Would you buy a bike without a test ride? - Honda RC51 Forum : RC51 Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2012, 08:37 PM Thread Starter
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Would you buy a bike without a test ride?

I'm wondering how many people would buy a bike without a test ride? It has been a very important rule to me that a test ride is required before buying, based on a friend's experience years back.

Well, I broke that rule buying the RC51 I just got. The owner told me the bike would not start and there was no fuel pump priming to heard. The seller was motivated to sell and too busy to try to figure out the problem. With a price drop reflective of this issue I drove 200 miles to see it. It also became evident that bike also had issues of storage neglect. But on close look the bike was very clean overall. So with haggling I got a great price and decided to buy it. A notable risk, but with risk can come reward. And I was definitely rewarded. I got the bike running right away and I took my first ride on it today. The bike performed flawlessly.

I feel that my careful inspection of the bike and its overall condition mitigated concerns about no test ride (but there are no absolutes in this...). In the future, I still think a test ride is very important and I would only very very carefully consider buying something without a test ride. But it worked out well for me on the RC51.

I have a few pics in the new members forum.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2012, 08:45 PM
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I bought mine without riding it first, as the owner wouldn't let me - But he had ridden to our meeting spot. I could see it hadn't ever been dropped, was like new and had been lovingly cared for with lots of money spent on quality bits - so I bought it.

Never regretted that decision, but doesn't mean to say any bike should be bought without riding first.

Euro RC51 SP2: HRC WSB Ti Hi-Level, T1 Airbox & Snorkel, PCIII, Dymag CA5 Carbon Wheels, Ti64 Spindles (F, R & Swing Arm), Mori Link, Maxton GP7 Shock & Ohlins 832 Forks, Brembo GP Calipers & SBK narrow track (F), Braketech Disc (R), Brembo billet Underslung x 2 Brembo RCS, Tyga Triple, 7075 Stem, Probolt Titanium all over, Babyface rearsets, MR Complete Carbon Lineup, Custom Undertail & CBR 1000 LED, Watsen LED Indicators, Harris Brace, Giles clip-ons, Corbin seat, etc. 2013 BOTY.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2012, 08:57 PM
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All but two bikes I've ever owned were without a test ride.
Not that I wouldn't mind a test ride, it just wasn't permitted at that time.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2012, 09:12 PM
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I found mine standing on a dealer's show room, and time was printed all over it from standing still for over than 2 years.
However it was in a store so all it's damage was it's hardened tires and a lot of dust in some spots.

I asked the dealer to start it up and he promised he would once he had the new battery delivered cause the one on it was dead long ago.
So next time i went there, I had the money with me and the dealer started the bike for me but he wouldn't let me test ride it. There has been lots of stealing bikes this way so he wouldn't take the chance.

Having my mechanical experience as a judge, I was convinced that the bike was in a very good and OEM condition on the engine.
Of course that is no warranty on anything but it turned out well for me.

During the first year of ownership I had to replace the fork seals, tires, and a full meticulous service to make her "fresh" again but that was something I expected anyway, since I bought an 8 year old bike which was standing on a display screen since 2005!

I know though a lot of cases that people, even though they took the test ride, they were deceived big time. They came in the workshop to repair the bike always telling that they bought it some days before and on the test ride it was working ok while I was coming up with camouflaged damages that even me wouldn't have noticed if I was in their shoes.

That is why, for me, meeting the previous owner and talking a while with him/her about the bike is more revealing than taking the bike apart.
Cheap replacements, tie wraps, glue, wore out tires in the middle, blueish brake rotors etc etc are bad news......maybe the bike is still good inside it's engine but, for me, it doesn't wort the risk.......there are other bikes to review, out there, too.

My Íhlins Project: https://www.rc51forums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6033
Originally Posted by SubSailor View Post
Congratulation to MakisRC51 for winning the 2014 Bike Of The Year Contest!

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2012, 09:49 PM
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The only items I really check are: Oil color, how does it sound at idle and run the trans through the gears. Neglect by abuse during riding is the same as neglect during storage IMO....both have similar impacts.

I have bought several I had never ridden...since they were new

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-15-2012, 11:49 AM
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I didn't test ride mine when I bought it (it was pi$$ing rain at the time so), but the owner would have let me after he found out I wasn't some spoiled kid with money to burn. First used bike I've ever purchased without riding it first though.

Duct tape can't fix stupid...but it sure helps muffle the sound
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-15-2012, 12:04 PM
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Out of 5 bikes I've owned, I've only test ridden one before buying. Four of them were used bikes, one was new. 2 dirt bikes, 1 cruiser, the VFR and the RC51. The VFR is the only one I test rode before buying. Tires were very low, no air available, so even the test ride didn't reveal much more than my inspection did. I guess I don't expect to ride a guys bike before buying, but I do expect to remove the side fairings so I always bring a couple tools.

I'm glad you had good luck with your purchase kwtoxman, sounds like you looked her over pretty good before buying, even tho you didn't ride it.

John, 2000 RC51 #000100

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-15-2012, 05:02 PM
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Of all the bikes I've had/have, they were purchased from private parties except for a couple. I test rode one, and one of them I bought site unseen. I can get a real good idea if it's a go for me by sitting on it, starting it up, listening to it and letting it run along with the normal visual once over. If I was to buy a bike from a dealer, it may be different but not a deal breaker. If someone wants to take a bike I'm selling for a run, show me the money...

Last edited by YtseJam; 10-15-2012 at 06:43 PM.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-15-2012, 05:54 PM
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Yes and no...

I buy and fix up a lot of crashed/bad condition bikes and some aren't running or aren't safe to ride. By that definition, yes, I buy bikes without riding them.

That said, every dirt or street bike I've forked over serious cash for I rode. My fiancee usually comes along with me when I buy a bike so the buy goes something like this:

I look over the bike for any mechanical or cosmetic flaws I want to bring to light during negotiating. Once I've done that, heard it run, etc, I go to the owner and tell him "I like this, don't like that, etc. I'll pay $X for it if it rides all right. You can hold the cash while I ride it. That way I've already done my haggling and set a price so that there's no chance of any conflict happening if I happen to drop the bike or something dumb like that. We've already agreed to a price unless the ride reveals anything that I didn't catch in my inspection.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-15-2012, 05:58 PM
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Bought mine without a test ride...went to purchase it, got to the house and the fellow was a Honda mc tech that worked across the street from me when I was working in a Yamaha dealership.

He is probably one of the best Honda guys I know. So suffice it to say no test ride was needed.

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