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simontan

Help with Potential 5G VFR Purchase

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Hi All,

 

Just joined the forum because I'm looking at a 2001 VFR800 that popped up for sale locally.  Will be going to look at it later this week and would like some pointers on what to look for.  From a brief conversation I had with the seller, the bike only has 6,900 miles, of which only 2,000 were put on by the current owner over the last 8 years due to health issues.  It doesn't sound like he has much in the way of service records but did an oil change recently before putting the bike up for sale.  Other than that, he claims to have just kept the bike on a battery tender and ridden it briefly "every now and then."  Didn't really get into just how frequently or recently "every now and then" was, though.  The bike does look mint from the pictures he sent, but I'd like to get some input on what all to do if there's not much more information to be had.  I'm a returning rider after nearly 18 years off, and this is mainly a nostalgia buy, as my favorite bike from my youth was a 4G VFR.  I no longer have the tools, time, or wherewithal to do my own wrenching, so I would be sending it to a shop for any major work.  If anyone here is from the Dallas/Ft Worth area, I'd also appreciate a referral to a good tech with VFR experience.  Thanks in advance for any tips, and I look forward to being back on a VFR!

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If you are happy with the price, buy it!

You are basically getting one of the best generations of vfr , In my opinion. Since it has sat a lot you should count on changing all the fluids. Unless the seller can prove the tires are less than 5 years old you need a new set and it wouldn't hurt to start with a fresh battery. Check inside the tank for rust and check the chain for rust. Make sure it idles and runs smooth (Injectors could be clogged)

After that you will have a vfr that really is better than a new one,

Do you have pictures? What is the seller asking?

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People who buy classic cars always say, "Buy the best example you can find."  It sounds like you may have found a "best example." 

 

The 5th Gens are now at 20 years and older, even a super low-miles 5th Gen will require some work to bring it up to standards.  Starting this effort with a low-miles "Garage Princess" instead of somebody's daily-driver is a great way to go.

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I would at least have a look inside the tank to see if there is any rust, and also check the sight glasses on the brake and clutch master cylinders.  If the brake fluid is the color of gravy you're in for some service on the braking system.  Rusty fuel tanks are no fun either and a shop might not be willing to tackle that job.  You might also check the date code on the tires - chances are good they'll need to be replaced even if the tread looks good. 

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So while this VFR that’s piqued my interest does indeed look pretty cherry, the seller has a pie-in-the-sky asking price of $5,000. I’m sure he’ll go down, but that’s exactly double the price of another one in my area that’s got 5x the miles. The higher mileage one is no doubt rougher cosmetically but seems well maintained with an updated R/R and some other items that suggest it’s well-used but also well-loved.  VFRs don’t seem to have become collectible, so I don’t necessarily need an absolutely mint example. I’m just trying to decide if the bike with 35k miles at half the price might also need less work to bring to good riding condition. 

 

For context, I’m in a sort of weird spot now having just gotten back into riding after 18 years off for marriage and family.  Got back in after winning(!) a Harley Forty-Eight in a sweepstakes. Turned out that getting a bike for nothing was the loophole that let me have one again. Hated the Harley though, so traded it for a Triumph Thruxton R which is a fantastic bike but not the most comfortable at my age.

 

So I’ve been toying with getting a second bike just for kicks, and I figure the only way to again avoid too much flak from the wife is to get something that either won’t lose much more value or which might actually appreciate.

 

So I’m looking at a Ducati MH900e as a collectible (but probably not too rideable) investment or at this VFR, which originally came out right when i  gave up riding around 2001.   The Duc is obviously a much bigger investment and is a bucket list item of sorts, but I suspect I really wouldn’t ride it much, whereas the VFR hits my nostalgia button, and based on my memories of my ‘94, could eclipse my Triumph as my go to bike.  The $5k asking price for this 2001 model seems a bit unreasonable though given that the local Honda dealer has a new old stock 2015 VFR for $6999 with full warranty and everything else that’s happened over the last 3 generations.  What  would you guys do? Thanks again 🙂

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All told - 35k miles is nothing for a VFR, that mileage wouldn't even phaze me if I was shopping.

 

One thing worth asking the owner of the 35k mi bike is whether or not the valves have been checked (even better if he can prove it), since the maintenance interval for this 'expensive to have a shop do it for you' service is 16k miles IIRC and this bike should have def had it done at 32k mi even if the earlier interval was skipped or missed. 

 

I paid $2k for my 1998 with 25k mi in very nice condition a couple of years ago (in New England fwiw), but I scored a bit of a deal if I do say so myself. 5th gens sit for sale on Craigslist and FB for months with asking prices ~ $3k. I agree that your $5k bike is probably above market price, but like others have said 'buy the best one you can afford' especially if you aren't looking for a wrenching project. 

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I paid $2800 for my VFR with Ohlins rear shock, with 76,000 miles on the ODO.  Cosmetically, the bike had bodywork repairs and repainted at least once, maybe twice.  I didn't think twice about it...and picked it up in Portland and rode it home to Virginia over the next 4 and a half days.   Now the bike has 98,000+ miles on it and runs like a top, but I've dinged it up going down in Turn 1 at Summit Point raceway so I had a SebSpeed clutch cover put on it.  

 

IF you can talk the guy down to at least 3K...you have a great bike for a great price.  The $35K bike at half the asking price of the garage queen is a Good Deal IMO.

thumbnail.jpeg

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Thanks again for the replies so far!  Here are pics from the sale posts for the two bikes I'm looking at.  First is the garage queen and second is the one with 35k miles.  Garage queen has some nice add-ons like, Corbin seat, M4 pipe and windscreen, but the other one has fresh tires, chain, and sprocket along with an updated R/R unit with voltmeter.  Anyone know what kind of pipe is on the second one?  Also, do these bikes need a Power Commander when fitted with aftermarket pipes?  The newer Triumph I have now auto adapts.

 

 

69869074_2895200120508417_3759898264514592768_n.jpg?_nc_cat=109&_nc_oc=AQnDLLnU-O-YPTwY8xYyvk1mDSd9JkAXkj7RSYp-tmoYOREwDb0NP-PiL2XahdcYhC4y2ISgwVM_koZHyYbJaa4X&_nc_ht=scontent-dfw5-2.xx&oh=9598f243c59afcf70c0e837d12eb736d&oe=5DF2224C68932017_10215082629955894_1649806657628143616_n.jpg?_nc_cat=106&_nc_oc=AQkoo5K8OGIP1ZX3b29o28Ptz3tITkCsZajxBwZ1JhUAcXnwpVTakRzr0SfRcOGuOIYE1YSX5Y74tyr1IhjijtwA&_nc_ht=scontent-dfw5-2.xx&oh=cd4d2fbc78e9d1794ed34c0345cc81bd&oe=5E142F9B

 

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Kinda drooling over the garage queen '01........

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Both are very nice. As said by others, don't be afraid of a little mileage.

The exhaust is a Chinese danmoto I believe.

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So I just came back from looking at the Garage Queen and it looks like a time capsule. The plastics and even the LCD screen on the instrument panel still look new without a trace of fading or wear or scratching. Started instantly from cold and idled and revd smoothly.  The front tire is original (!) and the rear is about 8 years old.  No signs of dry rot or cracking at all but I guess they have to go at that age. 

 

The concerning thing though is the gas tank looks like this under the cap. Tried to shine my smartphone flashlight inside and didn’t see any rust inside the tank just around the rim right under the cap as seen in the pic. How serious is this?

6F81483E-FB33-4DBB-874F-677BECD4075E.jpeg

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I've seen another 5G with the constricted tank opening like that one - on my 99 the opening is the same size as where the cap seals, so it's much easier to see inside.  There must have been 2 variants made depending on what market they went to or possibly  that changed somewhere in the production run - who knows.   The visible rust seems minor - but it does point to the possibility that more lurks inside - the question is how much.  Probably the only way to know would be to use a camera and with the tank empty look directly inside.  Harbor Freight sells one for about $80.  I would at least use that as a negotiating point.  If you have to remove (and possibly replace) the fuel pump / filter to clean and seal the tank it will run in to some money.  If the price is good enough you're getting an otherwise minty bike that if required it may be worth putting some more cash in it.  Also consider that might be a DIY project - I've not seen a shop that would undertake that project on a 20 year old machine but it could be out there.  YMMV.

 

BTW - how does the brake and clutch fluid look?

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I’ve just de-rusted my tank so if you want to anything about that, drop me a line. Go along at least with a flashlight which will give you a chance of seeing inside. Ask how they stored the bike. Knowing what I know now, just putting it away long term with fuel in is not the right answer. Not saying you should walk away, but worth knowing that a low miles underused bike is not necessarily a zero issues bike.

 

Other points have been mentioned. The only bits which would be likely to wear out by just sitting will be rubber. So you #might# end up having to replace seals in brakes and clutch (as well as tyres as a precaution), but these are not a big deal.

 

You can only work out if it’s worth paying a big premium for such a low miles bike. If you keep it as low miles, great condition it should hold value reasonably well. If you use it without maintaining it as a garage queen, it will lose more money IMHO than the 35k bike.

 

Stuart

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I think stuartb is right on about old underused bikes potentially being a hidden nightmare.  Oil turns acidic when sitting in a crankcase for years.  That can affect many things inside the engine.  Seals can be hard as a rock and start leaking when put into regular service (or become flexible when heated up and seal).  

 

I think if you pick up something like this, it is best to know that there are going to be some maintenance issues coming due before the normal mileage time would indicate.  How much, who knows?

 

All I really know is that I love my machine.  It fits me perfect in size, power, handling, and looks.  I am planning on running it into the 120,000 mile range.   The smiles to mile ratio is very high. 

 

Good luck with your purchase.

 

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The one advantage to the best bike in the world is that Honda sold bucket loads of them. Thus secondhand parts are easy to come by. Plastics are harder to find ! So buy the queen. Give it a full overhaul & then ride it like ya stole it 👍😀

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The garage queen is nice. But 5000 seems really steep IMO. I saw a similar condition bike, a 2001 in Illinois with only 13k miles, sell for about 2000. I'm still kicking myself I couldn't get out to buy it in time. 

 

 

 

Also if you're interested, there is a 2014 in Las Vegas with something like 16k miles for only 5000. 

2001 VFR.png

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22 hours ago, Fritzer said:

All I really know is that I love my machine.  It fits me perfect in size, power, handling, and looks.  I am planning on running it into the 120,000 mile range.   The smiles to mile ratio is very high. 

 

Good luck with your purchase.

 

Why stop there?😆

I'm over 104,000 and no signs of it slowing down!

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7 minutes ago, BuzznerSuntrusts said:

Why stop there?😆

I'm over 104,000 and no signs of it slowing down!

My first fifth gen had 105,000 when it was KIA'd by that damn hooved forest rat. Check my gallery for pics of the pre-crash oil evaluation. Your mileage ambition seem low to me.

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Thanks again for all the input. Seller of the garage queen let me take a test ride yesterday.  

 

Good news is it seems to run great. I forgot how cool that gear whine sounds, and it really brought back memories. It’s also definitely more comfortable than my Triumph which is a big part of what I’m looking for in a second bike aside from the nostalgia factor.  Can’t believe how much it dwarfs my Triumph which is a 1200 (you can barely see it in the back behind the VFR). 

 

Bad news is I got a better look in the gas tank with a pocket flashlight and there’s a bit more rust. Couldn’t take any pics, but the rust isn’t on the tank walls, and there doesn’t seem to be any particles or sediment sloshing around. The rust seems to be isolated to what looks like some sort of sensor - is there a probe of some sort for measuring the fuel level?  At any rate it looks like a removable part. Oil and brake and clutch fluid all look clear from the sight windows. 

 

Im leaning in favor of the garage queen just because it saves me from having to make a two hour trip back and forth to look at the higher mileage one.  Seller’s probably going to feel like I’m lowballing him, but he’s changed his tune a bit from telling me there are three other people coming to look at it later in the day to admitting most of the inquiries have been from flakes.  Seems to currently be a buyers market for motorcycles. The local dealer actually has new, old stock 8g VFRs for $6,999 with zero miles and full warranty. 

 

What do you guys think is a fair offer all things considered?  I’m planning on offering $3,500 but willing to go up a bit.  I just think $5,000 seems a little too out of whack with the market especially with the higher mileage one also out there for $2,500 obo.  

56E8C1C8-11A2-472B-9C3E-515A305496B6.jpeg

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Looks really nice. If he would accept 3500, I think it's more than worth it.

 

I looked at a pretty nice one yesterday and the seller was firm at 2500. But it wasn't nearly in the same league as that one. It looked nice for having 50k miles, but had chips on the wheels, a stain on the swingarm, and had never had the valves shimmed. 

 

Some ammo to use in your negotiation: there is a dealer in California with a 2001 with 6k miles and they're asking 4,000.

So 5,000 from a private party seems like pie in the sky. 

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