Here at Galfer USA, we're riders too. We know the excitement of picking up a sweet used bike at a steal of a price. But sometimes, those great steals come with some little issues. Based on our experience, we wanted to share 5 things that we recommend checking on your "new-to-you" bike before you take it out for a rip.
- BRAKE LINES / FLUID
When you get a new-to-you bike, one of the most important things to check before you ride is the condition of the brake lines.
If the previous owner did maintenance sparingly, or never replaced the stock lines, you may be dealing with some squishy, ineffective brake lines.
A squishy brake line feeling comes from expansion in your brake lines. Expansion is common in rubber or rubber OEM brake lines. Rubber, like most things, has a shelf life. Over time, a rubber line loses its strength.
Stainless steel brake lines are the best bang for your buck. The stainless steel braided structure will have greater strength against corrosion, fluid absorption, heat, and pressure loss. Over time, rubber lines can also be subject to dry rot. With a stainless steel line, there is no wear over time, and no expansion -- giving you lasting, strong braking power.
Galfer USA stainless steel braided brake lines are available for a wide-variety of stock applications. If you’re running a custom set up, we also make custom, made-to-order brake lines. You can get custom colors, colored fittings, and lengths. Shope our parts finder for OEM applications and our custom line builder for your custom lines.
You should also check or replace your brake fluid if the lines on your ride are old, or if you install new ones. You can shop brake fluid here.
- BRAKE PADS
Brake pads are another important component on a motorcycle that often go unmonitored. When you get a new-used bike, it’s crucial that you check your brake pads before your first ride -- stay safe! Always check the OEM service manual to verify the safe brake pad thickness for your bike. If your bike didn’t come with a service manual, you can find them online, or at your local dealer.
If you need to replace your brake pads, it’s important that you consider your riding plans before selecting a compound. Most braking companies offer several brake pad compound options for different applications.
If you’re curious about the compounds Galfer USA has to offer, and the differences, check out this article by clicking here.
Often times, you may pick up a bike with decent tires. But, it’s a good idea to check and make sure the previous owner didn’t run them bald. Even if a bike wasn’t ridden much, rubber still has a shelf life. We recommend checking out the tires on your “new” bike before you ride too far.
Check the manufacture date on your tires, this can normally be found on the tire. If your tire is more than 5 years old, we recommend checking with the tire manufacturer for service specs. A tire that has been used too long can potentially be a danger to you on the road or track.
To check the age of your tires, look around the tire for the DOT number. The last four digits (pictured above) are the manufacture date of the unit. The first two numbers indicate the week, and the last two inidicate the year. The image above would be tires manufactured the first week of 2018. All tires should have a similar indicator for the manufacture date.
By sight, you can check for cracking or dry-rotting on your tires. This often happens after heavy use or after a long period of time. If you do spot cracking or dry-rotting, this is a clear indicator to upgrade your tires.
Lastly, and most simply -- check your tire pressure. The manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure will either be labeled on the tire surface, or in the manufacturer service manual. Keep an eye on your tire pressure in case of leaks.
The easiest way to check fuel is to smell it, if it’s bad, it’ll have an old varnished smell. Like old lacquer thinner or paint.
We recommend draining and replacing the original fuel in any new-used bike you pick up. It’s a fairly easy task as long as you are careful and use precaution. If you choose to drain your fuel yourself, you’ll want to check your service manual or online service manual for you bike.
Apart from the fuel itself, it’s also important to spot-check your rubber fuel lines for cracks or leaks.
The condition of your clutch can depend completely on the previous owner of your bike. Checking out the condition of your clutch might be easier after your first ride. Different riders may be sensitive to different feelings while shifting and moving throughout the gear range, but there are some obvious signs of issues with your clutch.
If you hear any unusual noises (like grinding) while working through your clutch, this is usually an obvious indicator that you may need some help. Other smaller sensations may include skipping gears, stalling the bike irregularly, or not being “able to find” the gear you’re looking for.
Companies like Hinson Racing, Wiseco, and Rekluse offer clutch rebuild kits. These kits offer all the pieces you need to completely restore your clutch. Often times on a used bike, once you open it up, you may run into more issues than you originally thought. Rather than leave it in pieces on the bench while you order more parts, a clutch rebuild kit can solve multiple issues and get you running smooth again.
As always, we recommend checking the service manual for your bike before starting a project. Or, speaking with some clutch-specialists like those at the companies we mentioned.
Getting a new (used) bike is exciting. You’ve added a new ride to the stable, but it’s important to take a long hard look at your new-to-you bike and make sure it’s ready to ride before you take it for a spin.
At Galfer USA, we’re riders too.