Used Bike with no Mechanical Knowledge | GTAMotorcycle.com

Used Bike with no Mechanical Knowledge

samhasquestions

New member
Hi Folks,
I'm a new rider who has been spending some time reading the sticky threads and trying to gain some knowledge. From what I can see most people have been suggesting starting with a used cbr 125 or 250 or a ninja 250 and looking at the kijiji ads makes buying one of those bikes seem reasonable. My problem is that most of the advice suggests that you properly inspect the bike to make sure you're not getting ripped off but even if I follow all the advice about what to look out for I'm not sure I would know if a bike was mechanically sound. I don't have any friends or family members who ride so I figured I'd turn to your wisdom. Is it enough to compile a list and try to look for the read flags suggested in various articles or should I take the more expensive dealer route to be safe?
Thanks!
 

PrivatePilot

Ironus Butticus
Site Supporter
Often an experienced member here on the forum may volunteer their time to help you look at prospects.

You can also ask the seller to take the bike to a shop of your choice as part of the sale - ask for a FULL mechanical inspection (not just a certification inspection) and you can have peace of mind that way as well. Just be sure to ask for a FULL mechanical, not necessarily just a certification - a certification can be done with some issues that won't prevent it from passing - IE, transmission/clutch/engine issues can exist, but the bike could pass a cert.

If it's mechanically good, then while it's there, you can get the certification done..which you'll need anyways. Negotiate ahead of time with the seller who's paying for that.

If they balk at any of the above, then ask yourself...why. The only legitimate reason for them not wanting to take it to a shop is that it's not plated or insured, at which point it WILL need to get there anyways at some point (even once it's in your name), so you can offer to rent a UHaul or whatever to get it there. If they refuse to even let anyone experienced (IE a mechanic or a knowledgeable forum member) look at it or whatever, they're trying to hide something.
 

justride

Well-known member
me personally wouldn't get a 125cc but I like highway riding. I would look at least a 250cc. mind you, you can seriously get messed up on any bike anywhere. there are some threads about purchasing a bike and what to look for. a member named frekeyguy might be able to help you out but he way over in brampton.
There a lots of beginner bikes with low KM and pretty new so chance of being a lemon is kinda low but you still have beware. other then mechanical you have to find out if there is a lien or whether the bike is stolen. don'f forget to save some money on gear. you have re-gear in oshawa, and gpbikes and royal distributing in whitby. or you can purchase on kiiiji . love kiijiji
 

wolfpack27616

Well-known member
Often an experienced member here on the forum may volunteer their time to help you look at prospects.

If they balk at any of the above, then ask yourself...why. The only legitimate reason for them not wanting to take it to a shop is that it's not plated or insured, at which point it WILL need to get there anyways at some point (even once it's in your name), so you can offer to rent a UHaul or whatever to get it there. If they refuse to even let anyone experienced (IE a mechanic or a knowledgeable forum member) look at it or whatever, they're trying to hide something.
Looking at it from a seller's perspective (and i am wearing those shoes now since I am selling my 250cc bike and looking to upgrade)- I would be totally ok with anyone bringing an experienced rider or mechanic to my place and inspect. However, I would hesitate to take my bike to the buyer's choice of garage- time consideration as well as weather. Even more so- if the buyer expects me to pay for inspection. I guess it boils down to how motivated the seller is to sell quickly.

I have nothing to hide, I guess the only red flag is when a seller refuses a mechanic to come to his house to inspect the bike.

When I buy- I hope to request @frekeyguy to accompany me to inspect whatever bike I would be upgrading to, at the seller's house.
 
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PrivatePilot

Ironus Butticus
Site Supporter
However, I would hesitate to take my bike to the buyer's choice of garage- time consideration as well as weather. Even more so- if the buyer expects me to pay for inspection.
How it gets there and who pays is a point of negotiation.

Any seller who downright refused to let a mechanic set eyes on it, or to have it certified before the sale, I would immediately walk away from because, to me, it screams that the seller is trying to hide something. I may not choose to actually do either before purchasing (I'm mechanically savvy however so I'd catch things beforehand), but I'd want the seller to be OK with it beforehand regardless - it shows a vote of faith on what they're selling.

I was reminded with my last motorcycle purchase why this is important. Owner wouldn't let me road test it at his house because it wasn't plated or insured - fair enough - did what I could in the driveway. Had it certified and it passed. Last agreed upon thing before I handed over the cash was a test ride on my insurance and temp plates, which I had obtained at my cost. On test ride I discovered in the first 10 seconds that the clutch was completely ****ed - with enough throttle the engine ran away in every gear - the clutch had basically no friction. The bike got a new clutch (at the sellers expense, to his credit) before we completed the purchase. THIS is why it's important to do due diligence during the purchase - something like a failing clutch or a major engine or transmission issue isn't always going to cause it to fail a safety.
 

wolfpack27616

Well-known member
How it gets there and who pays is a point of negotiation.

Any seller who downright refused to let a mechanic set eyes on it, or to have it certified before the sale, I would immediately walk away from because, to me, it screams that the seller is trying to hide something.
I completely agree. And, i remember reading your post about the clutch issue- good on you for having that clause in the sale agreement. I've already had a couple of potential purchases (they were priced low) , but in one instance, the seller said- he doesn't have time for random buyers to pop by and check out the bike. He said he was selling this on behalf of his deceased uncle and didn't have too much time to spend on the process. I passed on it.
 
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Trials

Well-known member
Low milage :thumbup: excellent recommendation under the circumstances and there should be no problem finding one if something like a 250 Honda street bike suits your needs. Physical size of the rider and where you will need to ride it is generally an important factor to know in making recommendations & imho the best riders are the ones who had the opportunity to ride dirt first, if you have places to ride off-road and a dual sport suits your needs, dirt riding experience will give you the opportunity to learn to ride decent before needing to deal with the additional challenge of traffic.

A mentor with hands on service experience :thumbup: always a great recommendation & people to ride with makes a huge difference in your ability to learn the things you will need to know.

Dealership purchase or after purchase support: In my experience the smaller the dealership the better, I've dealt with both and would far sooner purchase from an owner operator then a big store.

Mechanical knowledge: Learn all you can, it will save you tons of coin, it's more fun then you might imagine and will make you a better safer rider for it.

Best luck with your first motorcycle purchase Sam
 

JavaFan

gringo diablo
Site Supporter
per the clutch story above
visual inspection, and engine running inspection
may not be good enough
and you can't really test ride this time of year

couple of other new rider stories from this site over the past year
both were small displacement ninjas

one had minor damage on LH side
tip over in the driveway was the story - it's always the story
member from here bought it, got it certified etc
first ride he found it would not go beyond 3rd gear
shifter shaft was bent...bit of a nasty tear down to repair

another one the buyer was riding it home and it quit
engine oil had all leaked out - engine was toast
this could have ended much worse

so OP if you can wait until spring
I'd suggest you or someone else rest ride the bike before buying

or if you're gonna buy over the winter
seeing as it's your first bike
it's unlikely you'll get a lemon like that from a dealer
 

TK4

Well-known member
Or buy from a dealer - at least you've got some recourse if there's anything amiss.
 

regder

Well-known member
Site Supporter
Buy an older 4 cylinder bike. My favourite starter bikes are Yamaha Radians. I've written a checklist when buying a bike.

Some good starter bikes
https://www.torontomoto.com/best-bike-for-beginers-first-motorc

bike buying checklist
https://www.torontomoto.com/how-to-buy-a-used-motorcyle
Sorry, but that's not great advice. Older bikes will have a much higher chance of needing various repairs and maintenance. The last thing most new riders need is to worry about how their bike is running or deal with a breakdown.

A 600cc Radian at this point is about 30 years old, with 30 year old brakes, suspension, and carbs. While not fast by 600cc standards, is still faster than a modern 300cc Ninja. Given the above, a Radian will also be insured the same as any 600cc sport-tourer, a new rider will be paying significantly less on a smaller bike.

My first bike was an '86 Radian, while I have fond memories of it by virtue of it being my first bike, it was otherwise a terrible bike.

IMO best beginner bikes are a Yamaha R3 or Ninja 300. Fuel injection, ABS, fast enough for a beginner, decent as can be on insurance for a beginner.
 

nobbie48

Well-known member
Site Supporter
Budget??

The smaller the bike the smaller the insurance premium but that could be offset by the expense of a trade in when the too small bike quickly fails to suit your needs.

Factors include your license status M, M1, M2, Your physical size, type of riding expected.

Check your insurance rates for the various bike sizes. While a 125 will be less expensive a 250 might work out cheaper in the long run as you are more likely to keep it longer. Go one step further and get prices on a 500 for reference. Obviously stay away from anything that hints of performance unless you own a money tree.

An uncooperative seller may be flogging a trashed bike or he might be tired of tire kickers and wishful thinkers.

If you're dealing with the latter you will impress him if you don't ask silly questions. Specifications are on line so asking how many cc's is the 125 he's selling is annoying. If you are going to see the bike don't ask for turn by turn directions with the spelling of every street name.

Get a UVIP before committing. It will show the number of previous owners. If a five year old bike has had fifteen owners it might be a signal.

Take along someone who isn't emotionally involved. The will see it as a financial deal where you might be wearing rose tinted lenses.
 
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Trials

Well-known member
Sorry, but that's not great advice. Older bikes will have a much higher chance of needing various repairs and maintenance. The last thing most new riders need is to worry about how their bike is running or deal with a breakdown.

A 600cc Radian at this point is about 30 years old, with 30 year old brakes, suspension, and carbs. While not fast by 600cc standards, is still faster than a modern 300cc Ninja. Given the above, a Radian will also be insured the same as any 600cc sport-tourer, a new rider will be paying significantly less on a smaller bike. ...
Yep, I agree with that; traverse 4 cylinder engine bikes are heavy, wide and inherently complex because they have 4 times the number of almost everything to work on, 4 carbs (obsolete technology) need to be synchronized to each other, a one cylinder motor is something you can way easier learn to ride and self service.
 

TwistedKestrel

King of GTAM
Site Supporter
Calling a Radian a terrible bike makes me want to fight you a little, but they are definitely 30ish years old and probably will need *something*, will cost more on insurance, and won't be a good value compared to what you can get these days.

I don't buy four cylinders = four times the headache though - they are air cooled, easy access to everything (second easiest valve adjustment on a bike so far), and use common Yamaha parts. The carbs aren't anything weird or complicated, the worst you would have to do is clean them. Meanwhile the TPS on my fuel injected CB919 is going flaky and Honda doesn't even sell it as a part
 

sburns

Well-known member
Ya I am aware of that and OMVIC. So you buy a bike from a OMVIC dealer, they give you all the details etc everything looks good. You get home etc. find out the clutch or some mechanical issue is present. I don't see anything there which will cover this? Maybe the compensation fund, but if the dealer followed the steps, which are pretty basic, the dealer can say it was in perfect working order when purchased/delivered. I dunno I don't get the sense this is very favourable to the consumer.
 

CriticalCore

Well-known member
The only regret I have starting on a 300 was that I bought it from a dealership for ~4k, I wish I'd just bought some 250 or 300 off Kijiji or Craigslist for 1 or 2K max to save the cash, insurance wise I'd went with a bigger Fz07 6 months after the Ninja 300 and the price increase was only about 30 per month which I was ok with.

You don't need anything recent, any reliable jap bike under 300 CC should run fine unless you plan to keep the bike for a while, just don't drop too much cash is what I'd recommend. I thought the 300 was enough to last me for a while, now I'm pretty sure theFz7 is enough... Probably. I had some close calls & the bike fell over at mid u turn so I don't regret starting on it, just the price.
 
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Trials

Well-known member
...
I don't buy four cylinders = four times the headache though - they are air cooled, easy access to everything (second easiest valve adjustment on a bike so far), and use common Yamaha parts. The carbs aren't anything weird or complicated, the worst you would have to do is clean them. Meanwhile the TPS on my fuel injected CB919 is going flaky and Honda doesn't even sell it as a part
So :confused: does that mean you have to buy all 4 throttle bodies just to get 1 TPS ?
 

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