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post #1 of 8 Old 07-31-2013, 10:10 AM Thread Starter
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Buying Used

Hypothetical question (at this point anyway)

As the riding season winds down over the next couple of months, I anticipate finding a smoking deal on a used Wee (hope perhaps is a better word).

anyway - most likely it will involve travel of a couple of hours away.

Assuming I can find one - lets say an '09 or newer, nicely farkled and 9,000 to 12,000 miles (might as well dream) how badly can it be hurt in that few miles?
I mean, most Wees are ridden it appears by more mature folks that have taken meticulous care of the bike (and I'm guessing only rode it to church on Sundays). But assuming a worst case scenario, the bike was ridden by a hormone driven 17 year old with a penchant for high speed thrills, wheelies and refused to change the oil - how bad could the motor have been hurt? Barring any serious frame damage from a wreck, it can't be too bad in that few miles - or could it?

Thanks.
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post #2 of 8 Old 07-31-2013, 10:52 AM
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Ordinary maintenance, or often a bit less than ordinary maintenance, and our stroms will last for a coupl'a hundred miles. A coupl'a hundred feet without oil, or a few terribly jammed shifts, and everything is different.

Don't obsess over the age or mileage. Take a very close look at the bike. Listen to it run. Insist on a test ride even if they hold the money. You'll know. An '04 with 100k and good maintenance will be a better bike than the smokin' deal on an '11 with 9k on the original oil.

"Older people who are reasonable, good-tempered, and gracious will bear aging well. Those who are mean-spirited and irritable will be unhappy at every period of their lives.

"Let each of use properly whatever strengths he has and strive to use them well. If he does this, he will never find himself lacking."

Marcus Tullius Cicero
44 B.C.
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post #3 of 8 Old 07-31-2013, 11:41 AM
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The answer is it can get damn badly hurt in those miles if the owner is an idiot or abusive.
Do not make the assumption that all owners of these things are mature and take good care of things. I know of one that was ran so low on oil that the first time he added oil was when coming to a stop and the oil light came on.
These bikes seem to me to appeal to multiple categories of people. One category is the first time owner who may or may not have any idea how to take care of something.
Another is the very experienced rider who buys them because of the value for the dollar. He probably takes good care of things. On the other hand you can see by some of the threads here arguing over whether you should bother checking the valves when called for by the service guide that not everyone agrees on everything.
When you go to look size up the owner, ask questions about what they did (or didn't do). Look at the bike VERY closely particularly for undisclosed crash damage. Beware of half assed modifications, particularly electrical.
My dad had a favorite saying. "Don't step over a dollar to pick up a dime." In this case it means don't buy one from a 17 year old with penchant for high speed thrills.
These bikes are a fairly tough piece of equipment, if you buy carefully you will be fine, just don't get obsessed about the 'smoking deal', get the best one for the money you can afford to spend.

Joe S.
'14 HD FLHR
'12 Concours
'11 DL650
'01 HD FXD
'09 HD XR1200
'79 BMW R100
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post #4 of 8 Old 07-31-2013, 12:43 PM
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Benefitting from someone else's late-season negative financial situation is good planning.

Whether it's been ridden by a squid or a careful veteran look for all of the usual signs of maintenance, or lack thereof, as you would with any used car or motorcycle.

If the tire pressure is up, the oil is reasonably fresh, adjustments are up to spec on the chain, clutch and brakes work as they should, steering head bearings (!!!) aren't sticking, no leaking fork seals, and no signs of abuse or neglect, you're probably in the ballpark. The engine, provided the oil and filter have been changed regularly, will likely be the least of your worries.

When I am bike shopping I tend to look for the least modified examples. The more stock it is the less chance that a self-declared mechanic might have messed things up.

'04 650, and goshdarnit it's fun - matte silver (#9 in the Silver 'Strom Club)
farewell to an '81 KZ550, '83 GPz750, '83 V45 Sabre, R-Reg GT380, '84 GPz550, early '70s DT175, and a '72 Peugeot 102
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post #5 of 8 Old 07-31-2013, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your replies.

The comment on least modified makes some sense, as I want all the goodies already installed for a couple reasons.

1. They are cheaper that way.
2. I have never been able to find a tool that fits my hand and works the way it should (i.e. I have no talent and 10 thumbs)

Mostly concerned with driving a couple of hours and having the bike not be up to what it was represented. Pictures don't always tell the truth. Perhaps a dealer in another city? It's a pain when I overthink everything.

Again, thanks for your insight.
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post #6 of 8 Old 07-31-2013, 03:43 PM
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I've bought 2 used bikes lately and even though I consider myself knowledgable about bikes, both had issues that cost me time and $$ to fix.

I don't think there is a high risk of a show-stopping problem on a used strom, but if you don't do your own work, minor repairs and parts could add up to a hefty sum.

Vstrom
Throttle linkage was messed up. The PO had installed a cruise control and somehow got things out of adjustment, of course he lied about it. Even though the bike had a high idle speed I figured "no problem". Turns out special tools are needed to adjust and it cost $200 to have the dealer fix.

Skid plate mounting tabs were bent and cracked. I didn't inspect close enough.

WR250R
Airbox was full of dried mud, which took a couple of hours to clean out. Turn signal/lighs control switch was broken. Throtttle tube was dirty. Forks leaked. Wiring was crudely modified. Radiator mounts were bent out of shape. It was a good price and I was too eager to buy (I drove 4 hours away to buy it. The PO must have crashed hard at least once, and must have drowned it in a mudhole.

Tiger 800
WR250R
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post #7 of 8 Old 08-01-2013, 01:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RJPoteet View Post
Thank you for your replies.

The comment on least modified makes some sense, as I want all the goodies already installed for a couple reasons.

1. They are cheaper that way.
2. I have never been able to find a tool that fits my hand and works the way it should (i.e. I have no talent and 10 thumbs)

Mostly concerned with driving a couple of hours and having the bike not be up to what it was represented. Pictures don't always tell the truth. Perhaps a dealer in another city? It's a pain when I overthink everything.

Again, thanks for your insight.
Mine came from a small shop about three hours away. I spoke to the shop owner a couple of times, dropped a deposit over the phone, rode my old KZ there to do the transaction, rode two more hours to deliver the KZ to its new owner, had a friend meet me and drive me back to pick up the VStrom.

The whole thing went well, and I had a lot of fun riding both bikes that day. One of the advantages of dealing with what I found to be a reputable little shop was that they did all of the regular maintenance as part of the deal, so I had little to worry about for the rest of the riding season. The bike was bone stock when I got it... except for the really cool lone wolf stickers on the rear fender...

'04 650, and goshdarnit it's fun - matte silver (#9 in the Silver 'Strom Club)
farewell to an '81 KZ550, '83 GPz750, '83 V45 Sabre, R-Reg GT380, '84 GPz550, early '70s DT175, and a '72 Peugeot 102
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post #8 of 8 Old 08-01-2013, 08:51 PM
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I am not a mechanic so last time I asked the PO to take it to the BMW shop where he had the last maintenance done.
When I talked to the shop owner who said positive things about the bike I paid for a oil change and check up.
I know the shop could have lied to me but that 50-75$ made me feel a lot better when I fly out to pickup and ride home.
I plan on doing the same thing this time if everything work out.
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