Buying a New Bike That’s Been Sitting a While

Tech Q&A: Stationary ST1300

Honda ST1300
Honda ST1300

Dear Rider,

My local Honda dealer has a new 2010 Honda ST1300 with 0 miles. I know Clement Salvadori has owned more than one ST and I need to know if this bike is safe to buy. Is there anything I should look for or be aware of? I’m concerned because it has been sitting for so long.

Jerry Crafton, via email

Jerry, Clem has only owned Honda ST1100s, though he has put a lot of miles on them! He considered buying a 2003 ST1300 but felt it put out too much engine heat around the lower legs in warm to hot weather. And I agree with him, though Honda made some running changes after the bike’s introduction in 2003 and prior to 2010 to help reduce the heat. It’s a great bike in every other respect. If the heat’s not a showstopper for you, you should be good to go bike-wise.

The other thing to consider is how it’s been stored. If it literally has 0 miles, that means that it had the factory dyno test, was (probably) drained of fluids and shipped to the dealer. Have gas, oil and coolant been added and the bike been made to run since? If it was left with fuel in the tank and fuel injection system for many years without being started regularly, that fuel has probably gummed up the system by now, and if the fuel was oxygenated with ethanol, it may have absorbed water that could have rusted some fuel system components. On the other hand, if the bike was drained completely, it might run OK but there’s a slight possibility that dried-up seals in the fuel and/or cooling systems could result in leaks.

Lots of mechanics would also insist upon manually adding some top-end lubrication before firing a bike up for the first time in many years. At a minimum the ignition should be disabled and the starter cranked several times for 5-10 seconds to get some (fresh) oil into the top end before starting the motorcycle. Coolant and brake fluid should also be changed, and check the date of manufacture on the tires. They could be as much as eight years old by now. A tire’s service life is dependent upon many variables, but after 5-7 years they warrant some serious scrutiny.

The big question is, will the dealer fix any problems the bike currently has before you buy it, and honor the original warranty?


  1. Those bikes aren’t prohibitively expensive new; I’d buy a new one and walk away from one seven years old in the crate unless they were willing to prep it, guarantee it, and damn near give it away. In addition to the items mentioned in the article, pulling the spark plugs and shooting some WD40 into the cylinders before initially cranking the engine may be prudent.

    • I agree, unless you’re getting the bike for half of what a current model year costs, I’d be looking at the new model. Even a couple year old used bike might be a more reliable choice for less money if it we maintained properly. New tires alone will be costing $400-ish, and at 8 years old, I wouldn’t be happy with the old ones, not being able to fully trust the grip and ride like I’d want to.

    • Gerard, I love cruise control; wouldn’t own a long distance bike without it. But… adding it is very complex and expensive. I’d talk to a competent dealer and get a price quote in writing before deciding. You can easily have several thousand in parts & labor.

  2. Why is it not sold? They may give a platinum warranty. They may even honour it. But wouldn’t you rather be riding than waiting for the shop to finish a job?

  3. That’s not a new bike by any stretch and may be worse than a well-cared for used bike that was run regularly. My guess is that the bike would have already sold if it was priced right.

  4. I am looking into buying a used bike pretty soon, but I didn’t realize that the duration that the bike has been sitting could matter so much. It makes sense that oil and other fluids that have sat in an unused bike for awhile could cause damages to the fuel injection system like you said. I’ll have to ask about this when looking at bikes so I know if there are potential problems or not.


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