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  • Motorcycle help.

    I recently got a wild hair and have decided to buy a street bike. I've been looking for a while and I thought that I should get a good deal about this time of year. Can anyone give me advice on what kind, size, style, and things to look for in buying a used motorcycle?

    I'm leaning towards an older Honda Magna V45 or such. Any advice? good deals, etc? Thanks.

  • #2
    Well, I would love to have a NEW Harley, but if you are looking for an older bike I certainly do recommend just about anything you like in a Honda. They seem to last a long time without having to spend all your spare time (or money) working on them.

    One caution here. I bought a new VT 1100 several years ago. Bought it right off the show room floor. Found it to be the most miserable, uncomfortable damn thing I ever owned, for long rides. Traded it on a Gold Wing that I loved dearly.

    The point is, if you can't ride it, I mean long enough to see that you like it, first, before you buy, then give it a miss. I will NEVER buy another bike without spending several hours on it first.

    This could mean having to rent one that is like the one you want to buy. It's worth the money to do this, if you have to!
    6P1 (retired)

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    • #3
      Best advise I can give if you are a non-experienced rider is first, take a mtorcycle safety riding course, or talk your motor troops into letting go through a cert. class. Second, whatever size bike you feel like you are comfortable with, buy the next bigger one. After about a week of riding, you will wish you had more.

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      • #4
        Dittos on what Don and DR said. The V45 would be an excellent used bike. There also should be lots of parts available since Honda made a lot of those in the 80's. Also consider the V65 (1100 cc). Its not that much bigger and you'll like the torque on the bigger motor.

        I've never bought a used bike but from what I've seen buying a used bike is like buying a used car. Have a competent mechanic take a look at it before you buy it.

        As far as style of used bike that's something you'll have to decide on yourself. Keep in mind sport bikes tend to get ridden harder than cruisers. Regardless of what you buy try to buy something that has been adult ridden.

        Good luck and be sure to take an MSF course. It's well worth the money and time.
        If you see me running try to keep up!

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        • #5
          Thanks for the input guys. I really look forward to taking a basic skills course. Some of the guys at work say that the course was excellent, even for an old-timer who's been riding for a while. I understand that I'll need to break the bad habits I learned from years of racing motocross. It's like day and night, they say.

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          • #6
            Get a Buel. Great street bike with a harley engine. I love mine. But what do I know?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by MPD3P59:
              It's like day and night, they say.
              Totally. I hadn't been off-road on the dirt bike in months. My boy's was in moth balls getting a new top end etc. The only thing I used mine for was picking up my 5 year old from the bus stop. We finally went out to the dunes last Saturday and it took me the whole day to try to get my "sand legs" back. On the motor, you don't take your foot off the boards for anything. I got back in the dirt and my legs were like lead trying to get them off the pegs. It was too funny. Still wasn't real comfortable by the time we headed home but I didn't kill myself and was getting some baby air again after a while.

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              • #8
                MPD3P59,
                As a former parts tech and a current motocrosser I believe I can help.

                The first thing you want to ask the owner is the title history. Make sure the title is clean, i.e. not salvage/restored. This means the bike has either been stolen, trashed, or bought at a auction. If you buy a street bike with a salvage/restored title, good luck getting rid of it when you are ready to sell it. The next thing you want to do is get the bike up to operating tempeture. this is where oil leaks occur and where a loose engine will sound like crap. Take a look at the front a rear rims, are there any little metal weights? If so the tire had to be balanced. This could mean the rider bent the rims in a reck or reckless riding. have a friend/owner hold the front handle bars firmly and then grab the front tire. Shake the tire back and forth. If there is any play on the tire the front bearings are gone. this can be very dangerous at high speeds. Next you want to look at the sprockets and drive chain. Are the sprockets worn down? Is the chain really flimsy? If so they are both worn out and need replacement. A broken chain can crack the casing and cost you big money. Also look at the front suspension. Grab the front break and push down on the handle bars a couple of times. Then look at the forks, if you see oil on the forks then the seals are shot. This is also expensive to replace. This should get you started. As for off road riding compared to road riding...
                I have owned both bikes at the same time and believe it or not the skills are tranferable. It is weird at first but one thing motocross has taught me that I used while riding on the street is balance and keeping your head foward, looking for the next obstacle. Also, your local motorcycle dealership whill be able to tell you if the bike you are interested in was a good bike or a dog in that particular year.
                I hope this helps and good luck!

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                • #9
                  This may be a stupid but obvious question, but...What kind of riding do you do? I love My 87 GSX-R, my 98 Shadow Aero, My desert race Banshee, and the numerous HD choppers I've built. All are so different, but on a budget only one can make you happy for what you want it for.

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                  • #10
                    Thanks ArizonaDO, I appreciate the heads up.

                    hk, I wish that I was rich and had several bikes in the garage to choose from! I am just looking for a cruiser that is comfortable and reliable. I'm not interested in riding wheelies from stoplight to stoplight or doing 160mph on the highway. I like a relaxing putt around on the weekends or after work. Maybe throw my tacklebox and rod in a backpack and head to the mountain lakes on a Sat morning. Mmmmmmm, I'm looking forward to Spring already.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MPD3P59:
                      I am just looking for a cruiser that is comfortable and reliable.
                      If you just want a jap cruiser to put around on, I had a Kawasaki Vulcan at one time that was a great bike. the wife and I took regular 200 mile trips on it, (to SLC as a matter of fact) and I had zero maintenence issues with it.

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                      • #12
                        I love all bikes, but I have to admit that my Honda Shadow Aero is a great ride. Shaft drive, and nearly no work. Fill with gas, and ride! You can get really great deals on used ones if you look around.

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