Need help purchasing bike off craigslist
August 31, 2009 at 11:39 pm #3382cheatedParticipant
I’m obviously new to the forum but I’ve also never ridden a motorcycle and looking for some guidance. I’ve done a lot of reading but thought it would be a good idea to ask some questions before proceeding. I’m in the market for a Vulcan 500 after doing a lot of research. I found an ad here and have emailed the poster. The following are copies of my email and his reply:
I am interested in your bike but I have a few questions if you don’t mind answering them…
1. Are you the original owner? If not, when did you purchase the bike and how many miles were on it?
2. Has the bike been garage kept? In a shed? Outside in a cover?
3. How have you used the bike over the past few years? Commuting? Touring? With passengers? Rain or shine?
4. How often have you rode it and when and how many miles do you put on it?
5. How often have you serviced the bike? Do you have the paper work?
6. Have you worked on the bike yourself? If so, what have you done?
7. Have you ever had to lay down the bike or has it tipped over? (Will I see scratches if I look at it?)
8. Which liquids and how much is it leaking?
9. Is the windshield full size or smaller?
10. How old are the tires? How many miles on them?
11. Does the bike run while idle and under acceleration or does it cut off?
1.Bought it a month or so ago to fix up with essentially the miles that are on it now ( short ride after it was fixed).
2.Garage kept – it was in a garage where I bought it- it was in my garage til a few days ago- now it’s under a large awning next to my house while I work on another bike- before all of that I don’t know.
5./6. Fresh oil change-Cleaned the carbs /new fork seals/dust seals/oil- Gas tank cleaned/resealed/new battery.
7. I can’t find a single sign of it ever being tipped over or layed down- no marks on pegs/levers/exhaust etc.
9. Plexistar 3 Windshield- Pre inspection Pic is attached.
10. Tires are Brand new- Maybe 10 miles on them.
11. Bike runs fine. MD state inspected- ready to go.
Before I go look at the bike is there anything that I should totally be on the look out for? The miles seem really low for a 93. I’d almost feel more comfortable if they were in the 20,000 range. The price seems a little high when looking at kbb’s suggested starting price. I was thinking more like $1500. I assume I should take it to a mechanic to look at it since I don’t have any friends that are bike mechanics but he does say it is inspected (I’d ask for the official inspection paperwork). This will be a starter bike for me and I’m going to reiterate that I’ve never ridden before. I’m looking at such an old bike because I’m assuming I’ll lay it down at least once from what others have said.
Any and all comments are very much appreciated as I’m totally new to most of this.September 1, 2009 at 1:28 am #22111MunchParticipant
Definitely get it checked by a competent mechanic. Even though it’s possible he knows what he is doing it’s still buyer beware.September 1, 2009 at 2:05 am #22113cheatedParticipant
Thanks for the reply.
I wouldn’t even know where to begin to find a competent mechanic. I guess the local bike shop and just assume they’re competent?
Any other advice or things to look out for on such an old bike? I’m going to try to get a friend of a friend to take the thing for a spin to see how it feels going down the road but other than that I’m clueless.
Does the price seem a little high to you for a 93? How hard is it to find parts for a 93 vulcan 500?September 1, 2009 at 2:36 am #22117MunchParticipant
For the price not to bad. A new 09 is around 7 to 8 out the door. The V500’s have a following of sorts..not to the magnitude that the rebel has but one none the less. As far as parts go, you may want to do some research. Not sure what can cross over from current models and what can’t. I know locally there is a 500 club and some of them are running 100+ thousand miles on them.September 1, 2009 at 6:06 am #22123SunyJimParticipant
I think you’ll find as you ride, that there are those who ride rain and shine every non winter day, and those that ride on the sunny weekends and on the odd nice warm summer evening. Both bikes are well cared for, and well maintained, I think you just are looking at a weekenders bike.
I bought an older bike too, mine was from Kijiji a 1985 honda shadow 750, in amazing shape, but 35,000 miles on it. Very well cared for. I checked mine just like you that it had not been dropped, that the handlebars lined up to a straight steering front wheel, and that all the lights worked. With it’s dual tail pipes I made sure that i felt an equal pressure out of both of them when it was running, (less pressure from one would mean not firing well on one of the cylinders), I checked the tires and fork seals to make sure they weren’t cracked. Then I had a long time motorcycle rider take it for a spin, testing the brakes and steering and the gears. I got a green light so I bought it.
I’ve put 4500 miles on mine in my first year of owning a motorcycle, rode it till the snow flew, started the first melted day the roads were dry. Think I’ll beat that this year, but I just love being out on the bike. And really no major issues at all with the bike.September 1, 2009 at 6:58 pm #22134Moto JParticipant
I don’t know anything about Vulcans, or much about bikes in general. I just bought my first bike and I think I paid too much. I’ve put 300 miles on it so far with only an oil and air filter change, but the bike lacks power.
Prices seem really high right now. This is what I’ve learned since:
Let it warm all the way up and turn the choke all the way off. If it stalls, it needs work. Lower the price.
If it makes any valve train noise (clicking, tapping), it probably needs the valve guides adjusted ($200-300). Lower the price.
Make sure the oil level is correct. A high oil level can mask some valve train noise. Can’t it? I think it did on my bike.
If the guy can’t provide any documentation on maintenance, assume it hasn’t been done. Lower the price.
Did you know- in my area, most Dealers won’t work on bikes more than 10 years old. So check that out in your area. Another reason not too pay too much. You gotta have the old school “take his time” mechanic work on it with no warranty.
When your cycle friend rides it, tell him to give you the real scoop, but have him tell the owner it’s slow (if you think the price is too high).
If eveything is good and it’s documented, then it’s worth it.September 1, 2009 at 7:15 pm #22136SafetyFirstParticipant
I’ll have to remember that one when the day comes for getting a used 600cc I4 sportsbike, as I pull up on my Ninja 250.
“You’re CBR600 is too slow.”
I can barely say it now with a straight face.
That sounds like a good way to P.O. a seller.
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