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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-11-2008, 08:23 AM Thread Starter
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Buying a bike.

Hey all, I thought I would drop some useful tips on buying a bike, feel free to add your own. If we get enough good info, I will make it a sticky.

When buying a bike, know what you want ahead of time if possible. Don't just walk in go "I want a 'Busa" if you are shopping for a first bike. My advice, buy used.

1. Cheaper
2. If you drop it, it won't hurt the pocketbook as much as a new one.

When buying a new bike, here a few things to look for.

Salesmen want to make money, plain and simple. They will push a bike no matter what and tell you anything to make the sale. I went through this a few weeks when a coworker was looking at a GSXR600. The salesmen tried to tell me the bike was never dropped. Upon looking at the bar end and the rear axle, I pointed that it in fact had been dropped. His response "Oh". And he still refused to go any lower on the price.

If you are going to a bike shop and are looking for a first bike, and are going used, here are few things to look for:

1. Scrapes on the frame, bar end, forks, axle. Fairings can be replaced, the frame, no.
2. Fairings with faded and new panels, paint looks new on one versus the other.

Always wear proper gear, dress for a crash, not for the ride!

Anyone else have anything to add?

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Last edited by Jester; 08-11-2008 at 11:50 AM.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-11-2008, 08:50 AM
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Salesmen use creative accounting, and there is no reason why you couldn't make it work for you. They will not want to lower the price, however they will often throw in a great many services that "Don't cost them anything" if you insist on them. So ask for spare parts on new bikes. Oil filters, Air filters, Brake pads, and other stuff you are likely to need. Act like a free set of brake pads will make the difference between you buying the bike and walking away. Get all the goodies you can in hand before signing. If you need gear, they will often hand out discounts on that too. They will instantly forget your name once it is written down.
Used bikes: Remember that aftermarket goodies only add to the value of the bike if you would put the same goodies on yourself. Thus, painting extra for a powdercoated frame only makes sense if you would shell your own money to powdercoat your frame. Incidentally, powdercoated frame is almost certainly wrecked. As is any bike with a custom paint job.
When looking at a used bike, keep tabs on wear items that need replacing, and give them a realistic dollar value. If the bike needs new tires thats $300. $200 more for chain and sprockets. $50 for brake pads. So when the seller tells you that bike is worth $4500, counter by saying it would be worth $4500 with all the wear items replaced, but since its going to cost you $550 to replace them, the bike is only worth $3950 as far as you are concerned.
Most importantly, remember, there is always another deal. It doesn't matter how good the deal looks, do not be afraid to walk away. And dont trust a thing the salesman tells you, especially with regards to new bikes. No the next years model will not be slower due to regulations, this is not the last generation of fast bikes on the market (yes I've heard that one). If the salesman offers a free <enter accessorie here> but you have to come back for it a week after you bought the bike, you will not get it.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-11-2008, 08:55 AM
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Maybe look for leaks, forks, case. If its at a dealer, they may have serviced the bike before, ask for a service report. MAke sure all the gauges work and ask to test drive it. Some places say no and some places say yes. Check chain and sprockets. This stuff may sound piddly but they will nickle and dime you.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-11-2008, 09:03 AM
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The first thing I'd look for is a spell checker, OP

Check for scrapes on the underside of pegs as well. While its possible the pegs were scraped by extreme angle, that would likely be seen on both sides and is probably another signal that the bike has had lots of strong use.

Two factors that will define the bike as having been well-worn are stunting and track days.

Stunting abuses the suspension parts and if the oil pickup wasn't properly modified, can cause the engine to run without oil. Stunted bikes are often dropped and damaged as the owner learns the skills. Clutches are sometimes used to up-end the bike and are worn prematurely. Stunted bikes usually show signs of scrapeage, as noted.

Tracking a sportbike is using it for what it is mainly designed for, so there's nothing really wrong with this concept but its probably worth less when compared to a bike driven on the street by a milder rider.

If the body of a bike is painted, I assume it has been crashed and if the seller indicates it hasn't, I move on. Some research into the seller can help determine validity of their claims of how it was ridden.

Aftermarkets parts should not increase the value of any bike unless they're the exact aftermarket parts you would put on it Even then you should greatly decrease their value in the overall deal and if the seller argues you can always suggest they put it back to stock and sell it to you that way.

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Last edited by kanwisch; 08-11-2008 at 09:05 AM.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-11-2008, 09:39 AM
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Great advice so far. Not sure if I can add anything new, but I'll put in my 2 cents.

Dealerships:
-As was stated, they are more likely to throw in goodies than lower the price of a bike, because they can charge it off to different departments. I've heard accessories (gear especially) is where they really make some money, so getting discounts on gear is pretty easy when getting a bike. I always bargain for a certain number of free oil changes on any vehicle I buy from a dealership. Also, if it is a used bike and they don't have service records, I will make sure routine service is done before I take it off the lot (word to the wise: check your axle nut to make sure it's tight).

-Salespeople will tell you anything to make a sale. They receive commission as part of their pay (obviously) plus they get incentives from manufacturers sometimes. A friend of mine that sold bikes for a short time said that Kawasaki gave her $100 for every Kaw she sold, on top of commission. So keep that in mind if a salesperson is pushing a particular brand.

-It is quite likely that if you've been riding for a while, you know more about bikes than the person trying to sell you one. They are just there to collect a paycheck, and keep the boss from having to negotiate every sale. In many cases, they can't tell you anything about the bike that isn't printed on the sticker. With used bikes, this can work to your advantage, though I don't recommend buying used from a dealership unless you're good at negotiating and know what the bike is really worth. The markup on used bikes is ridiculous. I was in the local shop a couple weeks ago, and saw an '05 GSX-R600 bone stock with about 6K miles. They were asking the same price that mine was marked for brand new.

-Also, don't trust that the dealership has taken the time to "thoroughly inspect" used bikes before rolling them back onto the floor. They don't. They fix extremely obvious things, clean them up and stick them out to sell.

Private sellers:
-This is where you can get the good deals, but you need to beware of a lot of things. Obviously, if the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Always meet up with the person face to face, and ask a lot of questions about the bike. You can probably figure out by their personality how they treat their bike. If it shows obvious signs of neglect on the outside, the internals probably aren't any better off. Check for the obvious signs of damage that others have listed, and see if they'll let you take it for a test ride. Some will, some won't (for obvious reasons). I'm currently selling a bike, and nobody is going to test ride it unless they hand me the cash first. If it comes back damaged, or doesn't come back at all, then I got my money.

That's about all I got for now, but if anything else pops in my head, I'll add it later.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-11-2008, 11:49 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snakesht View Post
Private sellers:
-This is where you can get the good deals, but you need to beware of a lot of things. Obviously, if the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Good one snakey, this happened to my coworker, he found an 07 Kawi 6R for $2500. Bike looked brand new in the pic. He called the number, no call back.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-13-2009, 12:09 PM Thread Starter
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If and when you decide to buy a bike, check for scratches and dents on the frame, engine, forks and swingarm. Just because the plastic look good, does not mean the bike was not damaged. You can buy plastics online and make the bike look new. If a frame is cracked, you are in for some trouble.

A coworker and I went to a bike dealership to look at GSXR 750. The salesman tried to tell is the bike was never dropped, I looked at the swingarm and not the axle bolt was ground down to almost nothing. The rear passenger peg was also scratched up, needless to say, my coworker did not buy the bike.

Help control the squid population, have your squid spayed or neutered

"it's not the smart ass behavior that gets to me... it's the dumb ass behavior that is a problem..." -Quote from my Aunt.

Only motorcycle riders understand why dogs stick their head out of car windows.

Last edited by Jester; 05-13-2009 at 12:13 PM.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-15-2017, 02:47 PM
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Beginner Bikes

There's an AMAZING shop called Filipacchi located on 23 Prince street in NYC where they sell great beginner bikes at very reasonable prices.
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