The Art of Buying a Used Bike in India
Take a printout of this article whenever you need to buy a used bike in India. I guarantee you will never fall prey to buying a useless used bike. Used bikes when selected properly work well.
- 1. Check Registration papers, how many owners, taxes paid, etc.
- 2. Which year make is the bike? This will give a hint as to the type (HT or LT). Most LTs came out in 1985, had slightly longer silencers and a copper restrictor block in each exhaust port to reduce the port size.
- 3. Check condition of the following: Meters, Cables, Brake Liners, etc. Wear and tear on tires. Rusted joints, nuts and bolts. Dents on silencers. Condition of chromed parts.
- 4. Start the bike up, how many kicks are required to start her up? MOST IMPORTANT: Was the bike in running condition or daily use before you looked at her, or has she just been started up recently after lying idle for a couple of years? If that is the case, don't buy the bike cause the rubber washers inside the engine get eaten away if the bike is sitting idle and will eventually leak on you AFTER you buy it!
- 5. Does she keep blowing smoke even after properly warmed up?
- 6. Does the oil pump work, or do you have to add oil directly to the fuel?
- 7. Keep an ear open for rattling noises, pistons slaps, etc. Best way is to start her up and then bend down to listen to her while letting her run idle. Don't gun the engine cause that will drown out the real noises you would be looking for.
- 8. Take her for a spin, do the gears move smoothly or do you have to struggle to change gears?
- 9. While riding, press the clutch halfway to see if the bike loses power. It should if the clutch is in good condition.
- 10. On a straight stretch, let her rip. See how she picks up and if she seems to lose power for a while and then kick in, this may imply that the clutches will need to be serviced along with the carbs.
- 11. Best way to take her out is empty the fuel tank, then fill in a liter of unleaded fuel with 30 ml of oil added. See how many kilometers she gives you before running out. And does she smoke a lot? If she does, that means the engine is leaking oil into the chambers, which is a BAD sign. A little smoke is okay.
- 12. Check if the bike is still on points or has been changed to CDI. If CDI, dual or single?
- 13. Most 'smart' people when they are about to sell their bike, down a can of Nulon along with the petrol so that noises like engine knocking or even the rattle of the crank rod is effectively drowned. 'Smarter' buyers need to drain out the tank, leave the engine running to exhaust the petrol in the carbs, then fill in some fuel along with some regular 2T oil and leave it idling for some time. The 'hidden' noises should expose themselves in a while.
- 14. Look for possible weld jobs on the chassis. This is important.
- 15. Look for weld jobs on silencers.
- 16. Check to see if the silencer flutes are original or borrowed from a lesser potent cousin of the bike or some other company.
- 17. Check the CDI unit (if installed). Remove respective engine cover and check for open/bad/faulty wiring and general condition of the unit.
- 18. Check for false neutrals.
- 19. Check for battery-related corrosion.
- 20. Check if the bike is really HT or really LT and that they have the respective silencers.
- 21. Barrels: Check the barrel size that the bike is running on. This will tell you how much life is left of the bike. Finding a stock bike is quite rare and even if you manage too, it will cost you a small fortune. Look out for a bike that's on its first overbore. There will be sleeved bikes available but then not all the sleeve jobs are perfect and a sleeved bike will not run as good as a stock one.
- 22. Test Ride: A good LT should lift its wheel during hard acceleration in first gear and a good LT should scare you once you enter the power band. Also an LT should rev up to 6 kilometers and a HT up to 8.5 kilometers.
- 23. Carbs: Check for the main jet size, nothing less than a 140 should do and 25 pilot needle. Don't go for a bike running on chambers unless the chamber has been specifically tuned to match that bike and made by a professional tuner. A locally made chamber is a BIG NO. Check the coils with a multi meter.
- 24. Pistons: Pistons come in different sizes 0.25, 0.50, 0.75, 1.00, 1.25 mm and Yamaha says that 0.5 should be the maximum oversize. Bore size is 64 mm and 65 mm is acceptable.
- 25. Points or CDI: As I have mentioned it above, check if the bike runs on points or a CDI. A custom-made CDI is better, but then if you are a garage nut and don't mind spending time with your bike every weekend, adjusting the points and then a point setup should also work.
Remember to take a printout and follow the steps. Happy biking.......
One more thing to add at the last that if the owner of the used bike refuses to do this, then do not buy that bike. Owner of a genuine bike will never refuse.