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Used bikes and acceptable KMs

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by devochka, May 25, 2010.

  1. So for us newbs who are looking for their first, 2nd hand bikes, what is an acceptable number of KMs before needing to consider engine wear and tear/rebuild, and extensive mechanical work which we probably would have no idea on?

    What numbers should a buyer be wary of?
    What does the 'excessive number of KMs' depend on?
    Are engine rebuilds worth it?
    Are high-KM bikes worth it for newbs who aren't into the tinkering and improving?
    How does one learn more about this?

    Couldn't find any threads (direct me if you find one and I used the incorrect search terms).
  2. all depends on the previous owners service history and how they looked after it, me personally, id never buy a 2nd hand bike as you will be only guessing on the history of it, but i would buy a 2nd to use as a track bike :)

    bikes with 100k on the clock could go another 100k if its been looked after
  3. that's it right there. odometer means jack. history tells it all

    engine rebuilds are personal choice IMO. i would rebuild if it was cheaper than a brand new replacement engine (not a fan of wrecker engines, more often than not they have zero history), but i can do spanner work myself. that said, i'd be sketchy of buying a bike which (obviously) needed a rebuild unless you buy it cheap and intending to do just that.

    if you're not into getting covered in shyte on a weekend fixing your bike, i would be asking yourself if it's worth the cost to you to have it in the workshop when things go wrong, lets face it, older bikes break stuff. no manufacturer has found a way to stop that. if you're not up to the (sometimes) momentus task of learning your bike inside-out and back-to-front (and not everyone is) and you don't have a friend who can do work for you, i'd be looking at something newer. not saying buy brand new, but don't buy a dinosaur.

    to learn is easy. read (manuals) ask (friends or forum-haunters, whatever works for you) and ultimately do it. don't run into anything head first. been there, done that, broke it. learn as much as you can before you attempt anything the first time, and don't ever be afraid of looking like a rookie. everyone starts somewhere
  4. Like Goz says, its how they are looked after. Having said that, different bikes seem to survive more wear and tear better than others. If you're looking at dirt bikes, most will have pretty frequent service intervals with a few notable exceptions. Your best bet is to find a specific bike and find out the healthy service intervals for that bike. Ask the person you are buying the bike off if they keep service receipts. This will give you a guide about whether they service or not.

    Its hard to put a number on it because there's such a great variation in what different engines can do and are built for. I would really suggest just getting very specific and finding what healthy service intervals are and gauge that with prospective sellers.

    On a sportsbike I would be worried about more than 50,000 K's generally but again its down to specifics and you never know how the machine has been looked after. Before you buy any bike get it taken to an independent mechanic. If there is anything that will cause you problems in the near future they should be able to pick it up. If the person selling the bike has receipts for a recent rebuild, I would suggest that its a safe bet. Paperwork is king, if someone has it, check it and this is a big, big tick if its there.

    Rephrase the question. Are you asking how the K's got so high? The only way you can find out it by asking. There are little tell-tales that can be on the bike but like all evidence, its open to interpretation. For example, he could tell you that he does a lot of highway riding and that is why the K's are so high. Tyres that are worn in the middle and not the sides usually indicate that this may be the case. This is where experience really comes into it. If you don't have experience, find a friend who does.

    I don't think so but if you are a tinkerer it can be a bit nicer on the wallet. My philosophy is to let the other person do all the work on the bike and show me the receipts opposed to putting in the hard yards myself because when you put money into a bike as in parts, accessories etc. you generally don't get all your money back. I.e. If you put an expensive exhaust on, it will factor into the buyers offer but they aren't going to separate that piece and offer you the exact amount of the pipe on top of their offer. It gets bundled and the price generally shrinks.

    They can be. My first road bike had high K's and has a new owner (who I'm friends with) and is still going strong.

    The internet, friends, chatting to your local bike mechanic, taking a course. Experience will teach you the most but that takes time so replace personal experience with vicarious experience. Find friends who know about this stuff and milk them for information in exchange for favours. You will eventually learn all of this yourself and be better armed in the future.

    Btw some might disagree with what I've posted, if you do please post up to provide a contrasting viewpoint. This is what I think based on my experiences but I'm always open to new information and a fresh point of view.

    Hope this was helpful ;)
  5. Rather then answer questions ill just post my experience with my first bike.

    02 ZZR250, ~17k kms on the clock when i got it.
    Had been dropped both sides by the previous owner but the fairing absorbed 98% of the damage and was replaced, and the exhaust cans took the rest which werent replaced (ive since cleaned and sprayed high temp clear enamel over it so they dont rust).
    The store i bought it from - Chris Watson's at Cessnock, NSW - stated that they had given the bike a service, adjusted and oiled the chain, and generally cleaned the bike up a bit. What they actually serviced im not so sure on :p.

    Naturally, i couldnt ride it and had noone to test it beforehand, so i took them at their word.

    The bike did run great once i got it - except for the front right indicator falling off 20 metres from the store..., and then 2 days later i decided to check out under the fairing and change the oil and filter and the like so i knew it had been done.

    The oil was the filthiest i have ever seen any oil in my entire life (and working on dredges, i see a LOT of icky oil), and slowly glugged its way out of the engine :p. While there i also discovered the radiator had a leak and someone had recently tried to repair it with putty, and that there was an oil leak on the left side of the engine.
    Also the chain was dry, and the o-rings had gone, and the front sprocket looked like it had seen a lot better days.
    The tyres were practically bald... and 2 weeks later my upper fairing cracked for no apparent reason.

    Ok, i admit it, i didnt have a clue what i was looking at, but i got the bike for $3500 with lots of gear thrown in - thought i was getting a good deal, but hey, im a noob.
    Really though, ive no idea how they (with any honesty) passed it for its blueslip :p.

    To Chris Watsons credit they had the radiator rebuilt for me, replaced the leaking seal and replaced the indicator, repaired the upper fairing bracket and replaced the upper fairing (with a 2nd hand but in good condition). All for free as i had very happily negotiated a 30 day warranty with them. Either they never even really looked at the bike once, or were just trying to get away with offloading a crappily repaired bike :p.

    Me, well, 5 oil (+flush) and filter changes, and a clean of the oil screen (dont think it had ever been done) later, and the oil is cleaner then the water out of the tap. Its even got full synthetics in there now that its clean.
    I stuck a scottoiler on and a new chain and both sprockets, and thats fixed that.
    Put Pirelli Sports Demon hoops on and im quite happy now.

    All up, aside from some scratched up exhaust cans (which i can apparently replace for an entire $180 for a pair), ive got a nice clean and healthy running second hand bike, which is valued at $4800, for $3500 + $1100 in parts and labour (includes a carby service i had done to it just recently, runs way better now :p)... comes in about even with its value if i replaced the cans funnily enough.

    NB: I believe the standard agreement - might vary to state - is that if a bike is under 3 years old, or have i THINK less then 10000km on the clock, it must be sold with a 30 day warranty.

    If not, it will (likely) have NO warranty.

    You can also negotiate with the dealer for warranty. Me i swapped my jacket and pants (he had none that would fit in store) for 30 days warranty, and it had all that stuff replaced by them for free :D. I was happy, they werent. If i had no warranty, id still be reparing things...
  6. I'm a big fan of buying bikes (read; hondas) with 50,000kms+. By that stage they've depreciated alot so you'll get a bargain, and with a good service history it'll go on to 200,000kms + if you treat it right.
  7. Reading the odometer doesn't matter as much as reading the service history.
  8. As a hypothetical situation; if someone bought a bike new, how quickly and effectively could they make it not worth buying (mechanically), without it embracing the earth or deliberate efforts? That is, just doing things such as completely ignoring the running-in recommendations or failing to carry out basic maintenance.
  9. Happy to sell one though right ?
  10. i look after my bikes, so yes, happy to sell 1 if they are willing to buy
  11. It wouldn't take long if they didn't change the oil after wear in. All that metal floating around would be awful for it.
  12. The day i sell my bike, assuming i dont trash it myself in the meantime, people would get a good buy. I wouldnt try and ask retail, and id be honest about it, probably to my detriment :p.
    Since ive had it, its been spoilt with maintenance. All stuff like valve clearance adjustments etc etc etc all that. Runs like a trooper. Its just i worry about the maintenance at the start :p but there are no signs of problems.
  13. I thought as much. So a bike could well be buggered up at 2000km or less, yes? (Which illustrates the importance of background over the distance it has travelled)
  14. I was thinking most new motors would last at least 20,000km with no oil change, without any data to go from I'm not certain though. I would assume a bike like that would sound pretty sick well in advance.
  15. I am thinking the hypothetical individual would be hitting redline a lot, using cruddy fuel, and that sort of stuff too.