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Checklist when buying a bike?

Discussion in 'Hangout Lounge' started by Ribo, Jun 20, 2018.

  1. Ribo

    Ribo Prefectionist

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    Hey guys,

    Just thought it would be nice to get everyone's input into a checklist of what to look for and what to do when buying an old bike besides kicking the tires and smelling the gas.
     
  2. k-moe

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

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    I think we already have a thread for that. I don't have the link handy though.

    There's this one as well: tech-topic-the-real-costs-of-maintenance.14581

    and much of the info here applies as well. the-information-overload-hour.27544

    But the three big things:

    1. Does it start?

    2. Does the title match the frame, and does the engine match the frame?

    3. Has there been any "custom" work done (particularly involving sketchy welds)?
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
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  3. MattiThundrrr

    MattiThundrrr Not a guru

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    Ask for maintenance records.
    Check the floor of the storage area/garage where the bike lives for evidence of leaks.
    Do the basic walk around check, loose bolts, leaking brakes, frayed/damaged cables, clutch and brake free play.
    Before starting, check (carefully) to see if the engine is cold. An unscrupulous seller may pre heat the bike to give a better "cold start".
    Make sure all the switches and lights work.
    I know it's basic stuff, but if they can't take care of the basics, what is going on with the more complex maintenance, like valves, etc.

    Or save yourself the trouble and buy matti's Rebel. You KNOW it's been treated poorly!
     
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  4. Polock

    Polock Well-Known Member

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    look at the ware on the fork tubes, it's kind of subjective but if there's a definite line where the travel stops, your not looking at a low miles cream puff
     
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  5. hogfiddles

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

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    Here's my list:
    1. Everything
     
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  6. kosel

    kosel Active Member Premium Member

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    When I was first thinking about buying a bike, I read a book written by a friend that I found very helpful: The Perfect Motorcyle: How To Choose, Find and Buy the Perfect New or Used Bike. He starts with choosing the bike style, the specific bike, new/used, inspection, and negotiation. For example, he recommends bringing a magnet to find bondo and an extendable mirror to inspect those remote places.
     
  7. TheCrazyGnat

    TheCrazyGnat Well-Known Member

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    Anyone have tips for one that doesn't run that haven't been covered? I went and looked at an xs650 someone is selling for $500. Engine turns over, looks decent with new tires slightly disassembled because he was going to make a cafe racer or whatever. Apparently he has all the original parts except the wiring harness which he claims was eaten away by a leaky battery.
     
  8. Toomanybikes

    Toomanybikes Well-Known Member

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    Lots of XS 650 stuff around and like an xj lots of parts will swap with many models. What year is the bike?
     
  9. TheCrazyGnat

    TheCrazyGnat Well-Known Member

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    That's kind of what l saw as well, looked like it is a pretty well supported bike.It's a 1978. I've been wanting to work on a more old school kind of bike with kick start and points ignition so I could learn that.
     

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