Episode 3: So you bought a bike, what now?

Motorbike Mondays Logo

Episode 3: So you bought a bike, what now?

Hey, welcome to episode 3 of Motorbike Mondays! Hopefully you’ve listed to our first couple shows, and you have a good idea who we are, and what we like to talk about.  After last week covering buying a used bike, what to look for conditions-wise, and specific makes & models, we’re ready to help you figure out how to get started with it.  If you’re new to motorcycles, and you’re not sure just where to start with a new (to you) bike, this podcast will help get you going.  If you follow the pretty simple steps we’ve outlined and discussed, you should be able to get your bike running. Keep in mind, the point here is to get an old engine running in order to make sure there is no major damage or issues with it, so you can move forward with your project, this podcast doesn’t cover any major engine repairs. We are also starting this podcast under the assumption the engine is not running.  Anyways, here’s an outline of the show:

  • What’s in the shop?  (segment where we discuss what we’re currently working on)
  • What now!? I bought a shitty old motorcycle, how do I get started? (main topic)
  • How is the battery? Measure voltage with meter, fully load test, inspect battery cables (ground especially). Clean terminals if ANY corrosion is visible, replace ground cable especially if questionable at all.  If battery doesn’t check out during ANY test, replace it.
  • Drain the oil and inspect it (color, smell, consistency). Drain oil through paper towel or coffee filter to catch any pieces or contamination.
  • Inspect and/or replace oil filter. Refill oil (10W40 to 20W50 is fine for pretty much all bikes, if you can’t find what the owners manual recommends.) Use cheap oil (Wal-Mart) if you are going to be doing more work and draining it again.
  • Drain gas tank and carburetor float bowls. Inspect gas tank for rust/corrosion. Add fuel filter. Refill gas tank and carburetor float bowls with fresh high octane (91/premium).  Use auxiliary fuel bladder if the gas tank is too dirty and un-repair or clean-able.
  • Pull the spark plugs. Clean or replace them if questionable (cheap insurance).
  • Why was the bike parked? Specific things to look into based on why the seller said it was parked.
  • A motor needs 4 things to start: Fuel, Air, Spark, Compression. Make sure it has all of these things.  Spark & Compression can be visibly tested.  Fuel and Air are carb/air filter related and more difficult to check.
  • Try to start the bike.  Give the throttle a few twists (prime cylinders with accelerator pump). Make sure fuel is on.  Attempt to start. If the bike doesn’t start, pull the air box/cleaners. Spray starting fluid, carb cleaner, brake cleaner, into carb throats. Try to start again.

  1. Aris Economou

    Hey guys,

    Great work on the show so far I have been really enjoying it. I am in college and I have a 1972 CL175. The tank on the inside is pretty rusted, needs new tires, and burns a fair amount of oil. Thinking that this is going to run be about 200-300 bucks and that I payed 700 for it I am not sure whether it is worth the money or to just get a new bike. What are some models you guys recommend for just running errands around but that don’t look too small. I’ve been looking at the CB350. Any other models?


  2. Evan

    Hey Aris,
    Thanks for the comment. A CL175 is a fairly rare CB model, and may be kind of hard to find parts for. The CB350 twins, and the CB360 twins are a lot easier to find parts for and have more info and aftermarket support. $700 is probably not too bad for a running CL. I would look into the 350/360 twins for a better starting point.

  3. John

    The show is great! I’m an older guy interested in motorbikes. I’ve never owned one but have a fantasy of having one just to take out for a weekend drive.
    I have to convince my wife that I won’t kill myself and that’s a tough sell. In the mean time, listening to your podcast puts me in that space and fuels my enthusiasm. I’ve listened to each of your podcasts a couple of times. I hope you can keep this going. Can you work in a segment for listener’s questions?
    Thank you.

  4. Evan

    Hey John, thanks for the feedback. Really stoked to hear that we can help keep you excited about bikes! I hope you can get permission to get one soon, you won’t regret it. Starting with Ep4 (I will be posting today or tomorrow) we are reading listeners questions and discussing them at the start of each show. We will read yours on Ep5 next week. We’re having a great time with the show and we will definitely keep it going!

  5. Ramiro

    Hello guys, I just found this podcast and I see that it’s been a few months since your last episode. Will you continue releasing episodes?
    I was wondering if you could go over how to lower front ends. I have a 1978 Suzuki GS 750E and have restored and changed gas tank for a slimer look but the front end still looks off. I have not found a “lowering kit” for my bike, do you have any advice on how to lower at least a couple of inches? Thank you, Ramiro

Leave a Reply to Evan Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *