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  #1  
Old 28th March 2009
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Feel free to add your tips (things to look at during initial inspection) on buying a used sporty besides just checking tires and chain, feel free to add era specific info too.



I wish I had x-ray vision to check out the bearings and cams on used bikes!
I am thinking of getting a 1986 883 bike to chop up for a charity build/raffle (http://www.picturebridal.com/casterfund.html)
I am not sure but I will probably have to crack the case. One thing that holds me back is that the mileage is unknown!

One thing I bring is a magnet to dip in the oil tank! and always check the gas tank.
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Old 28th March 2009
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Check out the swingarm play, and headstock play.
Also look to see if the wiring harness has been hacked about [wires added into it, how well was it done?]
Fork slider play, worn bushs or sliders?
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  #3  
Old 28th March 2009
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I would do a compression check and maybe a compression leakdown test. You might also take off the drive pulley cover and check for side play in the output shaft. If it is badly worn it should leak here also which would indicate a LOT of miles or some really hard miles.
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Old 28th March 2009
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Hey, it only takes a minute to look at the brake fluid, and check tire pressure if only to see if the seller bothered, checking on the sidewalls could indicate neglect as well as age.
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Old 28th March 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by misterT View Post
I would do a compression check and maybe a compression leakdown test. You might also take off the drive pulley cover and check for side play in the output shaft. If it is badly worn it should leak here also which would indicate a LOT of miles or some really hard miles.


not a bad idea. but if i was selling a bike and someone showed up with a compression meter i would be puzzled!
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Old 28th March 2009
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I don't know about pulling covers to check play or doing a leak down test, but I've checked the compression on bikes and cars before, usually the seller knows something about motors and understands. If they don't want me to pull the plugs, theres usually a reason.
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Old 28th March 2009
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when I'm looking at a used car or bike I look for new stuff..... I would rather see older but good plugs/ wires/ filters/ oil ect., it shows how the bike has been taken care of and ridden..... If someone just freshened it up that might indicate someone has been chasing a problem and they just gave up......especially if you see new engine gaskets and stuff like that.....

start it up and get it warm.... take it for a ride, if it looks and sounds and rides okay.... it probably is

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Old 28th March 2009
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Depends on the bike, really....age, condition, miles...

I WOULD keep a compression gauge handy, just in case....but I'd only break that out if I was suspicious, or if the bike didn't run, but would turn over......

Most good points have already been covered....

I REALLY like the "magnet in the oil tank" idea.....never thought of that!

IMHO, nothing will tell you more about a bike than a test ride...even listening to it idle will tell you a lot about the engine itself.......

Even if the owner is nervous about letting you ride it (understandable, unless you insured it yourself in advance, like I did on my last bike purchase ), I'd roll it and shift thru all the gears, just to make sure all seemed ok in THAT area...

I never tried it myself, but I think carfax will do motorcycles, as well....not a terrible idea...

I bought both of my last 2 Sportsters used, and was able to ride them first...that, fluid conditions and service records (even hand-written) told me all I needed to know....

BTW, I thought this was a GREAT thread, so I made it a sticky....
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  #9  
Old 29th March 2009
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Default Used bike evaluation guide

Not sure if this has been linked before...but pretty good as far as a used bike evaluation guide. I read it a couple times before I really began shopping for my sporty. Worth the read.

http://www.clarity.net/adam/buying-bike.html

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Old 29th March 2009
daggar rider daggar rider is offline
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from personal experience, from now on i will rub my finger along the inside of the pipes. oil/gunk type build up. deffinet way of tellin if the bike is burinin oil. for me it was valve seals.
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