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I am new to riding and just picked up a 1983 Honda Shadow VT500c. Got the bike cheap and figured it would be a good starter bike. What are some of the things that I should look at to be sure the bike is safe and road ready?

Thanks
 

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Since you are new to riding the best advice is to get a "Service Manual" for your bike and go over the bike Inspecting the Items shown in the book. Also would try getting to know other more experienced riders that are local and have them point out different things to you in person. Have found that "Hands-on" is the best way to learn.

Good Luck.
 

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You'll find the service manual on the Sticky section under General Discussion.

Welcome and Congrats!!

Things to check out... and I'm sure I'll forget something but here goes:

- Tires, for wear and cracking. Even if they look good, if they're old, replace them.
- Air filter
- Check fuel tank for rust
- Check clutch and brake lines for cracking or bubbling
- Check for fluid leakage at front fork seals
- Change the oil and oil filter
- Check the brake pads for wear
- Ensure the wheels spin true
- Change the final drive oil
- Check plugs and plug wires
- Under the left side cover, check the wire connector to ensure it's not melted
- Ensure both master cylinders have adequate brake fluid in them

That'll keep you busy for an afternoon... I'm sure others will chime in too :) Go get that manual before you do anything else tonight, tho ;)
 

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Love the nickname, sounds like something I can trust!


As written above get your hands on a manual and go through and do all the required routine maintenance and make sure you have fresh fluids in everything. You never know how the original owners kept up, so start from knowing everything is as it should be.
 

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You can download the manual from the sticky here in the general discussion forum but it is hard to follow some of it. I prefer the Clymer manual in print so you can have it in hand while working on the bike.
is the bike running?
is the battery new and full of water? our bikes don't like a low battery. change all the fluids even if PO says he just did it.
change the brake fluid, the rear oil
let me know if you want to go cheep for everything and i can get you the oil filters compatible with our bike. read the oiloligy sticky under technical discussion.
with a 28 year old bike it is best to not open some things unless you need to fix it. I just mean think before opening something
tire age and tred depth are important. here is a link to reading tire date code How to: Read Tire Date Codes | eHow.com
replace coolant. make sure the coolant is safe for aluminum.
 

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Check the FRAME. I bought the same bike and have now discovered that there is a hole in my frame......bs
 

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Everything mentioned above, and check it over looking for replaced parts. When I got my 84, what wasn't completely neglected was repaired in a very shoddy manner. Wires with cheap crimp connectors, fuel lines without clamps, mismatched bolts, things like that.

You will swear in your head when you need new parts.

These bikes can be very reliable. I think "bullet-proof" comes to mind. I've seen them with 100K+ miles and no mechanical issues. Something about a half liter bike - they just beg to be ridden and don't break down (this side of Lake Michigan anyway).
 
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