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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: 8241

snev says:

What a Minefield...

Sportsbikes are by design, built to be thrashed, they appeal to would be or actual racers so are generally...... erm, Thrashed. However there are a good few "wanabee Racers" out there who would rather conserve their Tyre edges, Polish their chain links and park their Weapon of choice in a glass cabinet in the "front Room", Whilst impressing the shite out of the locals.... "down the Local". Happy Days!!! The trick is to find one of those Bikes. Seek and yee shall find, Happy hunting.

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Jan 11

Posts: 8241

snev says:


You can always buy my RSV1000R For a mere £20,000.! now if I can just find those Cabinet Keys!! (reckon I probably left them down the local).

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Jul 12

Posts: 1

dbc54321 says:

Old Sportsbikes

You might get lucky but I'll bet most sellers won't let you ride a bike before buying it so it's difficult to be certain you are getting a good one. In my opinion the single most important thing on a bike is the tyres. Check them for wear, brand, correct size for model etc. I suggest that you check all the controls. Do the brakes feel sharp or spongy? Does the clutch pull cleanly or stick? Check the maintenance record, if there is one. Sit on the bike and see whether the rear suspension compresses and decompresses smoothly and quietly and similarly push down on the forks. Check the brake pads. Look for missing items such as bodywork that can be expensive to replace. Check the tank for dents, damage or rust, especially along its seams. If you can, take a bike mechanic along with you to inspect it.

After buying a 10-15 year old sportsbike the first thing I would do is strip front and rear brakes and suspension and reassemble them with new seals, pads, grease, oils and fluids as appropriate. If you don't feel confident of doing this yourself then you should budget for a mechanic to do it for you. You need to assess whether the springs and shocks are appropriate to your weight. Many are adjustable so you will have to go for some rides and play with the settings. And back to the tyres. New tyres can transform any bike and good tyres are essential for good handling, grip and braking.

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Aug 02

Posts: 3277

eatcs01 says:

older bikes

A 10-15 year old sportsbike will still outhandle most riders.


If you have something that DOES handle a bit odd, it really teaches you how to ride.

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Oct 05

Posts: 535

evilamnesiac says:

Don't worry about it...

..none of us are riding anywhere near the 'limit' on any of the sportsbikes in the last 15 years. find a tidy bike that's been looked after and youll be fine

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Mar 07

Posts: 27

isimmins says:

No, it's all relative.

The limit of an older bike is not the same as the limit of a newer one.  If it has been properly maintained there shouldn't be an issue.  Most riders will be outside of their envelope long before any bike is.

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Jan 11

Posts: 8241

snev says:


As with many older Models there are some very nice ...Motorcycles I'd Love to Find...... Not to mention Ride the "Arse Off".

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Feb 11

Posts: 87

draper12807 says:

Before you get a bike check for stress fractures around the headstock and then when you buy it take it to get the suspension checked and they will check everything for you and set it up for how you ride, usually around £300 for peace of mind for a few years.

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Apr 08

Posts: 3042

AdieR says:

While there are

good sportsbikes out there for budget prices, there's plenty scrap too.

Forks, chains / sprockets, head bearings and clutches can get hammered by ham-fisted riders doing wheelies so its always wise to check these.

Some (including many of the old Japanese 400's) will have seen the track, many will have been binned on track too - stickers / graphics and resprays are favourite ways to cover up accident damage; as stated, fairings can be expensive things to replace (on an older / lower value bike it can amount to a significant % of the bike's value). Crash bungs don't always solve the problem either - some can cause frame damage if a bike goes down the road with enough speed / force. You don't state what you're riding now, or your experience, but bear in mind insurance can be quite a considerable sticking point on high-performance bikes, as well as being a thieves' jackpot.

Apart from that, many "ordinary" bikes (Hornets and Fazers being a couple of examples) are powered by ex-sportsbike motors (detuned) wrapped up in different clothes and in the right (skilled) hands can still keep up with more powerful kit.

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Feb 10

Posts: 198

wesley01 says:

There are some real gems and real dogs, I have a 13 year old bike and its an amazing road bike that can keep up with most. Just make sure you go over the bike as you will probably have to replace things like chains, tyres, brake pads and calliper overhaul. But when they work they work oh so well.

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