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Sportster Motorcycle General Discussion and Problems For discussing problems about your Sportster motorcycle that don't fit anywhere else.

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  #1  
Old 22nd March 2010
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Loner Loner is offline
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Default Motorcycle Buyers Checklist

I posted something similsr on another thread a long time ago and it came up agiain It was suggested I post on it's own so it can become a sticky.
It is not perfect I'm open to suggestions/changed/comments and of course you are more than welcome to bash it too
here it is.
Motorcycle Buying Checklist.
First supplies:
Writing pad to take notes plus a pen or pencil.
Screwdriver one that has multiple tips is best.
Rag or clean cloth preferably two
Good working gloves.
A bright flashlight.
Optional but highly recommended a digital camera.
Bring someone who does not have OBF/NBF (old bike fever/new bike fever) to keep things in perspective (might have them hold your money if you really trust them) let them write down anything you find.

Note: Get the owner/sellers permission before performing any mechanical operations or removing any equipment,covers or components on the motorcycle.
First off start off a little distance and just look at the bike is anything out of place? Headlight brackets bent? handlebars crooked? Forks straight? Rear wheel straight? Are there any wet spots on the bike? Look underneath how clean is it? Any of the fasteners buggered or missing?
If the visuals look good move on to the front wheel
- First look at the front fender is the paint faded, chipped or dents? Is it crooked? Are the bolts in place is the fender loose if it has rivets tap on them with the screwdriver to see if they are loose. Now move onto the front wheel, tire in good shape no nails or signs of a plug being used sidewalls cracked, pressure is up? check the wheel it is damaged is the clear coat/chrome peeling or faded, If is a wire or spoked wheel any spokes missing or damaged? Are they all the same type? On spoked wheel run your screwdriver over the spokes look –listen if one sounds off key it might be loose. Check the wheel bearings rust or water damaged
- Brakes is the disc scored or rusted are the bolts in good shape? Pads worn or oddly worn to one side? If dual disc check both sides,
- Front axle are the mounting bolts tight, are they damaged?
- Forks any major dents or dings is the finish in good shape
- Fork seal leaking? sit on the seat hold the front brake and pump it a few times is the action smooth any fluid coming out of the seals?
- Triple trees bolts tight and all present, have your friend sit on the bike and hold it upright grab the fork tubes and pull towards you, you are checking the head bearings if damaged or worn you can feel movement.
- Headlight: damaged lens, body brackets okay any butchered wiring hanging out look for black electrical tape. Also check front turn signals do all the lights work low and high beam left and right signals check front and rear, and as long your friend is sitting there have them operate the brake lever and rear brake pedal check the brake light is working. And check the horn.
Handlebars straight and paint or chrome in good shape, switches working smooth, missing fasteners or mismatched fasteners, if you want take a look underneath for corrosion. Look at the wiring good shape not molested. Gauges work, lights work?
Pop the top off the brake reservoir and look at the brake it is clean and no signs of water (white swirls) if it has a hydraulic clutch same thing.
Next is the frame look it over and mismatched paint or rust spots, is it bent look for bondo or body filler. Look for anything out of place.
Fuel tank look inside any gunk inside is the fuel clean (if any) is the mount bolts tight and in good shape. Fuel valve good shape EFI look for rust or white spots around the fuel pump feed lines, is the wiring under the tank (if visible) in good shape. Any dents or paint damaged look especially around the fuel cap area, look under the tank is the paint a different shade or color (a little difference is okay you are looking for different colors)
Seat in good shape if you can remove and look underneath the seat and check the condition then look at bike itself is all the components in order and good shape.
If you have access look at the fuses are they old or corroded? Also look at anything out of place.
Engine look at all junctions are there any leaks or signs of a blown gaskets is the engine up to the proper level and is the oil clean, does it have any smells to it like gasoline or a burnt smell ?

look at the valve cover(s) any leaks.

Crabs/Injectors pull the air cleaner off or out is the filter clean does it smell of old fuel or oil. On a carburetor is it good condition any discoloration or signs of leakage. Any rubber pieces sticking out, On EFI equip bikes look for leaks around the injectors and the electrical connectors and fuel feed lines are in good shape. Generally look for anything out of the norm.


Next look around the engine under the seat any leaks is the starter okay. If you can access the battery look at battery in good shape are the cables tight. Follow them down to their end are the cable ends in good shape look for whitish powder sign of bad cables.
Rear fender okay? Loose or missing fasteners. Paint good shape? Is it crooked? License plate bent registration current? Light working? turn signals bent.
Next check the swing arm, pivot bolts okay no rust or missing lube. Can you move the swing left to right using the rear wheel? Check the belt or chain good condition and runs straight, any worn or missing teeth on the pulleys/sprockets.
Rear tire good shape cracked sidewall, cuts or nails, plugs being used on the wheel same as the front damage? Peeling paint- chrome. If spokes check them also. Rear brake pads if disc worn evenly does the brake run straight? wheel bearings okay?
Next fire up the bike and listen do you hear any sounds out of the norm like ticking, pinging or chuffing noise like a air leak. If you can ride it does it accelerate and stop smoothly, during a turn does it feel smooth, and any wobbles riding straight on a smooth road. Do you feel comfortable moving it around with just your feet?
Finally.
Look at your list do you have anything on the list that would cost too much to fix.
You can always use that as a negotiation point during your dealing.

Last edited by Loner; 22nd March 2010 at 20:09..
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  #2  
Old 22nd March 2010
Gone Gone is offline
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Default Mostly good, but

Quote:
Originally Posted by Loner View Post
I posted something similsr on another thread a long time ago and it came up agiain It was suggested I post on it's own so it can become a sticky.
It is not perfect I'm open to suggestions/changed/comments and of course you are more than welcome to bash it too
here it is.
Motorcycle Buying Checklist.
First supplies:
Writing pad to take notes plus a pen or pencil.
Screwdriver one that has multiple tips is best.
Rag or clean cloth preferably two
Good working gloves.
A bright flashlight.
Optional but highly recommended a digital camera.
Bring someone who does not have OBF/NBF (old bike fever/new bike fever) to keep things in perspective (might have them hold your money if you really trust them) let them write down anything you find.

First off start off a little distance and just look at the bike is anything out of place? Headlight brackets bent? handlebars crooked? Forks straight? Rear wheel straight? Are there any wet spots on the bike? Look underneath how clean is it? Any of the fasteners buggered or missing?
If the visuals look good move on to the front wheel
- First look at the front fender is the paint faded, chipped or dents? Is it crooked? Are the bolts in place is the fender loose if it has rivets tap on them with the screwdriver to see if they are loose. Now move onto the front wheel, tire in good shape no nails or signs of a plug being used sidewalls cracked, pressure is up? check the wheel it is damaged is the clear coat/chrome peeling or faded, If is a wire or spoked wheel any spokes missing or damaged? Are they all the same type? On spoke wheel run your screwdriver over the spokes look –listen if one sounds off key it might be loose. Check the wheel bearings rust or water damaged
- Brakes is the disc scored or rusted are the bolts in good shape? Pads worn or oddly worn to one side? If dual disc check both sides,
- Front axle is the mounting bolts tight are they damaged?
- Forks any major dents or dings is the finish in good shape
- Fork seal leaking? sit on the seat hold the front brake and pump it a few times is the action smooth any fluid coming out of the seals?
- Triple trees bolts tight and all present, have your friend sit on the bike and hold it upright grab the fork tubes and pull towards you, you are checking the head bearings if damaged or worn you can feel movement.
- Headlight: damaged lens, body brackets okay any butchered wiring hanging out look for black electrical tape. Also check front turn signals do all the lights work low and high beam left and right signals check front and rear, and as long your friend is sitting there have them operate the brake lever and rear brake pedal check the brake light is working. And check the horn.
Handlebars straight and paint or chrome in good shape, switches working smooth, missing fasteners or mismatched fasteners, if you want take a look underneath for corrosion. Look at the wiring good shape not molested. Gauges work, lights work?
Pop the top off the brake reservoir and look at the brake it is clean and no signs of water (white swirls) if it has a hydraulic clutch same thing.
Next is the frame look it over and mismatched paint or rust spots, is it bent look for bondo or body filler. Look for anything out of place.
Fuel tank look inside any gunk inside is the fuel clean (if any) is the mount bolts tight and in good shape. Fuel valve good shape EFI look for rust or white spots around the fuel pump feed lines, is the wiring under the tank (if visible) in good shape. Any dents or paint damaged look especially around the fuel cap area, look under the tank is the paint a different shade or color (a little difference is okay you are looking for different colors)
Seat in good shape if you can remove and look underneath the seat and check the condition then look at bike itself is all the components in order and good shape.
If you have access look at the fuses are they old or corroded? Also look at anything out of place.
Engine look at all junctions are there any leaks or signs of a blown gaskets is the engine up to the proper level and is the oil clean, look at the valve cover(s) any leaks.
Crabs/Injectors pull the air cleaner off or out is the filter clean does it smell of old fuel or oil. On a carburetor is it good condition any discoloration or signs of leakage. Any rubber pieces sticking out, if you can and if it has a float bowl drain turn the screw to let a little fuel out onto a clean rag just a few drops, is there any sediment on the rag?
On EFI equip bikes look for leaks around the injectors and the electrical connectors and fuel feed lines are in good shape. Generally look for anything out of the norm.
Next look around the engine under the seat any leaks is the starter okay. If you can access the battery look at battery in good shape are the cables tight. Follow them down to their end are the cable ends in good shape look for whitish powder sign of bad cables.
Rear fender okay? Loose or missing fasteners. Paint good shape? Is it crooked? License plate bent registration current? Light working? turn signals bent.
Next check the swing arm, pivot bolts okay no rust or missing lube. Can you move the swing left to right using the rear wheel? Check the belt or chain good condition and runs straight, any worn or missing teeth on the pulleys/sprockets.
Rear tire good shape cracked sidewall, cuts or nails, plugs being used on the wheel same as the front damage? Peeling paint- chrome. If spokes check them also. Rear brake pads if disc worn evenly does the brake run straight? wheel bearings okay?
Next fire up the bike and listen do you hear any sounds out of the norm like ticking, pinging or chuffing noise like a air leak. If you can ride it does it accelerate and stop smoothly, during a turn does it feel smooth, and any wobbles riding straight on a smooth road. Do you feel comfortable moving it around with just your feet?
Finally.
Look at your list do you have anything on the list that would cost too much to fix.
You can always use that as a negotiation point during your dealing.
Most of what you wrote is very good, however...... If I am selling a bike and find out that some newbie idiot or bargain seeker has driven away to stop and even partially dismantle anything on the bike I am selling, there will be problems. I can garandamntee that is a good way to get busted up with a baseball bat if the seller finds out. I am all for a good inspection, but disassembly is a big no-no no matter how slight and damn sneaky if you do not have permission to take apart anything without permission. This is especially true if you don't ask the seller if it is OK. Not bashing you, just a safety tip. Other than the "bring a screwdriver" thing, very good advice. I am sure you didn't mean pulling the jugs to check for ring wear, but some folks might get the wrong idea. Some of us are old hands and would treat the bike well, but I know some who would turn every screw on the carb til they found one that makes gas drain. Then they would push it back and tell the seller it runs like shit. It probably does now that the air screw fell out on the push back. Then the seller is pissed cuz it ran good before. Then he sees the screw missing and a screwdriver in your pocket. That wouldn't be good.

Last edited by Gone; 22nd March 2010 at 07:06.. Reason: still pissed about healthcare lies, not typing well
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  #3  
Old 22nd March 2010
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Loner Loner is offline
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I always ask the seller buyer if it is okay to check the fluids most don't mind.
No I don't plan dismantling the bike down to the flywheels to check if they been balanced.
I've bought a lot of used bikes and bought some real clunkers and more than a few I put way more money into them than they are worth.
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Old 22nd March 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loner View Post
I always ask the seller buyer if it is okay to check the fluids most don't mind.
No I don't plan dismantling the bike down to the flywheels to check if they been balanced.
I've bought a lot of used bikes and bought some real clunkers and more than a few I put way more money into them than they are worth.
Don't get me wrong, you are right to check EVERYTHING you can "reasonably". But not everyone has as much experience as you and I. If permission is gotten beforehand, and the seller agrees, it's a great idea. You just forgot to add "get permission to check the fluids". If you've had a few bikes, you know what kind of damage, wrong adjustments, stripped fasteners, scratched paint, etc. a screwdriver can cause in the wrong hands. Not knocking you. I found fault with nothing else. If I am selling and you ride off with a screwdriver in your back pocket, and I don't know you, I'm gonna get real nervous. These check tips were written for someone who does not have much experience buying bikes, and that is good. We`all have different aptitudes and abilities.
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  #5  
Old 22nd March 2010
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Loner Loner is offline
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Sportster/Buell Model: XL883N
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Hasmat
I agree with you, I did not take it the wrong way. You make a valid point.
and this really for new people Cantolina suggested I post it.
I'm always open to suggestions, in fact I added your point. I took out the checking carb part that is a little advanced for a new person they would probably drain the tank.
BTW I never thought of keeping a baseball bat handy does it help with the negotiations?

Last edited by Loner; 22nd March 2010 at 07:34..
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  #6  
Old 22nd March 2010
Gone Gone is offline
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You obviously spent some time on it and it is good. Have a good night. See you on the road sometime. Take care.
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Old 22nd March 2010
jonnybravo jonnybravo is offline
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I bet he wishes he would have inspected his old lady that well first LOL
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  #8  
Old 22nd March 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hasmat View Post
You obviously spent some time on it and it is good. Have a good night. See you on the road sometime. Take care.
Thanks for your help.
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Old 22nd March 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonnybravo View Post
I bet he wishes he would have inspected his old lady that well first LOL
Yes, I wish they had "Carfax" for women, lol. That would have kept me out of two bad marriages. Sometimes you just don't want to know.......
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  #10  
Old 4th April 2010
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I will add I have no problems with buyer wanting to check things out, but not knowing them them I would offer to and removed a cover or wheel on a car ect so the buyer can look at what they like. I prefer this way as I know what I am doing, the buyer may as well but you do not know that. The one thing I make sure of is that they are not a tire kicker looking for a joy ride. I have no problem with someone wanting a test ride, but I make sure before they come they have cash with them before a test ride. You crash you bought it. I learned this one after a buddy was selling a bike and a guy came to test drive and wrecked it. Followed by not wanting to pay for it. Buddy had to take him to court and it was a mess. Guy did not have a licence and had no money to boot. I just am up front with a buyer before they come and tell them they are welcome to take as long as a test ride as they like as long as they have the cash on hand when they show up. This may turn some off but I rather be safe than sorry. Just my .02
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