What should I look for?

So, I am going to look at an 05 wr450 tomorrow to purchase. Is there anything I should keep a special eye out for? What should i check, ask about. Thanks

Condition is everything


Look for long-term wear:


Excessive case rub marks on clutch and ignition covers

Front of fork uppers: lots of pock marks means lots of racing (getting sprayed)

Rust: any rust is a sign of neglect. Even on the header

Inside the air box

Bottom frame rails for damage

General care and maintence


These bike run forever, which means many get neglected, cause they run even when totally neglected.


Use your power of observation to look for signs of good maintenece....or neglect.

 Check overall condition looking for broken/bent pieces, Condition of plastic (although this is not to critical and easily replaced). Check radiators for bends and breaks as they are pricey to replace! I also look at the wheels/rims checking to see they are fairly straight and not tacoed or bent from hard rock/root hits.Check controls to make sure everything feels good and works well. Check bars for straightness.  


Check the condition of sprockets and chain. Chain should NOT be able to flex in and out excessively, if so chain is pretty worn.  If you grab the chain at the very rear where it runs over the rear sprocket and pull it straight back you should not be able to pull it back to where it moves away from the sprocket more than about 1/3 to 1/2 the height of the sprocket teeth. Also check sprockets for wear and hooking of teeth on front sprocket, but rears can do this too especially if aluminum. Ask if the chain and sprockets have been replaced...if so, ask how many times. Typically a chain if ridden mostly in the dirt will last about 1200-25 K, on the street only you get more mileage out of them, probably  4-6 K depending on how well it was cleaned and lubed. Also ask how many chains a bike has gone through as this can give a rough idea on how many miles it has on it.


 Tires too. I seem to get about 2K per set of tires, although sometimes they can go away quicker depending oh how you ride and terrain.


 As Kah Ran Nee mentions, which people seldom do, look INSIDE the airbox. If pretty clean you can guess they took pretty decent care of it. If an ugly dirty sand and mud filled mess, well they probably did not! 


 I like being able to start a bike when it is COLD (feel engine for heat to tell if it was run before you arrived) and listen to it as it warms up. I also like being able to at least go through the gears a couple times and make sure they are all there and it shifts nicely.


 Check under water pump cover for leaks (they tend to leak there if water pump seal is starting to go out. and under motor for any possible oil leaks or bad rock hits .Also look at oil drain plug as sometimes these take can get hit too.


 Good luck! Hope it is a nice one!

Edited by ThumpMe

take off the air filter and run your finger inside the airboot. If you can find dirt, you don't want to own it. get the bike on thestand and check for play in the swinarm, wheel and linkage bearings. If the guy doensn't know when the linkage bearings where last greased and there is play then they are dust. Look at the subframe rail on the left side and see if it's been eaten by the chain. happens on these bikes if the chain is run too loose. look for missing fasteners they could be signs of stripped threads or sloppy workmanship. I always try and see a bike where the guy keeps it. If he has lots of tools, that's a good sign he took care of it. Dirt bikes are high perfomance machines that need lots and lots of maintenance. does he look like a guy that would do it himself or be willing to pay a dealer to do it????

Edited by thumper_calgary

Most of the time you are anxious and in a hurry

While you'd like to pop the spark plug and do a compression text, etc often times you dont have time

nor does the seller want to put up with it


1) As noted above overall condition

2) Is it hard to start? Hard starting is a sign of a valve adjustment that is required.

    Not a big deal, it can be fixed. But as an example I have an '06 that is still just barely in-spec

    This can give a good overall idea of the wear the engine has seen

    Not the ultimate judge, but a great yard stick.

Yup check for clean oil on the dipstick. You can see how hard it's been ridden by the frame rails under the motor. Also check for bent rims. The oil is the big one if it's been neglected it could ruin that purity motor.

you can't do a compression test on these bikes BTW becasue of the auto decompression on the exhaust cam.

Thanks for the tips. It is a real clean bike so i bought itImageUploadedByThumper Talk1425762454.441896.jpg

Good deal, and Congratulations!

I would check valve clearence does it start right away, not starting after a few crancks is valve adjustment or head rebuilt time

Adding to what others have stated I like to make sure it starts cold and hot. Sometimes a seller will make sure a bike is warmed up for easy kicking but that cold start can be a real pain.

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