1. Hello Guest. You have limited privileges and you can't "SEARCH" the forums. Please "Log In" or "Sign Up" for additional functionality. Click HERE to proceed.

what to do when you get that new used bike home - help appreciated

Discussion in 'Hangout Lounge' started by saftie, Nov 10, 2017.

  1. saftie

    saftie Active Member Premium Member

    Messages:
    833
    Likes Received:
    158
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Hey guys,

    so i decided to build a small website to store some bike pics. while working on it, i decided to add a knowledge section that i will fill over time. btw, Len was cool enough to allow me to link to his super duper thread.
    I am now writing an article about what to do, inspect when you bring a used bike home.
    I would appreciate any inputs to extend the list. the article will not cover what needs to be done, it is more a first inspection kind of thing to figure out what you got yourself into.

    here we go:
    --------------
    So you managed to get your new (to you) used bike home. Now what? Sure, you can just hop on it, ride it and hope that nothing falls off, nothing breaks and you survive. The previous owner did say that his 30 year old and still "original" bike was still in good shape, right? RIGHT?

    Well, from my own experience I can tell that old bikes always have some sort of issues - whether the PO (previous owner) knew about it or not. Read any forum and you will see that pretty much everyone agrees. Also, check out the pics below to see what I found on some bikes that were disasters waiting to happen.

    Personally, I don't ride a new to me motorcycle until I fully inspected it. Most of the time, I actually strip the entire bike. this will give me access to sections that are normally hidden from view. Yes, it will take some time and prevent you from enjoying your new ride, but better safe than sorry. Here is a checklist of things you should definitely check and look out for. Ideally you have done most of it before you purchased the bike, but it is normal that you got excited and forgot.. Make sure you have your manual at hand. Also remember, the below is to find any issues first - fixing them is a different chapter...

    Visual inspection:

    • Check for anything that just doesn't look right
    • Are there bolts that look newer/different from others?
    • Any fluid leaks (tip: put paper towels under the bike for a night and check for stains)
    • Exposed wires
    • Rust that might weaken your frame or mounts
    • Signs of Bondo, JB weld, silicone, etc
    • Brake pads
    • chain
    • tires and rims
    • Fluid levels (oil, brake and clutch reservoir fluids)
    • Kinked cables, old and tired looking rubber hoses
    • Gasoline smell
    • Bent handlebars?
    • Any holes in the frame that look out of place?
    Now it's time to actually wiggle, push and pull a few things...

    • Pull clutch and brake levers. They should be on the firm side, not soft
    • Lift the wheels and spin them, listen for noise
    • Wiggle the wheels to check wheel bearings (movement or play might be an indicator that something is wrong)
    • Lift the chain and check adjustment (see manual for that)
    • Push down on handlebars to check fork springs
    • Do the same for the rear
    • Test all lights, turns, horn
    Now let's have a look at some bolts to make sure they are tight. You can't really tell by looking at them, so get a wrench. For starters, you can use a regular wrench and check if bolts and nuts are tight. if there is doubt, use a torque wrench and your manual.

    Are bolts and nuts tights on the following:

    • handlebars
    • forks
    • axle nuts
    • engine mounts
    • shocks
    By now you should have a good idea of what you have in front of you. Remember: If you touch/fix something, you might as well do it right at that point in time. Don't hand tighten something that you can torque down correctly right then. You may forget to come back to it later...
     
    Stumplifter and cade blank like this.
  2. k-moe

    k-moe Pie, Bacon, Burbon. Moderator Premium Member

    Messages:
    13,541
    Likes Received:
    3,840
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    The Great American Desert
    * practice saying the following, until even you believe it; "Oh that thing. I bought it years ago. I'm surprised that you haven't noticed it before honey."
     
    jayrodoh, Stumplifter and saftie like this.
  3. MattiThundrrr

    MattiThundrrr Not a guru

    Messages:
    2,902
    Likes Received:
    1,291
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    America's friendly hat
    You mentioned checking the wheel bearings, but how about getting the front wheel in the air and turning the bars side to side feeling for notchiness in the head bearings?

    Date codes on tires and brake hoses?
     
  4. Polock

    Polock Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,185
    Likes Received:
    1,089
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Beaver Falls, PA
    first thing i do is wash it, no sense in getting all dirty while you do all that other stuff
     
    jayrodoh and Toomanybikes like this.
  5. k-moe

    k-moe Pie, Bacon, Burbon. Moderator Premium Member

    Messages:
    13,541
    Likes Received:
    3,840
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    The Great American Desert
    +1
    You also get a much better look at the bike that way.
     
  6. saftie

    saftie Active Member Premium Member

    Messages:
    833
    Likes Received:
    158
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Great additions so far, thank you.
     
  7. Toomanybikes

    Toomanybikes Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,729
    Likes Received:
    421
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Tsawwassen bc
    First thing I do before I waste the soap.
    Blow off around spark plugs before removing them.
    Remove left crank cover and see if motor turns freely.
    If it doesn't park it and pour some penetrating oil in cylinders and replace plugs.
    After a week remove plugs and try rocking engine with bike in 5th gear, be gentle.
    If it turns great. Do a compression test, if not more penetrating oil and see it next week.
    If still won't budge park it in the parts bike pile.
     
  8. saftie

    saftie Active Member Premium Member

    Messages:
    833
    Likes Received:
    158
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    New York, NY
  9. k-moe

    k-moe Pie, Bacon, Burbon. Moderator Premium Member

    Messages:
    13,541
    Likes Received:
    3,840
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    The Great American Desert
    For most serious purposes, penetrating oil should consist of a 50/50 mixture of acetone (or diesel), and automatic transmission fluid.
     
  10. Plug

    Plug Active Member

    Messages:
    111
    Likes Received:
    59
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Missouri
    Hide it in the garage before my wife see it.....
     
    Jetfixer likes this.
  11. lostboy

    lostboy Active Member

    Messages:
    881
    Likes Received:
    128
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Tillsonburg, Ontario, Canada
    I like to sit on the bike and make motor noises with my mouth.
     
    Jetfixer likes this.
  12. hogfiddles

    hogfiddles XJ-Wizard, Host-Central NY Carb Clinic Moderator Premium Member

    Messages:
    10,628
    Likes Received:
    2,846
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    near utica, new york
    How many times have I done that?!!!?! Lol!!!!
     
  13. kosel

    kosel Active Member

    Messages:
    158
    Likes Received:
    67
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    MInneapolis, MN
  14. MattiThundrrr

    MattiThundrrr Not a guru

    Messages:
    2,902
    Likes Received:
    1,291
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    America's friendly hat
    New bikes... Meh. Try to find a new 4 cylinder engine in a bike that doesn't look like a cross between an alien mantis and a bicycle helmet.
     
  15. Jetfixer

    Jetfixer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,247
    Likes Received:
    489
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Nothern Indiana
    Do a compression check , check and charge battery ...Unless you know the P.O. never trust what they tell you... like "carbs have been professionally went thru" ....mine had 2 different main jets and were dirty inside ...lie number 1 and lie number 2 recent tune up ....3 different types of spark plugs one a HD split fire ..., Bike did not run quite right , had stock airbox ,but a K&N filter ( mistake) put in stock paper filter problem solved. " New battery" was low on electrolyte and water ..... replaced fuse block looked like birds nest ..loose blade fuses ...replaced with blade type fuse block to solve this.
     
  16. saftie

    saftie Active Member Premium Member

    Messages:
    833
    Likes Received:
    158
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Good stuff.
    Thank you sir
     
  17. Jetfixer

    Jetfixer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,247
    Likes Received:
    489
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Nothern Indiana
    I should have added always take a flashlight with you when looking at a bike even in broad daylight sometimes a flashlight can show things . If your inexperienced at looking at bikes , if you have a friend or relative that has owned bikes take them with you. if you've bought the bike use Saftie 's check list walk around bike several times noting any point that needs attention ..#1 make bike safe to ride (tires, brakes, brake hoses , lights) #2 make it reliable (Carbs,Electrics) then #3 any cosmetics you want .A well tuned and running bike is what you want , you do not want to get stuck in Ichy Butt New Mexico with a dead bike . (Unless you want to visit there.) Resist the temptation to start "customizing " until you have first 2 items in hand. Cheers sorry Saftie was not trying to hijack your thread I like it .
     
  18. saftie

    saftie Active Member Premium Member

    Messages:
    833
    Likes Received:
    158
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Oh no worries.
    All good info and I will try to separate the info, even though tricky.
    Some things go into the first part which is inspecting the bike, other stuff into fixing it up/making it safe. Tricky where to draw the line. Like do I put valve clearance into first or second topic.
     
  19. saftie

    saftie Active Member Premium Member

    Messages:
    833
    Likes Received:
    158
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    New York, NY
  20. Simmy

    Simmy Active Member

    Messages:
    428
    Likes Received:
    179
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Waterloo Ontario Canada
    Maybe the 1st most obvious step was missed.
    Take the registration to your state/provincial DMV office and change ownership before spending any money on it.
     
    Jetfixer likes this.

Share This Page