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As far as my recommendation to replace tires after 5 years of age yes this is based on what manufactures say but also my personal experience with a set of tires that performance seriously degrade after 5 years. The tires had worse traction in the dry then they usually had in rain. Their has been a lot of changes to the rubber compounds over the decades so to assume nothing has change to cause manufacturers to make these recommendations other then greed. Due to the fact that a tire failing can be extremely dangerous i consider this to be a safety item. Based on the question i am assuming this will be a person newer to riding and a set of tires run about the same as most of our deductibles so it seems like cheap insurance to me. Also whether you agree or not with the recommendation it can be used during negotiations with the seller. We have all made the decision to ride and we can all weigh the risk verses our beliefs about equipment life range for yourself. I strongly recommend changing tires after they have reached 5 years of age you can decide how you use the information. As stated above i went longer because i did not have time to get them replaced so I don't even always follow this however at the time I never rode in the rain.

As far as storing a bike or running it each month both options are good if done properly. I will not get into how to store a bike long term but when done properly you will likely have zero issues. Storing a bike for 14 years and having no leaks seams likely to me. Cork gaskets on stored vehicles can dry-out and start seeping or leaking because of this however these gaskets are less common now. Riding a bike once a month when ridden long enough to get ride of any moister and lubricate parts is also a good option. You will want to get the bike to operating temperature for at least 30 minutes but an hour is better. Just idling in the garage will not ensure all the moister that may have accumulated is expelled.

I am glad that VulcanDrifter 2500 mile trip with 20 year old tires ended well but just because you had no issue does not mean everyone should do the same. As far as replacing helmets go i have found the foam padding of the liner starts to deteriorate around 5 years of use for me, I wait till the liner is shot then replace the helmet. Everyone has stated options, manufacture recommendations, and facts in this thread now it is time for the people reading it too weigh the risk and make informed decisions.
 

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There are many 2nd owner 10-15 year old cruiser motorcycles in my area (Vulcan 900 and C50T) with no more than 10k miles on them. These bikes are in the $3k-4k range and look like a great buy, but it is rare to find a bike with complete maintenance history. Most sellers claim maintenance was done but have no records to back it up.

I worry the bikes have sat in a garage for years without being ridden, and I've read that a motorcycle that sits for a long time is a problem waiting to happen. The owner can always say they crank them everyday, but how can I know if that is true?

Most people aren't willing to have their bike inspected, even if I offer to pay for the inspection. And if I have the bike inspected after purchase, the bike is mine and I'm on the hook for problems.

Should I roll the dice and go for it? Or bite the bullet and buy new?
For the price and mileage (typically) I believe it's a pretty fair gamble. Most of these Vulcans are purchased new by guys that want to start riding and then they get bored after 10-15k miles. I would look for a bike that starts within a couple seconds of pushing the start button (make sure motor is not already warm due to earlier starting by the seller), check fluids, check tires (any sign of cracking? anywhere?), check chain/belt (is belt dry? visible cracks in chain on inside?). On test drive, ride is not "loose"? Steering and vibration good and tight? Accelerate to highway speed. Is it smooth? How does engine sound? On overall ride, how are the brakes? There shouldn't be too much pull on the front brake lever. I like to lock up the rear tire (assuming you have the riding experience to do so and at a reasonable speed...15 mph?). Was it difficult to lock up? Having said all that, if you do bite and buy, take it to a shop and have them inspect fork seals and other rubber parts. Maybe have them change oil even if seller says it was recently done.

I don't suppose you know a guy/gal that would be able to provide some help? Maybe go with you if you know them well enough to ask?

I have found (in looking for bikes), that a lot of weekend warriors put a nice bit of cash into accessories...typically a lot! So, if you find one that seems perfect it might just be! In the end, you'll have to trust yourself!

Dave/Peoria, AZ
 

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There is nothing inherently wrong with buying used bikes; that have set. I have bought hundreds of use bikes. ( I was a buyer for an exporter) I will not buy a used bike unless I can take a short test ride. I would not buy a bike that the owner would not let me have it inspected. That is a big red flag. Others have discussed first maintenance issues, in short change all fluids.

No one is saying that a tire will have a catastrophic failure a week after five years. But consider this; on a motorcycle, you only have two wheels now imagine that you are traveling at seventy miles per hour and your front tire blows out.

BTW, my current bike is a 2007 when I bought it in 1011 it had been stored and had only 595 miles. I now have 54,963 trouble-free miles.

😎 Ride Safe
 

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Welcome to the forum from North Carolina. There is nothing wrong buying and older motorcycle. It is obvious that these low mileage examples have sat and not ridden. Question is, did the owner have enough sense to run the bike every month. Did he put a fuel stabilizer in the fuel. Always look in the tank with a flashlight for rust. That will tell if the bike was used. There are some additional costs over and above the purchase price. Tires that are over 5years old have to be replaced. Oil and filter change, coolant change with hose replacement, fuel and vacuum lines, brake fluid change, clutch fluid change (if applicable), drive belt inspection and adjustment, lube all cables, clean and lubricate all switches, check air filter, and a few more items to be lubricated or adjusted. Is you have tools and some mechanical ability, you can do all of this yourself. Also this forum is here to help you along the way. If not and you must enlist a technician, the numbers add up pretty quickly. The tires alone will probably be in the $400 range. So try to buy a bike with recent tires. The rest of it is not that expensive and is not that difficult to do. Like I said we will help you. It will be an adventure and you can do it. It is rewarding to maintain your bike. There is plenty of motorcycles for sale due to the financial crisis caused by job loss related to the virus. I bought my 2009 900 Classic in mint condition with only 2500 miles for $2000. Between tires, windshield, windshield lowers, air horn, chrome goodies, crash bar, tachometer, oil, filter, hoses, coolant, handlebar risers, added $1200 to the cost and I do my own maintenance and repairs. Here is how to check tires. Look for the DOT stamp on the sidewalk. It is a 4 digit number embossed into the sidewall. The first two numbers are the week and the second two are the year of manufacture. If over 5 years or close, have to replace. So, find something you like and before you buy post back here or a new post with some pictures and we can discuss if the price is right in relation to the year, model, and condition. Be well.
Hey,
Thank you for this answer. I bought a 2016 Vulcan Classis with only 1600 miles. I was reading the manual and wondered if the 1500 maintenance was done. I also noticed hoses and such need to be replaced after a few years. I would like to be able to work on my bike.. not a trained mechanic but pretty good mechanically. I will probably be reading this forum frequently for little tips. I'm going to check the year of my tires!
Thank you, again!
 
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