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General condition

First impressions count. Does the bike look well cared for, or neglected? A bit of honest dirt is no problem on an older high-mileage machine, but damaged nuts and alien bolts are signs of a less than sympathetic owner. Check for signs of crash damage – are the engine cases, forks, silencer or handlebar ends scraped on one side of the bike? If they are, ask the seller how this happened. At the steering head, check to see if the steering stops on the lower clamp are bent or dented, a sure sign of an accident.

Try pushing the bike forwards a few metres, and back again. It should roll freely on a flat surface Some bikes are obviously if it doesn’t, it’s likely that the brake calipers are battle-scarred …

sticking and will need a strip down and clean, or even replacing.

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