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MCN  says:

You ask/You answer: Will older bikes be dangerous at the limit?

I'm a wannabe sportsbike rider with a small budget. I want to learn to ride fast but I'm concerned that the 10-15 year old sportsbikes I can afford are worn out and will be dangerous at the limit. Am I right to worry? And how can I spot a motorcycle that's past its prime? Your advice could help. Leave your comments below...

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  • Posted 3 years ago (31 July 2012 17:24)

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Jan 11

Posts: 40

joshcherry93 says:


+ Chances are 'the limit' is much further beyond the abilities of your average rider

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Jun 11

Posts: 22

ewanhind says:

The bike won't be the limiting factor

As a new sportsbike rider, the limit will not be the bike, but you. Having said that, if you are going to ride any bike you should keep it in good condition, whether it is old or new. When buying an older bike, it's a good idea not to spend all your budget on the bike, but allow some of it for replacing the oil in the shock and forks (maybe considering new springs as well), replacing the tyres, replacing the brake fluid and pads, replacing the chain and sprockets and giving the engine a routine service. Having said that, plenty of older bikes have been well cared for and will have had some or all of that work done already. A 10-15 year old bike sensibly cared for will be an ideal, and safe, introduction to sports bikes.

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Aug 12

Posts: 5

Oscus says:

Old's cool

It's also relevant that statistics driven marketing has created a power/weight competition between manufacturers that has resulted in more and more "gadgetry" being required to ride these bikes any situation other than being on a track. Top ends have robbed the mid-ranges, needing more precise gear changing and generally causing less driveability.
My 2001, jetted Fazer thou regularly pisses off and surprises R1's, Blades and the likes through the twisties. With useable, driveable power between 5-10k revs it's an absolute sweetheart!

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Aug 02

Posts: 39

bud says:

Any bike will stitch you up if it's not maintained correctly, age has nothing to do with it. The fact that you want to go anywhere near "the limit"  in the first place is  more a worry than a slightly stiff chain link, worn tyre or soggy suspension. Altogether now, "...Closer toooooo the eyedge!..."

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Aug 12

Posts: 1

toms1992 says:

Older bikes

Nonesence I have had 5 year old bikes that are in worse state, it matters more how they have been looked after rather than the age or even the mileage sometimes. I came off my HP restriction and was in the same position as you, I came across a 1988 ZX10 for £900 and its the best bike I have ever owned as it was looked after I have not had to do anything to it yet approaching 6 months riding some of that near the limit too.and this is a 24 year old Kawasaki ZX10 b1 with 70,000 on the clock and its still stable tight and comfortable, goes like a bullet too =)

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Aug 02

Posts: 70

slparry says:


Worn out .... don't be daft, your average power ranger only ventures out when there's not a cloud in the sky, dealers are now regarding 2000 miles per annum as average to high mileage (which is absolutely crazy) at that rate your 10 to 15 year old bike may have a mere 20,000 miles on it. I'd still regard that as almost new personally!!

If it worries you then get a lesser, newer bike, learn to ride it fast by riding daily, then run rings around the wobbling power rangers when they venture out on the one sunny day of the summer. Experience counts for far more than machinery!

For instance who would you rate as fastest, you on a GSXR1000 or Rossi on a ten year old GPZ500 :)

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Apr 10

Posts: 198

arryace says:

the limit?

to quote a far more talented rider than me

"to find the limit first you have to crash, thats the easy bit, the difficult bit is remembering where that limit was just before you crashed"

V. Rossi.


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Sep 07

Posts: 2877

James600zx says:

Older sportsbikes.

"small budget,.... 10 to 15 year-old sportsbike,.... how can I spot a motorcycle that's past its prime?"

You can side-step this question because if you keep an eye out and are prepared to travel there are some immaculate, low-mileage, bargain bikes about. Here's one which appears to be a good example. (I found it within a minute searching the MCN classifieds via the bike reviews section*).

(* "Leave your comments below and the best will be printed in MCN." Heh, heh!)

Oh, and that's not my ZX6R in the advert. My 60,000 miler is still going strong and I love it.

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Jun 12

Posts: 18

ghostmikey says:

'the limit' is not a generic limit for all bikes, the limit is relative to each individual bike; in the sense that each particular bike can do different things to different levels. If you want to be a sports bike rider in my opinion you need to start with something that's not an out right sports bike, an SV650s for example. It's limit is achievable, realistically and once you've found what you demand of a bike, then it's time to step it up a notch. You need to start with less capable bikes, learn the basics, and upgrade to more and more capable machinery as your skills progress.

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Mar 09

Posts: 52

oily1984 says:

Old bikes are no different to new bikes check them thoughly before purchase fix as required and stay on top of routine maintenance. Do this and generally the bikes are fine also if you're determined to be fast buy good tyres then use your bike in all weather and practice the finer points such as throttle control and smooth braking. I wouldn't worry about going fast as much as enjoying the ride it's better to feel happy at 60 than scarred shitless at 160 nearly crashing. If you don't kill or maim yourself you can keep improving until 160 is fun but you might want to save that for the track for the sake of your freedom.

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