Sunday, December 11, 2011

Look For Used Motorcycle Parts As An Alternate Choice

When I was a kid, my Dad bought a used Harley. I'll never forget the day the guy came to drop it off at the house. The thing didn't run anymore and the paint job had seen better days, but it was still magnificent. In was a 1971 XLCH Ironhead, and I couldn't wait to sit on the thing - even if it didn't run. We spent the next six months puttering about on it before we were finally able to crank it over.

Part of the problem with the Ironhead was that the previous owner had let it sit for about five years, forlorn in a storage locker. The first thing to do, my old man decided, was to tear the whole thing down and examine each bit and piece independently. We started with the basics: new plugs, new fuel line, filter and air filter. Since there wasn't much of a market for new motorcycle parts we had to check out various shops for used motorcycle parts, which resulted in a lot of oohing and ahhing over the shiny new motorcycles sitting in display windows.

Each used part we found had to be inspected, to make sure that it was the right fit and that the part wasn't going to fail. The carburetor was a major pain to locate. As the carb was one of the last pieces of the puzzle we decided to put the whole thing back together and give her a go. She started to crank over, but we found we had a new problem on our hands: the engine was flooding.

After careful inspection, we found that the o-rings were worn out. Once they were replaced, after more than a little cursing and grunting, we were able to get the Ironhead started.

While buying salvaged parts for a motorcycle can save some cash, it doesn't mean that the parts are going to be perfect. Even with close inspection an o-ring here or an imperfection there can cause plenty of headaches. Once we got the Ironhead working we realized that a cheap motorcycle can be great, if you're wiling to expend a little TLC to get it running again. We learned a lot about the bike, after tearing it down and putting it back together.

Plenty of used parts venders are on the up and up, and can give you lots of advice about what might be wrong with your bike. Stick to the enthusiasts - those that are passionate about bikes. Finding a specialist in your particular brand doesn't hurt either. Think about it, you wouldn't take your Mercedes to a Ford dealer and expect the same knowledge base.

Dozens of online forums and shops make it easy to shop around and price out used parts, yet there's no substitute to being able to take a close look at the parts with your own two eyes. The Internet makes it ever easier to get an idea of what you're looking for and what to be wary of. Buying a used bike can be a great adventure, provided you have the time to give her some love.

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