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Hello all!

I am a prospective 954'er and have enjoyed reading some very helpful, and at times entertaining threads, on this board. After putting in many hours of research and thought, I am writing to ask for your inputs into the buying decision.

Bike info:
* '02 954, red and black (alas, not the more powerful black and silver model ;)) with mostly highway 38K miles by first/single owner with a couple days of track time
* reasonably well maintained, clean bike and title; not dropped and no damage
* arata pipes
* steering damper
* after market rear shock, brake pedal, gear shift and brake lights, brake lines, fender eliminator
* Michelin Pilot Sport tires w/ about 40% tread left
* sat with full tank of gas for about 2 years (no Stabil or such)
* starts ok; rides ok (drove very, very conservatively for about 30 minutes at speeds upto 70 mph/4K-5K RPM); somewhat rough/fluctuating idle around 1100 rpm even after engine is warmed up; temps stayed under 200; shifts ok, but a little harder than the NH
* valves not adjusted (to the best of my knowledge)
* new OEM spec sealed battery
* fuel system/injectors probably need some TLC/cleaning
* US $3,700 (exclusive acquaintance price)

I have about about 4,000 miles of riding experience on street bike ('93 Nighthawk 750), did take the MSF beginner/first class about 6 years ago, this would be my first sportbike if I do buy it, and currently don't have plans for track riding.

Why Buy:
- Thrill and experience of riding a sportbike before I get too "old" (early 40s at this time) to ride a bike such as this
- Good, no make that great, looking bike; hard not to want it (seriously lust after is closer to the truth)
- Can afford it thankfully; will need/plan to buy good protective gear at ~ $1,200

Why Not Buy:
- Safety/risk associated with riding a bike in this class. Have a loving wife and toddler and would like to stick around for them and the usual other reasons :). I am reasonably level headed and don't intend to, or have in the past, taken risks by riding beyond my abilities, or so I think
- High mileage bike; might be hard to sell in a few years (or may not sell due to liking it as much as I like current bike)
- Like current bike and will likely keep it as a second, or sole, bike
- Lack of time (feels like there is too much stuff to fit in a day already), so not sure how much I'll ride -- probably 1 to 2K miles a year

Questions:
- Given bike sat with tank full of fuel (yet to be changed!) and rough idling, would getting that taken care of be an expensive or time consuming (if able to DIY) proposition
- Does the price appear reasonable (yes, based on my research including many good posts on here)
- Any concerns with high mileage (no, based on some good posts on here)
- Have any of you found yourself having to make such a decision and what was the outcome (want to make the right choice and a "good" decision)
- Is there anything specific about the bike that I should check into prior to making a decision to purchase (reading Used Motorcycle Evaluation Guide now)

I find myself leaning towards the practical side and am thinking that passing on this opportunity, and staying satisfied with existing bike, might be the right thing to do but am having a hard time sticking to that decision (the Mark Twain (?) quote regarding regretting things we did not do keeps coming up). I realize the decision is a personal one that only I can make, and am hoping your inputs might help either in staying with the practical and responsible decision or feeling comfortable with going for it and getting the beauty!

Looking forward to your input and if I decide to buy, the beauty and me could possibly be riding as early as this afternoon or evening after draining the tank and putting in some fresh fuel in first.

Thank you very much for reading and responding. Please let me know if any additional information would help answer these questions.


Ride Safe!
 

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Check with a shop about the price of the needed repairs before you make your decision. If they're that expensive, see if you can get a break on the price. Its an OK deal for a bike in good order, but not for a fixer-upper. That would be the only issue for me. I went from a Nighthawk 750 to the Blade, and I sure as hell am not going back. Same age, same idea. The bike is fun, fun, fun, but watch the throttle. If you've come this far you'll probably make it. In my opinion the 954 is way safer than the Nighthawk. It accelerates much more rapidly, can stop on a dime, and is very maneuverable. Means you can get out of trouble that the Nighthawk would leave you in. Good luck.
 

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My first bike was a 93 nighthawk before i got my 1000rr and all I have to say is I'm glad I made the switch. But its all personal preference, I switched over and got rid of the NH because I wanted more power and speed and I like the looks of current sportbikes over the looks of the NH
 

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I switched from a shadow750 to a 929, and i've got to say, there has not been a day that i wished i stayed on the 750 (even after a crash and my servo motor breaking). I just find that my riding time is more enjoyable on the blade. I dont ride a ton, and most of my riding is commuting, but Im just happier to get up and ride the blade rather than the 750. my $.02
 

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Try another one. I just bought an 03 with 6.5k miles for a little more than that. :) I came from a 1100xx and like the lightweight and handling of the 54.

Almost any bike can kill or permanently disable you. Use your head and ride like all the cagers are out to get you. I've already been gotten once this year.

Rick
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Went ahead and got the bike! Your responses helped make the decision and are much appreciated.

Will post pic and replies this weekend.

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
@steingar:

Great idea on checking with a shop. Did call the dealer and estimate is approx. 600 to 700 for fuel system check/clean and valve clearance check/adjust. Bike runs OK as-is, but do want to get preventive maintenance either done at dealer or do it myself (HSM and Clymer yet to be ordered/obtained).

Knowing that you came from a NH, have some other similarities, and your positive impressions in moving to the 954 were of much help in feeling comfortable with the decision.

@WyoJames:

Great to hear that you are enjoying the 1000RR and are happy with the switch from the NH.

@Evil R:

Thanks for the inputs. It looks like those who moved up from 750s are finding the switch to be a favorable one.

I likely will be doing commuting for getting used to the bike's handling.

@Redfiddyfo:

Congratulations on your purchase! Looks like you struck a good deal.

Good advise on riding smart and watching out for cagers. I will check out an upcoming advanced MSF class. Received a copy of "A Twist of the Wrist II" from previous owner and am finding it interesting and useful reading. Been meaning to read "Proficient Riding" also.

To all who responded with their very helpful and prompt feedback -- I appreciate it.

Update:

A picture of the bike is attached.

Suctioned the remaining .75gal of fuel (definitely old -- it was a light yellow), filled up with fresh premium fuel and got in a ride today. Idle fluctuation appears to be reduced after about 30 minutes of riding as compared to same amount of riding with old fuel for pre-purchase test ride. I am considering using Techron Concentrate Plus, http://www.chevron.com/products/ourfuels/prodserv/additives/tcp.aspx, at the next fill.

I am picking up a ton of helpful and useful information from this board/forum. A general thank you to all those who are taking the time to share tips and advice.
 

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I'd flush the tank first.

Techron is the best. Run a treated tank thru it and see if it runs better.

Check/adjust the valves, perform a good lookover and ride it!

I just bought a showroom new 02 954 to replace my 04 919. Totally satisified and wish I had done it a long time ago.

Be careful, it may seem pretty tame under 6000 rpm but has a lot more power than you can imagine once you start pushing it hard.
 

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Does the bike have a Power Commander? It looks like it has a full exhaust system so it definitely needs one if it doesn't. The rough running could be from a bad MAP if it does have a PC. I'd check that first before spending big bucks on fuel system check and clean rape job by the dealer.
 

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Congrats on the purchase, I just bought mine at the end of June. Already put over 3000 miles on it. I can't get enough of it!
 

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Does the bike have a Power Commander? It looks like it has a full exhaust system so it definitely needs one if it doesn't. The rough running could be from a bad MAP if it does have a PC. I'd check that first before spending big bucks on fuel system check and clean rape job by the dealer.
Definately agree with Red. Changes to exhaust and/or airbox without a power commander, or a bad map really roughen up the idle and run of the engine.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
@steingar:

Thank you!

Still a little bit wary about trouble free operation and use given higher mileage, but so far so good.

@red-donkey:

Good advice, and plan to do as suggested. The valve inspect/replace appears to be a rather complex project, from taking a quick look at the HSM, but might give it a shot this winter.

Haven't gone much over 6K RPM yet and definitely appreciated the heads-up. FWIW, found this dyno chart [http://www.sportrider.com/bikes/sportbike_dyno_charts/photo_44.html] when researching the bike. Lots of HP past 6K.

Congrats on your purchase!

@Red Rider:

I believe it does. The previous owner mentioned splicing in a P3 at the time of the Arata install.

Idle has gotten better with fresh gas, but I think there is room for improvement. I'll try the Techron first and see if that helps further.

@SgtMike:

Congrats on your purchase as well! Looks like you are enjoying the ride thoroughly.

@Evil R:

Will need to research how to determine if the P3 map is off (didn't get any PC/P3 docs with bike) and if that is contributing to less than ideal idle and engine run which appears to be a bit rough/harsh, but not having ridden a newer high performance/sports bike before, can't tell for sure if that is to be expected.
 

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You made a good choice with the '02. Anyone with an '03 should be wary of the cylinder case cracking between the first two cylinders, as some of us on the list have gotten burned by this problem. Mine happened around 8K miles.

Take care,
Franc
 
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