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Here is something.
How many people have run into test driving a poorly kept bike when buying used?

My friends wife was looking for a bike as she had stopped trusting her husbands driving. lol

So her, him and I drive to a fella that had a bike for sale at a reasonable price and in the size she was looking for.
This guy shows us a pretty beat up cosmetically bike and tells us all about how he is a pro mechanic. My friends wife likes the bike and asks the guy if its ok to take it down the road to test it. He agrees so she throws her leg over to push the few feet out of the garage. As she taps the rear brakes I noticed the chain suddenly tighten and loosen back up. We get her of the bike and take a closer look and what do we find?

No nut on the axle!
No adjusters attached to axle!
If she was driving down the road and hit the brakes the whole wheel could have pulled right off!

Never let anyone tell you the bike is ok! Do your circle checks!
 

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Wow, that's scary. Y'all did walk away, right?
 

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I have never bought a new bike, always pre owned. I am very particular and the bike has to have maintenance records that can be verified with recpts. etc. If owner can produce I then take a very close look at EVERYTHING on the bike, if all seems legit I will then ask for a test ride preferably an extended ride of an hour or so, usually not a problem as I will leave cash with owner to cover loss if needed. I keep extensive thorough records of everything that is done on my bikes so when I am ready to sell the perspective new owner can see it has been well taken care of, believe me it helps resale.
 

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Don't really know a "reputable dealer" in my neck of the woods. Know quite a few guys who regretted what they bought from a dealer, it really is a crap shoot sometimes. I test road a V star for the first time at a dealer that was supposed to be a trouble free low mileage bike. It smoked, missed and backfired and almost turned me off to V stars. Glad I test rode a private owner bike that was well maintained, I bought that 1100 and it was a great bike. That 1100 and my current Roadstar Silverado have been the best bikes I have ever owned, love Star bikes.
 

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Years ago I was at a dealer and saw a cx500 Honda for cheap, so I thought, maybe? Asked for a test ride ,they said OK ,and down the road I went. It was missing and running very rough. I stopped mid ride to check and it was smoking real bad , then I saw it was leaking oil too! Went back and said ,no thanks, it wasn't that cheap. I lost some respect for that dealer, that they would try to sell something in that bad of shape.
 

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About 20 years ago i took a 1987 shadow for a test ride. I found it in the news paper before craigs list. I drove about 30 miles to the guys house on a saturday after work. He was asking $1500 it had 12000 miles on it. He just had a new battery tires on it. I got back and there were 4 guys waiting to see it. I disappointed them all and bought it. Rode that bike for about 10 years.
VTXXX 018.JPG
 

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I buy used but try to thumbnail them big time.

My klr was from a older guy who has physical issues.
I asked him if it has ever been dumped and he honestly told me "of course it has". Has crash bars and couple of scratches on them.
After a test ride, I bought it.
The used Roadstar I just bought had really low mileage it and took me 2 trips to the Yamaha dealer and each time I inspected it.
Due to all the snow on the ground, I could not test ride it but started it for a while, worked the clutch and went through gears.
 

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I got my two bikes from the previous owners

the VS650 from the original owner with 9k miles on it, guy in his late 60s who was giving up on riding

the Royal Star from the 2nd owner, who had it for 8 years and only rode it 2k miles - He had already given up riding and only rode it once a year to get it inspected

Here is the thing: you can save significant money buying a used motorcycle, enough to buy two motorcycles compared to buying one used from a dealer

but you have to know what to look for, you have to have mechanical experience, you have to know how bad bearings sound, and you have to know how the bike should ride

also you have to know the difference between minor problems that you can fix yourself easily and cheaply, and serious issues that will cost money to repair

I know some people will not buy a used motorcycle from the previous owner. There is nothing wrong with that - I have spent my entire life fixing my own cars and vehicles, tearing engines apart down to the crankshaft to repair them, so I have a lifetimes experience and knowledge.

I went to see a VS650 a few years ago, for sale for $1500 with less than 10k miles on it. The owner said it made a clicking noise. The bike looked great, I asked what the story was....

The bike had been leaking oil - he rode about 30 miles away to a concert, and on the way back at midnight it started making a clicking, tapping noise on the highway. When he looked at the bike the next day there was only about a pint of oil in the engine.

That was all I had to hear: bearings ran dry, engine is scrap: no sale at any price.I told him dont bother starting it up, dont need to hear it.

I know its tempting to think there are easy rules or guidelines you can follow, and thats all you need

for example: if the PO has all the service records and did regular oil changes, you are good...

but no... all it takes is for someone to change the oil once, get distracted, forget to put the new oil in, and start it up and ride a mile down the street
and they just put 100,000 miles of wear on the bearings in 1 mile

or for someone to blow a shift and kick it down from 4th to 3rd at 55mph, instead of shifting up, and the engine is redlined, pistons kiss valves, engine is destroyed

When you look at a used bike it does not matter what sounds the PO makes with his mouth, or what scribbling is on sheets of paper

all that matters is how the bike sounds, and how it rides - its either all there, or its not
 

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About 20 years ago i took a 1987 shadow for a test ride. I found it in the news paper before craigs list. I drove about 30 miles to the guys house on a saturday after work. He was asking $1500 it had 12000 miles on it. He just had a new battery tires on it. I got back and there were 4 guys waiting to see it. I disappointed them all and bought it. Rode that bike for about 10 years.
View attachment 91632
My first bike was an 85 Shadow. Those were GREAT bikes! Lots of fun and a very torquey water cooled V-Twin. Had a 6 speed overdrive too.
Of course, I did buy mine new though.
 

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KCW, I don't know anyone who would buy a used bike because the PO has all the service records or receipts that is exactly why I ask for extended ride when I buy a bike. A person could service the **** out of their bike but be an abusive rider who beats the crap out of their bike. If I am going to buy the bike it better 1.look good, 2.sound good mechanically, 3.ride like it supposed to ride. 4.have the maintenance records. Any one of those missing and I am walking. I know it sounds a little narrow minded especially the maintenance record part but I have found that most people who keep those records also are very meticulous about taking care of and maintaining their ride in top condition. jmho
 

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KCW, I don't know anyone who would buy a used bike because the PO has all the service records or receipts that is exactly why I ask for extended ride when I buy a bike. A person could service the **** out of their bike but be an abusive rider who beats the crap out of their bike. If I am going to buy the bike it better 1.look good, 2.sound good mechanically, 3.ride like it supposed to ride. 4.have the maintenance records. Any one of those missing and I am walking. I know it sounds a little narrow minded especially the maintenance record part but I have found that most people who keep those records also are very meticulous about taking care of and maintaining their ride in top condition. jmho
I usually put the mileage down in my cell phone for maintenance.
I usually don't put 3k miles a year on my bikes so I usually change the oil once a year.
 

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My first bike was an 85 Shadow. Those were GREAT bikes! Lots of fun and a very torquey water cooled V-Twin. Had a 6 speed overdrive too.
Of course, I did buy mine new though.
I had an 85 shadow also. I liked it so much i bought a 87 shadow just as nice but without the T shaped battery that was $75 back in the 80s. I bought my VTX used from the dealer. They wouldn't let you test drive unless you bought it. They said with my experience they would allow me to. I bought it and could return if i didn't like it. I drove it away and never looked back. Put over 25000 miles on the thing with no problems.
 

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I had an 85 shadow also. I liked it so much i bought a 87 shadow just as nice but without the T shaped battery that was $75 back in the 80s. I bought my VTX used from the dealer. They wouldn't let you test drive unless you bought it. They said with my experience they would allow me to. I bought it and could return if i didn't like it. I drove it away and never looked back. Put over 25000 miles on the thing with no problems.
Honda makes good bikes also. Owned a few myself.
T shaped battery? Sounds unusual.
 

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It was unusual and sucked to buy. It was so they could lower the seat height.

View attachment 91688
Wow. Looks like the center cells have longer plates too. Bizarre looking battery. I can honestly say I never owned a bike that took one of those!
Bet Walmart doesn't have those either.
 

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I don't know if the shape affects the performance. It is an odd duck. I pulled it out and thought what in the hell is this! Found out it cost about twice as much as a regular battery at the time.
 

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I don't know if the shape affects the performance. It is an odd duck. I pulled it out and thought what in the hell is this! Found out it cost about twice as much as a regular battery at the time.
I would imagine it might provide a couple more amps because of the longer plates in the center.
 
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