Author Topic: Buying a used 2001 GS500 as my starter bike  (Read 183 times)

Offline jimbo98

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Buying a used 2001 GS500 as my starter bike
« on: March 12, 2019, 10:29:00 PM »
Got a really good deal and I am picking up a 2001 GS500 with 12k on it. Looks in really good shape. But this is also my first bike I'll be buying. Any tips for what to look for when buying a used bike, both in general and in speciifc to a gs500. I know the bike was dropped very lightly only once, but shows no visible damage. I'm just ready to start riding! Fyi I'm in the Atlanta area.

Offline Watcher

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Re: Buying a used 2001 GS500 as my starter bike
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2019, 11:57:12 PM »
I tend to judge used bikes by the chain.  If it's clean and has about an inch of deflection, it's been cared for and properly adjusted.

If it's dirty and floppy, the owner never bothered.

Chain maintenance is easy, and is fairly important.  People who can't be bothered to do that often can't be bothered for other typical maintenance.


Other than that, don't be afraid to get dirty and look under the bike for oil accumulation or rust.
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Offline Jelziie

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Re: Buying a used 2001 GS500 as my starter bike
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2019, 08:11:50 AM »
Also check the sprockets, the chain might be cleaned but the sprockets might have a curve on each of the teeth. Which means that they would need replacing too. Also make sure the idle is set to about 1,200 rpm, otherwise they might be trying to hide something.

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Re: Buying a used 2001 GS500 as my starter bike
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2019, 06:40:14 PM »
Make sure the bike is cold when you get there.

If it's been running, walk away.  Owners will often warm up the bike to hide issues as well, cold start is the best start.
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Offline twocool

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Re: Buying a used 2001 GS500 as my starter bike
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2019, 09:32:01 PM »

What's the asking price?


Cookie


Got a really good deal and I am picking up a 2001 GS500 with 12k on it. Looks in really good shape. But this is also my first bike I'll be buying. Any tips for what to look for when buying a used bike, both in general and in speciifc to a gs500. I know the bike was dropped very lightly only once, but shows no visible damage. I'm just ready to start riding! Fyi I'm in the Atlanta area.

Offline jimbo98

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Re: Buying a used 2001 GS500 as my starter bike
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2019, 02:58:07 AM »

What's the asking price?


Cookie



Trading a bunch of stuff and then another $750. What do you think? Bike is in excellent cosmetic condition. 12k kilometers isn't bad to me. Just depends on how good the internals are I guess.

Offline twocool

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Re: Buying a used 2001 GS500 as my starter bike
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2019, 08:32:53 AM »
Well it depends what all of the "bunch of stuff" is worth.....

But $750 seems worth taking a risk on the condition of the bike.

I've seen asking price of $2000 for bikes like this...which is way over what they are worth.

Keep us informed....

If she is running well, you got a great fun for the price!


Cookie





What's the asking price?


Cookie



Trading a bunch of stuff and then another $750. What do you think? Bike is in excellent cosmetic condition. 12k kilometers isn't bad to me. Just depends on how good the internals are I guess.

Offline pliskin

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Re: Buying a used 2001 GS500 as my starter bike
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2019, 01:33:44 PM »
About the bike being cold.

 If the bike jetting is stock it will likely need full choke to start and will run/idle rough until it warms up. GS's are know to be "cold blooded" and are jetted for emissions and not performance.  If it's below 80 deg my GS needs choke to start easily but should run smooth once warmed up.
Why are you looking here?

Offline mr72

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Re: Buying a used 2001 GS500 as my starter bike
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2019, 03:32:54 PM »
I've seen asking price of $2000 for bikes like this...which is way over what they are worth.

FWIW I am contemplating selling my GS, which has about 3x that many miles on it, and I'd be pretty firm at $2K. But of course it's extremely well sorted, upgraded, and somewhat unique, not your typical GS. And it only has about 5-6K on a rebuilt top end.

I guess this explains why I'll probably wind up keeping my GS forever. If $2K is "way over" what it's worth then it's not worth selling it.

to the OP, starting it cold is great advice, but you should know that GS500s are cold natured anyway and take a long time to warm up so if it starts on choke and revs to 5K rpm while choke is on, but you have to ride it a bit before it'll idle off choke without stalling, then that's ok. Carbs are going to be a constant effort to keep them in good working order so I wouldn't get too bent out of shape about carburetor issues. With ethanol fuels you wind up having to pull them and clean them pretty often. I'd be more worried if there's any hint of a knocking noise from the bottom of the motor or if it gets fully warmed up and doesn't want to run at low revs, those are indications of deeper problems with the engine. As far as knowing how they "should" run, well a GS in good tune with a solid motor should be fairly quick, but not a wheelie machine like a 650-class bike, and it should really feel like it wants to rev up to about 9K rpm. If it feels like it's falling flat as the revs climb then that could be an indication of expensive issues. These are not low-end-torque kind of engines.

BTW I'd also walk away if it has "cafe racer" type mods... pod filters, flat seat, no fenders, etc. No offense to those who like that aesthetic but these things are often much more about looks and the owners who do the mods like this tend to be not so concerned about running or reliability. Look for a bike that's as mechanically-stock as possible.

Offline twocool

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Re: Buying a used 2001 GS500 as my starter bike
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2019, 08:52:16 PM »
What is a used motorcycle worth?

Well when you are buying or selling you have to put a dollar value on it.

The bike is worth exactly what it sells for.

The seller agrees it is worth selling at that price, while the buyer agrees it is worth buying.

It is  a negotiated price.

Of course, the exact same bike could sell at a different price, in a subsequent deal.

$2000 for an older GS500 with work done to it?  I dunno...probably somebody out there would pay that...Not my cup o tea....but I'm not in the market, I already have one..


Lower the price and your audience gets larger.  Higher price and it might take longer to find a buyer.

Unfortunately GS500 is not a really sought after bike.  Also there are plenty used deals out there if one just spends some time looking, and negotiating. 

A "customized" bike may actually bring less money...

Then you have to look at the new market....you can get a Ninja 400 or Yamaha F3..brand new, nobody even farted in the seat yet, with warranty....for not a whole lot more than many used bikes....


Hey, if you are the seller, ask high....it can always be negotiated downward.  It also gives the impression that the seller really values the bike, that it is a "good" bike.  Offer too cheap and the buyer thinks, "what's wrong with this bike?"

If  you are the buyer, offer low...all they can do is say no....you can negotiate upward.

So Mr72....go ahead ask $2000 or maybe $2500....test the waters....If you really don't need to sell the bike...just put it out there and wait and see if somebody thinks this bike is the cat's meow...

The bike may be worth more to you to just keep it, than to sell it too low.

FWIW....my 09 GS500 has 53,000 miles....I brought it to a dealer and asked would he take it in trade....he said NO WAY, NOT INTERESTED!   So to him the bike has no value.   I figure if I put it on Craigslist, it would bring $1000 on a good day...probably offers of $500.  I love this bike...it runs perfectly....I figure it has at least 25,000 mile left in it...it is worth a lot to me....I'm not going to sell it...probably just run it into the ground and scrap it...that is worth it to me!

Cookie






I've seen asking price of $2000 for bikes like this...which is way over what they are worth.

FWIW I am contemplating selling my GS, which has about 3x that many miles on it, and I'd be pretty firm at $2K. But of course it's extremely well sorted, upgraded, and somewhat unique, not your typical GS. And it only has about 5-6K on a rebuilt top end.

I guess this explains why I'll probably wind up keeping my GS forever. If $2K is "way over" what it's worth then it's not worth selling it.

to the OP, starting it cold is great advice, but you should know that GS500s are cold natured anyway and take a long time to warm up so if it starts on choke and revs to 5K rpm while choke is on, but you have to ride it a bit before it'll idle off choke without stalling, then that's ok. Carbs are going to be a constant effort to keep them in good working order so I wouldn't get too bent out of shape about carburetor issues. With ethanol fuels you wind up having to pull them and clean them pretty often. I'd be more worried if there's any hint of a knocking noise from the bottom of the motor or if it gets fully warmed up and doesn't want to run at low revs, those are indications of deeper problems with the engine. As far as knowing how they "should" run, well a GS in good tune with a solid motor should be fairly quick, but not a wheelie machine like a 650-class bike, and it should really feel like it wants to rev up to about 9K rpm. If it feels like it's falling flat as the revs climb then that could be an indication of expensive issues. These are not low-end-torque kind of engines.

BTW I'd also walk away if it has "cafe racer" type mods... pod filters, flat seat, no fenders, etc. No offense to those who like that aesthetic but these things are often much more about looks and the owners who do the mods like this tend to be not so concerned about running or reliability. Look for a bike that's as mechanically-stock as possible.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2019, 08:01:39 AM by twocool »

Offline twocool

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Re: Buying a used 2001 GS500 as my starter bike
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2019, 08:57:48 PM »
More rambling...Just some more thoughts...

Why buying a $750 bike for you first bike is a good idea.

figure this:   Go buy a brand new Harley for like $25,000....what is the depreciation the second you leave the dealership?

$5,000?  maybe more....

What's the depreciation when it is 5 years old and 20,000 miles?   $15,000?

So just the instant deprecation on a "fancy" new bike is enough to buy 5 or 6 well used GS500's!!!


What's the depreciation on your $750 "starter" bike?  ....ZERO!!!   If it starts, runs and drives decent...you can turn around and re sell it for the exact same price!


Cookie


Offline mr72

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Re: Buying a used 2001 GS500 as my starter bike
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2019, 01:56:34 PM »
The bike is worth exactly what it sells for.

Oh yes of course, and I'm not trying to justify why I think my GS is worth $2K+ ... but I do think there are GS500s that are worth >$2K and there are also those worth <$1000 ... I paid $900 for mine and actually I think I overpaid for it but the motorcycle market in the Austin area features very inflated prices. Anything that runs and can be put on the road for transportation immediately seems to be worth $1500 regardless of what it is.

However a $750 GS500 may very well have serious issues. If it is truly ready to be run on the road and put into reliable use then it's a serious bargain at $750. Around here you get project bikes for $750 often with no title. I think for a beginner to motorcycling to expect a $750 GS500 to be a daily-usable ride is likely to end in tears.

The good news is a beginner with a $750 GS500 is going to wind up learning a lot about fixing motorcycles. I sure did! But if they aren't willing to learn to do it themselves or make friends with a more experienced motorcycle mechanic, then it may end in flipping said $750 motorcycle and turning them away from old bikes.


Offline jimbo98

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Re: Buying a used 2001 GS500 as my starter bike
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2019, 07:05:06 PM »

Oh yes of course, and I'm not trying to justify why I think my GS is worth $2K+ ... but I do think there are GS500s that are worth >$2K and there are also those worth <$1000 ... I paid $900 for mine and actually I think I overpaid for it but the motorcycle market in the Austin area features very inflated prices. Anything that runs and can be put on the road for transportation immediately seems to be worth $1500 regardless of what it is.

However a $750 GS500 may very well have serious issues. If it is truly ready to be run on the road and put into reliable use then it's a serious bargain at $750. Around here you get project bikes for $750 often with no title. I think for a beginner to motorcycling to expect a $750 GS500 to be a daily-usable ride is likely to end in tears.

The good news is a beginner with a $750 GS500 is going to wind up learning a lot about fixing motorcycles. I sure did! But if they aren't willing to learn to do it themselves or make friends with a more experienced motorcycle mechanic, then it may end in flipping said $750 motorcycle and turning them away from old bikes.

It's really selling for $1,000, I'm just trading some gaming computer electronics along with $750 cash. I'm going to be seeing the bike soon, if it's in good condition and meets my checklist and the pointers y'all have said here, then I'm going to pull the trigger and go ahead and buy it. If not, I'll move on and keep looking. I've just really been anticipating buying a motorcycle for months now and want to start learning and riding. But don't get me wrong, that's not going to push me to buying a crappy bike that won't last.

Offline twocool

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Re: Buying a used 2001 GS500 as my starter bike
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2019, 08:07:57 PM »
Yes,  That's the "game"....if the asking price is too low, you immediately think there is some issue with the bike, that the owner is unloading it.   But a $2000 or even a $10,000 used bike can have issues as well.

You either have to get the bike checked out by a competent mechanic...or roll the dice!

Yes, used Gs500 in "good " condition...pretty much any year, any mileage...the asking price is typically in the low $2000's

I've seen dealers asking $3999.....yow!...I only paid $4200 brand new, because it was a year leftover and discontinued model.

Cookie





The bike is worth exactly what it sells for.

Oh yes of course, and I'm not trying to justify why I think my GS is worth $2K+ ... but I do think there are GS500s that are worth >$2K and there are also those worth <$1000 ... I paid $900 for mine and actually I think I overpaid for it but the motorcycle market in the Austin area features very inflated prices. Anything that runs and can be put on the road for transportation immediately seems to be worth $1500 regardless of what it is.

However a $750 GS500 may very well have serious issues. If it is truly ready to be run on the road and put into reliable use then it's a serious bargain at $750. Around here you get project bikes for $750 often with no title. I think for a beginner to motorcycling to expect a $750 GS500 to be a daily-usable ride is likely to end in tears.

The good news is a beginner with a $750 GS500 is going to wind up learning a lot about fixing motorcycles. I sure did! But if they aren't willing to learn to do it themselves or make friends with a more experienced motorcycle mechanic, then it may end in flipping said $750 motorcycle and turning them away from old bikes.

Offline mr72

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Re: Buying a used 2001 GS500 as my starter bike
« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2019, 10:45:00 PM »
if it's in good condition and meets my checklist and the pointers y'all have said here, then I'm going to pull the trigger and go ahead and buy it....But don't get me wrong, that's not going to push me to buying a crappy bike that won't last.

In case you haven't read all of the posts on this forum like I have, here's the scoop on a GS500: It's a durable, reliable, and easy to service motorcycle that's cheap to buy and pretty low cost to maintain. But it's very old tech and will require far more frequent tinkering than a newer bike, even though that tinkering is easy to do and most owners can learn to service it themselves easy enough. Even big problems are not seriously expensive to sort out.

But at $1K motorcycle of any kind is likely to have issues and you probably can't discover what they are on a test ride. You'll find out down the line whether it has electrical issues or neglected maintenance that causes more serious problems or needs a complete overhaul of the brakes or a new clutch or whatever myriad other stuff. What I am finding is that apart from the frame, suspension, crankcase/components and transmission, basically nearly everything else on a GS500 has about a 20K service life. But all that stuff is cheap to replace. It's just an adventure of ownership.

Other types of motorcycles may have fewer, more, or different issues. Don't expect a $1K GS500 to be well sorted. But a $1K GS500 is going to likely be far better than a $1K SV650 or Honda interceptor or Ninja 650. And since a GS500 is not a classic at all, a $1K GS500 will probably be a much better bike than a $1500-2K UJM. It's a bike that grows on you and is hard to get rid of, even after you "upgrade" (as I did). You'll get to know it and get your hands dirty and put a lot of miles of tarmac under its tires and decide it is more family than property, and even when you don't feel like riding it anymore you might not feel like selling it.

Offline Bluesmudge

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Re: Buying a used 2001 GS500 as my starter bike
« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2019, 09:56:53 PM »
If it starts easily, has half decent tires, brakes, battery and chain life left and runs well thats a great deal for $1,000. In my area a well sorted GS500E usually fetches around $1500. $2000+ if it is a low milage F model. $1000 if it has one significant problem. $500 if it is a basket case.

Keep in mind the consumables mentioned above (tires, brakes, chain, battery) are not inexpensive when you have to replace them. So a $1,000 bike that needs all of the above is really going to cost you $1500.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2019, 09:58:44 PM by Bluesmudge »

Offline mr72

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Re: Buying a used 2001 GS500 as my starter bike
« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2019, 02:15:33 PM »
Keep in mind the consumables mentioned above (tires, brakes, chain, battery) are not inexpensive when you have to replace them. So a $1,000 bike that needs all of the above is really going to cost you $1500.

Yes but a $1500 bike is likely to need all of that stuff anyway before you've owned it for a year if you use it regularly. So paying an extra $500 just to get consumables in better shape may be not really worth it. At least if you get the $1K bike and put tires, brakes, chain and battery (and cables and carb cleaning...) into it then you know all that stuff is new/recent.

Offline jimbo98

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Re: Buying a used 2001 GS500 as my starter bike
« Reply #17 on: March 18, 2019, 08:56:25 PM »
Hey guys, just wanted to get bac on this. Bike in really good condition with a few minor issues. It must have been unused for a few weeks before I got it. Battery was dipping below 11.5 volts and no sign of turning the engine over. I charged the battery up to 12.4 volts and was able to start it. Everything looks great on the bike. No rust besides a small patch on the top of the fuel tank. Grime and junk on the bottom, but no rusting. Chain looks great, not too dirty and all the links are good. The bike idles at about 1400 RPM. I haven't ridden it yet but take it for a spin this evening.

One note is that I have to leave the choke lever all the way in the up position. If I turn it off, the engine bogs and eventually stops. Does the carb need to be cleaned? Anything else I should look for? Meanwhile I'll continue charging the battery until I get 100%.

Offline mr72

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Re: Buying a used 2001 GS500 as my starter bike
« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2019, 10:41:46 PM »
Starting a GS (cold or sitting more than an hour):

1. put choke on FULL (all the way back)
2. start with NO THROTTLE
3. bike will start and perhaps with a blip of throttle after it starts should idle up to "fast warm up" at about 5K RPM
4. after a few seconds fast idle reduce choke to 1/2, should idle at 1500ish RPM and go ride
5. after a mile or two on the road you can probably turn the choke off and run without choke, should idle at 1100 rpm or so


If the bike doesn't want to run when stone cold without choke, that's normal. it would be worrisome if it does run stone cold with no choke.

"bog" usually means lean, which usually means you open the throttle and more air comes in but not enough fuel to match. If this GS is doing that, like refuses to rev when opening the throttle, then odds are there's a major vacuum leak causing the slide not to come up, or sticking float needles so the carbs run dry of fuel, or one of a hundred other things. Again, you get an old bike like this, expect to immediately have to go through the carbs. I have a write-up on how to do this on my blog.

Offline jimbo98

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Re: Buying a used 2001 GS500 as my starter bike
« Reply #19 on: March 18, 2019, 11:08:44 PM »
Starting a GS (cold or sitting more than an hour):

1. put choke on FULL (all the way back)
2. start with NO THROTTLE
3. bike will start and perhaps with a blip of throttle after it starts should idle up to "fast warm up" at about 5K RPM
4. after a few seconds fast idle reduce choke to 1/2, should idle at 1500ish RPM and go ride
5. after a mile or two on the road you can probably turn the choke off and run without choke, should idle at 1100 rpm or so


If the bike doesn't want to run when stone cold without choke, that's normal. it would be worrisome if it does run stone cold with no choke.

"bog" usually means lean, which usually means you open the throttle and more air comes in but not enough fuel to match. If this GS is doing that, like refuses to rev when opening the throttle, then odds are there's a major vacuum leak causing the slide not to come up, or sticking float needles so the carbs run dry of fuel, or one of a hundred other things. Again, you get an old bike like this, expect to immediately have to go through the carbs. I have a write-up on how to do this on my blog.

Thanks for the tips! I was just able to ride around locally for about 15-20 mins just to test it out. This is only my second time riding a bike, but when taking off it seems fairly smooth, I follow all the steps for starting the ride (put in first gear, slowly release clutch, put on a little bit of throttle). Once I'm rolling it does ok, but as I slow down to stop it starts to jerk and sometimes it will just shut off coming to a stop (why does that happen?) However, a couple times the bike was able to stop and just keep idling, and then I was able to just take off again no problem. The whole time I stayed in first gear since this is my first time riding, was just taking it slow.

I'll also add that I checked the battery voltage a few minutes after shutting the bike off when done riding, and it read 12.35 volts, so I put it back on the charger.