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Thread: Things to look for when buying an 851

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Default Things to look for when buying an 851

    I've got a couple of 900SS's, a '93 and a '98 Final Edition, but I recently came across a late 851 that I've got some interest in. I'm very familiar with the issues to look for on the 900SS's (cracked frames and swing arms, electrics, head studs, etc.) but I was wondering if there's anything in particular to look for when considering an 851. Since they appear so similar in frame to the 900SS's, did the 851 have any issues with cracking at the steering head as the SS's did?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008


    I've not heard of any frame issues myself. And, though the frames appear similar they are nothing alike. One is a stiff bitch and the other is a flexible cage. (I've got both 900 and 851 too.) As far as things to look for all I can say is this: Definitely look for service records. Yeah, belts and valves being serviced is nice.. but IMO it's better to have someone who actually changes the fluids regularly. After pulling my motor apart and finding a bad crankshaft bearing as well as massive cylinder scoring, not to mention a stripped out spark plug, just to mention some of the issues related to LACK of proper maintenance. If you are ready and willing to work on your bike to keep it in top shape, then buy the 851. Just don't expect it to be a breeze to work on like the 900. Just remember, these bikes are 20+ years old so things are bound to go wrong or need attention. However, after waiting 4 years to complete my rebuild I must say it was worth every second/hour/week/month/year..and $$$... you get the idea. When you have an 851 your SS becomes the red-headed-step-child.


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