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Over the past few months, I've noticed a few Members making posts about new or just-serviced bikes that had breakdowns within a very short period of leaving a dealership. While I've stated before and I'll most likely state again, "Not all dealers are created equally."

This might be a good opportunity for some of the more technically savvy Members to advise those of us who don't do our own work on our bikes what to look for and what questions to ask BEFORE taking delivery on a new or newly-serviced bike.

As Frank stated, his bike had 490 miles on it when he started having problems. With the solution being tightening the battery cables, does this mean that the Dealer did not properly install the battery when prepping the bike for delivery? If so, what questions should we (as buyers) ask about the prep service BEFORE we take delivery of a new bike? Is there a checklist we should go over with the dealer or an easy way to spot check the bike before we ride it off the lot? Is there an easy way to look for visual cues that possibly some service item wasn't completed properly?

As a comparison, the first NEW car I ever purchased was a mid-70s Monte Carlo. I really liked this car...until the first night. When I attempted to activate the headlights...nothing happened. So, the first night of ownership, I couldn't drive my new car. As it ended up, the car came from the factory with a cable being pinched by a frame bolt and that was shorting out the headlight circuit. Of course I was told during the walkthrough that everything had been checked. When I called the salesperson the next morning, he had egg on his face and all he could do was to get me into service asap. You can bet that every car I've purchased since then, that during the walkthrough, I make the salesperson turn on the lights, press the brake pedal, activate the turn signals and turn on the windshield wipers to make sure these items are working properly.

As I've stated previously, I don't do my own service and I rely on the integrity of the dealer to make sure that everything has been double checked before handing me back the keys after a service or a mod. Let's face it, a bike does not offer the same protection as a car andeven a minor issue can be a major headache for the rider and possible lead to a dangerous riding situation.

I spoke to a rider the other day who had a bunch of mods performed on his bike. He didn't realize until a few days later, when he hit the highway for a long trip, the tech forgot to reset the cruise control and it was inoperable for his trip. He just spent a bunch of $$$ on the mods and I can understand his frustration with the servicing dealer. When we talked about this, he surmised that when they added some LEDs to his bike that had some sort of electrical effect on the Cruise Module and the tech should have known it required a reset. I can only "assume" that a properly trained tech knows that if he/she changes one thing on the bike, it could adversely affect something else. If you think about it, when this rider brings his bike back to the dealer, they will most likely say "oops." That Oops does nothing for us other than waste our time going back and forth to the dealership and posing an inconvenience for us...the customers.

What that said, does anyone have any words of wisdom on what the non-technical rider should ask a dealer before accepting delivery of a new or a just serviced bike? Is there an easy way to do a visual check to make sure that the service we paid for was properly completed?

Riding safely is the rider's responsibility. When a dealer does not properly service a bike, it can have nasty consequences for even the safest of riders.
 

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In my humble opinion, the best way I can encompass this dilemma is to do a little research on the staff just like you would on any particular bike. I think there would be too many questions to ask a dealership or service department to get the all the possible answers. Even then, you might miss a few.
I think what it comes down to is the people. Meet the staff and have casual bike talk with them before you buy. You can gauge a lot about a persons knowledge if you ask the right questions and just let him talk. Take the same questions with you to the next dealership/service department and compare the two. (Or three)
Once you've made your decision, have the person who worked on your bike take the time to show you what he did. Check the odometer reading when you drop it off and check it again when you pick it up. There should be a mile or two added due to a test ride. If it's the same, then you might want to ask why they didn't test their work. It comes down to people you can trust and can build a relationship with. If they don't have what it takes, then don't trust your lifewith them.
 

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Im lucky in the fact that i have been working on cars and bikes, (like most of you probably) all my life. My mother would get ticked at me becuse she would come home and i would have one of my bikes (usually an MX bike) taken apart and in the basement. (A finished basement y the way.
So basically what i am saying is i can do almost all of my own work.
One thing i have done with any bike i have ever owned and this is fairly simple. Just grab your wrenches one by one 10mm 12mm 1/2" etc and just check everything. you dont have to have a torque wrench, but at least you can tell if something is loose.
Perfect example is what happened here with the cable. Who knows if the tech didnt tighten it at the factory, or if it just worked itslelf loose. Its always a good idea to "put a wrench" on everything every few months at the least or after a loooong ride. Just my 2 or rather 4 c
 

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This may sound silly, but I insisted on a full tank of gas as well. I have heard of people getting out on the road and running out on the way home from picking up a new bike. The Kingpins do not have a gas gauge, so you need to be sure to keep your trip meter current. I have my ZUMO set to activate at 100 miles that says I am low on gas. I can make it to 140 but would rather know ahead since I am often out in the boonies.

Have your dealer give you a tank!

When I picked up my bike, Big John at Ness's sat me on the bike and took about an hour to set the handle bars, reach foot pegs, windshield and even the mirrors before I rolled out the door. I haven't had to move them since! He nailed them spot on.
 

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A former employee of mine has his used GSX1000 rebuilt out of necessity. He was an impatient cocky guy and kept bugging the guy for the bike. when he got it back he rode the daylights out of it...turned out it had been verylow on oil when returned to him and he pretty much trashed the rebuild. My point is check the oil before you leave with a new bike or car. I didn't follow my own advice and did not check mine. Found out a week later that my KP was low by 1 quart when I took delivery.
 

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As far as techs go the motorcycle and car industries have become about equal, you have very few techs left and a whole bunch of educated part changers. When you receive your bike it is implied that it has been put together correctly. When I get any bike from the dealer I treat it as if I am going on my normal ride and do my typical safety inspections (T-CLOCK), after that there is not much you can do while your there. When I get home I order a shop manual (if I already dont have one) and perform the first required service (not the lube part) but go through it step by step and torque everything they do to make sure nothing got missed. Most times you will find something loose on the dealer assembly side. As Clubford said, tighten everything you can see, if you find something loose tighten it but make sure it is not a part that needs to be torqued and a perfect example of a dealer screwing up during assemble is the loose battery cable.
Don
 

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Tightening every bolt is a good idea and something you should regularly check during the bikes lifetime. Every device subjected to vibration can have it's bolts loosened. Especially if they weren't assembled correctly in the first place.
As for this specific example, people also shouldn't overreact to much. Yes, it was a dealers mistake, but hey, we're all human, we all make mistakes sometimes. Send a mail back to that dealer, and i'm sure it won't happen again and he will double check every battery cable from now on :)
Everyone owning bikes should (and will) at least have the basic skills to thighten up a cable or do some other basic adjustments.
That's for the battery cable issue.
The clutch plate thing is a totally different story. There you have a dealer being unfair considering an obvious warranty claim. That's just plain wrong, and I definitely hope he reconsiders his position on this issue.
 

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For those of us who have changed our exhaust systems example to Stage 1 Swepts, they have baffles held in place by a set screw, this screw has a habit of backing off or falling out with the loss of baffle. Make sure they are tight and coat the screw with the correct type of Lock-tite, my baffles always sounded like they wererattling when the engine was backing down.
 

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It's a habit I picked up from playing with RC-helicopters ;)
That's only 7-10 cc, and although they're all well balanced, all sorts of bolts and nuts come lose because of the vibrations... I always use loctite.
Being a bit lazy at times, i didn't always do a complete check, assuming it would all be ok. And sure enough, i crashed it twice already because of that. (edit: the radio controlled helicopter! not a bike )
So every winter, check your bolts! :p You wouldn't want to be surprised when driving on the road.
Ontopic: applied to the topic of this thread: you can't check all this on the dealers floor, imagine the looks you'd get. It's also impossible to eliminate all uncertainty. You'll have to trust the dealer on this.
Like that battery cable issue, even if you'd ask the dealer to turn on the lights and start the bikes, you'd be none the wiser. Because it got loose after riding the bike.
The key thing is the service you get afterwards.
 

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rider_eu said:
you can't check all this on the dealers floor, imagine the looks you'd get. It's also impossible to eliminate all uncertainty. You'll have to trust the dealer on this.
The key thing is the service you get afterwards.
Agree and agree... But I do want to stress, gt in the habit of doing your inspections everytime you ride. It takes ten minutes out of your day and could save your life. We have all made a conscience decision to ride a dangerous vehicle and we don't need to make it more dangerous by riding something that is unsafe. The more experienced riders should already know this, the newer riders should learn this. Okay, I am off my soap box....
 
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