I found your site pretty helpful. I am about to buy my first bike with no real knowledge of motorcycles and would love to get some feed back soon. I am found a 1980 Honda CB650 for $900. The ad states that there is an oil leak that leaks directly on the Oil pan screws? any idea what that might be and how costly that would be to fix? Also, it states that the owner has a trickle Charger with a quick connect to the battery. I have no idea what that means. Finnaly, what are your general thoughts on this bike. Thanks for the insight!
I also am looking at a 1985 Suzuki GS550L for $850. What are your thoughts on that motorcycle as well?
Both of the bikes listed are good designs. Cheap to buy and maintain and would make a pretty solid first bike. I would generally encourage people to start on something even smaller like a 350 or 400 twin cylinder – but the bikes you mention aren’t bad choices either.
Oil leaks on the CB650 could be very minor or very labor intensive issues depending where the problem is. If it’s just a slow trickle from the base gasket its cheaply fixable and a fun weekend project. If it’s the output shaft seal it is extremely labor intensive as the entire motor has to be opened up. Neither of these projects I would recommend to a beginner. Best to have an experienced bike guy look at the bike with you.
Personally, I prefer the GS550 motors to the CB650’s. I feel the GS550 is more robust. It is certainly down on power a little bit, but that doesn’t bother me. I have had great luck with my GS550’s in the past.
A trickle charger is just a battery charger. When a bike sits for a long time it is best to leave the battery on a trickle charger which is designed to monitor the battery and keep it topped up. Nice to have, but only $35 to buy new.