With all of the bike problems I had been having, I knew that I had to do something to increase the chances of a reliable vehicle. I had a little bit in my savings, which makes it dangerous when looking through the listings on Craigslist, because then I could actually buy something.
Turns out I did end up buying something. I was looking at a lot of $400, $500, and $600 bikes, just thinking about the kind of fixes that I’d have to do, but then I told myself that I didn’t want another 30 year old bike with 30 year old problems (okay, mine’s 27, but it still applies). The longer of a history they have, and the more previous owners, then the greater likelihood of problems.
So, yes, a ’91 is only five years younger than the Rebel, but that five years will hopefully make a difference. I bought it after a short test drive that both Shelley and I took, and rode it home that night… light flurries and a bit of wetness on the way back made me glad to have my snowmobile suit on.
Problems? Of Course!!!
Here’s the list of problems I’ve found – nothing major of course, it made it back from Ann Arbor to Flint just fine.
- The ignition switch. It’s the original key, but it doesn’t quite work all the time in the ignition. Supposedly it wiggles and works, but I can’t always get it right away. So either some graphite lube or something else to loosen up the ignition, since the seat lock works well.
- A centerstand. It was an option on the 91 Nighthawk, so I’m not entirely certain whether it had been damaged in any accident the bike had been in, and not replaced, or if it was never there in the first place. A boneyard charges half of the new price, which would mean I’d pay about $70 there. Less than eBay, at least!
- Ugly blinkers! So, yes, this is half superficial and half work. I think they’re ugly, they don’t fit with the rest of the bike, but they also tell me that the electronics on the bike have been dug into, which is indicative of more work for me.
- Broken body pieces are another issue – if it vibrates, then it’s more likely that it’ll come off on the road. The bolts are missing on both sides of the tail, which means I need to fasten them down.
- Dented tank with some rust spots on the outside. I’m not sure if I want to paint this bike black or not (I kind of like the silver) but the bike’s frame has a cherry red color code on it, so either the body is from another bike or it was all repainted before. Either way I’m not sure I can match the silver to anything. Bondo it and paint it. I already have the bondo for the other bike’s tank anyways.
- The rear brake squeaks a bit, so I’ll need to take a look at that and the front brake pads are a little low, so I’ll need to replace those. The master cylinder looks low on brake fluid, too.
- The fork seals are a little cracked, there’s no leakage, so I might be out of fork oil so don’t know how the bike normally should handle so it’s not something I might have seen. I saw that the fork ends have an inset hex that I’ll need a tool for, so that’ll have to wait a little while.