Buying a used off-
is it nicked?
is it knackered?
can you fix it?
how much will it cost?
When you go to buy a bike take a mate, a cynical mate. One who isn't blinded by the wad of notes burning a hole in your pocket. It's amazing how much you will miss when you are about to blow all your hard earned on a bike.
OK, the nitty-
Check the chain and sprocket to see what condition they are in, in the sprockets are hooked over then also check the engine cases for damage as a chain can easily fly off and smash the cases -
A competition bike will need this stuff on a regular basis anyway. But its worth checking the pads and discs -
Tyres also wear out quickly, particularly motocross tires where you are looking at the sharpness of the knobs -
Other stuff to check includes the air-
A new chain and sprocket for about £60
A realistic budget for tyres is £40 per wheel
A new set of pads will be around £15
A new filter will set you back about £10
Is it knackered?
Obvious stuff first...
Before moving on to detailed stuff just look over the general condition of the bike. What is the paintwork like -
How many other bikes has the guy got -
Checking for outstanding finance can be difficult for non-
Forks and head bearings
A bike's steering is influenced by many factors but if the bearings that hold the forks in the frame at the headstock are knackered then you'll be struggling to get round the first bend. To check the bearings put the bike on a stand so that the front wheel is off the ground and try to move the forks along the centre of the bike (back and forward). There should be no movement, other than suspension travel (up and down).
Also check that the handle bars move smoothly through their arc, if it feels notchy then chances are that either the cables aren't routed correctly or the head bearings are worn and will need replacing.
To check the forks hold on the front brake and compress the forks, the action should be smooth and when you release the pressure the forks should extend in a controlled way -
DIY cost: new head bearings (tapered) cost between £20-
Rear wheel and swing arm
To check for play in the swing arm bearings get the back wheel off the ground and try to move the swing arm from side to side. The swing arm should only move up and down, any sideways play means that the swing arm bearings are shot. These are difficult to replace and if the play has gone untreated for too long can actually damage the swing arm, so that even new bearing won't fix the problem. To check the wheel bearing grab the outside of the rim and try to rock the wheel from side to side, any movement means new bearings -
.DIY cost: needle bearings for the swing arm vary widely in price up to £50, wheel bearings are usually under £10 each.
Checking the rear shocks will tell you whether your backside is going to get a pummelling out on the trail. To check that the shock is working push down on the back of the bike and check that when you release the pressure that the back end comes up in a controlled fashion, i.e. if the back end pogos up and down the shock has lost its dampening properties.
On mono shock bikes also check the condition of the linkage under the swing arm (excluding recent KTMs). These hang down in the clag and need greasing regularly to avoid seizing and are expensive to replace. Visually you should check the shock to ensure that the main shaft is in good condition. Any corrosion on the shock shaft will mean that the shock won't last too long.
DIY cost: new twin shocks can be had from around £80 to £200 for competition shocks. Mono shocks start at £200 and rise to £400 for a pucker Ohlin’s shock.
With a Four stroke engine make sure that you start (important that you start it -
Two stroke engines are a little easier to figure as there is much less to go wrong. Listen for any slapping sounds (piston slap). In reality a competition two stroke will always need a new piston every few hours use if its used properly. If you can try to hear a bike that you know is in good nick before you view your purchase, then all the better.
Most importantly take the bike for a test ride. Go through the gears and make sure that the bike pulls smoothly. If the engine revs rise without changes in throttle position (or you are going downhill etc..), then the clutch is slipping.
Check that the bike doesn't get too hot too quickly. Chugging up your first big climb out on the trail is a bad time to find coolant all over your nice new boots. Check also that the coolant is clear and that there aren't any bits of oil floating around in it.
DIY cost: depends what you need -
Exhausts are crucial to Two stroke engines. Make sure that there aren't any big dents or cracks in the pipe. If the pipe is non standard then ask if the bike has been re-
Four Strokes are less dependent on pipes for power, but the key point here is to make sure it is legal -
DIY cost: A new pipe for a two stroke can be £140 -
It may sound obvious but check that all the controls work smoothly. New cables are cheap but make sure that all of them are OK. Look for stuff that has been bodged back on -
DIY cost: new cables cost between £8-
Remember that some off-
So, there you have it -
Buying A Used Dirt Bike