About to buy first bike, need advice

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About to buy first bike, need advice

This is a discussion on About to buy first bike, need advice within the Ninja 300 Forum forums, part of the Kawasaki Ninja 300 category; I have never bought a bike and I'm not sure what to check for when looking at checking a bike. Anyone have any advice on ...

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Thread: About to buy first bike, need advice

  1. #1
    Up-And Comer socalrider's Avatar
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    About to buy first bike, need advice

    I have never bought a bike and I'm not sure what to check for when looking at checking a bike. Anyone have any advice on what I can check for when purchasing a used bike?

    Also, the guy I'm buying from is selling a ninja 300 for real cheap and has told me he had laid it down. It is a 2013 year ninja with 20,000 miles

    Posted some pictures on my post.
    Last edited by socalrider; 02-20-16 at 08:36 PM. Reason: Pictures posted

  2. #2
    Supreme Being Vic.Thing's Avatar
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    It would be helpful if you had a link (craigslist etc.) to the bike. What are your plans for the bike? Do you plan to buy it and use it as a starter bike and "upgrade" after a couple months? Do you plan to buy it and keep it for 5 years and put 50,000 miles on it? At what point int he bike's life was it laid down? Was it laid down at 5000 miles and ridden for 15? Or was it laid down at 19,500 and now the owner's selling it?

    The keys here is whether the bike is dangerous and maintenance history. Download an owner manual (or service manual is even better) for the bike. Familiarize yourself with the periodic maintenance (and maintenance procedures). These things have either been done, or they haven't. Maintenance for motorcycles is more than oil and filter changes. Look for a pattern of good maintenance practices or neglect. Does the owner have service documents? If the owner "did the maintenance" is it clear the owner has tools to do these things. Does what you see on the bike reflect what the owner's telling you?

    The bike having been dropped could have frame or suspension damage that's not obvious. Is the triple tree straight? Are the front and rear tires aligned straight with each other? Are the handlebars even? Are there hidden gremlins such as pinched wires or bent fasteners from the drop?
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  3. #3
    Supreme Being twowheeladdict's Avatar
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    Everyone has different idea of what real cheap is. When you factor in how much it may cost to put the bike back into NADA retail condition, and take care of the maintenance items that may not have been done, you might not be looking at cheap.
    IF it is really a bargain, pay a mechanic to give it the once over. Your life may depend on it. It could need tires, brakes, valve adjustment, New chain and sprockets, coolant change, oil change, etc.
    Skill is what keeps you on two wheels.

    Situational awareness combined with skill is what keeps you out of harm's way.

    ATGATT combined with Situational Awareness and Skill means you might live to ride another day when that deer runs into your bike or that drunk blows through that stop sign.

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  5. #4
    Supreme Being rcannon409's Avatar
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    I see a nice ninja 300, locally, for 2995.00 that one has 21,000 miles.. Another very nice 2013, with 3600 miles selling for 4400.00

    Older 250's, in great shape, are all over in the 2000, or less, price range.


    Also, if you've not ridden before, lets concentrate on that. I see a lot of new people try to enter the sport this way. As if its too expensive,or not worth paying full price for something they dont know if they will like, or not. Therefore, getting in cheap somehow makes it ok to try.

    The answer to this is, yes. You will like it. Especially if you have a decent, dependable motorcycle to start with.

    The ninja 300 is a good bike. If you buy nice, used one today for 3500.00 it will be years before the value of it drops below 2500.00.

    Like most things in life, you cant get something for nothing. There are rare exceptions, but unless the person is family, people dont usually sell th I ngs for way less than their actuwl value.
    Last edited by rcannon409; 02-21-16 at 02:38 PM.
    2012 Ninja 1000 all green - Brembo 330mm rotors - AK20 fork cartridges -Penske shock-slipper -Ivans reflash...Leo Vince slip on and Arrow header

  6. #5
    Up-And Comer socalrider's Avatar
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    Yeah, I have pictures of it, but it isn't up on craigslist. Just was actually a person I met randomly. These are all good questions. I'll answer all the ones I can answer at this time.
    I plan to keep the bike for year or more. I don't think I'll need anything bigger than a 600 in the future as that's enough for me.

    I by chance saw the guy ride it around the city. There is also a small cut on the exhaust. He said he was going to get a new chain, oil and some other maintenance.

    I will for sure ask him when the bike has been laid down. But he said a couple of times it was laid down. I don't have a personal relationship with any mechanic as this is my first bike. I am trying to get someone else to look at it as well.

    I do plan to get the service manual for the bike. Kind of forgot about it.

    These are all great suggestions. I am a bit worried about the frame. How would I check that out?
    Mike1500 likes this.

  7. #6
    Up-And Comer socalrider's Avatar
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    If I can post pictures on here I can post them. But not sure the rules on that on this forum. I took several

  8. #7
    Supreme Being Vic.Thing's Avatar
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    Re pics yes you can post pics here. We're not interested in what the bike's color. We're interested in the condition. How much cosmetic damage is there? What signs of neglect are there? It's for information. There's other things to think about. If the guys bouncing the thing off pavement every few weeks how's he treating the clutch? How's he treating the tranny? How many times does it just run it to redline in 2nd gear through town doing 45 and doesn't care? Has he wrecked from stunting?

    Pay attention to what TWA said. Not sure what the BV for your zip code, but here it's $3500 SRV (from a dealer, subtract 5-10% for private seller) and that's with 5k miles on it in EXCELLENT condition. Normal wear and tear would be scuffing here and there, wear on foot pegs, etc.. It also includes and all maintenance up to date.

    The bike's worth BV - (repairs + maintenance). My guess is the bike needs ($1k in repairs, $1k in maintenance) $2k to $2,5k in work to bring it up to snuff. At this point, I'd assume it needs it's maintenance reset (all inspections/services up to this point including valve clearance inspection). Values $1000-$1500. I'll call it $1000 because it's got 4x the expected miles for a bike it's size and year. If it needs tires, subtract another $300 for that range. So unless this guy is selling it to you for around $800 or something, you're not getting a deal, you're getting a headache.

    I agree with the others, you should probably have someone knowledgeable look at it such as a shop. I'm almost of the mindset the sooner you get it out of this guys hands the better. This way you know what actually get's done to the bike and who does it. Some frame issues you can eyeball, some you can't. If it's been dropped more than once and has broken/cracked/smashed up body work just save yourself the headache and look elsewhere.

  9. #8
    Supreme Being rcannon409's Avatar
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    Multiple crashes are a huge warning light popping up.

    When you look at it, and discuss price, be sure and correct him when he says, "lay down" These are crashes, and need to be priced accordingly.
    2012 Ninja 1000 all green - Brembo 330mm rotors - AK20 fork cartridges -Penske shock-slipper -Ivans reflash...Leo Vince slip on and Arrow header

  10. #9
    Up-And Comer socalrider's Avatar
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    Alright, I'll post the pics as soon as possible. Also, he's selling way below the amount that's on average $2.-3k.

    Also, it doesn't look that bad but I didn't do a thorough check of it. I did check the pegs, handlebar, and mirrors for any damage on them but they didn't have any. I wasn't sure what that meant
    Last edited by socalrider; 02-20-16 at 08:39 PM.

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  12. #11
    Supreme Being twowheeladdict's Avatar
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    Take the bike and parking against the curb and make sure the wheels are parallel to the curb. Then measure from a center spot on the seat to the end of each handlebar grip. That will give you an idea if the bike is straight. The only way to really check for frame issues and/or other hidden issues is to strip off all the plastics.

    If you are mechanically inclined, have the tools, a place to work on it, and money for whatever you find, then go for it. Part of the fun of owning a motorcycle is wrenching on it.
    Skill is what keeps you on two wheels.

    Situational awareness combined with skill is what keeps you out of harm's way.

    ATGATT combined with Situational Awareness and Skill means you might live to ride another day when that deer runs into your bike or that drunk blows through that stop sign.

  13. #12
    Supreme Being Vic.Thing's Avatar
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    These aren't the best pictures for diagnostics. There is some information.

    Middle and upper fairings appear scratched, might just be reflections. Minimally they'd need painted. The muffler and muffler cover need replaced. Was the bike only laid down on the right side? Don't need an answer, however as far as value again the more damage the less the value. The tank paint looks scratched more than "normal wear and tear" on a 2-3 year old bike.

    Where's the license plate? What happened to the rear fender? It looks like it was broken off (wheelies?). If the rear fender wasn't broke off and the current owner modified it's very sloppy work. The license plate light housing looks scratched up (wheelies?). Tires need replaced, are severely flat spotted and lack tread. Wheelies often correspond with front end issues such as steering head bearings being damaged, loose, etc.

    I don't see rust which is good. Probably means the bike was stored in doors. The rear brake fluid looks low and dark. This means it probably was never flushed, which brake fluid is supposed to be replaced every 2 years (max). Being low as it is could indicate the brake pads are low and either near or need replaced. Brake fluid is clear when new, turns yellow over time, and as it get's older continues to turn even more colors, sometimes brown, green, and even a mustard yellow. In fact, it might be all three or different colors (or others) and inside the master cylinder might be mustard and basically rebuilding the caliper is required to fix this issue.

    Looks like to me the ownership history of this bike bought it as disposable. Basically run it to the point of needing a lot of servicing and dump it off, buy another disposable, and do it all again. It's not surprising on what's typically a starting rider's bike.

    Is the motorcycle catastrophically damaged? Probably not. Here's the thing, do not assume what you can't see is OK. It's better to assume the clutch has probably been as abused as the rest of the bike. Possibly transmission too. My guess is the owner was probably even careless about things like oil changes.

    If you want a nice, good motorcycle this example is highly questionable. Usually neglect and abuse on the surface reflects neglect and abuse below the surface. IMO you're not getting a good deal at $800. I'd call it $500 and you're taking a lot of risk. And frankly if it offends the owner, maybe they'll realize their "disposable bike" tactic doesn't work out very well after all.
    rcannon409 likes this.

  14. #13
    Supreme Being rcannon409's Avatar
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    I cant add a thing to what Vic said, other than to ask if you are able to address the issues yourself, or do you need a shop to bring it back up to standards?

    I''ll put it this way. If I could buy it at the 1000-1200 area, I would fee pretty good, but it gets parked until the brakes/brake fluid gets changed and pad condition assessed. I bought a sv650 like this and did end up making money on it assuming my own labor counted as free.

    If my labor was worth even 40 per, then I lost my butt. A lot of needed service was likely skipped. At 20k miles, odds are a valve check is needed, and I dont see this previous owner doing that.
    Last edited by rcannon409; 02-21-16 at 09:09 AM.
    2012 Ninja 1000 all green - Brembo 330mm rotors - AK20 fork cartridges -Penske shock-slipper -Ivans reflash...Leo Vince slip on and Arrow header

  15. #14
    Supreme Being Vic.Thing's Avatar
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    RC valve clearence inspection is every 7600 miles. Amazingly short interval, but still called for (about 3x over at this point). I'd call it never being done, nor vacuum sync. Doubt air filter ever been checked, let alone changed. Spark plugs? forget about it! Coolant flush is due, valve inspection and I'm sure adjustment is due, tires, probably brake pads, brake fluid flush, oil change & filter. Basic things like cables have probably never been adjusted or lubed. Who knows what the shape of those cables are? I wouldn't be surprised if the steering head is loose from abuse and neglect. Bolt tightening? hahahah He's already said it needs new chain and sprockets. Needs tires, probably brake pads. With all this how well has oil & filter gone? How about clutch? How about steering bearings and wheel bearings?

    There is opportunity for profit here. But it sounds more like socal wants a motorcycle. If socal is going to do the work, gonna need a lot of tools. Mininum of probably $600-700 in tools to do all this work. Then should a new mechanic really start with valve clearances and vacuum syncs? As far as value, it's all based on whether the service needs done or not. Doesn't matter who did it as long as they're competent. But if they need done, the value is parts + labor.

  16. #15
    Supreme Being rcannon409's Avatar
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    Vic, I think we can figure its missed two valve checks and is ready for its third? WOW.

    That list is just what I did to the sv. At 20,000 miles, you can also add fork oil and figure on doing something with the shock. Its probably still functional, but far past its "use by" date.

    If you look at the needed maintenance and factor in the replacement parts, the bike is totaled, isn't it?

    My sv had 16,000 miles on it and was in excellent condition. No body work damage. The suzuki shop quoted me 700.00 for a major service, like Vic said. This was labor , only, and would have covered the items on your list, including steering head bearing lube. Had I needed brake pads, expect a few more hundred in parts.

    If our owner can do the maintenance, maybe. As it sits, he could give you the bike, no charge, and you'll still be close to 1500.00 to get it road worthy. More if it needs tires and brake pads.

    If your trying to fix the body work, and make it look new again, I can see this turning into a 3500.00 bike, all in, thats worth 3000.
    Vic.Thing likes this.
    2012 Ninja 1000 all green - Brembo 330mm rotors - AK20 fork cartridges -Penske shock-slipper -Ivans reflash...Leo Vince slip on and Arrow header

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