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zxr400 buyers guide

what to look for when buying a zxr400........................

Most of these will be common for most bikes but there are certain things the zxr are known for.

Tyres, make sure there plenty of tread, tyres scrubbed right to the edge shows it been well ridden!

Brakes, any notchyness at the lever when pulled in slowly shows the pistons are corroded, only a strip clean and possible replacement of pistons to cure. Brake disks for warpage, pulsing sensation at lever when braking at high speed will tell you this. Also check the discs on their carriers, usually the sphims corrode and the disc can rattle on the carrier.

Chain and sprockets, should have plenty of meat on the teeth and no tight spots or stiff links. Check for chain wear by pulling at a few links from the back of the rear sprocket. Shouldnt be able to pull it off by more than a few millimeters.

Play in the swingarm, head stock bearings and wheel bearings overall condition, get the bike in the air if you can and have a good tug at both ends

Make sure panels meet up properly, scratches on bar ends etc.. indicative of a spill if not good.Also cracks in the footrest hangers and scratches on the alternator cover.

Check for any unusuall engine noises, ZXR's are a little noisy anyway, on the top end and clutch aswell, but usually just 'chuggy' noisy, any loud ticking, knocking or rattles and theres a problem. When riding the bike shouldnt pull to either side, best way i check a frame is to ride the bike down a straight and level road and sit up without ya hands on the bars, if it pulls either without your input then its possibly a twisted frame or bent forks.

When riding the bike will feel a bit weak low down pick up about 4k, really pull about 6k upto about 10k then go liek a bat out of hell till 14k!

Always go for a bike with a long MOT, its your guarantee thats its at least safe and legal. A FSH or some history at least is good, shows its been looked after

If the exhaust isn't road legal, then see if they have a road legal slip-on for MOT's etc.

Check the exhaust pipes (under the engine) as the original pipework is mild steel and hence prone to rotting.

Also the bikes rear end should have a full size number plate, reflector and number plate light in order to pass an MOT.

Ensure you have a HPI check, together with service history notes where possible.

At about 20,000 miles she'll need a new cam chain (worth checking as you may get a discount if it hasn't been done yet).
Also around 16-20,000 miles the head hasket usually goes so check for signs, very fine bubbles in the rad cap is usually the first sign.

edit: i just found this and thought it might come in usefull to someone (thanks to masterofinsanity on zxrownersclub) frame/engine numbers

Just thought id add this (again from ZXRowners club poster called gubbs)

When buying look at things like:

1. Number of previous owners
2. Overall cosmetic condition
3. State of the chain & sprocks
4. Oil level in engine and the colour of it
5. Wheel rims, check for marks or tooling scratches.
6. Calipers for muck/grime and pad life remaining
7. If you can test ride it, check the wheel bearings
8. Check the head bearings arent notchy/loose
9. Make sure all the switchgear works A-Ok. Accept no substitute
10. Hot start the bike to make sure it doesnt have the nefarious hot start issue
11. What colour is the brake fluid in the master reservoir?
12. Is the engine cold when you get there. Ask specifically to ensure it is or walk away.
13. When you start the bike does it idle smoothly or does the rev needle jump around all over the pace and the carbs splutter?
14. Any top end rattle thats really audible?
15. Any cam chain chatter?
16. Does the bike smoke?
17. Whats the gearbox like?
18. Do the brakes work?
19. Do the brake lights work?
20. What do you think of the owner; is he a scruffy c*nt? Ignorant about bikes? How friendly is he - offer you a cup of tea? Is he pushy or relaxed? Does he look to the left or the right when answering questions - indicating a lie etc.

Special: If it doesnt have the original can, levers, indicators etc. Where are they? Make sure you have a OEM can for MOT time.

Remember, nobody is your 'mate'. You don't owe them courtesy unless they show you some.
Never, ever, ever, ever, ever buy a bike on first viewing. Always go away and think about it. Call them in 24 hrs with your decision.

Likewise never accept the opening price unless they are the sort who just want what its worth and aren't going to take to haggling etc.

Test Ride: Never under any circumstances let someone else pilot the bike for you. If you can't ride it, you don't want it.

On the test ride you aren't out to have a nice bimble. Work the suspension, brakes and gearbox; check for notchy shifts or jumping out of gear under harsh acceleration.

Make sure the bike sounds right up the rev range and make sure it pulls beyond 12k.

Additionally, you need to know if the fuelling is right. If its lean it will feel vague after 10k to the red line.

If its surging on the throttle, and not returning to an idle in one smooth movement of the needle. Walk.

Stop the bike. Get off. Wait 5 mins. Start it, does it come instantly to life?

Always take a friend with you when it comes time to actually buy the machine. Make sure you only hand over the cash when its right and you feel comfortable and the keys are in your hand.

Don't let friendly people emotionally blackmail you into accepting their asking price.

Likewise, don't promise you will buy it. Make it clear from the off that you are there to look at the bike and if it looks good, arrange to take a test ride.

Only decide if you want it after the test ride.

Make sure there is always 24 hrs between you testing it and you buying it.

Another one might come along, cheaper in better condition. 80% of used machines will be in near mint condition with < 20k on the clocks anyway. With that in mind, you can really afford to take your time and get the right bike and the right price. Don't settle for anything less than that. Walk. There are loads of bikes out there for your budget and you might change your mind about that model/year at a later date anyway.

And finally ..

Don't buy it because its easier than going back to square one. Thats insane, altho easy to do. I have done it.

If they are asking too much and won't budge, then walk. Most sellers of used machines are only after the muppet who will pay more than its worth. Many have no intention of selling their bike for its true value, under any circumstances. This is often the case in 'silly season' from June to August. Try and suss them out before you waste your time.


PDF fact file - http://www.zxrworld.co.uk/Manuals/zxr400mag.pdf

Manals including the Race section - http://www.zxrworld.co.uk/zxr400/manual.html

If you havent found your way there already i highly recomend visting http://www.zxrworld.co.uk loads of very usfull information and the fourm is full of people willing to help out were they can

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1,650 Posts
Nice thread, really useful =P
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