I'm new here and I'd like to ask for some help, and or, advice. I just got my first ever motorcycle and it was somewhat of a mechanic special. A 2000 Harley Davidson Sportster Sport XL1200S. I'm really proud of it being my first bike and a lot of people are telling me it's a great beginner bike as well.

Basically what I'm asking advice for is it's an old bike, particularly with a little over 27k miles on it. I need advice on what I need to go over to make sure it's going to run properly for me for at least a while and hopefully I don't miss anything.

It had been sitting at least since 2015 because the recent work history I got from it had only serviced it at 25k.

I've already replaced the front tire since it was dry rotted to hell. The back tire was fine but is next on the replace list because it had to have been sitting for 7 years.

Ive changed the oil for it, not the shared primary/transmission fluid but just the main motor oil. Maybe I need to change the shared fluid as well?

I noticed the clutch cable is broken near where it goes to the primary and it leaks a bit so I should replace that.

The air filter is incredibly dirty. There was what smelled like gas all around the inside of the cover so does that indicate a problem with the carburetor? The carb probably deserves a cleaning or rebuild so I should look for that.

I only hope the bushings for the rear shocks are still alive or else I'll have to replace the whole shocks. The manual I have says that they aren't serviceable for my particular bike. I don't notice any suspension issues though.

Maybe it deserves a brake flush? Brake pads and rotors look fantastic so they should be good for a while longer.

That's basically what I can think about needing to replace or change before I can start taking the bike on journeys. Am I missing anything I should inspect? Any and all advice is very nice and I'm grateful for anyone who responds. Thank you all for the welcome to the community.

Ps. I've named the bike Lord Gwyn.

5 Answers 5


After sitting for so long and at this age you should:

  1. Replace all fluids and filters.
  2. Replace the tires
  3. Check the wheel bearings
  4. Check and either clean and lube the chain or replace it. (I don't recall if this has a chain or a belt. If a belt, inspect and adjust it.)
  5. If the clutch cable is damaged, replace it.
  6. Check the inside of the fuel tank for any rust formation. Drain any old fuel and refill with fresh gasoline. I prefer to use E0 (i.e. Ethanol Free) whenever possible unless you ride often.
  7. Inspect the carb but rebuilding can be tricky unless you have experience doing it. Using some carb cleaner may help if it's not too bad. The biggest issue is storing the bike with Ethanol-laced fuel. The Ethanol causes corrosion and that can ruin a carb in a hurry.
  8. Check the battery. If it's been sitting it may be on its last legs.

Since you are a beginner then in the interest of safety you should get an experienced rider to try the bike. They may come up with things that dont show up in a static test. We in Britain are not allowed to ride bikes over 125cc until passing a test. I guess theres a reason for that. So starting out on a 1200cc is remarkable. All the best


So, apart from setting the baseline as per the other answer, you should get the service schedule and follow it.

Also, given the age you should check things more often. Oil, filters, chain, suspension joints etc


My first bike had been sitting around for a few years, in addition to getting it running I'd advise making sure it will stop. Brakes have a tendency to seize if they aren't used, so I would inspect front and rear and test them thoroughly.

The carb may be gummy but I'd see if some carb cleaner will do the trick first, rebuild it only if you can't get it working with fresh fuel and some de-gunking.


If the bike has rubber brake lines, replace them now. Rubber lines degrade with age, and 20 years is seriously old.

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