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Author Topic: Buyers Guide  (Read 10285 times)

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Buyers Guide
« on: 12, April, 2009 - 11:24:55 »
Some help for those new to buying a Sinclair C5, and possibly a useful reminder for those that aren't  ;)

This has been compiled from replies to various questions I've been asked 8)

First piece of advice is ,if at all possible,to always go & view the C5 you are interested in as all C5's seem to photograph really well - even the mingers  :o

If you have no option but to rely on pictures, then ask the seller to forward you some of the underneath to check for corrosion and chassis damage. Ask for a few with the boot removed to help view the motor,control box etc., plus a view from each side,front and rear to check for body twist,holes and other general damage (stickers,scratches etc).

Depending on what can be seen in the pictures you receive, here are some questions to put to the seller ;

- does the c5 power up and run properly ? any belt slip (loud buzzing noise)

- is there a Pod included ? Does it light up and function properly ?

- is the boot missing ? ( if you can find a replacement don't forget you will
also need a lock and key as they aren't always sold together).

- are the centre caps for the wheels missing ?

- is the motor missing ? Is the motor mount still fitted , and what
about the gearbox and "fingers" (brown or cream coloured - see link below) ? Is the control box still there ?

- are indicators fitted, if so are they complete and undamaged ? (They are
very difficult to source and you will have the holes in the body if they've
been previously fitted & removed).

- are mirrors fitted, if so are they complete and undamaged. (If previously fitted & removed, there will be holes left in the bodywork).

- are the front & rear lights still fitted, any damage ?

- you might want to consider if the tyres/tubes/brake cables will need
replacing. "Offside" rear wheel bearing cages are know to corrode and collapse, do the wheels turn freely ? Are they damaged ? Do the brakes work smoothly ?

- is the chassis rusty or bent ?

- is the chain rusted solid, is there a chain tensioner fitted ? Is it complete with clips and undamaged ?

- any holes in the floor (usually found just behind the front wheel).

- does it still have a front shroud (aka front wheel cover).

- has the front wheel melted (check the rims)

- is the wiring standard or been messed about with

Whether a C5 is worth buying as a restoration project depends on how much you are likely to get it for, and when/if you can find the missing parts. It is always surprising just how much stuff comes up on Ebay, but you may have to be patient. Adam Harper has most stuff still available, just a question of how much a restoration may end up costing.

You should also read C5martins excellent guide ;

..and view the various posts within the c5alive forum to get a feel for what goes wrong and how we keep them running.

« Last Edit: 23, September, 2011 - 08:51:13 by BooBoo »


  • Guest
Re: Buyers Guide
« Reply #1 on: 18, May, 2009 - 19:41:11 »
Link to the Download section for the unofficial C5 handbook (unofficial service documentation);
« Last Edit: 16, March, 2012 - 11:25:28 by BooBoo »


  • Guest
Re: Buyers Guide
« Reply #2 on: 23, July, 2009 - 18:38:30 »
This is how the rear wheel should sit within the rear wheel arch;

This is how a bent chassis affects the rear wheel alignment ;


  • Guest
Re: Buyers Guide
« Reply #3 on: 27, August, 2009 - 19:14:26 »
Example of bent front forks causing the front wheel to "tuck under"; the front wheel should sit;

..the tyre should sit much closer to the  "nose" of the bodyshell, also checked by seeing if the rear part of the front wheel shroud rubs against the bodywork on full steering lock.

Damage to the front fork stem can also cause the same problem with front wheel alignment, check the following topic for some more pictures of what to look for ;

a couple of piccies of the damage caused by riding off kerbs,hitting large potholes etc etc;

« Last Edit: 02, June, 2011 - 20:21:34 by BooBoo »


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Re: Buyers Guide
« Reply #4 on: 19, April, 2010 - 10:47:49 »
Another example of chassis damage, worth keeping an eye out for when purchasing a c5 !;

Offline Retro Andy

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Re: Buyers Guide
« Reply #5 on: 19, April, 2010 - 13:36:13 »
Wow, looking at these pictures, you can certainly pick up some rough ones, I reckon I was lucky to get one in fairly sound condition.

Retro Andy


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Re: Buyers Guide
« Reply #6 on: 19, April, 2010 - 16:59:59 »
Wow, looking at these pictures, you can certainly pick up some rough ones, I reckon I was lucky to get one in fairly sound condition.

Retro Andy

You and me both mate - I remember back in 2006 buying my very first c5, I just chose one at random on Ebay and went for it  :o

I had an incredibly lucky purchase as "moneypit" was basically very sound.

We've got this buyers guide to try and ensure those that are new to c5's get the best for their money & avoid any horror stories 8)
« Last Edit: 19, April, 2010 - 17:02:27 by BooBoo »


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Re: Buyers Guide
« Reply #7 on: 17, May, 2010 - 08:42:54 »
With the recent surge in new members, anyone have anything to add to this ?

Was this guide even of any use ?  :)


  • Guest
Re: Buyers Guide
« Reply #8 on: 17, May, 2010 - 09:15:45 »
Yes i found the guide usefull as a newbie i guess when i brought my first one i was clueless and on the second one i had a better idea of what to look for but still made some school boy errors but we live and learn.

Offline frankev

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Re: Buyers Guide
« Reply #9 on: 27, November, 2010 - 14:50:01 »
I didn't know all off these things, and as it appears I was extremely lucky twice!  :D
Even my old C5 looks like new in the areas that really matter.
Although I had a tick, tick , tick noise when riding away. Had to do with the slipping of the gear belt. Rotating the motor solved that fairly easily. The problem about these buyers guides is that people usually become a member of the forum after they bought a C5.
Useful info for future purchases.  ;)


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Re: Buyers Guide
« Reply #10 on: 02, June, 2011 - 20:23:35 »
Recent update regarding chassis damage

Offline kamilb1998

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Re: Buyers Guide
« Reply #11 on: 14, September, 2011 - 21:33:54 »
Link to the unofficial C5 handbook ;

word format

pdf format

Thanks for these! I've now got one printed out copy & one on my iPhone :D