Checklist when buying a R100Rs or equivalent
When you buy a R100Rs or equivalent bike it's very nice to have a
checklist handy with the things you need to pay attention to.
Here is a list with items that can help you decide to buy or not to buy
the bike, or to reduce the asking price.
- Tool damage: what is the condition of all the bolts and nuts? If it has been wrenched on a lot or unprofessionally then a lot of nuts and bolts will look damaged. This says something about the condition of the engine, but also future wrenching will cause problems because a number of bolts and nuts cannot be removed and will have to be drilled out.
- Oil leakage. If the bike is in a spot where it is usually parked then you can see if there's oil on the floor. This does not need to be cause for alarm because these engines tend to leak oil from the connection between the
pushrod-housing and the cases, and often also from the foot of the cylinder because originally there was no gasket in between. So it does not need to be a problem as long as it's clear where the oil is coming from.
If it's possible check the air filter for oil. If there's oil on the air filter this may indicate overpressure in the cases because the overpressure-valve winds up in the cases. Overpressure in the cases (carter) may be an
indication of bad piston rings. Also check the front forks for oil. The seals tend to leak. This is not a
big problem because seals are inexpensive and easily replaced. It just means more work.
- Oil use: It's often hard to determine if the engine uses a lot of oil, but when the engine is cold and smokes a lot it's a bad sign. When the engine is warm the oil will burn better, and the smoke will be less visible. If the
engine is all right then it'll use about 1 liter every 4000 kilometers, and the outer limit for a rebuild is 1 liter every 1000 kilometers. A rebuild is affordable if you can do everything yourself except for the cylinder
In that case you need to do take the engine apart yourself, have the cylinders rebored, put new pistons in, and put it back together again. It's advisable to check the valves and valve seats carefully when the engine
- Battery: Check the battery for it's starting ability, check the fluid level ( gives an idea of how well it's been maintained) and if possible measure the acidity level with a gravity gauge. A new battery is easily 90 dollars.
- Tires: Good tires are not a must, but are an extra expense. Good tires save having to invest in new ones on the short term.
- Ground connector from battery: This connector , which is on the right side of the engine and is attached to the cases where the clutch-cable enters the cases, tends to strip. Perhaps the connection has been moved already to
the frame underneath the seat. This spot is often used as a replacement connection.
- Lighting: Check if everything works properly, including the idiot lights in the cockpit console. A lot of people cannot solve electrical problems themselves, so if everything works properly it's a lot less worry. Check,
if possible, the wiring. If it's been messed with amateurishly one can see that easily when spotting shoe(?) connectors, connector-blocs and strangely colored wires. This makes it hard to solve future problems.
- Brake discs: Check the thickness, and see if there are cracks running from the outer row of holes to the outer edge. One can hear those cracks when tapping their disc with a key: they'll sound dull. Discs are quite
expensive. About 150 dollars for original ones. And you have to add another 70 for two sets of brake pads.
- Steering stem bearings: Put the bike on the centerstand and adjust the steering damper to the lightest setting. Does the front fork turn smoothly or does it hang up here and there? A notch feeling usually means worn
bearings, and replacing them is a hell of a job.
Grab the front wheel and move it front- and backwards. Is there play in the steering stem? Some play is not so bad, but again a call for some action.
- Centerstand: This is a problem for boxers. Often the thread on the bolts the centerstand pivots on is quite worn. Then it's too late for new bolts. There is an elegant solution for this problem described on this site, but
this solution does require special tools, such as a tap M14/fine and a couple of hard Allen bolts with this size thread.
- Exterior damage: I did not pay too much attention to that, and luckily it wasn't necessary. People tend to consider damage to fairing parts etc less important than the things relevant to safe and good driving/handling.
But this is not quite smart especially when it's a nuisance to find replacement body panels or parts such as fairing, tank and seat. They are expensive even secondhand, even more so new. It's worth something if everything
comes with the bike that is supposed to be there, and it's in reasonably good shape.
Thanks to Mike Cecchini and John Swift, CBX Club--Washinton D.C. USA for translating this page for me.
(c) W.P.Barendsen 2002