Check the front forks for oil leaks, pitting or rusting. With the bike on its centre stand (if fitted), check for play in the forks by grasping the bottom of the legs and trying to rock them back and forth. Take the bike off the stand, hold the front brake on and pump the forks up and down – they should move smoothly and without squeaks or rattles. Sit on the bike to check the rear suspension – as with the forks, the shock should move smoothly and quietly.
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If it feels oversoft (bearing in mind the pre-load setting) then it could need replacing.
Tyres are easy to check, and well worn rubber is a good means of levering down the price. Bikes used for a lot of motorway miles will have worn a flat in the centre of the tyre – this upsets the handling and means you'll have to replace the tyre soon.
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