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Old 01-14-2013, 05:55 PM   #1
sweenrace OP
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Location: Oakland, Ca
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Pre-purchase checklist

Guys,

End of year bonus almost in-hand and I'm ready to buy my first trials bike! I've never owned a bike before so I dont have any idea what I should be looking for when purchasing. There are lots of good threads discussing the merits of this bike over that bike, but I'm now interested in a good pre-purchase check list.

I'm imagining a list of things that probably really obvious to you guys but a mystery to a newbie like. My car version of the list looks something like this
- start the car and turn everything on at once
- check the gap between panels
- check all the tires are the same brand and size
- ....

Can anyone suggest such a list for a trials bike purchase? ...and remember I'm a complete newbie to bikes!

Thanks
Ian
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:23 PM   #2
sprinter 27
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I'd suggest checking the fork sliders carefully for nicks and scratches,then lift the rear end to see if there's play in the rear suspension linkage. Check for wheel true (runout).
Engine should start within a few kicks with decent compression.oil should look new,and air filter should be clean if its been looked after.
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:41 PM   #3
onto1wheel
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Ian,
this is what I thought of in a couple minutes, I'm sure more folks will chip in (and i'll update if I think of more)
In no particular order:


In no particular order:
Brake lever firmness/feel
Spin the wheels and check for trueness and loose wheel bearings
fork sliders nicked?
Check spokes for tightness
Check tire for brand (cheapo's?), condition, cracks
Inspect footpegs for condition, and level
Smell gas for freshness
Check oil for level, condition
Inspect air filter
Steering head bearings: spin ok?
Skid plate still ok?
Play in rear suspension?
Suspension ok? (there’s not as much dampening in trials suspension)
Play in throttle?
Grips ok?
levers bent?
Handlebars straight?

Ask owner:
Type of gas and oil and what mixture?
What maint done?
What mods from stock?

starts right up and runs good?
test ride

spend more time looking at little details
Doug
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:55 AM   #4
lineaway
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That`s a good list. First impression is good to go by also, but don`t just be fooled. If your first thought is the bikes been hammered , but taken care of. Then the bike is hammered. If it looks new, check the air filter any way (remove is best) a bike can be cleaned up pretty. Checking the filter and intake might tell you how it really was taken care of. Clean outside and dirty in could mean trouble in the near future. Don`t be shocked if you have to look out of state to find a bike!
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Old 01-15-2013, 12:35 PM   #5
sweenrace OP
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Guys,

this is great! Exactly what I was looking for.

How do I check for play in the suspension? Lift the rear of the bike and try to move the swinging arm?

Also, what are the implications of nicks on the fork sliders?

Ian
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Old 01-15-2013, 01:11 PM   #6
motojunky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweenrace View Post
Guys,

End of year bonus almost in-hand and I'm ready to buy my first trials bike! I've never owned a bike before so I dont have any idea what I should be looking for when purchasing.
I'm curious as to what led you to want a trials bike as your first bike. I think it's a great choice that will allow you to master the controls in a very safe environment but it's not often that I hear about a first time rider starting out with a trials bike.

Have fun!
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Old 01-15-2013, 02:09 PM   #7
Handy
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If you know nothing about bikes you should get someone to go with you to check it out. You will want to test ride it and make sure it goes through all the gears, brakes work, etc. If you don't know how to ride this may be difficult at best for you to do. Maybe post up in your regional forum to see if someone in your area would be willing to go with you to check a bike out.
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Old 01-15-2013, 03:05 PM   #8
el queso
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Handy View Post
If you know nothing about bikes you should get someone to go with you to check it out. You will want to test ride it and make sure it goes through all the gears, brakes work, etc. If you don't know how to ride this may be difficult at best for you to do. Maybe post up in your regional forum to see if someone in your area would be willing to go with you to check a bike out.
Now that's good advice.

You might also talk to Lewisport, and see if they have anything used available. They have a good reputation, and I'm sure they would make sure you understood any issues with the bike they were selling you.
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:34 PM   #9
sweenrace OP
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@handy, @elqueso, Great advice guys. I've ridden bikes but I probably should grab a bike buddy and bring him with me.

The reason to start with a trials bike is pretty simple. I used to race cars but hurt my neck (skiing) so I need a hobby that involves a motor but is relatively safe! Growing up I had lots of biker friends and always wanted to master bike riding. Now I get the chance!
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:36 PM   #10
sweenrace OP
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Oh, and can anyone help with the following

How do I check for play in the suspension? Lift the rear of the bike and try to move the swinging arm?

Also, what are the implications of nicks on the fork sliders?
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:36 PM   #11
flyinfuzz
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Slider nicks mean fork seal leaking if there is any oil in the forks . If you can put the bike on a stand And then pull up on the swingarm works. If not grab the rear and top out the shock listen for a clunk .
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:48 PM   #12
DerViking
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Unlike most dirtbikes or motorcycles in general, you can easily lift the rear end of a trials bike with one hand, either by the muffler(if it falls off this is also useful information) or by the grip molded into the rear fender. If the wheel drops away with a clunk, it has too much play. Work the bike up and down with the tire just contacting the ground. Alternatively, put the skid plate on a milk crate and move the rear end up and down, back and forth by hand. If it's used, chances are it will have some play. If you move the bike 2" up before the shock takes up, you may have your hands on mine..... Remember these are low speed bikes, so slop that would be unacceptable on a high speed bike is annoying but tolerable in trials. The bikes are built with quite a bit of flex to them, helps alot when bumping through the inevitable river bottom section.

What is your price point? I recommend something in the 2005 and younger realm, lots more parts support, and much better bikes than the old ones. There are so few trials bikes that they keep their value better than many other makes or types.

Oh, another thing to check. It the end of the exhaust has been shoved into the exhaust, the bike has been looped or fallen backwards off of something at least once.

Radiators. Usually pretty well protected, but worth having a look at. If the fan howls when it's running, it is probably a Gas Gas, they all do that.
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:16 PM   #13
flyinfuzz
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Also look at the back side of the muffler . Check if it has been rubbing the tire . Gas Gas pro muffler tabs tend to break after being flexed back and forth .
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Old 01-16-2013, 03:18 PM   #14
sweenrace OP
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Thanks all. This is super helpful! Now to find some bikes to check out :)
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:40 PM   #15
sprinter27
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Fwiw play in the rear suspension shows the linkage bearings are toast,some may not notice when riding but it would drive me nuts.its a pricey fix as the parts are expensive.nicked fork tubes are also a pricey fix, and leaking seals will make the bike near unrideable.its common crash damage when dropping the bike in rocky areas
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