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decoding mileage

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by serafina, Jul 31, 2006.

  1. I have a bit of a question i was hoping you may be able to help me with...
    I'm looking at a bike right now, a 91 suzuki katana which i really like the look of.
    The shop selling it says it has only done 29000kms. I thought this was rather strange for a 15 year old bike and so i inquired about how it was possible. He sent me this....

    Sera, these like many CBR-RR, ZXR, FZR250's are imports and the rego in Japan changes after a few years and gets more expensive so people buy new bikes and the old ones get put into storage, then get sold off to other countries such as Australia. When they get here the importers give them the once over and get them in order and sell them with low klm's. There are a few who also bring in stuff like Yamaha FJ1100's which are 84 model bikes with very low klm's and they are the same.
    So its not unusual to see low klm's on imports.

    I put this to a bike-riding friend who wouldn't hear it. He is pretty adamant i am being conned.

    Can someone please clear this up for me??

    29000kms on a 15 year old bike...put in storage for HOW LONG? it just sounds insane.

    Also, can someone give me an idea regarding availability of parts for the Katana...to my knowledge the 250 version isn't made any more.
  2. i've heard that story before, though the best advice that I have been given is, get a professional to inspect on the actual condition of the bike, not the mileage.
  3. You may not be being conned.

    My 86 SRX600, bought in 2005 had 19000kms on it - i'm certain that these are real. Now, after knowing guys who work in import shops, I can say for sure that what you were told can be right.

    That said, there are a lot of dodgy places around who would have no problem lying to you about it.

  4. Bingo. Not only is the condition the part that's actually important, but the condition will also give an indication as to whether the odometer is showing an acurate reading. How faded is the paint, are the footpegs/handgrips overly worn, headstem bearing? Many things can be replaced to hide the age of the bike but there may well be subtle signs like supercicial rust on the frame or pipes that could leave you to question the milage. Give it a good inspection and if you're not confident, get someone else to do it. It might be bullshit, or it might be a gem but you'll never know without looking at it. :)
  5. That is in fact correct. If you do some research into the Japanese licensing, you will find it is generally cheaper to get a new vehicle than continue to use one that is a couple of years old.

    Being from NZ, where Japanese imports are a huge business (5+ year old used cars and bikes aren't worth sh*t over there now because of it) we've gotten used to having lots of vehicles with low k's on them from Japan.

    The main thing that you need to be careful about, is if a bike like that has actually been sitting in a warehouse for the last 10 years, it can't be that great for it. There are a lot of 250cc bikes with pretty low k's on them, but there are also plenty that have had the odo wound back.

    Like mentioned above, it's best to make a decision based on the actual condition of the bike. If you aren't confident making that call, perhaps put the shout out here for someone who is to come along with you to make the call.
  6. As Angus said quite often they will be off the road for a large period of time and can suffer from doing so.

    Even if it hasn't been sitting idle for such a long time you have to figure at only 2 thousand kms a year it has still had a lot of down time where it hasn't been used.

    Keep in mind also that grey imports may also be difficult to source parts for and may also have insurance impliactions.
    Sometimes the premium can be higher due to the sourcing/prices of parts if things do go wrong. Not to mention any delays you may encounter while this all happens on your behalf.

    Just check it out and dont drop it and you'll be sweet
  7. thanks for the help...
    the place selling it is close motorcycles at Redfern in case someone can vouch for them.
    I'm pretty keen, so would be heaps dissapointed if it turns out to be a dud.
    it would be great if i could find someone experienced to come and check it out.

    i was thinking the parts might be a problem...
    i don't have a clue, but is there any chance parts might be interchangeable between similar suzuki bikes?
  8. Got my bike off Close in Sydney and have had it for around 2 months now.

    Had full service history, but they didn't have the papers on them. They did get in touch with the mechanic and they sent em up to me about 1 week later, so was real impressed with that.

    I've heard people say they weren't very attentive when they went it to look at bikes but I found them to be fine.

    Had an eye on them for a while before I spotterd my bike and they seem to do a fair turn over which can't be a bad thing.

    While they didnt offer a warranty 99 model they do offer a 7 days deal where it shits itself they'll fix it. Which seems reasonable.

    Oh they have god prices from what I've seen and aren't real keen to move on them I found.

    Did manage to get them to throw in a disc lock and give me 50% off a pair of gloves too.
    So don't expect miracles but don't be afraid to ask for shit either. After all you can only ask.

    Also if ya wanna test ride you can go left out of the drive way and do a simple run up before the lights and around the block down the back street.

    Sorry can't give you an answer on the parts thing.
    There is a chance though. A chance that the part you need won't ..you know murphy and that stupid law.

    Good luck ...and don't forget pics, cause ya know all advice aside you're going to get it anyway.
  9. have a look around at as many places as you can get too.

    even bikepoint.com and bikesales.com are good places to browse and compare and the netrider for sale sections

    if you cant test ride the bike sit on it in the shop for as long as you want ask em to start it up ask em to see it being ridden lol
  10. A whole week to fake up a set of papers? Not very impressive, a pro would have had them done prior to sale :grin:

    My vtr turns 3 this year, its got 33k on it. So how does a 15 year old bike have less? Storage. Why store it for 12 years after riding it? why not just shift it asap? why would hundreds of japanese riders ALL store their old bikes for so long?

    Sounds like bullshit, smells like bullshit must be pie.

    You're being connned. Buy a 'low km' import if you want, but forget the odo reading and judge it on how it goes and its actual condition. Search under sumoto in the forums to get an idea of how folks like this operate.
  11. Japan have some crazy registration laws, for cars, they are big on very low emissions, so cars with as few as 20,00kms are failed on emissions....and as said before, after 3 years, rego goes through the roof to get the "gross polluters" off teh roads. That's why japanese half cuts are so cheap in Australia.
    I can't see why motorbikes would be any different.
    Hwoever, low mileage is a tiny part of what makes a bike attractive to buy. I'd rather something with decent miles that had been looked after, than something that's been parked in teh corner for years, but that's me.
    Engines in particular can get rust on the cylinder bores/valve seats, and whilst the bike may run wel for a few thousand kms, rapidly accelerated cylinder bore wear and maybe poorly sealing valves will radically shorten it's life, not to mention the crud sitting in the fuel tank/carb bowls, plus whatever the oil has turned into in the sump.

    Regards, Andrew.
  12. You are all missing the simple point that a bike in japan doesn't get anywhere near the use that one does here - hell, the average distance between point A and B in japan (combined with traffic and curfews) is probably 10% of what it is here.

    Doesn't mean that everything you are told by a dealer or anyone else is correct, but there is a reasonable explanation.

    I would also think that many bikes there are not used as daily hacks, given the parking arrangements and good public transport.
  13. It could be just like import car engines which say the are low k's. It is true that the vehicles they come from had not driven many k's but due to traffic congestion over there they spend a lot of time idling, which causes extra wear.
  14. The mileage could most definately be genuine - I've seen a number of 250 Kats up for sale on Auction sites in Japan with as little as 15,000kms on them. You're right about them no longer being in production, they were only made in 91 and 92. The 91 model (GSX250SSM) had a silver engine, the 92 model (GSX250SSN) had a black engine (though aside from that they were identical). Apart from having fake cooling fins (to look like the air-cooled 1000/1100) the engine is exactly the same as that used in the 250 bandit and the Aus-delivered GSF250V, but NOT the same as the Across (ignore anyone who says that it is). Most other consumables are common to other Suzukis as well - air filter is the same as the GS500, spark plugs are readily available NGKs, brake pads are common to several Suzukis (and a few Yamahas and Kawasakis), clutch/brake levers, mirrors and indicators are also all generic Suzuki and readily available. Really the bodywork is the only thing that is unique to the bike - and even those parts can be sourced through wreckers specialising in imports. They're a great bike - I've clocked up more than 15,000 kms on mine including several 400km days without any major problems.
  15. another point could be that in Japan they know they arent going to be keeping their cars/bikes for very long so it is possible that they dont bother with as much maintenance as they perhaps should.

    That might be totally wrong, but could be possible.
  16. If anything it's probably the opposite. Keep in mind that in Japan a 250cc bike is something riders aspire too (majority of bikes there are only 50cc), so they're probably far more likely to look after it than Australian owners who only see a 250 as something they can thrash for 18 months while they wait for restrictions to end. You only have to look at the amount of money some owners spend on customising 250s in Japan (and the range of parts available) as well as the number of websites devoted to 250cc bikes to see this.
  17. If you live in NSW why bother with a 250 at all? Under LAMs you have a bunch of much better, bigger capacity bikes at your disposal.
  18. It's quite possible that the mileage is that low. One of the Japanese guys I used to work with had an early Mitsubishi GT in Japan which had done 1500k per year.

    A lot of these bikes are only used on weekends - and then only in the summer. I'm sure some of the speedos coming in have been fiddled with but not many. As others hae said - the problem is parts for these gray imports. That's why Spadas are popular - since they were imported into Australia for a year or so then it's easier to get parts (and expertise) :LOL:

    Again, don't go by the mileage (kilometreage ?) go by the condition - not the paint etc. since most importers will fix that up when they bring them in. Look (as someone else said) at the steering head bearings, swinging arm and particularly the tyres. Make sure the tyres aren't looking their age - responsible importers will replace them, others just paint them with tyre black. :roll: Check to see that they aren't cracked or nasty with age.

  19. thanks for all the helpful advice.
    i guess the best bet now is to go check it out with someone. (lol any offers???)
    one more thing though...the fact that it may have sat in storage for years...is this something major to be concerned about

    i know i should stop being difficult and just go get a spada/vtr but it was hard enough to get me onto the idea of naked bikes...! haha.
    the katana is the only one i find vaguely appealing.

    either this, or i go buy a faired bike and strip the fairing off as someone suggested to me once. but as to how feesable that is, i don't know.

    and as to the person who suggested a bigger LAMS bike, that was a fantastic idea until i remembered i'm moving to QLD at the end of the year! :p i was interested in the ER5 but SIGH...

    wish they would make the regulations universal nation wide.
  20. Long term storage shouldn't be too much of a problem provided things like fluids and tyres have all been replaced (which should have been done to gain ADR compliance anyway). Lack of fairings on the Kat is definately an advantage, though compared to other sports 250s it's a long bike in terms of wheelbase. This means it won't change direction quite as quick but is a lot more stable at speed (and loves fast sweeping bends :grin:). If you do drop it at low speed the first thing to hit the ground will be the front indicator ($25), followed by the bar ends and engine covers. Foot controls and pegs won't touch the ground.