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Discussion Starter #1
Hey Everyone!

Short intro and a question at the end, but I will search the forums after to see if the specific answer is here as well. Bought a 2006 Katana in 2011 and put 18k miles on it afterwards. Was a great first bike, but I wanted to move to something more sitting cruiser than a sport bent over feel. So now my wife and I are looking to buy a couple of bikes. This will be her first bike, although she was with me for a lot of the 18k I put on my Kat.

I am 5 weeks away from graduating with my B.S. in IT Networking. We used to live in GA in Warner Robins, but my wife is Air Force (I am ex-Army) so we had to move to Northern Cali when she got orders to PCS. We are loving the Cali weather, even being up in the northern part it stays warmer than Georgia, but without the humidity.

We are looking at a few bikes and one that caught my wife's eye is a 2006 Suzuki M50. Seems like a good bike to learn on from the reviews I have read. She won't be on the interstate, mostly on base so not worried about any top-end speed. My concern is that it is a 2006 with only 7500 miles on it. The low miles makes made me think it probably has sat for a while and wasn't sure if they stored it properly. I have seen a 2008 V-star 1100 with 15k miles on it. I was wondering if anyone has one of these or has any recommendations (positive or not) on this bike. Coming more of a sport bike, the CCs on the cruisers confuse me a bit, so I am wondering if 11 is fine? I was thinking after my wife gets into riding, if nothing else she could move up to the V-star and I could get a higher CC bike if I need to.

For the M50, normal maintenance has been done, but the fuel pump has also been replaced. When I asked about the fuel pump they said it leaked because gas sat in the bike too long. This makes me wonder if there could be other issues that the sitting gas caused. I was going to use a mirror and check the gas tank for internal rust, but other than that what issues could sitting gas cause? The bike is fuel injected and shaft driven. I cam from Carbs (which drove me nuts) and a chain, so the shaft is new to me as well. I am in no way a mechanic, but I don't mind learning with the proper direction.
 

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Welcome to the forum from PA!

As for the low mileage on the bike, I wouldn't worry too much. If you aren't that mechanically inclined to inspect the bike yourself, do you have any friends that could look at it with you?

A couple tips...

If the bike was stored with a full tank of fuel with fuel stabilizer, the tank and fuel systems should be okay. First step is to look in the tank for rust, as you have stated. Next step is to see how the bike fires up when it is cold. Make sure that the owner doesn't fire up the bike and warm it up before you get there as that may disguise any cold start issues. Very easy check - is the engine warm when you arrive to look at it.

Another thing I have come to know... If the bike's paint looks faded or the seat looks excessively weathered, the bike was probably not stored properly. If the paint is "contaminated"-gritty looking- but clean, it probably wasn't stored correctly. Also look for dirt buildup in the difficult to clean areas. That's where you'll be able to tell if it was cleaned and stored properly. A little dust in those places is GOOD as you know it wasn't just fully detailed to hide poor storage.

The low mileage may just be from lack of riding by the owner due to some personal reason - injury illness, etc. or personal problems. Don't discount the bikes with low mileage, there are a lot of good low mileage bikes out there that just weren't ridden because maybe the owner didn't enjoy that bike or (hard to believe) riding at all.

Good luck finding bikes for you and your wife.

3G

:71baldboy:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the tips 3G. Unfortunately since we just moved here 7 months ago, our friendships extend mostly to our neighbors and her coworkers, which while a few ride, none of them actually fix the bikes themselves . . . that I know of.

The owner of the M50 sounds a bit older and she had said that she started having back issues and couldn't ride without discomfort. The bike has been stored at her friends house for a while from what I can tell. It looked to have some dust on it from sitting, but the body, paint, and seat looked great . . . in the pictures. I will ask them not to start the bike prior to us getting there. We will be the only people coming to look at it (tomorrow night), but there are a few scheduled to look at it Saturday.

So since the fuel pump was replaced, do you think it could point to no stabilizer being put in it?
 

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So since the fuel pump was replaced, do you think it could point to no stabilizer being put in it?
That would be weak speculation at best. Without seeing the old pump there is no way to determine why it leaked.

I'd say the fuel tank rusting is gonna be your biggest concern in the long haul. If it isn't rusted, rubbers (engine hoses, tires, etc.) aren't dry rotted and the gas is good, the bike cold starts and runs well and the fuel doesn't stink of age, there shouldn't be any more fuel system problems.

3G
 

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Discussion Starter #7
That would be weak speculation at best. Without seeing the old pump there is no way to determine why it leaked.

I'd say the fuel tank rusting is gonna be your biggest concern in the long haul. If it isn't rusted, rubbers (engine hoses, tires, etc.) aren't dry rotted and the gas is good, the bike cold starts and runs well and the fuel doesn't stink of age, there shouldn't be any more fuel system problems.

3G
Alright! Again, thanks for the reply.

I just ran across the thread for the "buying a used bike checklist" and am about 3 pages into reading that. Great advice in that thing. I am going to do what others have done and print that out and maybe make some modifications since they talk about a chain and I am looking at a shaft driven bike. Although, not really sure what to look for in the shaft, so maybe there is more in that thread.

Just talked to the lady with the bike and she said it wouldn't be started today or tomorrow so I could get a cold start tomorrow night and look for some of the issues that are described in that thread.
 

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Alright! Again, thanks for the reply.

I just ran across the thread for the "buying a used bike checklist" and am about 3 pages into reading that. Great advice in that thing. I am going to do what others have done and print that out and maybe make some modifications since they talk about a chain and I am looking at a shaft driven bike. Although, not really sure what to look for in the shaft, so maybe there is more in that thread.

Just talked to the lady with the bike and she said it wouldn't be started today or tomorrow so I could get a cold start tomorrow night and look for some of the issues that are described in that thread.
I wouldn't worry about the shaft. Check the fluid level and condition in the final drive. (It should be clean, not smell burnt, no metallic particles - it'll shimmer, and not foamy). A road test will reveal any other issues in the shaft drive.

The shaft drive will feel different than the chain or belt drive, but you'll get used to it quickly. I prefer a shaft drive myself, but have a belt drive now. I've owned belt drive, shaft drive and chain drive bikes.

3G
 

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Welcome aboard, if you get the M50 you will need tires. They are probably original based on the mileage. You can check the date of manufacture. The last 4 digits of the DOT stamp are the week and year of manufacture.

Unless the tank is very rusty you should just need to drain the gas, lines, clean the filters, add new gas (with a little seafoam or some other cleaner). Ride it close to home for a while make sure everything is okay. If it is not rusty I would still add a cleaner.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Welcome aboard, if you get the M50 you will need tires. They are probably original based on the mileage. You can check the date of manufacture. The last 4 digits of the DOT stamp are the week and year of manufacture.

Unless the tank is very rusty you should just need to drain the gas, lines, clean the filters, add new gas (with a little seafoam or some other cleaner). Ride it close to home for a while make sure everything is okay. If it is not rusty I would still add a cleaner.
Thanks for the welcome!

Yeah, I was thinking the tires would be old, but just another way to get a price drop :). The rust, I just don't know if I want to deal with it at all. If there is rust and I can get them to drop the price far enough, I might consider it. Hoping there isn't rust though lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Welcome aboard, if you get the M50 you will need tires. They are probably original based on the mileage. You can check the date of manufacture. The last 4 digits of the DOT stamp are the week and year of manufacture.

Unless the tank is very rusty you should just need to drain the gas, lines, clean the filters, add new gas (with a little seafoam or some other cleaner). Ride it close to home for a while make sure everything is okay. If it is not rusty I would still add a cleaner.
I wouldn't worry about the shaft. Check the fluid level and condition in the final drive. (It should be clean, not smell burnt, no metallic particles - it'll shimmer, and not foamy). A road test will reveal any other issues in the shaft drive.

The shaft drive will feel different than the chain or belt drive, but you'll get used to it quickly. I prefer a shaft drive myself, but have a belt drive now. I've owned belt drive, shaft drive and chain drive bikes.

3G
Just thought I would let you guys know that the bike was basically mint! The tires were brand new, no rust in or on anything, minus the back of the brake pedal, which could be accounted for puddles on the road. The rust wasn't bad, so wasn't an issue for me. The check list helped me not forget anything and made me look like I knew a lot more than I actually do. The bike rode like a dream and it is a perfect height for my wife once she gets her license. I liked the bike so much, I am now looking for something just like it for me lol. Bringing the bike home Saturday afternoon.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
It's only "money......."

Buy NEW bikes!!

-Soupy
Buying a new bike to me is like putting a 16 year old in a brand new car. Once she learns to ride and is confident, perhaps we will get her something new, but I doubt that will be anytime soon. Besides, this bike could go for $1000 to $2000 more than we bought it.
 

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Hey, I got a rule of thumb...
Welcome, and never get a girl anything over a 650, they are to weak to handle anymore power than that. tell you what, I am 5'10" weigh over 200, and I am stout. The 1100 is a chore, weighs 600+ pounds and is even hard to start off on... it ain't all down hill oK? especially for a new girl rider, who is kind of being pushed by daddy-oH. So let her choose the bike K? After all shes the one who has to learn to ride it.PS-my personal statement is to not encourage them, they might look nice on a bike, be great company on a lonely ride, but I had 4 older sisters, and I am scared sh8tless of what they might do if things got a bit hot under the collar.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Hey, I got a rule of thumb...
Welcome, and never get a girl anything over a 650, they are to weak to handle anymore power than that. tell you what, I am 5'10" weigh over 200, and I am stout. The 1100 is a chore, weighs 600+ pounds and is even hard to start off on... it ain't all down hill oK? especially for a new girl rider, who is kind of being pushed by daddy-oH. So let her choose the bike K? After all shes the one who has to learn to ride it.PS-my personal statement is to not encourage them, they might look nice on a bike, be great company on a lonely ride, but I had 4 older sisters, and I am scared sh8tless of what they might do if things got a bit hot under the collar.
She decided this for herself and I'm not one to tell her she can't do something she really wants to do. As for girls can't handle these bikes, I know quite a few women who have 1100 or over as cruisers and even a few that dive 1300 hyabusas. While those "half-ass I want to ride because it is sexy" girls might decide to never go above a 600 or 650 doesn't mean serious riders can't upgrade. If we were talking about a street bike, then yeah I would say start her on a 600 or 650 and let her ride that for a few years, hell she would probably never want to upgrade from those because she doesn't care about speed, she just likes riding. But because we are talking about cruisers, I think anything from 750 to 950 would be good for her. 250 to 650 in a cruiser is a joke and should be left in asia where the streets and people are tiny.
 

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Welcome from Virginia Beach. Im a serious rider all weather all the time unless bikes busted. oh yea my ride now 82 sr250. old and small. but FTW
Been riding since I was 18 and now I am 42. Mostly old and small. I thank the gods that they werent left in Asia cause I dont want to live there. Firm believer that if you can pick it up then why not ride it?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Welcome from Virginia Beach. Im a serious rider all weather all the time unless bikes busted. oh yea my ride now 82 sr250. old and small. but FTW
Been riding since I was 18 and now I am 42. Mostly old and small. I thank the gods that they werent left in Asia cause I dont want to live there. Firm believer that if you can pick it up then why not ride it?
LOL, thanks for the welcome. I'm just a big guy man, I just fit on small bikes. I'm 6'5" and 210 - 215. My comments were mostly just because the guy called women "too weak" to ride a bigger bike. On my 600 I had driven through all types of weather, mostly because it was my only transportation for a couple of years.

Bought our first bike the other day and picked it up today. I need new tires on it, so I just ordered some online. While we were out today and before we picked up the Boulevard, we met a guy about a blacked out Honda Shadow Phantom. We will probably buy that next week sometime, which would give my wife a 750, but one she fits perfectly on.
 

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Ha, cant say I know many weak gals. A 750 is ideal and Honda makes great bikes. Shell have fun with that ride. When you can post some pics...ride safe and smart.
 
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