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going to check out an 2002 r1150rt


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I want to take a look at an 02 r1150rt with 98 k miles. I have searched for a buyers guide or a "what to check" guide on this forum but could not find one.

Any hints or tips what to look for?

Thank you so much.


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Hi Duncan.

You are going to get mixed responses here, but here goes:

The 2002 1150 RT is about the worst choice you can make when going for the 1150's.

Many, but not all suffer from surging which many folk cannot tune out. This is an uncomfortable and undesirable feature. When on a steady throttle the rider gets the sensation that the bike is constantly speeding up and slowing down.


Also quite a few bikes have had issues with the gearbox input shaft stripping. Again, not all bikes, but an uncomfortable many do. Even when rebuilt they go again. The culprit is suspected to be mis-alignment between the gearbox and the engine. The solution? A later gearbox or (much harder to achieve), off-centre dowels that pull the shaft into alignment.


Other issues with the 2002 is that the rear braking system can be aggressive at low speeds. This has caused a few bikes to be dumped on their sides during low speed maneuvers.


There are folk here (like Stan) who have done WELL over 100,000 miles without problems, but many other s have.


So my personal advice is look for a later (2003 onward) twin spark version.


Anyhow, to answer your question for all the 1150's:

1/. How many miles has it done, is that represented by the purchase price.

2/. What physical condition is it in? take a look at as many fasteners and fixings as you can see to assess how the bike has been cared for over the years.

3/. Is there any form of service history with the bike?

4/. What part of the country is it from? has it been exposed to a lot of salt air. Or, has it been immersed in flood water (some have).

5/. Do the brakes work correctly? These bikes have VERY complicated Servo assisted brakes. They can go wrong. The Servo system is NOT repairable. However, it can be removed and the bike run with conventional brakes. The drawback is that the bike loses its ABS function.

Is there i service history of the brake service? bad/lack of servicing can destroy the Servo.

6/. Check the front wheel bearing (bike on stand, push pads back and spin wheel, feel for roughness).

7/. Alternator belt condition?

8/. Check ALL the electrical systems. Heated grips work on both settings, windscreen go up and down ok. horn ok, lights all work in correct mode.

Rider informnation Dispaly work ok (fuel gauging, oil temperature gear indication)

9/. Are all the fasteners in place on the fairing. If not, there may be damaged threads which in the case of the fuel tank cannot be easily repaired.

10/. Engine runs and idles OK? does it rattle badly when was it last serviced. Is there any record of oil changes?

11/. Has the Cam Chain Tensioner been replaced? if not the bike can rattle very briefly on start up.

12/. Does the bike smoke?

13/. Does the bike change gear and do all the gears work? Do all the gears show correctly and in the correct sequence in the RID (Rider Information Display).

14/. Has the clutch ever been replaced (and why).

15/. Is there any play on the swing arm to frame mounting?

16/. Does the rear wheel spin freely when on the stand and bike in neutral - it should.

17/.Is there any play in the back wheel if you try and tilt it top to bottom and left to right? if so, the final drive pivot bearing may need replacing (not a big deal) or, the final drive main crown bearing may need replacing (a much bigger deal).

18/. What state are all the discs in? will they need replacing?

19/. What state are the pads in?

20/. the rear shock absorber has the ability to adjust the pre-load of the spring. the adjuster is hidden beneath the RH side panel. Pace the bike on the side stand and fully screw the adjuster out. Now screw it back in. it should start to activate the preload almost straight away. If not the preloader may be knackered and so the rear shock may need the reservoir topping up. Not the end of the world, but money and time none the less.

21/. With the bike on the stand, does the steering turn easily from lock to lock without roughness?

22/. When was the battery last replaced? And, what type of battery is currently fitted - avoid wet cell batteries.

23/. What state are the rims in? are they still round? is there any side to side run out?

24/. What state are the tyres in?

25/. What state is the exhaust in? is is rusted out internally (look up the back of the pipe. Aftermarket pipes are not so good as the OEM pipes.

26/. Does the bike look as if it has been dropped?

27/. Is the throttle action light?

28/. How does the bike ride? if you take your hands (VERY CAREFULLY off the bars, what does the bike try to do. Most RT's do try to drift to the right which is normal, but does the bike shake its head?

Does the bike pull strongly in each gear up to the read line?

The bike has a 6th gear. Don't expect the bike to be able to easily use that gear below 55mph.


Like I say, my advice is look for a later twin spark.

However the 1100/1150RT's are WONDERFUL bikes.




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Thank you Andy,

very helpful!! How would I notice a bad input shaft during a test ride? Bike has 98k miles with new battery, fuel filter, fluids, brakes....

Thanks again


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I had a 2002 purchased new sold last year with 78K, was a great bike that never failed. I liked the bakes and miss them on my wethead RT. They are power assist fully intergraded, in slow stops such as parking lots keep the front wheel straight.


My final drive moved a little, I had it rebuilt because it wasn't shimmed correctly by the factory, this problem effect R and K bikes for many years. With 98K on the bike you are looking at it should be ok. But be sure to test any bike before you buy, rock the rear wheel at the 3 & 9 position and the 12 & 6. There are some write up how to test to see if movement means, wheel bearing or pivot needle bearings. It should be solid no movement. If so walk away...


The 2 spark is a better choice but if you keep the bike in tune which should be very easy to do at 98K it will run sweet.



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The chances are that if the bike has done that sort of mileage you may have no problem with the input shaft....has the clutch ever been replaced?

At that mileage it may be getting near the point of needing one (can be expensive).

There is no certain way of telling if the input shaft is worn by riding the bike. When they fail it is pretty much instant from normal, to no drive. If a person knew the input shaft was worn they may be able to sense some backlash in the drive system which is different than the 'normal' slop.

If the starter motor is removed, the shaft / clutch can be checked to a certain degree by looking in. The clutch thickness can also be monitored.

I would still steer you towards a lower mileage bike.

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I liked the brakes and miss them on my wethead RT.

Jay your brakes can't be right. The Wethead brakes are equally as good as the 1150's ever were. More feel, and less to go wrong (on the braking system) too.

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.... but if you keep the bike in tune which should be very easy to do at 98K it will run sweet.




Hi Jay, How so? The bike is harder to keep in tune as the mileage increases because the TB butterfly shaft wears and screws up the throttle body balance. It also causes an annoying 'clack'!

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.... but if you keep the bike in tune which should be very easy to do at 98K it will run sweet.




Hi Jay, How so? The bike is harder to keep in tune as the mileage increases because the TB butterfly shaft wears and screws up the throttle body balance. It also causes an annoying 'clack'!


I found as the bike put on mileage 60K, the valves didn't go out of adjustment as much at each 6k service. I never had problem with my TB, but I knew others that had to rebuild. I know many others that have the same results as for the valves. Just my experience.



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My '02 RT only has 42,000 miles on it. And I've only put about 4k of those on my self.

But I love the bike, and am really glad I wasn't frightened away by all the potential problems.

Go find the tune-up manual that people have put together. I'm not a huge wrench-head myself, but I had no problem following directions and adjusting valves and bleeding brakes and doing all the necessary maintenance things. A well tuned RT is a wonderful piece of equipment.

And before you buy, make sure the final drive isn't worn (no idea how to check - I just rolled the dice and hoped for the best with mine) and make sure the ABS unit still works. Then go an replace the brake lines with stainless lines if they aren't already.

The main consensus seems to be that the ABS unit will fail if it gets gunked up. So replace those old rotting rubber brake lines with stainless. And replace the brake fluid every X interval. I will probably do mine every year, but pick your own appropriate interval.

Enjoy the hell out of your new bike.

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Thank you everybody for your input. I will look at the bike tomorrow (Tue). I am a fairly tall person and heard the the foot pegs and seat can be changed to accommodate taller riders. Anybody know anything about that?

Thanks again

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Glenn Reed
Thank you everybody for your input. I will look at the bike tomorrow (Tue). I am a fairly tall person and heard the the foot pegs and seat can be changed to accommodate taller riders. Anybody know anything about that?

Thanks again


As Andy said, the seat height is adjustable from the factory, and there are those who raise that assembly up by adding spacers and longer bolts as necessary.


As far as lowering the pegs for longer legs, one option is available from Suburban Machinery.

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Hey Duncan - I see that you're in Minnesota. Me too!

Also a tall guy - though I'm only 6'5".


I find that the 1150RT works pretty well for me stock. I have the seat raised to the highest position - everything else is stock.


You can raise the handlebars with risers/bar-backs. I have a set you can try out if you get the bike and would like to try them.

I'd personally like to lower the footpegs a little bit. But I'm being cheap and avoiding it for now. It's not a problem for normal around town riding. I did 350 miles in a day last month, and would have liked a little better angle on my hips and knees. But it wasn't awful.

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All right, first off thank you so much to everyone who helped with my quest to buy an RT. Andy, thanks for that long list you wrote, I took it with me and checked the bike accordingly as much as possible.

I could not find anything wrong with it, it shifted great, ABS and servos are ok, did not smoke, no play in the rear end, no bearing noise in the front and absolutely EVERYTHING works. It has 98.8k miles and rides wonderfully. I bought it and then rode it home around Minneapolis in rush hour traffic and was absolutely stunned how stable and superbly engineered this bike is. Even in the buffeting behind and next to semi trucks it is just planted. I rode it for 3 hrs about 190 miles and loved it. Have to check if I can post pics....

Oh and the best part, when we adjusted the seat to max height we saw that the front was already shimmed up!!! Now if anyone has a lead to a taller windshield, please let me know. Thanks again

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