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Always buy the best available within your budget.
Actually, whatever your budget is, spend more. This will save you time and aggravation in the future.
If you want one that will most likely run fine for a year and not need any huge work, make sure it has an MOT, starts and idles fine until the fan kicks in without the hot water light coming on (check the radiator gets hot as well!!), doesn't have the oil light on (no, it isn't always a faulty sensor-if it is, why haven't they spent £10 on a new one, and labour of 10 minutes to fit? If they haven't done that, what else haven't they done?), has less than 20,000 miles and costs more than £1200.
Check the oil. Do you know what it's supposed to look like, and how to check the level?
It is MUCH MUCH better to buy one that is in use, current MOT (2-6 months old) than one that is stored for any length of time.
Avoid any without an MOT, or that have been stored, or that don't start with a fresh battery connected unless:
1-you enjoy risk
2-you know your way around a C1.
3-you REALLY know your way around a C1.
"Genuine reason for sale" can mean "not needed for commute any longer" or "valves need doing, water pump dead, random unidentified electrical/sensor problem, all wires chafed/eaten by rats/ wheel bearings shot, oil not changed since 2006"
A bike with 20,000+ miles on it is a risk. Properly maintained, they can last for 100,000 miles, but owned by someone who doesn't know how to check the oil, add antifreeze, or have it serviced is a problem waiting to happen.
A bike with less than 6,000 miles is always SO tempting, but can also have a host of problems.
Can you do your own servicing/mechanical repairs, and enjoy working on stuff as a hobby? Great. Get one.
No? be prepared for serving costs comparable to a BMW car. Remember this is a vehicle with all its electrics and mechanical components exposed. It WILL have problems.
Check the tyre pressures. If they are low, the seller has zero credibility and should be treated accordingly. They don't have to know what the pressures are supposed to be off the top of their heads though!
"Was running when parked up" is usually a lie.
Every C1 is at least 17 years old. 17 years. Remember when the Millenium Dome was sold for £1? That's how old your bike is. It WILL have problems-unless you are fortunate, and/or pay a reasonable price (ie, not £350) for your bike.
I've lost track of people who want to pay £600 for a bike that's worth £1750, and tell me they've seen one for £350.
£350? Great! Sod off and buy that one-why are you even at my door?
Windscreen is broken? Probably the only thing that makes me walk away with no further discussion.
Panels can be bought and are easily replaced, as can brake pads and rear shock absorbers. Some mechanical work is MUCH more involved/lengthy than others, so be prepared. (Stripping out the front SHOCK set up and replacing is a PITA Even if it is just to clean (properly) and lubricate the little flap to help the stand work, the time spent on this is horrendous).
(maybe more to follow)
Fabulous advice. I have owned more than 20 of these and current own two, HH really knows his onions, far more than me.
So TRUE, worth to mention that cost of bringing bad C1 into use may be much higher than purchase price!
Good advice for the rider who wants to buy and just ride the bike,the reason i bought a high mileage non runner is that these bikes are getting rare especially in the UK and most of them are heading for the scrap yard,just trying to keep one on the road,as you say coming up to 17 years old,would say bikes are getting into classic territory now,i am member of local classic motorcycle club,and bought mine with a few raised eyebrows but everyone wants to see it,hopefully get this one back on the road and take it to some shows,but as you say expect tears and tantrums.Cheers
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