What do I need to look for when buying a chopper?

Th3InfamousI

Administrator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Since its close maybe I'll check it out, I just want to make sure I'm not inheriting a maintenance nightmare
No more than a big dog would be. Would actually be easier than an 04 and newer big dog actually cause most of old Harley softail stuff will Bolt right up. Including electrical.

If you like it buy it!

Sent from my 2PS64 using Tapatalk
 

SB03chopper

Active Member
Supporting Member
Just talked to one of the new used bike owner on here, and he did not know much about the BD. He bought an 04 chopper, and wanted to do some things to it. As we talked, and went over things about the bike, come to find out one of his directional front and back did not work, high beam did not work, and horn either. Told him to have the EHC checked out, could be the start of the problem, as mine was that way when I bought it. Asked how many miles on it, that does not work also, it is digital, so he may have all kinds of problems ahead. So when buying a bike, does not matter what type, please do your home work. You can get into a lot of time, and money before you get to enjoy it.
 

No H2O

Active Member
Supporting Member
I really like this one, looks like everything's pretty much COTS (commercial off the shelf) and easy to maintain. What do you think?
https://baltimore.craigslist.org/mcy/d/2004-hellbound-steel-softail/6547464853.html
The only thing that concerns me is that I've never heard of this brand before.

UPDATE: Upon research, they're no longer in business (Hellbound Steel) and many of the components were not slapped together from what was available from Harley etc but were crafted in-house which means if something breaks then chances are it's no longer available.
 
Last edited:

No H2O

Active Member
Supporting Member
Would actually be easier than an 04 and newer big dog actually cause most of old Harley softail stuff will Bolt right up. Including electrical.
Does this mean the pre-'04 Big Dogs can take readily available Harley parts?
If so that would be a lower buy-in cost and ease of obtaining replacements parts - this would change what I'm searching for.
 

what?

Active Member
I've decided to take the plunge and buy a chopper.
Once I evaluate the looks and sound in person, what are some of the other things I need to evaluate in order to prevent mechanical headaches down the road?
Any advice is appreciated.
If you are mechanically inclined you wont have a problem. At their core these bikes are pretty basic compared to some of the bikes you can buy nowadays (note: mines an 08). Sites like this are a lifesaver when troubleshooting. I bought the generic manual and I fill it with any information relevant to the bike that includes aftermarket add-ons, notes on when it ran like crap (environmental and where i got gas), printouts on shit like bolt tightening patterns or carb adjustments. A simple picture stored in your phone helps with stuff like this. The one regret i have is buying the hardtail. I love the bike but I am up in age and the back is not what it used to be.
 

No H2O

Active Member
Supporting Member
The one regret i have is buying the hardtail.
I noticed you have a pitbull - I could take it off your hands :D Would you consider ca$h on top of a nice and soft 2004 BMW R1150r? We're not far from each other
 

what?

Active Member
IMG_1144.JPG
I noticed you have a pitbull - I could take it off your hands :D Would you consider ca$h on top of a nice and soft 2004 BMW R1150r? We're not far from each other
talk about Karma. Let me let that marinate for a bit as it's going to be really nice in NJ this weekend. I have thought about unloading the bike recently and will give you the first shot at it if you are seriously considering a pitbull. Just got a new battery for it and am eager to ride like everyone else. Not to tease but here are a few pictures.
 

Attachments

bikeone

Active Member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Amazing Bike,
Would be interested who builds those Type of suspended Seat.
 

No H2O

Active Member
Supporting Member
Not to tease but here are a few pictures.
For me, red isn't a color I want. Normally wouldn't be an issue, I could repaint, but in this case the frame's red too which entails taking apart the entire bike.
Also, again in my case, I'd have to put on a dual seat and a sissybar. Again, wouldn't normally be an issue but since it's an '08 the price will already be high and those add-ons would be even more.
I like the shape of the bike but hey, you don't need me, that'll sell itself.
 

Sven

Well-Known Member
This going to be more 'generic' when looking at used bikes/cars/etc.
Fuel/carb/injector:
a.When startup occurs, the fire off should be instant. That says; no injector clogged/no fuel circuits clogged in the carb.
b. When the bike idles smoothly this says; air screw has not been tampered with/low jet not clogged/main jet not clogged. Hard starting says one of the carb circuits are clogged.
c. So, poor starting/stalling/won't rev out; points to fuel system problems to watch out for.

Cold Engine Smoke:
a. Always walk up to a cold engine when buying used. Say you'll come tomorrow and look at it again, so don't have the seller sell you a warm engine.
b. Always let the seller start a [cold] engine. You then stand behind the bike/car and look for smoke out of the muffler. This tells you the engine needs a major overhaul and machining.
c. Always remember; smoke upon startup and clears = Worn Valve Guides. Constant smoke and does not go away = Rings.

Compression Test:
a. It's all about your hard earned money used is about to piss away, so you more bring tools to the close the deal or renegotiate.
b. It's all about the health of the engine, so you bring a spark plug tool and a compression tester. You then ask the seller to close the deal or walk on the final inspection. If there is a 10-15% change between cylinders, here is your poor idle with clean carb circuits. This may be why the seller is selling the bike, who knows? At least you made the offer to show the owner what condition the engine is in.
c. It's all about fuel-idle clue, spark-brain box works, and compression-pressure power. This takes care of the engine inspection.

Chassis:
a. You want to look at the fork stops and note their condition. If one tab is bent or has an indent, it's been dropped/crashed.
b. You ride the bike and the bars go one way and the front wheel goes the other [straight meaning]; the upper and lower crowns are bent.
c. You need to stand in front of the bike [being upright] and look at the front end to see if the frame's neck is bent.
d. You turn around and walk away from this bike, that or buy it as a donor bike on the cheap.
e. You take a wire coat hanger and bend a straight wire so the ends touch each other. Now, bend it back straight. See the "S" bend as you tried to straighten out the neck, the lower tree and that stem, fork tube, my dick, you name it.
f. You buy new parts instead; instead of salvaging the part and lose that money towards new = Cha-Ching! Buy hair beware!

Drivetrain:
a. Say you're looking at a chain drive. The visual is, how well lubed is it?
b. Say you grab a link at 3 o'clock on the sprocket and pull it back away from the tooth. Call that X movement to see a worn chain. Y movement is to push the same link up and down so the whole chain rides up and down in the U's of the sprocket; and that tells you how worn the teeth are.
c. Say you begin to add this up and it becomes a whole unit to change, as you do not match new over old kind of squidshitactic.
d. Say the tires are a given, be it old or worn, so do you see the price of the bike vs. an arm and a leg for a worn piece of shit?

Hangers:
a. That says things like fender tip damage, winker lens/housings showing a crash/drop.
b. That also says the levers and scratches on those; due to crash damage.
c. That about covers the quick and dirty of buying junk or buying a bike.
 

No H2O

Active Member
Supporting Member
In my searches it's looking like the likely scenario is going to be a far drive.
Is it better to ask the seller to meet me at some point between us to swap bikes and therefore I know the bike can ride at least a couple hours or is it better to bite the bullet and go there in order to witness the cold start?
If it's the latter, that reduces my search radius
 

pknowles

semi-retired...---... GURU C7Z06...---...
Lifetime Supporting Member
Supporting Member
In my searches it's looking like the likely scenario is going to be a far drive.
Is it better to ask the seller to meet me at some point between us to swap bikes and therefore I know the bike can ride at least a couple hours or is it better to bite the bullet and go there in order to witness the cold start?
If it's the latter, that reduces my search radius
If he can ride it 2 hours can't much be wrong with it. You ou still need to look it over good and maybe you and him can ride each others ike for a bit before cutting a deal.
 
Top