Originally Posted by VA_is_for_bikers
Hey all! I'm brand new to biking, and looking at an 02 1100 classic with about 4,000 miles on it from the original owner. Question:
If all other aspects were constant, would you prefer an older bike to have low miles (knowing it's been sitting quite a while), or high miles with a good maintenance record? I'm wondering if I would be buying a bike that would take a ton of maintenance to make it a reliable ride (tires, cables, seals, carb?). Thanks much!
Whatever you decide to do, make sure YOU keep up with maintenance.
Oil changes are the biggie but, TCLOCS is important, too. Be aware of your belt/chain/shaft. Your tires. Your controls. If you do it yourself, get to know people with your bike or similar and bug them about the not so obvious stuff, control cables, etc. Take it to the shop once a year and get to know those guys, ask them to check it over or what needs to be done. Doesn't mean you need to pay them $10,000 an hour to do it. They're riders, too. They wanna be helpful AND now, you're a face, a fellow rider, someone who is gonna get hurt if they let something go or screw up.
Or, if you're THAT guy, become an expert in your own bike. Know what every single bolt is and does and it's torque spec. Do ALL your own maintenance.
It matters what you get. It also matters what you do with it when you get it. A poorly maintained bike isn't necessarily a no go, within reason. You can't 'get back' whatever they lost in lack of maintenance but, if it runs good and shifts good, chances are their lack of oil changes wasn't fatal. If they let brakes go too long, new pads and rotors, their cost, can be negotiated out. Controls can be replaced if you're worried about them.
Modern bikes, someone who put 4,000 miles on it and let it sit for a few years with the old oil in it, that's not gonna be a problem, if ever, until tens of thousands of miles later. Especially if you keep up maintenance.