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How To: What to look for when buyng a used bike.

  #1  
Old 01-29-2012, 04:26 AM
CJardine's Avatar
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Smile How To: What to look for when buyng a used bike.

Not sure where to post this but My friend is lookin at buying a bike and asked me what to look for when buying a used bike: This is what I told him but than realized that CBRF could benefit from it too. Especially if you guys added /corrected to what I have so far. I also know that there are a lot of threads on this subject and I wanted to give an answer instead of a question.

You might think this is overkill but it will save you in the end over the "it looks good so it must be good" mentality.

First ask how the bike was stored, inside, outside, w/, w/o a cover; what he did to store the bike when he stored it for an extended period of time. Your looking for the bike to be covered, stored inside and for long periods of time he either took the battery out and put it on a trickle charger or left it in with the trickle charger; he put a fuel stabilizer in the fuel, let the engine run for a little while to get the stabilizer in the engine and he did not drain the engine of fuel. If he did drain it there is a small possibility there is rust in the engine. However, you will be able to tell when you start the engine.

Make sure that you can take off the side fairings. If he says no ask if he will remove them for you, still a no; walk away.

Than touch the exhaust if its cold ask to start it and let it warm up so you can hear it start and idle. If its warm it may indicate that it has a hard time starting cold and may mean more work.

Ask when the last time he changed the oil -what type organic or synthetic - oil filter, coolant - what type of coolant - fork oil, brake fluid and air filter was. If he has a K&N air filter when the last time he cleaned the air filter was.

Check the titles VIN #, as well as on the frame and engine crank case. Frame is located on the right side of the steering tube and the engine is located towards the rear of the crank case. Also check the carbs or throttle boddies.

Verify the miles on the odometer with the title. To get a general sense of how hard it was ridden, divide the mileage by the years. e.i. my bike is a 1999 and it has 18,5xx miles so 18500 miles / 13 years = 1,423.08 so it was not ridden much. The higher the # the more it was ridden. if its near 4k or more than it was ridden hard and a lot.

With the fairings off give the bike a visual inspection. Look for any places with rash marks, anywhere with rust or negligence. Check every inch of the fairings, look at the decals do both sides match? Are the fairings fiberglass or ABS plastic (you want)? Check where the fairings mount to the bike, have the holes been drilled professionally or have they been JB welded back on. The inside of the fairings can tell you a lot about the bike an owner wouldn't want you to know. If it looks like **** than it probably means that if they didn't care about cleaning it why would the keep the maintenance up? Rash = drop. Look for anything bent; bent = dropped.

Check the Drive chain and sprockets, look for over-lubrication, dirt, crap, rust. Check the chain wear indicator. You might need to replace that.

Once the bike is warm (you can tell because the fan will kick in or ten minutes have passed by) check the idle speed. You will be looking for a steady needle pointing at 1300 rpms + or - 100 rpms. If its bouncing than it means that you need to clean something within the engine itself.

Examine the clutch, make sure it functions, slips and re-engages properly.

Examine the brake pads there are two up front and one in the rear. They each have wear indicators /indents in them if you do not see them than you might need to replace the brake pads. Squeeze the brake lever a lot and feel it. It should not feel squishy or spongy; your looking for responsiveness. (now he could be a tard and have air in his brakes in which case that's a really easy fix but it could also mean that you need to replace the brake lines or worse, the master cylinder).

Check the tire tread in multiple areas on the tire, both in the center and along the rim. The minimum tread depth for the front is 1.6mm and the rear is 2mm. Also if there is little to no wear on the side of the tires than it most likely means he wasn't trying to race the bike on the streets like a dumb *** and that is good!

Lastly ask for any and all receipts or spare parts /parts he removed. You want to keep the receipts for your own record. look at the parts for damage and ask him why he replaced them. If he did the work himself ask for his service manual, it should be pretty "loved." And he should be fine with you keeping it but ask. If he has front and rear stands strongly consider buying them off him unless you already have a good stand setup.

The tools you will need are a metric Allen wrench set but you could probably get away with a 4mm, 5mm, and 6mm. I recommend a good tire pressure gauge some metric box wrenches, a toothbrush and a measuring caliper.

I recommend you get a clymer manual as well as the factory one. To help with the manual costs just download the factory one, take it to kinkos and a copy center and print the manual out there.

Here is a link to another very thorough buying guide wish I had that one while I was doing this one :P
http://www.clarity.net/~adam/buying-bike.html
 

Last edited by CJardine; 09-07-2012 at 08:19 PM.
  #2  
Old 01-29-2012, 07:56 AM
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I just look for "never drop" & " all factory fairing" . That's just me....because you can tell by looking at the bike if it's been well taken care for...Stay away from customs paint and modification IMO.
 
  #3  
Old 01-29-2012, 09:45 AM
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Why the tire pressure gauge?

I could see checking the pressure being the first thing you do, then check it again at the end of your inspection to see if it lost a little pressure...but I feel like it would be noticeable without a gauge if air were leaking that fast.

Surely that's not a selling point, but just a bargaining tool?
 
  #4  
Old 01-29-2012, 12:17 PM
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it will just tell you more about how well he took care of the bike and if he payed attention to the manual.

estate. I see your point, but what if they have all the oem stuff that they replaced, let you look at the parts and nothing was wrong with it? They just wanted a more tricked out bike?
 
  #5  
Old 01-29-2012, 12:55 PM
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I dont think new fairings are a reason to deter someone from buying a bike. you can quickly tell within minutes if a bike has been taken care of just by looking at the chain/sprockets, tires and shocks (leaks). an owner who cares about his/her bike will generally not let issues go without repair or replacement so if its a bike with a couple bolts holding the fairings on and little issues here and there id wait to come across a bike that is close to stock with minor mods that werent done by some monkey with a wrench! i guess what im getting at is there are pleanty of honda owners that take pride in their bikes so finding one shouldnt be hard!
 
  #6  
Old 01-29-2012, 07:17 PM
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[QUOTE=02F4I1987;1127802]I dont think new fairings are a reason to deter someone from buying a bike.

Anyone can order those china failings....the worst thing you want to encounter when buying a used bike is a Bent frame!!! So when a seller says "no" it's never been laid down...he may not telling you the truth? Therefore having those original fairing on bike is key...because whom ever may have drop the bike, will NOT pay Factory fairing price...likely custom paint after buying the need piece of fairing...or replace entire set with those eBay ones.
 
  #7  
Old 01-29-2012, 07:36 PM
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[quote=estate4life;1127852]
Originally Posted by 02F4I1987 View Post
I dont think new fairings are a reason to deter someone from buying a bike.

Anyone can order those china failings....the worst thing you want to encounter when buying a used bike is a Bent frame!!! So when a seller says "no" it's never been laid down...he may not telling you the truth? Therefore having those original fairing on bike is key...because whom ever may have drop the bike, will NOT pay Factory fairing price...likely custom paint after buying the need piece of fairing...or replace entire set with those eBay ones.
I agree with that 100% it just sucks for people who want a different look or have dropped their bike or had vandalism/theft to their bike. It makes it hard to sell a bike that is just as good if not better as a stock unmolested bike when pple judge based on stock/aftermarket fairings. If you get the abs fairngs versus the injection molded ones they are just as good as stock and are available in some very nice color schemes. It all comes down to the overall shape of everything beyond the fairings. If you are not mechanically inclined take someone who is with you to look at the bike, a simple removal of the fairings to check for hacked harnesses or bent subframe/frame and just to get a better look at the cleanliness of the bike, in my opinion if the owner allows you to do this he has nothing to hide. Also a test drive would generally rule out a bent frame if it doesnt dog track or vibrate like a bi*ch i've ridden a few salvage rebuilds with bent frames you can tell with in 100 yards if a bike doesn't handle right!
 
  #8  
Old 01-30-2012, 12:52 AM
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thats why I say get those fairings off and ask to see the parts that they removed. Just because they have aftermarket stuff on the bike doesn't mean they were cheap, dropped it or the bike was neglected. Even if they had the oem fairings doesn't mean that they took good care of it.
 
  #9  
Old 02-01-2012, 11:31 AM
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It also depends on the kind of bike you're getting. I just got a 99 CBR last week, and it had been dropped at some point during it's 13 year life, and on both sides. I could tell by the scratches how bad the fall was, and it looked like it was probably from falling over at rest. It was however totally stock, and the fairings around the front turn signals were cracked (which I plastic welded back to new in no time!) I wasn't able to do a test ride, because Canadian winters suck for that, but the shocks were good, the damage that was there was visible (I don't think he was trying to HIDE the crack under that duct tape) and it ran really well. It did however have brand new tires on it, which was nice, but I think you can tell a lot about the way somebody rides by checking the condition/wear of their tires.
On the other hand, I have gone to look at older bike (cafe racer build) where I went as far as to bring a compression tester with me to make sure the engine was still strong.
I don't think you have to worry about being too thorough, and CJardine is right, if the seller doesn't want you to look at any particular part if the bike (even if under the fairings) walk away! There are lots of good used bikes out there.
 

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