What to look for when buying a used motorcycle? - Honda Rebel Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 05-19-2017, 01:52 AM Thread Starter
 
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What to look for when buying a used motorcycle?

I will be buying a used Harley sportster 883 or 1200, How much do i put aside to have it fully checked out. I don't want to buy it only to find out it has major problems in wiring or engine. You never know how the previous owners treated there motorcycle. Any tips on what to look for when buying a used Harley? I don't have the cash yet though.

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post #2 of 17 Old 05-19-2017, 05:45 AM
 
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First I would decide what you want. I also have plans to buy a Sportster if my health improves a bit. I would prefer a 2003 or earlier, because they rubber mounted the engine in '04, making the bike smoother, and considerably heavier. I would not turn down a good deal on an '04, the motor still shakes just as much and you still get quite a bit of vibration, it's just not as harsh. I wouldn't go anywhere near an '07 or later, they have EFI, and doing something as simple as changing the exhaust requires a $500 electronic tuner to adjust the air/fuel mixture. The 2 main reasons I want a Harley is the sound, which means an aftermarket pipe, and the vibration. I want it to sound and feel like a real internal combustion engine, not a sewing machine.

As for an 883 or 1200, they both make the same sound around town, but on the highway, the 1200 sounds much better because it is turning at a slower RPM. High RPMs ruin that beautiful Harley sound. Avoid an 883 that has been converted to a 1200. Many people don't realize an 883 has lower gearing than a 1200, and replacing the top end does not change the gearing. The easy way to do that is to change the primary sprockets in the engine case.

I would look for one with cast wheels instead of wire wheels. Cast wheels use tube type tires, which can usually be plugged from outside if you have a flat, But spoked wheels use tubes, and fixing a flat means removing the wheel and replacing the tube. Harleys do not have centerstands.

Find the most stock bike you can. An aftermarket exhaust that sounds good is a plus, but 16" ape hangers or a bobbed bike are not. I have no idea how much a Harley shop would charge to check one out, If I buy one I was planning on checking it out myself. You might call a couple of local shops and ask them.

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post #3 of 17 Old 05-19-2017, 07:29 AM Thread Starter
 
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I read somewhere that Harley's 1998 and above don't leak oil as they designed it better. I'm not sure how true this is if anyone can chime in. What do you think about the vrsca Harley V rod? I get the sense that some people hate it. @JerryH If i can get a 1200 i will when it's time, It will be sometime in the winter so the price should be cheaper also. I been watching and i see it raise up 1k to 2k just because it's summer.

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post #4 of 17 Old 05-19-2017, 10:05 AM
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Checklist for buying: REVISED: Bike Checklist

and this: How I buy and sell bikes

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post #5 of 17 Old 05-20-2017, 02:38 AM Thread Starter
 
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What about miles? I know that if you take care of your motorcycle it can last a very very long time however not everyone does. Do you guys look at mileage when buying a used motorcycle? If so what range would it be for what I'm looking for? I see a few 45k miles deals not sure if that's a lot.

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post #6 of 17 Old 05-20-2017, 02:58 AM
 
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because they rubber mounted the engine in '04, making the bike smoother, and considerably heavier

Not sure why rubber mounting the engine would make it heavier???


I wouldn't go anywhere near an '07 or later, they have EFI, and doing something as simple as changing the exhaust requires a $500 electronic tuner to adjust the air/fuel mixture

A tuner is NOT required....the dealer can tune it for you for much less than $500, although if you are going to make multiple changes incrementally, then a tuner would be a good investment instead of paying the dealer for each tuning change.

Loud pipes save lives...Nah, they just sound cool.

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post #7 of 17 Old 05-20-2017, 03:05 AM
 
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[QUOTE=Motorcycleguy;1141953]I read somewhere that Harley's 1998 and above don't leak oil as they designed it better.

I have a 2012 1200 that has never leaked a drop and doesn't even show any signs of seepage at any gasketed connection on the motor....I don't know why Harley still gets the bad rap for oil leaks,
as they the late models are vastly improved, and I would surmise most all don't leak.

Loud pipes save lives...Nah, they just sound cool.

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post #8 of 17 Old 05-20-2017, 03:09 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Motorcycleguy View Post
I will be buying a used Harley sportster 883 or 1200, How much do i put aside to have it fully checked out. I don't want to buy it only to find out it has major problems in wiring or engine. You never know how the previous owners treated there motorcycle. Any tips on what to look for when buying a used Harley? I don't have the cash yet though.
Hey Motorcycleguy, PM me for information on your question(s) as there is obviously way too much HD hatred, bias and mis-information on this forum regarding Harley Davidsons.

Loud pipes save lives...Nah, they just sound cool.

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post #9 of 17 Old 05-20-2017, 04:18 AM
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I have 2 Harleys, and never had an oil leak. My garage floor is clean with no spots. Although I have had some older ones that did, I think it is mostly myth and old legends. Just check the bike, and look at his garage floor. Even the old ones that leaked were still a hoot to ride, and most people just put a piece of cardboard on the floor to catch the residual drip. The leaks were never significant, just annoying, requiring washing more often to keep the bottom clean.

Both of mine are carb, but I would not hesitate to go EFI. It is just a lot more reliable, and a lot less maintenance. My cars, trucks, and Polaris 4 wheeler are all EFI, and I love them. It is true that they may be a little more complicated to work on, but they are so reliable, that one rarely if ever has to work on them, or even touch them. Anything from the last 10 years will likely be EFI.

I have one rubber mounted Harley, and one solid mounted. I much prefer the rubber mounted, because the vibrations are less prevalent. I don't see how that affects the weight more than a couple of pounds one way or the other.

I tend to stay away from high mileage bikes, just because there are so many low mileage ones out there to choose from. Now my Dyna has a lot of miles, and I would not hesitate to take it across country tomorrow, but it has been well maintained. I will also admit that it is more likely to have a problem now than it was when it was newer, just because things wear out with age and use.

When buying a used bike, you never really know how it was treated or maintained. You can get clues from checking it out and asking questions, but will never know for sure. You are basically taking the chance on a used bike for the savings you get from buying it new. In my experience the depreciation savings are worth the risk.

In the case of Harleys, you also have the opportunity to get a lot of chrome add ons for free that the owner bought but will never get his money back from. Just avoid the ones that have been stripped down, hacked, bobbed, or chopped up, unless you really like it, and you really get a good deal.

Good luck, and happy hunting.
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post #10 of 17 Old 05-20-2017, 06:03 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, I'm looking for more of a stock HD. If i could get the saddle bags, windshield, backrest, luggage rack all quick detachable or modular. I also saw a HD V rod Why do they get so much hate?

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