If your in the Cincinnati area on June 2nd come join Cincinnati Cafe racers at Hoffner Park for the Mods & Rockers Rally. There will be food live music and of course Cafe bikes and scooters.
Cafe Bike will be there with their cameras you make get on the next episode.
Last time we talked about the walk around, this is just a general over view of the condition of the motorcycle. Now we are going to begin to look closer.
I always start a mental checklist of what will need to be done and what it will cost. I also note if the repairs are things that I can do or will I need to pay a mechanic.
Some of the things you find will tip you off to other repairs that will be needed I.E. rust in the tank means the tank will need to be cleaned and the carburetors will need to be cleaned or rebuilt.
It's easy to put more money into an old bike than it's worth. This is fine if it's a classic and you just want it back on the road but I have ran into many sellers who try to justify a way too high price with "all the money they paid a mechanic to get the motorcycle running again."
Ok With that said let's get to the list.
1 Do the lights work (all of them including brake light and turn signals)?
2 Horn working?
3 do all of the switches work are they the correct switch?
4 Does the throttle work, are the levers straight or broken?
5 cables work smoothly?
next time we'll get into inspecting running gear.
This is the first in a series of short articles on how to assess a used motorcycle.
Anyone that has read this blog understands that I am a big proponent of buying used motorcycles. When buying used motorcycles it pays to know what you are buying.
I try to find a forum on the internet that covers the make and model that I am considereing buying. This is a great place to find out about problems this model might be prone to and how difficult it might be to fix that problem. In short there is a wealth of information and help in these forums.
When you go out to inspect the bike here are a few general things to check on the first walk around.
1 Is the bike complete?
2 is it in running condition?
3 Is it a rider?
4 Do the serial numbers on the engine and frame match (some vintage bikes have won't have matching numbers. Members of the forum can advise you if this is normal).
5 Does the seller have clear title?
6 What is the general appearance of the bike. Are repairs cosmetic or are they more serious.
In the next article we will take a closer look.
Recently I had been looking for a motorcycle jacket that I could wear when my mesh jacket was too cool and I didn't want to wear my 3/4 length touring jacket. I discovered the Fieldshear Drifter jacket.
This jacket has the style and attitude of a leather motorcycle jacket combined with the functionality of a textile jacket. It has a full sleeved zip out quilted liner. Five pockets including a cellphone pocket and a map pocket. If it rains on your ride this jacket has a 100% rainproof liner making it a great choice for fall riding. Oh yeah it also has CE approved foam in the elbows, shoulders and back.
Its a great jacket and good deal at it's retail of $149.00 But one of our sponsors is selling this jacket for 1/2 retail though the link below. If your looking for a deal on a new jacket check this out now. Just to be clear I bought one of these jackets with my own money and wear it all the time. Check out the Closeouts at Motorcycle Superstore!
Just a quick tip. This is a neat trick if you have an oil leak that you are having trouble locating. First clean your motorcycle engine. Then spray the area of the engine that you suspect contains the leak with foot powder. Next step go for a ride. When you get back the oil trail should be simple to trace.
This past Sunday the small town of Oregonia Ohio thundered with the sound of motorcycles as it hosted the AMA hill climb Championship aka The Devils Staircase. The weather was perfect the crowd was huge and the racers were hellbent for the top of the hill. Best time was 8.31 seconds. That's flying!
This event takes place every October in Oregonia Ohio and is well worth the trip. Take a look at the video.
One of the most popular upgrades to an older motorcycle is the suspension. Many owners add stiffer fork spring and/or cartridge emulators. These upgrades are easy to do and truly improve the handling of the bike.
How ever they may change the amount of oil that should be used in the fork. Following the directions that come with the emulators it may tell you to fill each fork tube to 8 inches (this will vary with your model of bike) of oil. Ok most of us are used to filling fork tubes with a set number of ounces or CCs of oil. What the heck does 8 inches mean. It would be a safe guess to think it means 8 inches of oil in the fork tube, hmmm you would be wrong. The inch measurement referers to the distance from the top of the fork tube to the surface of the oil.
The video below will show you how to make a cheap tool that makes getting the correct measurement easy.
It is important to remember the measurement will be unique to your make and model of motorcycle.
This is done without springs and with the fork leg collapsed.
I could write an entire blog on motorcycle tires. There are so many factors that come into play,bias ply or radial, tread design, rubber compound, the list goes on and on.
Everyone has a favorite tire, and so does your motorcycle. I'm not just talking about size but tread design and construction. Most motorcycles will have a sticker under the side panel that will give you this information some will even give model and brand. This is not just a deal the motorcycle manufacturer work out will a tire company but the handling of the bike is designed to work with the certain aspects of that tire design.
As an example you should never fit a radial tire on a motorcycle that came off the showroom floor with bias belt tires on it. I know I can hear you say but radials give you better traction. On the proper bike that"s true but a bike that was not designed for that flexible of a sidewall you may screw up your handling. The reverse also applies.
Check Your Tires Often
Proper inflation is a must, not only to get the maxium mileage out of you tire but also for your safety ( a blowout on a motorbike is much more exciting than in a four wheeler). A under inflated tire builds up much more heat and that heat will melt the adhesive that is holding your tire plies together and you may lose whole chunks of tire at highway speed (hmmm sit back and picture what that would look like from the handlebars). Proper inflation will also give you the best traction in the rain. Low pressure will cause the tire to trap water under the contact patch.
Check your tread for wear. Do not use a tire that is worn below the tread wear indicators. These are the little bump that you will find in the groves of the tread (some tires have a small triangle on the sidewall to indicate where in the tread these will be found). Don't ride tires with cracked side walls this is an indication the rubber has dried out and is stiff. One good jolt could result in a blow out.
Tires are one of the most expensive consumables on your bike but the failure of a used up tire can really ruin your day.
If you are a motorcyclist you know the name BSA. But do you know what those initials stand for?
BSA was founded in 1861 as a arms manufacture. Birmingham Small Arms co. They produced Air guns and shotguns for the military and sporting market.
When the military contracts ended the company got into the motorcycle business. At their peak BSA was the largest motorcycle producer in the world.
These bike are highly prized by many vintage motorcycle riders and collectors.
A down turn in sales coupled with bad investments which included Triumph motorcycles brought the whole group down in 1973.
My Kawasaki Concours project (like many used motorcycles) came with a badly torn up seat. New seats for a bike are shall we say pricey. So that means this is going to be a reupholster job. Talented reupholsters are again not cheap.
That left little o'l me to do the job. Now my skill with covering seats peaked when as a kid I built a seat for my mini bike out of a piece of plywood and pillow that I covered with a burlap feed sack.
I needed to do some research.
I found out that many of the motorcycle saddle makers also sell replacement covers .
This was good news. Mustang make a cover for the Concours that sells for around $70.00 (beats 400.00 for new a seat) so I ordered one. While wait for it to arrive I peeled off the old cover and all of the duct tape. To my surprise the foam under the cover was in pretty good shape. This is important because if your foam it torn up the seat will never look right and it can be down right uncomfortable. Mustang can rebuild your old seat with new foam for a price.
The instruction that come with the cover are pretty straight forward and the only tool needed is a good heavy duty staple gun. Start at one end and staple the cover to the under side of the seat pan and stretch the cover as you work your way to the other end stapling as you go. This is not a difficult job and it looks great.
Maybe I didn't peak as a kid after all.