Tips on buying a used motorcycle including Hayabusa.

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Original Posting: 12 December 2004
Last Updated : 02 July 2012

Buying a used or 2nd hand motorcycle is a great way of getting the model that you really want at a discounted or cheaper price. Like cars buying a used motorcycle doesn't mean you have to settle for 2nd best either. For example some may have all the accessories you could possibly want, like hard luggage frames or panniers, tank protectors, chromed wheels, heated grips, higher wind shield and even cruise control and more.

However like all used vehicles, motorcycles or cars you have to wary about the condition.
The worst case scenario a seemingly immaculate condition bike with next to no kilometres may seem perfect however these are mechanical and something sitting for that long will required an amount of reconditioning. Tyres, battery and possibly brake, fuel spark plugs, and oil and cooling systems even official maintenance recalls will need to be examined and cleaned out or replaced before the bike can be ridden. Likewise looking at the best case scenario a high mileage motorcycle but looks reasonable may be a better choice because it's been properly maintained with new tyres and high value accessories.

So what to look for to get the best condition used motorcycle:
Condition of the tyres.
Condition of the suspension.
Condition of the chain.
Condition of the sprockets.
Condition of the oil.
Condition of brake fluid
Condition of the coolant.
Condition of all brake pads.
Condition of all brake rotors.
Condition of the fairing.
Condition of exposed engine casing.
Condition of frame and sub-frames.

If you take it for a test ride:
Check how quickly the engine starts up.
Check engine smoothness.
The exhaust sound nice and smooth and of course no back fires.
Note that each engine has it's own characteristics so extra vibes at some revs may just be normal. Eg. some have flat spots etc...
Check suspension hardness front and back.
Too soft is bad especially on a sports bike but some free play is perfectly acceptable though. Tourers should have moderate suspension travel and road motorcycle will have notable softer suspension as standard. Of course BMW's with telever is different. Check that suspension settings have not been turned to it maximum hardness when you test it. This probably means they are on the way out and need to be reconditioned or replaced.
Once warmed up check all the gears click in reasonably easily.
Many models have different gear change quality but gears should never slip out by themselves unless you haven't clicked them in properly.
Check the steering aligns with the tyres and steering completely straight.
Make sure it doesn't wander or tracks heavily in on particular direction taking the road camber and conditions into account.

If buying privately try to get a independent mechanical check. As the seller just be honest about the condition of the bike. It will be quicker to sell.

If buying from a dealer the sales person will probably not know the condition of the bike. Better dealers will have a checklist of details on each motorcycle they have.
Remember not every used motorcycles will be in pristine condition. You'd be living in fantasy land to even believe that. If you are persistent and do find one it will probably be better to buy a new one since the buyer will know they've got a good one too. But don't give up because half the fun is trying to find the right one! You never know what you'd find.

Since we're still trying to get some stability from the worst economic crisis since 1929 Great Depression you may find some very good deals both new and used. Just be careful it's legit though!

Since this is a Hayabusa site here's some tips I have learnt over the years on how to buy a used Hayabusa. There is no consistent or specific problem to the Hayabusa that I am aware of with Hayabusa. All problems are age related and can happen to any motorcycle rather than every Hayabusa. (Feel free to disagree) However just check any recall work has been does especially on early models since many don't have official servicing done due to planned modifications.

If the motorcycle has been substantially modified try to get it checked properly since most of the problems I hear of are from modified bikes.
More to come over the next few weeks.



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