'd think seriously about something newer that will need less work. Even if you only keep it for a year you'll never get your money back out of a ratty looker. Better to pay more up front to ensure you get it back later on the trade in for the newer bike.
 
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