USED BIKE CHECKLIST: MR. KNOW-IT-ALL

CHECKLIST
Dear Mr. Know-It-All,

I’m going to look at a 2003 CR250R. The bike looks fairly clean, and the owner says the engine has never been rebuilt. What are some things I should look for to ensure I’m not buying into a mechanical nightmare?
Herby Tonks
via [email protected]

Great query, Mr. Tonks. Used two-strokes are a great buy if they are well-maintained. Being that the bike is a 2003 and the owner says that it has never required surgery, you want to look closely at three key areas. First, ask the owner if he’s okay with you peeling open a few portals into the machine’s fitness level. If the answer is a resounding no, move on, as surely something is suspect about the steed. Pull the ignition cover and see if there is any play in the flywheel, both up and down and in and out. Excess play means that the bottom end is worn to the point of a rebuild.

The next step is to remove the expansion chamber and gaze carefully into the exhaust port.  This is a quick and clean way to inspect the condition of a two-stroke’s top end. Look for scoring or any abnormal marks on the piston and cylinder walls. Also, look for blow-by on the rings; this telegraphs a worn piston and rings with possible cylinder issues.

Finally, yank the seat and inspect the air filter. If it has been neglected, you need to ditch it immediately. It’s a sign that the machine’s owner cares little about maintenance, which translates into a machine that has more than likely ingested particles that are harmful to proper performance and a longer life.

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