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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello to all!

I am in process of finding my 1st bike; right now the front-runner is a Suzuki Boulevard 50 (8xx cc). I was leaning toward a Honda Shadow 750, but it seems that I can get a well equipped (floorboards, highway bars/pegs, sissy bar, windshield, bags, etc.) Boulevard as good or better price than a basic Shadow. Also, all Boulevards are FI (biggest change when they introduced it in 2003 ( formerly Volusia?)).

So I have spent a LOT of time looking on Craigslist (Raleigh, Greensboro, and Charlotte NC mainly- 3 largest cities in state). This must have been a hot seller when new; I see a ton of 2003s listed! This weekend I hope to look at couple bikes. The 2 I am most interested in are both low miles and (supposedly) excellent condition. I must say, it seems many of these were bought but seldom rode.

I left my notes downstairs, so I am doing this from memory (at end of a long week!). But I see a 2013 model with under 5k miles and also a 2003 with similar mileage and equipment. Price difference is about $1500. SO.. I want newer!! But I want the $ in MY wallet too!

First thing I want to look at is tire age. I am scared tires may be original- for both :sad: ! Old tires scare me! After tires- where? What items would age affect most ( versus mileage/ use). I would think suspension and possibly front fork seals. Other suggestions? Ceteris Parabis… would you go newer or older and keep the $?

When I buy cars I assume its mine for the rest of its life ( I drive them until worn out). That might not be the case here...I am working towards a Gold Wing; I just cannot see that as a 'first bike". Or I could just decide cycling not for me ( or wife:crying:). So it could get sold in a year or 2... But both are currently priced to sell pretty quick...

I would like to finish with a comment on pricing for these. Suzuki did a great job equipping these; They sold a lot of them! They were (and are) fairly priced IMO. But I saw SO MANY ADS for 2003/2004 models priced $3500/4000. It seems sellers have the mindset "It only has 5000 miles on it. Its practically new! It is a bargain at half what I paid for it". UH... IT IS 15 YEARS OLD!! You aren't going to get $4000 for it! I can get better deal at a dealer! Really- I looked!

Recap- What should I check on a little used but 12-15 year old bike?

THANK YOU!!
 

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Recap- What should I check on a little used but 12-15 year old bike?
The C50T is a solid bike, but you do have a few things to check. First, have the seller remove the reservoir caps for the clutch and brake; fluid should be nearly clear, and the bottom of the reservoirs should be clean. When I bought my Valkyrie, I found a combination of wax and honey in the clutch reservoir; apparently, with all the maintenance the PO did, he overlooked changing the fluid every couple years.

Tire age, of course; the DOT date code is on the sidewall of the tires, and should be more recent than 2013.

Put the bike in gear and rock it fore and back; while there will always be some gear lash, you are checking that the impeller shaft is solid and the clutch is tight. A few left the factory with too little grease on the splines that enter the rear drive, so instead of a hard stop, you may feel it kind of crunch to a stop. If you do buy one, think about having the splines re-greased, just for luck. Speaking of rear drive, put a block under the side stand to hold the bike nearly level and open the fill cap to check the level and smell, look for any leakage around the axle. Even with low mileage, the fluid ages out and begins to smell of sulfur, so a change may be in order once you get it home.

Get a look at the brake pads; at low mileage, they should be fairly thick, but if thin, the bike has seen a lot of hard braking.
 

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Also don't be afraid to ask about records. So many don't have them but many still do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for the replies. I saw the 1st one (thank you WintrSol!) right before I headed out ( on my phone). I wrote some quick notes and drove 40 miles to the bike. Nice way to spend an afternoon!

This man (super nice guy!) has only had bike couple months; he didn't know much about it. It looked great; he had it all polished up. He has a gold wing, but he had a good opportunity with this and bought it thinking he could have a smaller bike also...hhhmmmm…. how to put diplomatically...his wife doesn't think they are a " 2 bike house"...?!?!? So he is just selling this for what he has in it. He offered to deliver it to my home ; so he has good faith in it...

I just couldn't get too involved/ detailed checking out the details/ mechanics. I am not sure yet if that model is the specific one for me (though after I feel that it would be quite acceptable). Again, he was super nice. I showed him a little about the bike that I had read about. I told and showed him date code on front tire- he had never heard of that. Care to guess the year? 2009!!!!OUCH!!! QUESTION? Do date codes appear different on back tires? 3 different bikes I could find simple LARGE 4 digit code. Not on back ones- 1st 2 bikes I just did quick glance, but this one I really spent time looking. I saw 1 set of numbers that I thought might be tire size then date code, but not just a large 4 digit # like the front.

I liked this model (Suzuki C50), and this bike was nice. But I did drive home thinking it might be $1500 well spent to get newer model...

All comments and suggestions appreciated- Thanks!
 

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Hello to all!

I am in process of finding my 1st bike.....

Recap- What should I check on a little used but 12-15 year old bike?

THANK YOU!!
A. My vote is for the Boulevard....C50 or the more powerful C90...really nice machines.

B. Wife: 2 people on a bike is night and day compared to one person...unless she's 90lbs, I wouldn't have a passenger until you have really mastered the bike.

C. Guys that want $4000 for a $2500 bike...lol...we all want all, or most, of our money back. Harley riders are the worst...they want a refund at 10 years and 30,000 miles...:grin:
The way to deal with those folks is to just wait them out...let the bike sit on Craigslist for at least 45 days, then contact and ask if it still for sale. Know what you're going pay...take a buddy, have it CASH in your pocket...go there, look it over, ride it, talk about price, note the book value...then whip out the roll of cash and say this is what's it worth to me...if they decline, respectfully say you understand, but you can't go past book and what you feel comfortable with...leave them you're name and phone number and tell them to give you a call if they change their mind. A buddy just did that...and before he even got home, the guy called him and was willing to accept $200 more than the offer he refused.

D. Tire age - General rule is 10 years and off...rubber is 10 years old, time for fresh rubber no matter the tread wear. I always replace at about 60% worn...handling/stopping is so critical on a bike...not going to get injured/killed just to save ~$250 on a tire expense...nothing runs, or stops, like fresh rubber:nerd:
 

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A. My vote is for the Boulevard....C50 or the more powerful C90...really nice machines.

B. Wife: 2 people on a bike is night and day compared to one person...unless she's 90lbs, I wouldn't have a passenger until you have really mastered the bike.

C. Guys that want $4000 for a $2500 bike...lol...we all want all, or most, of our money back. Harley riders are the worst...they want a refund at 10 years and 30,000 miles...:grin:
The way to deal with those folks is to just wait them out...let the bike sit on Craigslist for at least 45 days, then contact and ask if it still for sale. Know what you're going pay...take a buddy, have it CASH in your pocket...go there, look it over, ride it, talk about price, note the book value...then whip out the roll of cash and say this is what's it worth to me...if they decline, respectfully say you understand, but you can't go past book and what you feel comfortable with...leave them you're name and phone number and tell them to give you a call if they change their mind. A buddy just did that...and before he even got home, the guy called him and was willing to accept $200 more than the offer he refused.

D. Tire age - General rule is 10 years and off...rubber is 10 years old, time for fresh rubber no matter the tread wear. I always replace at about 60% worn...handling/stopping is so critical on a bike...not going to get injured/killed just to save ~$250 on a tire expense...nothing runs, or stops, like fresh rubber:nerd:
D- I disagree with, 5 years is the standard from my understanding although non of my bikes last more than a season except my GoldWing it goes 2 years about...
 
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Hello to all!

I am in process of finding my 1st bike; right now the front-runner is a Suzuki Boulevard 50 (8xx cc). I was leaning toward a Honda Shadow 750, but it seems that I can get a well equipped (floorboards, highway bars/pegs, sissy bar, windshield, bags, etc.) Boulevard as good or better price than a basic Shadow. Also, all Boulevards are FI (biggest change when they introduced it in 2003 ( formerly Volusia?)).
!
retiresomeday, I have a couple of questions for you. Are you looking for a long-distance cruiser and will you be riding 2-up very much? The Boulevard is a good size but kind of under-powered - in my opinion.
 

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The ten year rule mostly applies to modern car tyres. Many car tyre manufacturers claim their tyres can last up to ten years if you regularly inspect them after the five year mark.

I would say five years is the best practice when dealing with motorcycle tyres of unknown history.
Motorcycle tyres can last ten years as well (some motorcycle tyre manufacturers recommend a "sell by" date of within five years of manufacture) but if you don't know the history of the tyre, you don't know how much oxidation and abuse its been through. So, keep it safe with five years.
 

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D- I disagree with, 5 years is the standard from my understanding although non of my bikes last more than a season except my GoldWing it goes 2 years about...
>Michelin and Continental (maybe others) have 10 years as their outer time limit.

>5 years is when age should be considered when inspecting the tires.

>People that make/sell tires are "motivated" to convince you to replace them as often as possible; take their "advice" with a grain of salt.

>If you are riding on "value brand" Chinese tires...:crying:...5 years may be pushing it...top of the line Michelin's should still be in great shape...

>Temperature and sunlight are 2 "biggies" when it comes to tires failing due to age...Arizona tires will "age-out" before Minnesota tires. Bikes that spend a lot of time sitting in the sun will age-out their tires before bikes that are kept in the shade/dark.

>We all need to educate ourselves about tires, learn how to inspect them, make it a routine, and never ride on anything at/past the 10 year mark.

Here's an old trick to test the rubber for "aging".
1. Stick a screwdriver into one of the sipes next to one of the larger water channels.
2. Try to twist the screwdriver 360.
3. If the rubber is "good" it will resist, but give in and allow you the 360 without damage to the rubber.
4. If the rubber is "bad" (it has hardened), you won't get a 360, and/or you'll break a chunk out of the tire.

Another simple test is to take dish soap, wash the tread, rinse, let dry, then rub your hand on the clean area...if the rubber is "sticky" (or gives at least some resistance to your hand sliding), it's good; but if it's hard/slick...time for new tires.
 

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>Michelin and Continental (maybe others) have 10 years as their outer time limit.

>5 years is when age should be considered when inspecting the tires.

>People that make/sell tires are "motivated" to convince you to replace them as often as possible; take their "advice" with a grain of salt.

>If you are riding on "value brand" Chinese tires...:crying:...5 years may be pushing it...top of the line Michelin's should still be in great shape...

>Temperature and sunlight are 2 "biggies" when it comes to tires failing due to age...Arizona tires will "age-out" before Minnesota tires. Bikes that spend a lot of time sitting in the sun will age-out their tires before bikes that are kept in the shade/dark.

>We all need to educate ourselves about tires, learn how to inspect them, make it a routine, and never ride on anything at/past the 10 year mark.

Here's an old trick to test the rubber for "aging".
1. Stick a screwdriver into one of the sipes next to one of the larger water channels.
2. Try to twist the screwdriver 360.
3. If the rubber is "good" it will resist, but give in and allow you the 360 without damage to the rubber.
4. If the rubber is "bad" (it has hardened), you won't get a 360, and/or you'll break a chunk out of the tire.

Another simple test is to take dish soap, wash the tread, rinse, let dry, then rub your hand on the clean area...if the rubber is "sticky" (or gives at least some resistance to your hand sliding), it's good; but if it's hard/slick...time for new tires.
I am sure it is all true but fact is, how safe is any brand tire if it is 10 years old. I have not heard this lay out before, 5 years is the general is how I have lived by but, as I also stated, a season is about all I get out of mine. As I think MM said there are a lot of variables too, where they outside in a garage or let go flat. I would stick to the 5 year rule, especially when looking at a used bike to purchase (or bring out of storage) and to determine if it will need new tires.
 

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...but, as I also stated, a season is about all I get out of mine.
How many miles is that? You must do some heavy duty riding.

There was a topic of "how many miles do you get out of your tires?" Someone claimed some ridiculous number like 20,000..no one believed him..he posted a pic of the last tire...it was wore to the cords! yeah, he got 20k out of them and he's lucky to be alive.
 

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Most I have gotten was 8k miles the least was 1500 miles. Playing backroads on the Blackbird in the Ozarks is different than playing on the Indiana State byways on the wing. I have never seen comfortable 10k out of a tire much less a 20k.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
retiresomeday, I have a couple of questions for you. Are you looking for a long-distance cruiser and will you be riding 2-up very much? The Boulevard is a good size but kind of under-powered - in my opinion.
1st let me say thank you for all the comments here! I have had some long days at work and hadn't been able to check...now, to answer questions:

I don't see myself ever doing much long-distance biking. I would like to, but doubt wife would. I do hope we can work out agreement/compromise where we could trailer the bike with us. Looking towards retirement (hoping maybe 2025) I hope to measure trips in MONTHS instead of days or weeks. I think our first trip (in retirement) will be New Zealand (2 months maybe?!?!? Can do 90 days without visa..). Think NZ has any roads that would be interesting (or FUN!) on a bike? I am not buying the whole lifestyle. BuT I would like to ride some! Strange thing got me interested this summer ( in buying a bike)….Did any of y'all watch any of the TOUR DE FRANCE? GOODNESS did they see some great roads!! ("Maybe couple day trips in the Pyrenees or Alps dear?")

Riding 2 up? I am <100 miles from the Blue ridge Parkway. I doubt I could get the better half to ride TO the Parkway. So I will just hope We can trailer it TO the Parkway and then get on. No bike of mine is going to get worn out from me riding. And I sure don't NEED a GW. BUT... Want wife to be as comfortable as possible!


You also mentioned under-powered. Curious. I have had 2 good LONG TIME friends and a co-worker ALL TELL ME to go bigger. They know/ have faith I will take time to learn and not be stupid. So I am looking also at Suzuki Boulevard C109 ads (haven't seen real thing yet- Don't do a much except work on weekdays:plain:). But I cannot seriously look at GW to start on …

Long day today; another tomorrow. Time for shower and bed. Thanks again!
 

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Your Money Your Call in the Final Analysis .. My Vote goes for the Shadow 750 .. I bought a 2005 Dyna in 2016 with 17,000 Miles but knew the Guy well enough that it had well cared for .. Had it 3 years with about 20,000 Miles of my own now and Dollar for Dollar may be the Best price I ever got for a Motorcycle ..
 

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So I am looking also at Suzuki Boulevard C109 ads (haven't seen real thing yet)
I demo day'd that 109...HATED IT! Was ready to ride it into the ditch and walk back to the dealer.

Pro's: Insanely fast in a straight line.

Cons: Wide and flat rear tire makes simple stuff like turning a corner at low speeds a chore; don't even think about a low speed parking lot U-turn. I never felt like a part of the bike, I always felt like the bike had a mind of it's own and it was a battle of wills and bronze. The bike doesn't naturally do what you want, you have to muscle it for everything but straight line riding...and even in a straight line it feels like your hanging on for your life as the bike rips down the raod...not a fun bike to cruise with...a passenger on the back too?...no way.
 

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Your Money Your Call in the Final Analysis .. My Vote goes for the Shadow 750 .. I bought a 2005 Dyna in 2016 with 17,000 Miles but knew the Guy well enough that it had well cared for .. Had it 3 years with about 20,000 Miles of my own now and Dollar for Dollar may be the Best price I ever got for a Motorcycle ..
When looking at anything with "significant" miles/age, I ask "what brand oil/filter do you use and how often do you change them?" If they have a look of confusion on their face and stutter in reply...red flags waving on proper oil change history and big price drop in my mind.

Looked at a used bike recently, seller "let the dealer" do everything...great! right?...I pulled out the dipstick, no oil on the stick, stuck my finger in and it came back coal black.

Really gotta watch the Harley posers...guys that own one but have ZERO mechanical ability/interest...at $300 for an oil change at the dealer, they "put off" oil changes way to long.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I demo day'd that 109...HATED IT! Was ready to ride it into the ditch and walk back to the dealer.

Pro's: Insanely fast in a straight line.

Cons: Wide and flat rear tire makes simple stuff like turning a corner at low speeds a chore; don't even think about a low speed parking lot U-turn. I never felt like a part of the bike, I always felt like the bike had a mind of it's own and it was a battle of wills and bronze. The bike doesn't naturally do what you want, you have to muscle it for everything but straight line riding...and even in a straight line it feels like your hanging on for your life as the bike rips down the raod...not a fun bike to cruise with...a passenger on the back too?...no way.
This post reminds me why I don't do much after a long day of work! I meant to say C90 !! 90 is still BIG to me... I assure you no C109 for me. Ifn I go that big bet on a gold wing not a cruiser.

"Pro's: Insanely fast in a straight line." I CANNOT THINK OF SOMETHING I WANT LESS IN A MOTORCYCLE RIGHT NOW!!:surprise: Reading the cons made me wonder if the bike had a car tire on back. I cannot imagine that is "normal". But hey-what do I know!

I looked a bunch of ads for (Yamaha) V-star cruisers today. Engine choices much closer 650-900-1100-1300. Suzuki goes 650-820-13xx- HUGE (whatever the 109 is). Is there a year when Yamaha/star went to all fuel injection? I like knowing if I see " Suzuki boulevard" it is FI. I thought that honda shadow was all FI after 2008. But I have seen ads for newer than that with Carbs. And it makes no sense to me that Yamaha venture ( big touring bike) was carburated "forever". WHY?

If y'all didn't guess by now, I am nowhere close to decision. It seems my options are expanding not narrowing.

Thanks for the replies!
 

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This post reminds me why I don't do much after a long day of work! I meant to say C90 !! 90 is still BIG to me... I assure you no C109 for me. Ifn I go that big bet on a gold wing not a cruiser.

"Pro's: Insanely fast in a straight line." I CANNOT THINK OF SOMETHING I WANT LESS IN A MOTORCYCLE RIGHT NOW!!:surprise: Reading the cons made me wonder if the bike had a car tire on back. I cannot imagine that is "normal". But hey-what do I know!

I looked a bunch of ads for (Yamaha) V-star cruisers today. Engine choices much closer 650-900-1100-1300. Suzuki goes 650-820-13xx- HUGE (whatever the 109 is). Is there a year when Yamaha/star went to all fuel injection? I like knowing if I see " Suzuki boulevard" it is FI. I thought that honda shadow was all FI after 2008. But I have seen ads for newer than that with Carbs. And it makes no sense to me that Yamaha venture ( big touring bike) was carburated "forever". WHY?

If y'all didn't guess by now, I am nowhere close to decision. It seems my options are expanding not narrowing.

Thanks for the replies!

Take your Time is a Big Decision and one you don't want to regret .. If you are like most of us .. You have more time than you have money ..

 

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The Boulevard series lists the sizes in cubic inches, so the 90 is nearly 1500cc, and the 109 nearly 1800cc. They couldn't fit FI into the S50, which is likely why they retired the model some years back; same for the S83, since it had dual carbs, too. The C109 is a monster; a friend considered it, then rode one. Bought the C90T to replace his C50T, and sometimes misses his C50T - except after a long ride at Interstate speeds. There are photos taken on the Dragon showing the M109R in a full wheelie - scary!
 
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