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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, one step closer to a potential purchase tomo when I test ride a '95 900. I have purchased two bikes before and I'm wondering what other people check when they test ride a bike. In the past I have just checked the obvious things, like the clutch does what it's supposed to and the brakes work. I also ride hands free to make sure the bike rides straight on its own.

What do other people check ? Is there a more scientific way to evaluate a bike ?
 

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I asked that question a while back and this was some of the response I got.

Things to check:
 

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If you're talking about riding, rather than just looking over the bike, here is my opinion:

I make sure the engine runs smoothly at all speeds, pulls strongly in the powerband, and doesn't feel weak anywhere. I make sure the brakes are strong and smooth, and I get into them slowly. I remember testing a CR-80 a long long time ago and almost crashing because the front brake had problems. And I was stupid enough to check it out without a helmet! I make a few turns with the bike just to make sure it feels right in both left and right turns.

There's not much more to it, unless you're testing a type of bike you haven't ever ridden before and you want to know if you would like one or not. Then you need to see how it feels at freeway speeds and maybe find some 50 mph turns to see how it behaves.

And it's probably lucky for the seller of my ST2 that I was unable to ride it when I bought it, because the tires were really screwed up and the rear was way out of alignment. I might have changed my mind on how much of a good deal it was. The engine was great, though. I've since put new tires on it and all is well now.
 

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a couple more:

ask to see it started cold. Starter problems are indicated if it's hard to start, runs really rough, etc. from cold (feel the pipe before someone starts it).

Take off the seat or look at really hard to 'get at' places. Covered with gunk? That's a good indicator of how well the owner maintained it; superficial polish or really lube and clean it up?

--Picky Detailer--
 

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Another easy check to look at when your riding, is to see if the handlebar risers are straight when you are riding in a straight line, you can easily see if one side is a little off when you are riding, when the MC is stopped, you naturally hold the handlebars straight, and the tire might not be straight, so you have to be moving to notice if something is tweaked. (Don't ask me how I know to check this simple thing) I bought my first motorcycle and didn't notice the slightly crooked handlebars, and the cracked paint around the frame welds, until I pulled the front tire to change a fork seal, and one fork sprung forward about 2.5 inches, and the other sprung back about 1 inch :eek: :'(. The motorcycle still rode and ran fine, but it drove me crazy to think that the MC had been wrecked and repaired, and I had payed too much for it. Good luck!
 
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This may be obvious to most people, but it is a subtle way to get an idea if the bikes been down.

Run your fingers across the bar-ends. If the bike has been down you will be able to feel it.

I know anyone can replace bar-ends, but I can't count the times I have been to shops and seen used bikes with scratched up bar ends. I even saw one of the mechanics bikes at my dealer. He had replaced a ton of stuff to make the bike look good again, but forgot about the bar ends.
 
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Discussion Starter #8
Wow - all good stuff - thanks heaps

Bike starts cold well enough - one of the things I had learned to check.

Also I checked the frame (Incl under the seat) and the welds but I was actually checking for rust (my '99 was an all weather commuter and had some) not repairs but everything looked great, will be having another look tonight.

I also always look at peoples bar ends because as Duc-Gasm says - for some reason people just dont replace them when they drop they're bike...

Guess the other thing I will be checking is to see if there's any throttle surge to indicate worn needless...

Looking forward to this test ride now although its been two months since I have ridden anythihng bigger than a 250cc so its going to seem like a rocket and prolly skew the senses somewhat.
 
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Discussion Starter #9
I late for this thread but i'm new here. The only thing I would add is I allways check the steering lock stops and flange carefully. Its hard to fix after a getoff and easy to see of you look for bent stops and really bunged up paint.
 

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