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The checklist prior to purchase...

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by banditbob, Nov 24, 2006.

  1. I'm going to pick up my first motorcycle in a few weeks, and I was wondering what I should check when inspecting the 250.

    Here's my checklist at present:

    Sound of engine
    Test ride (brakes,lights, handling, performance)
    condition of chain
    maintenance history
    damage history

    Am I missing anything?
    And should I have a mechanical inspection? Maybe not worth it for a 99 model yam zeal ($3500)?

  2. Don't skimp on the mech inspection. You could always use it as a bargaining chip if they find any faults. If they find no faults well it's money well spent on peace of mind.
  3. Disk rotors,front and rear,these will cost you a packet to replace if there under sized.On the centre of the disk carrier it will often say "min thick" or "minimum thickness" or sometimes just a number,take a micromemter or vernier(thanks Loz) caliper and measure it,make sure its withing spec.
  4. That's the caliper that just stole your play lunch and gave you a wedgie.
  5. steering head bearings
    wheel bearings
    swing arm/rear wheel freeplay (up/down, side to side)
    Compression, if you can.
  6. Buying a used bike
    Buying a used bike is an exercise of wits, faith, hope, charity and rat cunning. And the only thing you're risking is the entire contents of your wallet! Here are 20 top buying tips from the pages of Australian Motorcycle Trader.
    1. Appearance:
    Original paint, stickers, mufflers. Do you know what an original should look like? Custom everything is nice but not worth a pinch of the proverbial in the used market.
    Bikes that are red or black will resell easily. If it has aftermarket mufflers and the like, ask if the original bits come with the bike. An original bike is always worth more when you go to sell it.
    Look for cancer: rust on the frame, corroded alloy bits, faded grey switchgear, yellowed screen, cracked and dull paint. Stand at the back of the bike and sight along the centre - does the fairing line up with the steering head? If not, it's had a big shunt and hasn't been fixed properly. Do the colours along the bodywork match?
    2. Fit:
    This is a good time to take a breather and sit quietly on the bike. Does it fit? Can you reach the ground easily? Is your pillion happy on the back seat? Can you get it on and off the stands? Can the levers or even seat height be adjusted to fit you better?
    3. Rego:
    How much is left? In some cases this could be a $600 observation.
    4. Provenance:
    Do the engine and frame match each other? This is an issue with classic Brit bikes where the frame and engine numbers should often match. And with some Japanese classics - does that CB1100R have the real powerplant in the frame or the easily-swapped CB900 engine which looks much the same? With the former it is a desirable motorcycle; with the latter it's next to worthless.
    Check the engine/chassis/rego numbers with your local registration authority before handing over the cheque - it could be stolen.
    5. Service history:
    If it has one, it's worth money in the bank. Look for dealer stamps, or the next-best which is a history recorded by the owner.
    6. Still under warranty:
    Warranties do transfer to the new owner but are of doubtful worth unless the bike has been dealer-serviced (by a pukka franchise) according to the manufacturer schedule (ask to see the records).
    7. Starting cold:
    Put your hand beside the engine/fairing. It should be cold. Ask the owner to start it - deduct points for use of jumper leads off the car battery and special techniques involving liberal use of a kickstart and the F-word. If it's pre-warmed when you turn up, treat it with suspicion. A bit of smoke at this stage is acceptable - it could be unburned fuel or even a bit of oil.
    8. Running:
    It should run smoothly through warm-up, while the choke/fast idle is backed off. Give it five minutes and switch it off.
    9. Warm start:
    Start it again - it should start first time, no excuses.
    10. Warm running:
    It should respond instantly to the throttle - try a gentle rev and then a hard rev to about 60 percent of redline. It should settle immediately back to idle speed (usually around 1000-1200rpm). If it settles to a fast idle, then slows to a normal idle after a few seconds, the carburetion is suspect. Was that a puff of smoke? Why? Is there an unusual rattle or bang? Have you heard the same powerplant in another bike? Does it change when you pull the clutch lever? Is that normal for this bike? Click it into gear and do a walking-pace take-off. Was the clutch action smooth? Did it drop into gear without hesitation?
    11. Tyres:
    Look for cracks (old rubber), depth of tread, and severe cuts or bits of metal in the tread. Check the entire circumference of each tyre.
    12. Chain/sprockets:
    Look at a rear sprocket on a new bike and see if your used item looks the same shape. Fat rounded teeth are what you're looking for. Anything that looks like shark teeth, with broken or chipped tops, is stuffed. The chain should have no more than a few centimetres slack on the lower run, midway between the engine and rear wheel.
    13. Steering:
    If it has a centrestand, use it, and take the weight off the front end (pushing down, or sitting someone, on the pillion seat will do this). Swing the handlebars from side-to-side looking for smooth transition (ignoring a cable that might snag). If it feels tight on the outer reaches while loose and notchy in the centre, add $200 to the cost for steering head bearings. Without a centrestand, roll the bike forward and do the same thing.
    14. Brake pads:
    Easy with disc brakes - look along the disc and see if there is at least 2mm of brake material left before the backing plate hits the disc. Deep gouges in the discs are a bad sign. Drum brakes are harder to judge, though some models will have pad wear indicators on them.
    15. Electrics working:
    Check all the basics. Headlight high/low, indicators both sides, front and rear brake light, horn, with the engine running. No excuses.
    16. Electrics charging:
    Switch on the headlight and put your hand just in front of it. On low or high beam (sometimes you need the latter) you should see the light brighten noticeably when you raise the engine revs from idle to around 2000.
    17. Muffler check:
    Look for rust fairies, particularly on the underside of the muffler. Rev the engine and see if there's a rattle from the muffler indicating loose baffles.
    18. Abuse check:
    Run your hand under the footpegs, the lowest point on the headers, the lowest points of the fairing, the handlebar ends and the lever ends. Lots of scrapes and rough bits? A cupie doll to the reader that can guess what happened...
    19. Engine leak test:
    Look for oil leaks - some weeping from the top gasket on the engine is nothing to worry about and oil near the front sprocket is probably just over-enthusiastic chain-oiling. Look for major leaks elsewhere. If you see a green watery substance, you have a leak in the cooling system - a no-no.
    20. Suspension:
    Bounce both ends up and down with as much force as you can muster. Squeaks at the rear on monoshocks may indicate unhappy bushes, while oil leaks (lift fork gaiters if fitted) suggest a rebuild.
    We recommend a road test although it's not always possible. If you turn up with a friend who is willing to hang around while you go for a ride, your chances of a spin are increased. Remember, if you bin it, you own it.
    What you're looking for is:
    1. Those steering head bearings - try them at walking pace, lock-to-lock. Does it turn smoothly? Now a little quicker in the turns (no lock-to-lock this time) - is it equally happy in left and right turns or is the frame bent?
    2. Brakes - a couple of gentle stops using the front then the rear levers in isolation will tell you if the discs or drums are warped. Pulsing levers or jerky stopping are bad news.
    3. Gearshift - does it work all the gears smoothly?
    4. Do the instruments work? A speedo that doesn't work is a basic roadworthy item.
    5. Did it accelerate smoothly and immediately drop back to a predictable idle? Could you restart it instantly?
    6. Who was in control - you or the bike? If it was the bike, will you overcome that problem?
    There's a whole heap of stuff you can do to protect yourself from making a bad decision - which we've outlined here. Another useful ploy is to take along a mate who is a little experienced in the bike world, but who isn't an opinionated know-all smart-alec. Someone who can offer advice, and knows when to suggest you should calm down - no matter how red the bike is.
    Having bought far more than my fair share of used bikes over the years (She Who Suspects She Isn't Obeyed can confirm this), I can report that most of them have been good and a couple have been a total foul-up. That's what happens when you play rough games.
    So here's the drum: do the basic checks, try to make sure you have enough dough left over to fix the problems, pack your raincoat, don't take money from strangers and good luck to your family...
  7. Before you get too excited about a bike, REVS check.
    Shame to throw money and time at inspections etc if it's encumbered.

    Regards, Andrew.
  8. Grady can you be a bit more specific please :LOL:
  9. Grady can you be a bit more specific please
  10. thanks grady...thats really usefull stuff, cheers.