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how can you tell if a motorcycle has been abused or not just by looking at it? can you still tell even if they have been cleaned up? what things will give away that it has been abused? i want this thread to be for everyone who is looking for a bike or who is new to buying a motorcycle so please i would like to hear from everyone. thanks
 

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V-twin anyone?
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I look for a dirty/rusty chain. Maybe not abused, but definitely neglected. . . a bastard bike.
 

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rash on the fairings, a careless hacksaw job disguised as an undertail kit, dry crusty dirt on the chain, cupped rear tire with cuts in the center tread, off-colored coolant or unable to even see coolant in the reservior, discolored brake fluid, signs of corrosion on brake discs, bent shifter, corrosion around the engine/trans (indicating it's been stored outside or ridden in rain excessively without being cleaned), rash on the mirrors or bar ends, black oil in the sight glass, loose head bearing, excessively scratched or faded paint (wasnt washed or waxed), lots of stickers, crash cage or tank grips (stunters).
 

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Official E-Thug
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THings I would look for these days:

No center tread, lots on the sides (depending on mileage and normal use of the bike) can mean burn outs galore
Loose chain
rusty chain
rough movement in - brake lever, throttle, clutch lever
choppy idle
hesitation when you rev motor
odd suspension feel/settings (possibly set to wheelie easier, could cause fork seal problems/leaking)
brake squeal *if you can ride it

thats about it that comes to mind without a lengthy test drive...

speak up folks! :)
 

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Eurofag
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Hams51 said:
I look for a dirty/rusty chain. Maybe not abused, but definitely neglected. . . a bastard bike.
I look at the chain as well, a rusty chain is definitely a no no, means it never gets lubricated or adjusted.

Put the bike on a paddock stand and run it through the gears, clutch 'bite' should be near the end of the lever movement, check the chain 'slack' and look at the rear sprocket for wear or 'rounding' on one side of the sprocket teeth.

Feel the front discs for scoring, they should be quite smooth so if they're badly scored then the bike's been ridden with knackered pads and the discs are damaged.

Another thing I always do is check for a service history from an authorised dealer, I'd be wary of a bike that's never seen a workshop and doesn't have dealer stamps in the service book.

Talk to the owner and get a feel for his attitude, how he rides etc etc..
 

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bomma said:
Talk to the owner and get a feel for his attitude, how he rides etc etc..
wow, +1 forgot about that. the guy I bought my bike from was extremely detail-oriented and obviously liked the bike a ton, it has turned out to be the perfect used buy. ask them general questions about their riding. you can tell a lot from just talking to someone.
 

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Eurofag
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GreenZED said:
....signs of corrosion on brake discs,
black oil in the sight glass,
....
..a bit of corrosion on the discs doesn't mean anything apart from maybe it's been left outside overnight...a 2 minute ride will get rid of that.

and black oil in the sight glass ?, isn't the oil black (through the sight glass) after only a few miles ?
:)
 

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Midnight Rider
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if you are looking for something that has been covered up, look at the screws. most people replace the part, but the screws are forgotten about. so a scratched screw might mean a dropped bike.

ask if he does the maintenece himself. if he says "maintenece? whats that?" stay away :p

also, i would check the cables, make sure they are tight.

see how many miles his tires last, it might indicate an aggressive riding style.

finally, keep in mind that these bikes were meant to go fast and turn hard. we all do it, as long as the bike is taken care of, it should run for a long time.
 

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bomma said:
Another thing I always do is check for a service history from an authorised dealer, I'd be wary of a bike that's never seen a workshop and doesn't have dealer stamps in the service book.
dealers :pisson

A lot of bike owners I know (including myself) take care of their bikes 1000x better than any dealership would. If the seller doesn't have service receipts but claims to do his/her own maintenance, ask for what has been done. If they don't mention anything beyond oil changes and lubing the chain, then be wary. If they start talking about how they regularly check chain tension, check sprockets, flush brake fluid, check spark plugs, do a carb sync, replace brake pads, etc, then there's a very good chance the bike is in great condition. Be sure to ask about the blinker fluid, too (to test them), hehe.
 

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So Sexy it hurts
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bomma said:
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and black oil in the sight glass ?, isn't the oil black (through the sight glass) after only a few miles ?
:)

Yes

Ducati's are the only sportbikes with oil that is honey colored after the very first start-up after an oil change because they have a dry clutch. I.E. no particles. All other bikes use the oil to lubricate the clutch (I.E. particles = black oil)

Look for rubber on the top of the swingarm and under the tail. It's pretty difficult to get burned rubber from a burnout off the swingarm and undertail.

Look for moisture around the forks, for a sign of maybe a blown seal (wheelies) and with the bikes front brakes locked, rock it back and forth to see if you have any head-play (wheelies)

Check the oil level & tire pressure too. Clear signs of either attention to detail, or neglect there.

The others are kind of "DUH :bitchslap "

Which would be scuffed fairings, broken tips on the levers, scuffed mirrors...that kind of stuff.
 

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ZRO BLNG
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Zip ties on the fairing.

New paint, non-factory color, missing graphics.

Missing rear views

Missing front turn signals.

Rust on fork tubes.

Worn sprockets/rust on chain.

When in doubt, ask the seller if you can take it to the nearest dealer for a once over.
 

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You can tell alot by the seller. Are they bragging about wheelies and stuff like that, generally immature. Also lok under the rear fender for rubber from burn outs.
 

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2000 VTR1000 Superhawk
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No limit hypocrite
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A repainted bike, that is obviously home done is a huge tipoff. If it looks like a professional paint job, clear coat, and everything, then ask questions like "how well does it stoppie?? Can I high chair in this? How long of a burnout will it do?" If he has the answers to these, then it has probably been ridden pretty hard.
If the paint job looks home done (spray can, no clear, ugly / boring design), then it is probably been reskinned after a couple crashes.
 

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ZRO BLNG
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You can get a rather professional paint job for as little as $500. What's 5 bills to you if you can cover up the fact the bike was stunted/crashed and sell it for $5000 or more?
 

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another dead give away is talk to the owner and see his personality, age doesnt neccessarily play a factor (but it does most of the time) if it's some young punk that goes 'yo yo yo dawg, mad tiite shizzo and brags bout doing wheelies all day, i wouldnt take the bike even if it was free, check out his garage/car or other belongings, if its fucked or funky it most likely reflects him and the bike
 
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