What (not) to look for when buying a used bike!

By 17th August 2011 Kawasaki, Workshop Tips

We wouldn’t normally feature a bike like this here but a) because it belongs to Gill in the office’s other half and b) it actually serves as a useful tool to show the level of bodging some people stoop to, we thought we’d give it an airing.

As a used buy this old Kwak ZX-12R looks reasonable on the surface; but underneath there are a myriad problems. Firstly, the front brake pipe was badly routed and kinked, effectively multiplying the lever pressure when applied but not letting all of it off. The bent nail was holding the one set of brake pads in…

Have a good look at the horror show of pics below, but in a nutshell here are three useful and simple things to look for when buying used:

1) Have a good poke around the bike, for visual signs of things that’ve been altered and changed, especially things like brake lines. Wheel it around off the stand to see if the brakes are sticking, especially anything with a six pot caliper…

2) Look at the bike’s surroundings, and the owner, closely. Cosseted garage or under a tarpaulin in a back alley – where you’d you rather be kept?

3) Don’t buy anything in the rain, or at night. And if the engine’s warm when you get there, be extra suspicious…

Hmmm. This bike's a nail in more than one sense...

Front brake lines were fitted incorrectly, causing wear and poor braking.

Mismatched brake pads, held in with a bent nail in one caliper – nice!