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Discussion Starter #1
I am now under the realization that buying a bike for cheap that only needs "a few minor repairs" is not actually cheap . After replacing many things the last order of business was the clutch lever as a few inches on the end were broken off and the lever was not engaging the safety switch properly (later found this was because the lever was really worn and warped underneath. Well while I was in the process of removing the old lever, I noticed after removing the rubber boot over the clutch lever assembly that the locking nuts were pretty worn and torqued. I don't know what the person before me did but the threaded part of the clutch adjuster was so over torqued that the slot for the cable was warped shut and the cable cannot be removed through it. It was also then I noticed that the perch was stripped out. Luckily only a $45 fix and a good lesson on purchasing used bikes!

I have spent much more money than I would have on a bike that was good to go (it was only $400 more and had a fresh dealer service) thought I was saving money. I did all of the work myself but it is important that you realize what you could be getting yourself into even if the bike seems to be a great deal at the time. It was one of those "one thing after another" scenarios.

Well now that I have the problem fixed time to go ride :71baldboy:


-Jared
 

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Amen
 

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I looked and looked and looked at bikes before l bought, and l kept seeing a similar scenario..."Just needs..." My opinion on this is, if those repairs were REALLY simple and cheap then the guy would just fix them and then sell it in good running condition. I'm not saying you should never buy a fixer; just know that that is what it is and don't fool yourself into thinking it is something else.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
That is a good point you make when you say if it was that simple they would just do it themselves. I often read through posts thinking the same thing while tuning out my wife saying "why are you looking at motorcycles you already have one" ;)

-Jared

edit: "posts on craigslist" for clarification
 

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Yeah, my favorite one is..."I took the carbs off and cleaned them, they just need to be put back on and synced and away you go!"

They make it sound like a 5 minute job. The truth is, they tore it apart, cleaned the carbs out, and now they have a huge can of worms open and they have no idea what the hell to do with it, so they are ****canning the whole deal and selling the thing because they don't know how to finish it and they don't want to admit it.
 

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I would just start asking around, talking to other guys who have the same bike or have done it before. cmonSTART always has a lot of good input when people are on here with their carb projects. Bwana is a newer member who really knows his stuff and is very helpful when people have mechanical questions. Oneeyedjack, Eye_m_no_angel and Dodsfall all work on bikes for a living, or have in the past. I think if you started asking them about it, read up on it in your book, and maybe watch some Youtube videos you will be fine. The key is to know what you're trying to do before just tearing into it and figuring things out along the way :)
 

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Ahh, youtube vids, why didn't I think of that. May be just what I need to make me feel more confident. Now back to the thread, didn't mean to hijack it with my side comment.
 

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Fixer up.

A worn clutch lever is not much to go by to judge all used bikes. What if you had to replace the swing arm shaft bushing, and the old one would not come out. Simply put: you either need money or knowledge.
If a photo appears it is of my 83 XS400. Paid $350- for it. Was told it was thrashed. New motor, bunch of bearings and much other work, and it is my winter bike. Runs real sweet, and gives me a warm fuzzy feeling.

Unkle Crusty*
 

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Discussion Starter #10
A worn clutch lever is not much to go by to judge all used bikes. What if you had to replace the swing arm shaft bushing, and the old one would not come out. Simply put: you either need money or knowledge.
If a photo appears it is of my 83 XS400. Paid $350- for it. Was told it was thrashed. New motor, bunch of bearings and much other work, and it is my winter bike. Runs real sweet, and gives me a warm fuzzy feeling.

Unkle Crusty*
It wasn't just the clutch lever I had to replace it was just the final straw when I was over any money I would have "saved". I also had to:

rebuild carbs
replace front master cylinder (leaking)
replace front turn signals
buy and install mirrors
new speedo cable
change brake pads
new air filter
replace fuel lines (dry rotted)
replace fuel filler cap


It wasn't a lot, but it did cost me more than it would have to get basically the same bike (a 2005) with similar miliage and a fresh dealer service. I also had to hear my wife complain about how much money it was costing us which is the most expensive part of all :biggrin:

That is a nice bike though Uncle Crusty, I always browse looking for a nice older bike to pick up. Hell I browse for any bike to pick up I think I have a problem. My wife will murder me before I get too crazy with it though :71baldboy:

-Jared
 

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I think the best bargain on a used bike is if one has things wrong that you would want to change anyway. Like if it needed paint due to scratches. Or if it needed tires (as any bike you buy has a seller that says the tires are like new even if they are 6 years old), but you want to change them anyway. And needing an oil & filter change--no problem. If you have all the cost of those changes figured in, then it can be a deal.

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This can work both ways...
I got a bike for free once as the owner told me it was only good for parts, he thought he had blown a head gasket. Turns out the spark plugs were loose. I washed, waxed and polished it, sold it for $700.00!
 

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Used bike

If the bike is more than say 20 years old, I would expect to replace all wheel bearings, swing arm and steering head bearings, caliper pistons, fork seals, chain and tyres, and a bunch of other stuff not thought of.
Like fixing a noisy tachometer, cleaning the clutch cable and lower mechanism, cleaning the carbs, replacing the exhaust gaskets, recovering the seat, and still much more.
Sometimes the cables need replacing, so does the air and oil filters, and the fork oil.
It is amazing what previous owners can mess up. Does not matter what the repair manual says, it matters what the PO did.
Have a spare bike so you can enjoy the unhurried experience.
I am learning about crush washers in the middle gear case.
Did I mention my 79 XS11, and my 83 XS400 run real sweet. Got 135 K in 4th at 10,000 today on the 400. Too much traffic for a fifth gear test.

Unkle Crusty*
 

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it just depends on how much work needs to be done and how available the parts are. it's always good to do a parts search before buying an old bike to make sure things are going to be available for a relatively affordable price.
 

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I havent had to much trouble finding parts, the internet has made that considerably easier than when I first did it! It has become a matter of the price of the older parts. New alternator on my 91 CBR1000f cost me ~$400, add the voltage regulator at $280, turned into a pricey repair. Only reason I was able to get the voltage regulator at that price, I went to the stealership armed with an internet price. There are a lot of bike bone yards out there, not always the choice place for parts shopping.
It has admittedly been a few years since I bought a bike cheap to fix and ride, but I did it as I enjoy wrenching on them. I have a DS80 sitting in the garage and a couple of boxes of used and new parts waiting for their turn on the bike.
 
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