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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hello again everyone, i still have a low post count here but i have been trolling the forums daily. Posting to what i think i know something about lol. But i have been searching for a used bike to get started on and was hoping you guys could tell me a few things too look for in a used bike. Things such as if its been abused and tell tail signs of it. I was thinking about posting this in another thread but i think it would be best to try to compile all of these into one thread, that i didnt hijack :p. Thank you in advance for all the advice because i know you guys (and girls) will toss me some bones because you are all great people. Again i appreciate it, and thank you.
 

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Red is Faster
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start out with a msf course. it'll give you some saddle time and help you narrow down the type of bike you want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
start out with a msf course. it'll give you some saddle time and help you narrow down the type of bike you want.
Completed my MSF BRC Nov 4th. Loved it and the Coaches. I've been looking at a 94 Kawasaki ZX6. I was gonna get a 250 ninja, but ended up deciding to get a 600, and respecting her the way she should be. Also to not get off topic, but im going to anyways lol, give her a proper name then get some decales of it somewhere lol. The only thing that makes me sad is ive been seeing some deals on all sorts of bikes, but i want a Kawi so i can post all kinds of pics here and talk about it with u guys lol. And thanks for the info guys.
 

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Vintage bike addict
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Check for the obvious damage. Scratches dents blown or leaking fork seals. If it's chain drive look at the rear sprocket to see if the teeth bend forward. Is the chain oiled and relatively clean or dry and rusty. Does the clutch move smoothly, stick, slip? Any sign of brake fluid around hoses or calipers? Do all the lights work? Tires worn unevenly? That should get you in the ball park.
 

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TV Guru
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- Feel around the carbs, oil pan and petcock to check for fluid leaks. Do you smell gas? Turn the petcock to the "on" position and leave it there.

- Open the throttle and let it snap back. Does it stick at all?

- Push down on the handlebars to compress the shocks, then release. Now pull up on them and release. The shocks should move smoothly and return to pretty much the same spot from either direction. If they seem sticky or seem to hang in different final positions, you may have a problem with bent forks. If they rebound more than a small amount, you may ahve an issue with bad seals or bad shocks.

- Look at all levers, mirror stalks and pedals to see if any are bent or have anything more than minor wear. Gouges and large knicks may indicate the bike was laid down.

- Check to see that all the bodywork is smooth and has not been repaired (a repaint on an older bike is not always a bad sign, though). Check the back sides of any plastic to look for hidden repairs. Cracks are a bad sign.

- As noted by others, check the chain. It should be clean, but not dry. Brown and rough is bad. Check to see the teeth on the sprockets are straight and sharp.

- Turn the key on and check for a working neutral light. Check that the bike goes into 1st gear properly. If you have to do anything more than a little bit of rocking to get it into first, that could be trouble.

- While the key is on, check all lighting. Burnt out bulbs may be a sign of neglect.

- Go back to the petcock and feel around it. Since it has been on, has it leaked?

- Start the bike and note if there is a whine or grating sound with the starter. Does the bike run smooth? If not, does adjusting the choke make a difference?

- Take the bike out for a test ride. Does it shift into 2nd and higher without difficulty? While some bikes require a solid upward kick to jump over neutral, it should feel solid when it kicks in.

- Pull some higher RPMs. Does the bike hesitate toward red line? Wind it out a bit in first, then let the throttle snap closed. Does the bike try to stall? If so, you may have a float issue.

- After your ride and the choke is in the normal riding position, is the idle normal? High idle may be a sign of other issues and could lead to fouled plugs.

That's all I've got.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you guys so much. Like i said you guys are great people and i cant stress this enough. Just gotta remember to do all these things when im searchin for that special umm, something lol. Again, thank you
 

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the VERY first thing I check is the simplest. Check the condition of the bolt and screw heads. Any fastener head that you can see. If it appears that a screw driver or allen wrench has slipped and rounded the slots in the head ANYWHERE I will walk away.
 

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Alien Test Subject
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All good advice here. But also remember, a used bike is just that - a used bike. Some of the signs of abuse, can also just be signs of age. Especially with really old bikes.

My 1990 ZX-10 has some of these signs. But not from neglect, just from wear and tear of 17 years 35,000 of riding. There are some cracks in the fairings, scuffs on the bar ends, and a bunch of other miscelanious stuff. But you shouldn't see these same thngs on a bike thats only 3 or 4 years old. So take the age of the bike into consideration when looking it over. And some things, like badly worn sprockets, corded tires, etc. are unexcusable for any bike you would buy. No matter how old it is.

Your best weapon is to actually take 20 minutes to talk to the seller. Ask good questions, that he can't just answer yes or no to. Things like "how long have you owned the bike" and "what's your maintnance schedule like?" Just like doing a job interview, you want him to open up and actually talk to you about the bike. You can tell alot by how someone talks. Ussually, it's pretty obvious if someone is trying to get over on you if you "interview" them. If it feels strange when the owner can't tell you about that crack in the fairing, and he's owned the bike for 5 years, it probably is strange!

Someone who has only had the bike for a year, may not know a whole lot if he bough it used as well. But I personally can tell you about almost every imperfection on my bike. About the crack in the fairing where the mirror mounts to it, from parking it in the soft grass and forgetting to put the plate under the kickstand. Or the scratches on the left side of the fuel tank, where my pocket-knife's clip rubbed when pushing the bike around the garage. The broken belly-pan fairing from running over a raccoon in the middle of the night.

If the owner has stories for these little these little nicks and dings, and can talk to you at length about how they happened, what he had to fix, and how he was so frustrated at himself for doing something so dumb, then it may be a great bike that is just a little old and showing some personality. But if he can't tell you about it, and just kinda skirts the issue, good chance he's trying to get over on you.

Almost every bike I've ever owned has been used. Some, though they looked a little worn, were lovingly maintained. They were just "well-worn". But it also gives you some negotiating power on the final purchase price.

If you can, take someone with you, that you know and trust, who knows about bikes. They can help look over the bike, and tell you what are potentially major problems, and what is normal wear and tear.
 
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