Executive summary about a motorcycle buying checklist by Randy Moser
If you are a beginning rider, however, you probably should avoid heavy machines. Motorcycle manufacturers produce a wide range of motorcycles in different styles to accommodate beginning riders, and you shouldn’t feel any stigma when selecting a machine that fits your experience level. Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki and Yamaha all produce cruisers, sport bikes, standards and dual-sport machines below 500 cc. However, most touring bikes, such as the Honda Goldwing, are far too heavy for new riders and many sport bikes are just too powerful for those new to the sport.
In addition, sport bikes and dual-sport machines will generally be quite tall. Both of these types of bikes require considerable ground clearance. Sport bikes accomplish this by using rear-set controls while dual-sport motorcycles are often very tall machines. Sport bikes perform better in curves and are usually faster; touring machines are more comfortable for highway miles; and dual-sports are good if you spend as much time off road as on. Some motorcycles will handle abuse better than others, but it is never a good idea to buy a bike that hasn’t been properly cared for.
The following are some signs of neglect: The bike is improperly stored; the exhaust rusted and the tires have dry rot; the bike is not currently inspected and on the road. Motorcycles do not get ridden as many miles as automobiles, so don’t assume a bike has low miles just because it has fewer miles than your car.
Visually inspect the bike and demand a test ride. Basic checklist:
a. Pads: Inspect pads for glazing.
b. Hoses: Inspect hoses for crimps, cracks or other signs of defects.
c. Rotor: The bike will vibrate during the driving test if the rotor(s) are warped.
2. Chain: Check chain adjustment for stretch.
a. Lights: Check that all lights are equally bright.
b. Headlight: Check hi / low settings. Does the headlight get brighter as the bike’s raced? This is a sign of a bad voltage regulator.
c. Switchgears: Inspect for damage and check controls.
a. Oil: Is the engine oil dark or gritty?
b. Valves: Rev the engine and listen for valve clutter. Alternatively check engine compression, if you have a tester.
c. Coolant: Check coolant, if applicable, and ask when it was changed last.
a. Discoloration: If the pipes are discolored the bike is probably improperly jetted.
b. Backpressure: Put your hands over both exhaust openings. Do they have the same amount of pressure? If not one cylinder bank isn’t firing.
6. Suspension: If the bike has air caps, check the pressure in the forks.
7. Wheels: If the tires are only worn in the center, the bike has likely been driven on the highway; if they are worn all the way to the edges it has been ridden in the corners.
Motorcycle Trip Packing Checklist
Seasoned riders often prepare a motorcycle trip packing checklist in order to avoid arriving on location without all those items that make a trip not only enjoyable but easy logistically. The items are:
1. Spare inner tube
2. Tire patch kit
3. Portable tire pump
4. Spare clutch cable
5. Spark plug
6. Chain links
7. Chain oil
8. Bottle of spare petrol
9. Small tool kit
10. Rain gear
11. Long sleeved shirts and long pants
12. Bungee cords
17. Contact details of motorcycle rental company
18. Insurance papers
20. Phone list
21. Cooking equipment
22. Toilet papers.