It is took place to a great deal of us. You obtain the bike of your desires (or, at minimum, one particular of the bikes of your goals), and all the stars align so you can invest in it. Perhaps you located it regionally, or possibly you had to journey a small to select it up. Possibly way, there are couple of matters that conquer the sheer pleasure and excitement of all the possible exciting you are heading to have that is now coursing through your veins.  

Then, regrettably, truth strikes. Acquiring a utilised bike does not come with no a sure stage of threat. In some cases you get blessed, and you locate a bicycle that is been properly taken care of, has all sorts of provider documentation, and purrs like an offended kitten when you get started it up and give it a minor throttle. Quite a few far more moments, although, there’s one thing not really ideal with the utilized bike you just purchased.  

Now, it may possibly not be a complete basket situation, but there is a large environment of attainable factors that could be blocking you from having your new-to-you bicycle out for that glorious to start with ride. Despite the fact that there’s no way to realistically go over every one doable issue in a person piece like this, we have rounded up 5 of the most widespread issues you may possibly operate into after you have scored your following sweet moto offer. 


Does your throttle or cable-actuated clutch truly feel unusual when you check out to use it? If it’s sticking, or in any other case not responding to your inputs in the way that you would assume, likely the 1st detail you must check out is cleansing and lubricating your cables.  

To do both equally points, you’ll first require to take out the clutch cable from its lever, and the throttle from the throttle drum. If you have not done this right before, you will see a metallic wire that finishes in a very little steel knob that attaches to the clutch lever (or throttle drum, depending on the cable in your hand). Notice that you can clear away the cables wholly from the bicycle to clean up and lubricate them if you want (be guaranteed to retain track of how they are routed, this sort of as by snapping a bunch of beneficial images with your cellular phone), but you can also do it on the bicycle if you’re watchful.  

You will see that the wire can be pulled back again and forth inside the cable sheath—or, at least, the goal is for it to transfer really effortlessly within just the sheath. As you pull it out, you will see much more wire uncovered, and as you thrust it in, the wire will disappear into the sheath.  

What need to you cleanse the cables with? There are specialty cleansing chemicals just for cables that are your very best bet, but basic previous motor oil will also perform. Really don’t use WD-40 or harsh solvents here, due to the fact some cables might have plastic inside of the sheath that can be negatively impacted by harsh solvents (and can accidentally make them harder to actuate effortlessly).  

Some men and women advise applying a plastic bag and rubber band funnel to channel your chosen cleaner down the cable gap, which is effective quite perfectly for sprays. Alternatively, you can use a syringe to carefully drip a liquid cleaner or lube in, drop by fall (goal for the wire for the very least messy outcomes). At the time the cables are clean up (when the cleaner you have decided on starts off to occur out crystal clear, not gunked up), repeat the process with cable lube. 

There are specialty instruments you can purchase to assistance you do this, and they may possibly work—but if you have a good friend or loved ones member who is willing to assistance you manually operate the throttle cable back and forth in its sheath from possibly conclude, lubricating it without having any exclusive tools isn’t quite difficult. (You could do this on your own, much too, but it will get more time and tolerance than asking somebody you have confidence in to assistance you.) Make sure to wipe up any excess lubricant that may drip down into destinations you really do not want it. It is also worthy of applying a tiny (quite tiny) dab of grease on the cable stoppers in advance of you slide them back house into the clutch lever and throttle drum, due to the fact they require to shift easily, as well. 

At the time you have cleaned and lubed these cables, see how the clutch and/or throttle action feels. You don’t have to commence up the bicycle just enjoy with it a small even though it is parked, and you’ll most likely observe a good variation. 

Be sure to take note that if you have a hydraulic clutch, this data won’t use. As an alternative, see our up coming portion on brakes, which consists of some information and facts about hydraulic clutches as very well. 


Do your brakes truly feel mushy, both up entrance or in the rear? If so, the offender is probable air in the strains. If you have a hydraulic clutch and your bike mysteriously wishes to creep forward even though you’re keeping in the clutch lever, very same factor. Now, if you know (and belief) that the fluid was changed very a short while ago (such as if you purchased from another person you know nicely), then it’s in all probability fine to just bleed the brakes (or hydraulic clutch) and see if that fixes the problem. 

Nonetheless, most of the time, what you’ll really want to do is drain the old fluids, refill with new fluids, and THEN bleed the air out of the traces. Except if the bike you acquired has some funky aftermarket reservoir caps on it, most bikes will explain to you what fluid is expected for the two the brakes and the clutch. DOT 3, DOT 4, DOT 5, and DOT 5.1 are the brake fluid varieties you’ll probable see, and a typical rule of thumb is to adhere with regardless of what your bike is inquiring for.  

Be aware that DOT 3, DOT 4, and DOT 5.1 are glycol-primarily based, and can harm the paint on your bicycle if you dribble or spill, so be very careful! DOT 5 is silicone-primarily based, and can’t be combined with other technical specs of brake fluid. It should really only be employed in scenarios the place it is specified by the company. 

With the glycol-centered fluids, it’s Okay to use a greater-selection fluid in a bicycle that asks for a lessen-quantity (for example, employing DOT 4 in a bike that only specifies DOT 3). On the other hand, you can’t go backwards (use DOT 3 in an application that specifies DOT 4), for the reason that the working temperature demands won’t be enough for that bike, and you are heading to have a poor time. 

For hydraulic clutches, some call for brake fluid, just like your brakes—and just like your brakes, the reservoir cap really should explain to you what DOT specification to search for. However, you ought to also be informed that some clutches (Magura, we’re seeking at you) want mineral oil in its place. To steer clear of needless disappointment, be certain you know what you want and have the ideal provides on hand prior to you bleed the system. Do not combine mineral oil and brake fluid. 


It is took place to us all: You hit the electrical get started button on your bicycle, and nothing at all comes about. You know the battery is thoroughly charged and in good running ailment. What could be incorrect? If you experienced the exact Bike Safety Basis Fundamental RiderCourse teacher that I experienced, now is when you’ll be listening to her yelling “THUMB Key VALVE!” a handful of moments in your head. That advice is nevertheless certainly correct for bikes that are carbureted rather than fuel-injected, but we’ll go over both equally cases in this article. 

Look at irrespective of whether your killswitch is engaged. Perhaps you bumped it by incident, or perhaps another person else did—it does not actually subject both way. What does subject is your certainty that it is not the matter blocking your bike from starting. 

If your bicycle has a bodily key (and not an digital essential fob), check that it is in the ignition, and also that it is turned to the ‘On’ place. Some ignitions may have numerous positions, such as an accent light-weight placement or a seat release place (that is unquestionably real on some fashionable scooters, in unique). If your bodily important is not in the appropriate placement, it could prevent your bike from setting up. 

If your bike has an digital important fob, 1st, make guaranteed that it’s within assortment and you did not accidentally depart it in the residence. As soon as you have designed positive that it is on your particular person (or tucked in a cubby somewhere in or on the bicycle), look at regardless of whether it may well need to have a new battery. Considering that this bicycle is utilized, you most likely do not know what form of everyday living it is led—and it could just be time. Discover out how to alter the battery on your product if you suspect that could be an issue. 

If the higher than measures really do not function, now’s the time to get out the shop handbook and start off screening to isolate and take care of the issue (or call in a professional).


If it’s a carbureted bike, you are likely to have a gasoline petcock (which is the ‘valve’ that the teacher in my memory was enthusiastically reminding us about). Be confident the gas petcock is turned to the ‘On’ place. If that doesn’t take care of the challenge, try switching it to ‘Reserve,’ in situation there’s some kind of clog in your fueling technique that’s not letting the fuel flow by way of and combust in your engine the way that it should really.  

Do you know the past time this bicycle was operate? If it is been sitting for a even though, the trouble could be aged gas or strange clogs in your fueling process that could be blocking matters from working easily. In a ton of scenarios, basically dumping some Sea Foam (or your desired motor treatment fluid of option) into the tank, permitting it sit, and then functioning it through will do the job wonders. Which is accurate no matter whether your procedure has a gasoline pump or is gravity-fed, or no matter if you have one particular or much more carburetors or gasoline-injection.  

If you test that and it does not do the job, you could need to have to do the job harder to diagnose wherever your exact fueling difficulty is located. Perhaps your gasoline pump isn’t performing properly, which is a bigger challenge, or maybe the carbs need to have to be cleaned or, in the worst circumstance, rebuilt and adequately synced.  

Even if you have in no way labored on a motorbike just before, now is a excellent time to get your fingers on the store guide for your bicycle (if you really don’t have it by now) and start digging in to diagnose the problem. (You could also get a Haynes or Clymer handbook for your bicycle, but be aware that the OEM, Haynes, and Clymer manuals for the identical bike may well not constantly concur on crucial items like torque values.)  

If you are sensation unsteady, now is also a wonderful time to arrive at out to any close friends or relatives you may have who ride and wrench. You can also make mates with professional riders in your neighborhood local community who can help—or at minimum, preserve you entertained when you swear at your bicycle and attempt to chase down the problem. A lot of much more experienced riders love practically nothing more than aiding out newbies—just be certain to take their suggestions with a grain of salt until you know whether it is trusted or not (variety of like people in basic, genuinely). 


A good rule of thumb is to check out that your headlights, convert signals, and horn are all doing the job right before you acquire any bicycle out for a ride. If you’re by oneself, an effortless way to do this is to possibly hold out till it is dark out, or else come across a shady wall or garage door you can bounce your lights off. If you have a pal or relatives member who can convey to you what they see when you flip switches, pull the entrance brake lever, and drive the rear brake pedal, it’s even easier—because you do not have to stress about turning the bike about to bounce lights off a vertical reflective surface. 

If none of the lights work, examine that the battery is giving electrical power. You can consider jumping the battery in a hurry, or if you have a lot more time, throw it on a trickle charger overnight and check out yet again the up coming working day. If that doesn’t work, you may require to order and set up a new battery.  

Dependent on what suits your bike, you could have the solution to select concerning direct acid, absorbed glass mat (AGM), or lithium-ion batteries. If you use a lead acid battery, they’ll require you to retain them by at times refilling them with an electrolyte (from time to time distilled h2o look at what the producer endorses when in doubt).  

AGM batteries may well occur in two types: 1 is sealed from the manufacturing unit and doesn’t have to have just about anything other than to be billed and installed, and the other will require you to incorporate the electrolyte (involved) to the battery cells. If your AGM battery involves you to include the electrolyte you, it will also consist of instructions to stroll you as a result of the procedure. Read them, cost your geared up battery up, and install in your bike at will.  

Lithium-ion batteries have a reputation for becoming both light-weight and electrical power-dense—and individuals things are legitimate. You also will not have to worry about dealing with an electrolyte of any type, ever. That stated, they’re also the most costly alternative, and may perhaps not even be a good option for you if you have an older bicycle with a charging system that is not up to the activity of dealing with a 13.2-volt battery. If you’re contemplating a lithium-ion battery, take time and do a great deal of analysis to identify if it’s the appropriate option for you and your bicycle. (One additional factor to observe is that you may want a different charger for a lithium-ion battery than you by now have, so be geared up if you go that route.) 

If some of the lights perform, but not all, the very first point to do is verify fuses and switch any that are blown. Up coming, you should really look at that the electrical connectors are properly seated in their sockets, and that the wires appear undamaged. If you obtain damage, you’ll need to have to change or repair (as important) to remedy the issue.  

If you uncover a little something incredibly horrifying, these types of as a melted electrical connector, it’s possibly a fantastic time to look at with other owners (on-line is very good) who have the similar bike, and understand about no matter whether that’s a acknowledged concern with your unique product. Possibilities are great that if it is, people exact people will also have some worthwhile solutions about how to solution the trouble, and it’s possible even approaches to circumvent upcoming connector meltdowns. (As usually, your mileage may possibly vary—so once again, get all world-wide-web suggestions with a grain of salt while you are nevertheless developing up your confidence.) 

If your electrical connector and wire checks search Alright, but some lights continue to aren’t functioning, you most likely require to change the afflicted mild bulb(s). Obtain out the correct bulb for your bicycle, receive it, and switch it. 

If the horn is not doing work, just like the lights, you should really examine the fuse and the wiring. Depending on your bike’s horn setup, you could have a diaphragm-kind horn (very widespread), or you may possibly have an airhorn-form set up. Diaphragm-style horns have fuses airhorns may have equally fuses and relays to look at.  

Be mindful that horns, like all the things else on your bike, can get filthy and will need occasional cleansing and adjustment. Diaphragm-type horns will have an adjustment bolt or nut that you can carefully change till the contacts inside of are giving you the beep that you want. If practically nothing else will enable, you can commonly acquire a alternative horn quite inexpensively. 

Lastly, if you go as a result of this list and the lights (or horn) however aren’t working, you could have further electrical gremlins that you will need to chase. At the time once more, listed here is exactly where you will want to get your arms on the shop guide for your bike—or, at the extremely least, a reputable wiring diagram.  

Is it a defective relay, a switch that isn’t doing work appropriately, or one thing else? That’s up to you and your trusty multimeter to diagnose, as every single problem may well be diverse. This may well also be the issue where by you cellular phone a buddy (figuratively talking in my situation, I’d almost certainly textual content) for technological and/or ethical aid for the duration of your trying time of want. Never stress, it’s what your rider fam is there for. 


All the recommendations offered listed here are basic recommendations that ought to be relevant to a extensive selection of bikes. Much more certain issues may be essential of you, relying on your bicycle and circumstance. Your best wager (and we cannot pressure this adequate) is to get your palms on a shop manual (and/or Haynes or Clymer guide) for your specific bike as shortly as you maybe can. It will aid to reply a entire great deal of your more distinct questions and manual you via any extensive, dark teatimes of the soul you may well tumble into.  

Also, be confident to choose suitable basic safety safety measures when working on your bike. Obtain on your own a box of nitrile gloves that match you (I have modest hands, so I know the struggle of flopping all around in gloves that are also huge). Don eye safety. If you use electric power instruments, dress in ear defense (we normally propose wearing earplugs when you’re out driving a bicycle in any case, and all those will do just fantastic in the garage, as well).  

Ultimately, if at any level you really don’t come to feel cozy with attempting any of the things we’ve advised, or you started out energized to tackle these difficulties but are now experience hopeless and like you are going to never have a managing bicycle once again, know when it is time to get in touch with a professional. (Really don’t sense negative you gave it your finest shot, and you are in this article to trip, aren’t you? There’s often subsequent time!) 

By Tara