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Buying a bike? What to look for.


Korben
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Lifted from another site. I think it was from a Suzuki GSR forum, but can't be certain.




FIRST THINGS FIRST


• Resist the temptation to buy the first bike you see. Look at a few of them to get a better idea of the used bike market/options before you buy one.

• Bring a friend to help you stick to your guns, or to help you load your new bikes onto a truck, or as ballast in case the bike has a centerstand and you wish to inspect the front wheel. Bike-savvy friends may also notice things that you forgot to check. Make sure they also read this guide ahead of time.

• Bring a torch to aid inspection. Even in daylight.

• Request that the owner not have the bike warmed up when you get there, but tell him/her to make sure that the bike will start. If the owner asks why, tell them that you want to test the bike's ability to start when cold. (It's a lot easier for engines to start when pre-warmed.)

• You needn't follow these instructions in any particular order, or even follow them at all, but if you are going to read them, you should probably do so before you get to the seller's house. If you're new to motorcycling, you'll probably find a lot of the terminology complicated as noted previously, try to bring a friend, particularly one who knows bikes.

• Bring riding gear in case the seller will let you test ride the bike. (If you're new to motorcycling and don't have any gear yet, perhaps the bike-savvy friend accompanying you will be kind enough to bring his/her gear, and do a test ride for you.)

• You'll have to go through and carefully inspect used bikes being sold by dealerships, too, since many dealerships take used bikes as trade-ins, make minimal (if any) repairs, and mark the bikes up way over book value. It's up to you to find defects (and to know what the used bike's real value is!!) to get these vultures back down to a reasonable price. Think of it as a treasure hunt -- you're looking for the hidden secrets that will save you money.

• As a general rule of thumb, when work needs to be done to repair a problem with the bike, most dealerships charge around Eur 50/hour for labour, possibly more.

• In the text below, "left" and "right" refer to the rider's left and right sides when sitting on the bike.

• If you aren't really experienced with bikes, do some practice inspections! Find a couple of friends with bikes, and, pretending that you're at a seller's house inspecting a used bike, go over a couple of bikes in minute detail. You'll learn a lot about how bikes are put together, and you might even find some things that your friends missed. Take notes while you're doing the inspections, and go over your findings with your friends after each inspection.

• When you end up buying a bike, make sure you try to get everything related to the bike: the key and any spares that the seller has, any free/included spare parts, the owner's manual and service manual, etc. Having to go back to the seller to get stuff you should have remembered the first time is a pain. And you may find the seller far less accommodating after you've paid for the thing.


OVERALL APPEARANCE


• Does the bike look nasty? Cracks and scratches all over the thing? Appearance can be deceiving, but it should give you some indication of the general condition beyond what you can see.

• Do fasteners look stripped or gouged? Is everything loose and ill-fitting? You don't need to be a mechanic to tell when the person has mangled something on the bike. The bike should also be cosmetically symmetrical. (Not "symmetrical" as in "are there brake discs on both sides of the front wheel", but "symmetrical" as in, "are the mirrors, the plastic, the handlebars, etc. symmetrical, or do they seem to be askew?" Step back and sight down the centerline of the bike. If something looks obviously wrong (the mirrors stick out a different angles, the windscreen is tilted, the turn-signal stalks are ripped off the fairing, etc.), the bike has probably been crashed or fallen over hard.


HAS IT BEEN CRASHED?


• Look for: deep parallel scratches on engine cases and on plastic (particularly above footpeg-level); a different/non-standard paint job (the owner might have repainted it to hide damage); paint or metal ground off the ends of the handlebars, or off the balls on the ends of the clutch/brake levers; dents in the gas tank where the handlebars may have smashed into it during a crash; dents and deep/parallel scratches in exhaust pipes; turn-signal stalks bent or ripped off; cracks in plastic bodywork obscured by stickers. (Aftermarket stickers are sometimes used to cover defects -- beware!)

• Sometimes brake and clutch levers will be bent in a crash and replaced with a lever that's a different color than the other side, or a slightly different style than the other side, or it'll be hammered back into shape so it doesn't look obviously bent. (In the latter case, look for thin cracks in the anodizing or clear coats of levers... it'll look something like a spider web of hairline cracks.) Also look for bent or cracked mirrors, or mirrors replaced with mirrors of a different type. Both are signs that the bike has been down. Not necessarily crashed, but at least tipped over.

• Sometimes a crash will twist the front forks. Sit on the bike, sight down the forks, and see if they're at all twisted or bent.

• Non-parallel scratches and shallow chips tend to indicate a tip-over rather than a crash at speed.

• You may come across a bike that has horizontal scratches on its lower plastic and metal parts... this isn't necessarily a crashed bike, it could just be that the owner was an enthusiastic rider that leaned the bike way over when turning.


• Crashes can cause bodywork problems for two reasons. Besides scratching and cracking the bodywork, crashes can bend the bodywork's mounting brackets and break mounting tabs. Check to make sure that bodywork pieces that fit together do so easily and have an even seam where pieces come together. And check to make sure that the bodywork isn't loose, either because mounting tabs were broken off or because aftermarket fairings might not mount up as well as the stock ones.


BRAKES


• Put the bike in neutral. Roll the bike forward, gently apply the front brakes. They should engage (and the lever should move) smoothly. (Though you may hear a click as the brake-light switch engages.) Now release the brake lever and roll the bike... Are the brakes off, or are they dragging? (They should be off.) If not, the brake calipers need work. Stand in front of the bike with the bike in neutral. Grab the front brake lever and squeeze it hard against the handlebar. As you're doing this, try to drag the bike forward by the handlebars. (You may want someone behind the bike to stabilize it.) Do the brakes prevent the front wheel from moving? They should.

• If you squeeze the front brake lever and it comes all the way back to the bar without much resistance, something's very wrong. Try adjusting the lever, if you know how (look for a little dial near the pivot). If this doesn't fix it, or you have to pump the brakes a lot to get them to work, the system is either empty, full of air bubbles, or something is amiss in the master cylinder or caliper. Check to make sure that there's adequate pad thickness.

• Rear brake... roll the bike forward, use the rear brake to stop the bike. It should also engage smoothly. If the rear brake is a drum brake (no exposed brake rotor), is the wear indicator needle inside or outside the "usable range" indicator when the brakes are applied? Outside, of course, means the brakes are worn out.

• Check remaining brake pad material.

• Brake fluid should be a very light amber. Darker than honey means it's time to replace the brake fluid. Not expensive, but possibly an indication that the owner hasn't followed the maintenance schedule.

• Inspect the brake hoses for nicks, cuts, dry-rot, and leaks.


CLUTCH


• Ask the owner how many miles it's been since the clutch cable was changed. Owners who keep close tabs on bike maintenance will know. That's a good sign. Most owners probably don't know. If there's a little slack in the clutch cable, and you can move the lever 5-10mm or so before the cable goes taut, that probably just means that the cable adjuster needs a turn or two.

• Put the bike in first gear, squeeze the clutch all the way in, roll it forward. It should feel like neutral, with possibly a little more resistance. Slowly let the clutch out and feel for the friction zone. Clutch engagement should be fairly smooth, not abrupt. Put the bike back in neutral.

• If the bike has high miles (45,000 km +) ask if the clutch has been changed.

• Some larger-bore bikes will have a hydraulic clutch instead of a cable-operated clutch. If this is the case, check fluid color and level through the master cylinder's sight glass. Fluid should be a very light amber, like the brake fluid, but both are pretty easy to change.


FUEL TANK


• Look for: dents as noted above. Open it up, look for rust and/or loose sediment. Rust/sediment is bad -- it clogs carbs. Bikes with rusty tanks need to have the rust removed... drop the price. You should open the tank up and see light-amber colored fuel and bare metal. If you see a milky paint-like coating on the insides of the tank, the bike has had rust removed and the insides of the tank recoated. Make sure it runs -- sometimes this recoating can clog the fuel's path out of the tank. Many people swear by it, but I'd pay a little less for a bike with a tank that's been recoated.


• Dark (coffee or tea-colored) fuel has been sitting around for a long time. Not a good sign. Get it changed immediately, and anticipate needing a thorough fuel-system cleaning.

• Make sure the lock in the fuel filler cap is working.


SEAT


• Look for: tears in the vinyl cover. Seats with cracks and tears retain water and get your backside wet many days after the last rain.

• Seats (or tailsections) typically use a locking release (like the fuel filler cap) to prevent vandals from messing with your bike's electrical stuff. Make sure the release works with your key.


TYRES


• Ask the owner how many years and miles the tyres have. The owner should know. (Bad sign if (s)he doesn't!) The tyres should have at least 1/8" of tread left, preferably more. Squared-off tyres, any signs of dry rot (really fine cracking -- look really close!), bald tyres (no tread), knobby tyres with worn down and rounded knobs... they all need to be changed. Tyres worth using aren't cheap, but they're your sole source of traction, your only connection to the road -- do not cut corners here!


• How do you know how old the tyres are? All tyres have an industry-standard dating code stamped on them. Look for digits stamped into the mold on the rubber sidewall of the tire. The date code for tyres made prior to 2000 is: "WWY", where WW is two digits denoting the week of the year, and Y is the last digit of the year. A tire produced on May 30th (the 22nd week) of 1996 would be stamped 226. (A tyre produced on May 30th of 1986 would also have a code of 226, but will probably have a ton of dry rot.)

• As of 2000, the date coding system has changed a bit. All tyres are still required to be stamped with a DOT number on at least one sidewall, but now there's more data. Look for a code that starts with "DOT" and has up to 12 letters and numbers. The last four numbers are the date code in the format: "WWYY", where the WW two digits denote the week of manufacture, and the YY denotes the last two digits of the year. So a date code of "DOT913ACX3C2200" would have been manufactured in the 22nd week of '00. If the three/four digit stamp you found doesn't make sense with this scheme, you're not looking at the date code stamp. Keep in mind that both tyres will have this date marking (possibly/probably different), and that tyres should be replaced at least every third year, or whenever they have damage that threatens their integrity. (Punctures, cuts on the sidewall, excessive wear, dry rot, etc.) Frequent tire inspection could very well save your life.


ELECTRICAL & BATTERY


• Check to make sure the headlights (high/low) work. Make sure the indicators work, make very sure that the oil pressure light comes on when you turn on the ignition, and goes out when the engine starts! Make sure the neutral indicator light works. Make sure the starter works. Make sure the brake levers light up the brake light. Make sure the horn works.

• Basically, check all the switches as well as the signalling and instrument-cluster lights. (Bulbs are pretty cheap to replace.)

• If the bike has one, you should also test to make sure that the sidestand's engine cut-off is working.

• If the headlight gets brighter as the engine revs, the battery could be discharged (or dead), though it's probably more likely that the voltage regulator is faulty. Don't compare brightness at idle to brightness at 10,000 rpm... compare ~2,500 rpm to ~7,000 rpm.)


SUSPENSION


• Ask the owner how long it's been since the fork seals have been changed (miles and/or years.) They should probably be changed every 15-20k miles. Replacing them is not necessarily a complicated fix, but it is if you don't have the right tools, and most people don't. Straddle the bike, grab the front brake, and push down vigorously on the forks. They should go down and come back up with some resistance. Do this a few times. Inspect the chromed fork legs. They should a) be smoother than a baby's bottom with absolutely no scratches, nicks, or roughness, and b) be utterly and totally devoid of little oil droplets. (Some nicks/scratches/gouges/surface rust can be polished off, but if they can't, new fork legs can be expensive. Have a professional mechanic advise you on what the prognosis is.) If, after bouncing the forks, you see little rings of dirt, that's probably fine, but wipe them off with a rag and bounce the front suspension a couple more times. Not good if you see oil left on the fork legs after you do this.

• Check the steering head bearings and swingarm bearings as mentioned in the section on centerstand checks, below. (If the bike doesn't have a centerstand, you might be able to use a jack or work stand to raise the bike off the ground, but be very careful not to damage a bike that you don't own.)

• The suspension should move up and down almost silently if you bounce it up and down. Clunking or squeaking noises are bad. Binding is very bad. Run away.

• Suspension fluid needs to be changed every year or two, as it tends to break down and thin-out over time. Ask the owner how long it's been since the fork oil has been changed. (The suspension oil in the rear shock of most bikes isn't generally user-serviceable, but should be changed periodically by a professional suspension shop nevertheless.)

• Get someone to stabilize the front of the bike, you stand behind it. Push down on the bike's grab rail (or passenger seat), hard. The bike should spring back up, but with a little resistance. If you don't feel any resistance at all (like you're just pushing down on a spring), it's time to replace the rear shock. (Reasons: either a seal has failed inside the shock, or the oil has broken down so much that it doesn't provide useful resistance.) If you're not sure if you'd know a blown rear shock if you felt one, don't worry about this one. But do this to all the bikes you look at (including new bikes at dealerships) and you'll know what a rear shock should feel like.


WHEELS


• Look carefully around the circumference of both sides of both wheels and look for dents. It's usually easier to tell if the wheels are dented when they're spinning. So get them up in the air and spin them, if possible. Remember to check both sides.

• If you can get the wheels in the air, see if the wheels spin freely. Wheels that drag could be either blown wheel bearings or dragging brakes. Some brake drag is normal, so examine this on a number of bikes and you'll know when something is out of the ordinary. (In general, though, wheels spun fairly hard should spin for a couple of seconds before stopping. Rear wheels won't spin as long, since they'll be giving up some of their energy towards overcoming chain/belt/shaft friction.)


CHAIN/SPROCKETS (and belts)


• Grab the chain at the rearmost point on the rear sprocket (warning: greasy!) and pull backwards. If you can pull it off the sprocket enough to expose half of a sprocket tooth (or more), it's time for a new chain. Some rust on the side plates of the chain is fine, but the rollers (the round middle part) should be shiny and smooth.

• Sprocket teeth should be absolutely symmetrical -- they'll tend to get hooked as they wear. Look at some of the exposed teeth from the side to check the individual teeth for hooking. Don't forget to check the front sprocket, too, if visible. (It's often covered.)

• Chains and sprockets should ALWAYS be replaced at the same time, a worn chain will wear new sprockets and worn sprockets will wear a new chain.

• If the bike has a centerstand, put the bike in neutral, raise the rear wheel in the air, and you can check the chain condition. By spinning the rear wheel slowly (by hand, never with the engine), you can feel for tight spots and other problems.

Spin the wheel a bit, stop it, check the chain for kinking or tight spots. Spin the wheel a bit more, repeat. Tight spots and kinked/frozen links probably indicate the need for a new chain. If the bike doesn't have a centerstand and you're feeling brave, put the side stand down and have someone lean the bike over so that the sidestand is holding the rear wheel off the ground. Then do the aforementioned test of chain smoothness.


EXHAUST


• Look for holes (from a crash or from advanced rust.) Sometimes you can hear exhaust leaks, usually as a sort of staccato "chuffing" sound made as exhaust pulses escape through the rust hole.

• Rust on the exhaust is usually on the surface only, and thus merely cosmetic, but advanced rust (older bikes?) may have caused holes in the exhaust pipes, requiring replacement. It is possible to patch holes in exhaust pipes, but it rarely looks good, and it also rarely makes sense -- often the pipes rust in a number of places, not just one. It probably isn't worth it to patch them all, but that's up to you and your local exhaust shop.


ENGINE/FLUIDS/CARBURATORS


• Did the seller warm up the bike before you got there? (See if the engine cases are warm, but they might be hot, so be careful and don't get burned. Engines will stay warm for a couple of hours; exhaust pipes get MUCH hotter much faster but cool quickly.) A pre-warmed engine might have been started & warmed-up to mask cold-starting problems, so this might be a good thing to check first... then you can let the engine cool down as you test other things, and get back to checking the engine after it's had a little more time to cool. In particular, if the bike you're going to look as is a kick-start, make sure you can kick-start the engine when it's cold.

• The engine should start uneventfully (with some choke, if it's cold) and sound reasonably good. If you hear obviously bad sound like loud clacking sounds or sounds like shaking a coffee can full of marbles, run away and don't look back. The engine should rev smoothly off idle. Don't redline the thing, but after it's fully warmed up, twist the throttle and see what happens. Hesitation & stumbling = carburation problems. A test ride will help you gauge whether or not these will be easy to live with. The throttle grip, when released, should snap closed sharply, no matter how the handlebars are turned. Try turning the bars full-lock left and right, and test cable action at both extremes as well as in the middle. Resistance at the extremes but not in the middle is probably just a cable routing issue. Half an hour of labour -- if that -- to fix. If the cable moves with resistance everywhere, the problem is probably the carbs, not the cables themselves. See below. While the bike is running, and in neutral, turn the bars -- does the engine rev without even twisting the throttle? Cable routing problem. When you give the throttle a little blip with the bars turned all the way, does the engine rev and keep revving? Cable routing problem.

• The oil level should be visible through a sight glass or dip-stick, typically on the right side of the engine. Make sure the level is between the upper and lower edges of the glass (or marks on the stick) when the engine has been off for at least a few minutes and the bike is on level ground. Way too low or too high is very bad, but just outside the range probably hasn't caused any damage. The surface level doesn't have to be right in the middle, but it should be visible through the glass. Ask the owner when the oil was last changed. The owner better know. As far as frequency goes, at least every 5k miles or 6 months is fine, and always before storing the bike for a while (e.g., before the winter).

• Checking oil color...

- honey-colored: very recently changed (fades to black with time/use)

- black: old oil -- ask owner when it was last changed

- white milky streaks: water is leaking into the oil (see below)

- grey oil: lots of aluminum particles in oil (semi-OK on dirt bike, not OK on street bike)

- shiny metal flecks: run away -- major abnormal engine wear

• If the throttle cable twists with a lot of resistance (and then won't snap closed), there are a couple of possibilities, none of which is really good news:

- The carbs may be hopelessly gunked up with fuel and varnish. If the bike won't start, that definitely points to this possibility (rather than either of the next two.)

- The handlebar itself may be slightly bent, preventing the twistgrip's throttle tube from sliding well. Look very closely -- sometimes it's hard to tell unless you really scrutinize it (or remove the throttle tube.) Bent handlebars are a good indication that the bike was crashed and may have other crash damage. Be on the lookout.

- The throttle cables may partially seized, or simply routed improperly. This may mean that the carbs are fine. It's very hard to check while you're visiting a prospective acquisition, but try straightening cables or untwisting them and see if the behavior changes substantially. If straightening them or untwisting them makes them slide a little easier, they're probably routed around the frame the wrong way (hamfisted home mechanic alert!), and they can be fixed fairly easily. If not, new cables will probably run you about Eur 50 each, plus about half an hour of labour to install.

CENTERSTAND CHECKS


• If the bike has a centerstand, you can test some other stuff. Put the bike up on the centerstand, have someone sit (or push down hard) on the passenger seat so the front wheel lifts in the air, then grab the sides of the front axle and try to move the front wheel forward and back (not twisting.) It shouldn't be able to move in this direction. The front wheel should rotate from full-lock left to full-lock right without binding (improper cable routing?) or feeling notchy (worn-out steering-head bearings ... see below.)

• Bad steering head bearings will feel faintly notchy, typically when the handlebars are centered. Potholes and hard landings (from jumps or wheelies) can cause little dents in the steering-head bearing races. These little dents will make the bearing feel notchy as you (slowly) rotate the bars past the notched point. With the front wheel in the air, move the bars back and forth slowly, feeling for notches. (Make sure that cables and control wires aren't causing any irregularities that you may feel.) If the steering head bearings are notchy, they need to be replaced -- figure on Eur 60-80 of parts and 2 hours of labour.

• Spin the front wheel and apply the brakes ever so gently. There shouldn't be a pulsating feeling from the pads. A pulsating feeling at the lever means new brake rotor(s); a pulsating sound (by itself) is probably nothing, but it could be an indication that the rotors are warped, and you should make an effort to test them at speed. Checking the rotors by spinning the wheel is pretty hard to test reliably, but do your best. Spin the wheel hard and apply the brakes gently so they slow down rather than just *stop*.

• Next... put the front wheel back on the ground and grab the rear axle. Try to move the axle side to side. (You're checking for wear at the swingarm's pivot.). You shouldn't be able to move the swingarm side-to-side independent of the whole chassis. If you can, the swingarm bearings are badly worn.

• Check axle alignment. Hard to do 100% properly without a pair of 8' straight-edges, but look at the axle alignment marks on the sides of the swingarm and/or sight down the rear wheel to see if it's in line with the front one. Not something that's easy to detect, and it'd probably suffice to just look at the axle adjustment marks on each side (look for hash marks on the swingarm, right near the axle.)


SERVICE


• Ask the owner if the bike has been serviced according the manufacturer's specifications, and, if so, for service receipts as verification.

• If you feel uncertain about the bike's condition, it's not unreasonable to request that the seller take the bike to a mechanic of your choosing for inspection -- at your expense.


QUIZZING THE SELLER


• When the seller is going over the bike, giving you his sales pitch, try to ascertain whether or not this person really cares about the bike's condition. When you come across something wrong -- say, a handlebar that got slightly bent in a parking lot tip-over, does the owner seem to think that it's no big deal and doesn't need to be replaced, or did the owner point it out himself, and acknowledge the fact that it needs fixing? Try to figure out if the owner seems like the kind of bike-savvy person who maintains his bikes well, or someone that doesn't keep up with scheduled maintenance and just gets a different bike when he's worn one out. You can often tell a lot about someone through intuition alone.


Ask the owner:

• Has the bike ever been down?

- If the seller says, "no," but you see evidence of crash damage, ask the seller to explain.

• Has the bike ever been raced?

- If the seller says, "no," but you see safety wire, tyres with ragged edges, aftermarket case guards, etc., there better be a good explanation.

• When was the oil last changed?

- Street bike oil should be changed at least every 5000 miles or six months, whichever comes first.

• What is the maintenance history of the bike?

- Is the bike overdue for regular servicing, like a valve adjustment, a carb sync, etc? (If the owner hasn't lost the bike's owner's manual, open it up and look at the maintenance schedule to see if it was followed properly.)

• How old (years & miles) are the tyres? Ask the seller if he thinks the tyres are good.

• What modifications were made to the bike?

- Heavily-modified bikes should probably be avoided.

• Come right out and ask the seller:

- Why are you selling the bike?

- Is there anything wrong with this bike?

- Is there anything wrong with it that you haven't pointed out?

- Are there any maintenance/safety issues that I should be aware of if I buy this bike?

- What work would you do on the bike if you were going to keep it for another year or two?

- Is there any reason I shouldn't buy this bike?

Sometimes the simple act of asking these questions in a very blunt manner will get the seller to reveal things that they didn't think of -- or didn't plan on mentioning.

• Warning sign: if the seller's main selling point is that the bike is "really fast", there's a better-than-average chance that you're talking to someone who abused the bike. Beware.

• Paranoia department: How do you know that the bike actually parts that the seller claims it has? Be careful, especially if the seller seems unscrupulous. Just because the seller claims that the bike has MegaPowerBlast cams (or some other internal part that you're not going to see) doesn't mean that it does. Ask to see a sales receipt. (Putting an aftermarket manufacturer's sticker on a stock component is a lot cheaper than buying the aftermarket upgrade.)


ACCESSORIES, PRICE, and DEALING


• If the owner has lost the owner's manual and/or tool kit, drop a little money off the price of the bike. They're definitely nice things to have, particularly if you're new to riding.

• Similarly, even if you don't plan to do work on the bike yourself, it's nice to have a service (or "shop") manual, and I'd recommend picking one up even if the owner isn't selling one with the bike. You can learn a lot about your bike this way. Factory service manuals are usually the best, but Haynes sell manuals for most models. Honda publishes a "Common Service Manual" for all their bikes (excellent and applicable to other makes too!), and a separate, smaller publication with specifics for each model. (You'll probably want both.)

• Sometimes the owner will have added accessories to the bike and will use them to justify an inflated price at sale time. Helmets, Exhaust pipes are another common example. The important issue is, would you pay extra for the accessories? If you don't really care about the accessories, they have no value to you, and you shouldn't pay more for them. If you want them (if you value them), only then are they worth paying more for. Note that "more" doesn't mean "more than the seller is asking", but "more than a base-line bike without these accessories." If the seller isn't willing to deal, find a bike that doesn't have said accessories, and you won't have to pay more for stuff you don't want.

• Some accessories are very nice to have, but you need to make that decision for yourself. Here are some examples:

• Most used bikes are sold "OBO" ... or best offer. Offer a little less than how you value the bike, and see if you can come to an agreement somewhere close to where you value the bike. And remember, Eur 50 or 100 means very little in the long run. Be flexible.

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  • 2 months later...

Hi Korben,

let me add some points that I think are also worth considering:


Where is the next place you can have the bike serviced ?


Lets be honest - doing everything yourself is cool - but hey - do we all have the knowledge ?

Dont tell me your friend has. He may move to another city - what do you do then ?

So its always good to have a good service place close to you. Not like 30 or more miles away.

If its your first bike - go and ask the people in your area. You will be surprised how man identical opinions you will get. Sure there is always one or two that have a different opinion - but keep asking.


Then - will it fit my budget? Hate to touch this topic but a cool bike in the garage because you can pay for a spare part is worthless!


Determine for yourself - Are you a poser or a biker ?

If you like to bike - pretty much any bike will do.


Spare parts !

Here in Germany the Suzuki Bandits (hopefully you know which bike I mean) is very wide spread.

That has a few big advantages.

1. In the case of a defect, spare parts are available

2. Many service people know the modell and have an idea of what might be wrong (just in case)

3. If you want to sell it you chances are way better since there are many other happy owners that will recommend just that modell in case they are asked "What should I buy?"


Back to posing:

DONT buy too big !


Start off with 500cc or something comparable and get used to it !


Last but not least - Ride safe !

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