Sometimes you’ll just end up with a dud

Published: 03 February 2017

‘It ran badly… then stopped’

Used bike expert, Neil Murray explains why buying and selling used bikes isn’t always a win-win situation

Just as I’d got the Triumph Sprint ST running sweetly, and obtained the used parts I needed to fix the minor fairing damage, the Cosmic Foot stamped on my choc ice.

I couldn’t start the used Honda CD200 Benly I’d bought. To be fair, this didn’t surprise me as it had been standing for a while and the seller had bought a brand new battery and put it on a 12-volt charger, not realising it was a 6v unit, and buckled the plates.  

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But I have my own sweet-running Benly, so I swapped over the battery and removed and set the carb up properly (the pilot setting was miles out). And then checked the ignition timing and valve clearances and changed the oil. I got it to fire up and run for a few seconds, badly, and then it lapsed into a hurt silence. Not good news.

A swift check revealed zero compression on the left-hand cylinder. Bugger. To be fair to the seller, he said he thought the compression was low, but then this was the guy who didn’t know what battery it had so he was hardly a mechanical genius. Benlys are generally indestructible – they were used as hire bikes in Greece, the sort of fate that Mummy Bikes use to frighten their children into good behaviour, and not even the Greeks could destroy them – so God knows what’s wrong with this one. Holed piston (unlikely) or (I suspect) a dropped valve.

You have to take your lumps in this game. Everyone gets caught with a disappointing bike at some point, and I’m sanguine. It was a cheap machine, it may be cheap to fix, or
I can just keep it as a parts donor for my own Benly. Whatever happens, however, I won’t be out of pocket. Trouble is, I won’t be in profit, either.

 

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