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Old 04-09-2013, 03:03 AM   #1
Seppo OP
Studly Adventurer
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Austria "Mostviertel"
Oddometer: 503
funny things happen when you look at a used bike...

Ok, so i´m in the market for a bike. a cheap bike, kind of a daily rider.
i found a Ducati 900SS on the net, called the seller and asked him about it. "good condition, just some scratches on the rigth side, well serviced". no problem, i saw this scratches on the pics he sent me.
a one hour drive later, i was standing in his garage next to the bike. first thing, it was dusty. second, flat battery. okay, that can happen, he tried to start it the day before, but the battery was flat and he had no time to get a new one.
i took a flashlight and started to look at the bike. the paint was bad, even in the bad light of his garage, the scratches he mentioned were deep and poorly painted. also the paint on the engine was flaking. it didn´t look good.
about a minute after i started to inspect the bike, i came across a part of the left side fairing, next to the built in indicator, that was clearly damaged and badly repaired and painted. i asked him about, he has never seen this. come on. seriously? he owns this bike for almost 20 years and he has not seen this mess??? the colour doesn´t even match!
okay. i´m not looking for an award winning showbike. it needs to run and look reasonable good.
so, what about the service? he has a friend, he said. this good friend owns a tire shop and works on ducatis. okay...i asked him about a few important things about the service, when have the belts been changed, what about valve adjustment? he doesn´t know. he brought the bike to his friend once a year, picked it up later and paid. thats it. no reciepts, nothing.

at first i was pissed. but now, i think its funny. i wonder if he´s ever gonna sell this bike. if it is still on the net in a week or two, i´m gonna call him and make him an offer. maybe half the price he´s wanting...

so, have you guys had similar experiances when looking at bikes? would be great to hear some fun stories here!
00' Buell M2, 07' Husky TE 450, 95´ Ducati 916, 92´Ducati 900SS, 03´ KTM 950 ADV
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Old 04-09-2013, 03:41 AM   #2
Forever N00b
Joined: Dec 2005
Location: Maine
Oddometer: 2,942
An Anglophile friend really likes the CX500, darling of London's couriers, even though HE has never had one. So he showed me an ad for a CX "needs nothing" and I went to look. Bike didn't have a battery so the seller started it up hooked to jumper cables and a car battery. For $350 I wasn't expecting perfection. It ran and sounded OK, so I paid, loaded it in the pickup, and left.

I insured and licensed it and rode it about 6 miles to a dead stop. Battery. CX500s were reliable except for a few parts such as stators that could overheat. I bought a parts bike that had a bad stator. I sent my original stator to Rick's Motorsports Electrics for rewinding. I got good at taking the engine out and putting it back (stator work is an engine-out procedure).

The seller absolutely HAD to know that his "needs nothing" bike wouldn't run on its own. The paint on the tank disolved with any gas splash too.

It has been very reliable after my initial repairs (and paint). And I'm not saying that $350 was too much for a half-decent bike with a burnt stator. Just that I fell for his deception.

This really could be an entertaining thread.
"The belief that there is only one truth, and that oneself is in possession of it, is the root of all evil in the world."-- Max Born, Nobel Physicist

Grinnin screwed with this post 04-09-2013 at 03:53 AM
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Old 04-09-2013, 03:42 AM   #3
Has a Zombie House
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Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Australia
Oddometer: 586
I looked at a vfr800 a while back. It was nice, but well worn.
He wanted $5500 for it. I offered him $5000 flat on account of a bunch of things that needed doing. He told me he would think about it and get back to me in a few days.
Later that day I had regrets about making the offer. Something just didn't sit right with me and that particular bike. Perhaps it was the crazing in the fairing paint, or the mismatched cowling colour. Anyway, I went on the hunt again and found another bike for $5700. Much better condition, I offered $5500 and it was accepted (this was 4 days after I made the first offer mind you and not hearing back)

Anyway the night I had my offer accepted, the first guy text's me back after I told him the deal was off for taking too long and he made a counter offer of $4600. .

Either way, I am very happy with the bike I got, even though I spent $1000 more on it. I doubt I would have been 100% happy with the first bike, and to me, no savings would change that.

The bike sat on the market for another 2 months at that price. That's about $500 minimum cheaper than any VFR that was for sale at the time for the year model that it was.
I guess a few people had a bad feeling about it too.
If ever there was a place where mother nature said to man fuck you go away, it'd be Australia. -PachmanP.
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Old 04-09-2013, 04:04 AM   #4
but orange inside...
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Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Sweden
Oddometer: 754
It can swing the other way too.

I was selling a DRZ400 and had put some hints in the ad that maybe it wasn't in showroom condition. "Some minor things could need improving" I think was the wording more or less.

To be more specific I knew the engine and gearbox was good but that one fork seal had started to leak, the battery probably had a dead cell and the chain had a stuck link and needed replacing.

Overall it was a good solid bike and the price was fair - but I fully expected whoever bought it to haggle a bit, tear it down and fix it up again.

Anyway - guy turns up with a trailer, takes one look at the engine oil and brakes. After 5 min we're at the point when I fully expected him to start kicking tyres, haggling and asking "what's wrong with the bike then".

Only - he didn't, he just said "I'll take it". So - within 5min of seeing the bike he's bought it with cash in hand and didn't even haggle.

Within 15 min the papers were signed, the bike is loaded and he is gone.

"Well - that was an easy deal"

Either he knew exactly what he was doing or not at all - not sure which to this day.

Blue&Yellow screwed with this post 04-09-2013 at 04:13 AM
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:42 AM   #5
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: Southern New Jersey
Oddometer: 6,841
I go the other way.
I tell what might need attention, what I did, the history and use of the bike, give old parts, manuals, spare keys.

And in buying a bike, I research it, and bikes are simple and easy to work on, and I am going through any used bike I get anyway, so its mostly cosmetics I look at.

Depending on price, I will nit pick about brakes, chain, dents, rust, etc if its not a good deal, if its a fair price, I just pay it.

I once gave someone $200.00 extra as the price was stupid low and I do not feel good ripping someone off. Karma you know...

I still managed to sell that bike for more then I had into it when I was done with it, and even that was a very good price for the buyer.

I am the guy you want to buy a used bike from, and sell to.

The only time I was unhappy was buying new bikes. Pay high, sell low.
I never got a bad used bike. Or car.
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:52 AM   #6
Love those blue pipes
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Joined: Dec 2003
Location: Southern Louisiana or Southern England or ...
Oddometer: 5,001
Saw an ad for a 98 DR350 in the local Craigslist. Guy wanted 475 for it and said it ran good but needed tidying or something like that. Seemed like a great price and turned out it was only 1/2 mile from me so I hopped on my DR and went to take a look.

It was a clapped out piece of junk - an 89, not 98. Ripped seat, scratched, faded bodywork, trashed sprockets, bald tires, bent handlebars, bent or broken levers, corrosion, leaking, rusty forks and shock, ripped boots, missing sidestand, butchered wiring, etc., etc. The engine was leaking oil from about five or six separate places. Upon questioning, "runs good" apparently meant he managed to start it once. He claimed no nasty noises from the engine - but given the other omissions and untruths, I wasn't about to trust that.

After explaining all the faults, I told him I thought it MIGHT be worth up to $150 if it ran well, and $100 more with a title (he had none). I offered him $100 for spares (not that there were a great many good parts) which he rejected out of hand. It had been on sale for several weeks with no takers.

A week later, I started wondering what the exhaust might be worth to me and decide to call and offer $150 for the whole thing. Was told he had sold it for the full asking price.

I guess there's a sucker born every day.
MSF Ridercoach IBA: 35353 95 R1100GSA, 93 GTS1000, 85 R80RT, 93 DR350/435, 99 RX125, 78 DT100
January 2010 New Zealand South Island ride
Summer 2009 UK to Alps ride
Summer 2008 UK End-to-End ride
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:37 AM   #7
the Pheasant
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Jan 2008
Location: Old London Town
Oddometer: 376
Too many times to be funny. Most recent was to view an Aprilia Tuareg advertised on eBay. Looked great and had glowing description but was in Yorkshire, about a five hour drive away, so I messaged the seller asking if there was anything whatsoever that would dissuade me from paying the asking price in cash when I got there. No.
Erm... Where to start. Aftermarket tailpipe that sounded like anti-aircraft fire, home-brewed wiring, cracked bodywork, loose spokes and, best of all, a leaking fork seal that left the front brake disc and caliper coated in oil. My offer of half the asking price was turned down. The bike was still for sale when I looked a couple of months later.
Worst thing was, it was the second journey in a month to Yorkshire in hope of buying a bike, the previous one being for a KLR600 that would not have made it out of the seller's yard. I doubt I'll ever travel to Yorkshire to buy a bike again.
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:15 AM   #8
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: Santa Maria, CA
Oddometer: 1,281
Sold my Duc last month. One guy calls me and drops $200 on my Paypal, and then cancels out the day before he is supposed to come get it. Keep the deposit he tells me. Uhhhh, OK.

Called the other guy that wanted it, editor of a Euro car magazine. He comes. In the ad, i pointed out that it had an oil leak. When he showed up, I pointed out the oil leak. I made sure he knew about the oil leak. His buddy, who said he had an S4RS, the same bike but with a 996 engine instead of a 916 engine, he said it ran good, and worked right. So he cashes me out. About 15 minutes later, he calls from down the road aways. Can I have my money back? It leaks, and something is wrong with it. So I think about it for a minute, yeah, bring it back. I hop on it and do a 2 gear wheelie down the street, came back and put it in my garage. Gave him his money back and he told me to keep $100. Called Herb at C & H Cycles, a very respected Ducati guy, and he told me $80 to seal up the leak. So I had him do a coolant, oil and general service to the bike, and still ended up $70 ahead.

A very cool guy named Daryl drove 5 + hours from Sebastapol in Santa Rosa County, or Sonoma County, somewhere up there, and bought the bike. I talked to him the other day, and he says the bike gets it on. He likes it. That bike was a screaming deal. A cherry one is $6500 +, and I've seen them for $7500. I wanted $3000 and got it, the bike needed a little work, and I wasn't going to put any more money in it. I think he did his home work, and got a whole lot of bike for not much money.

So the deals are out there.
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:23 AM   #9
Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Remington, IN
Oddometer: 32
I went to look at a KTM 300exc a few years ago. The owner was a short middle aged fellow, and the bike had been sitting a bit, so he was having trouble getting it started. He decided to try to bump start it by rolling it down his sloped driveway. The bike started for a second, stalled, and then fell over on top of the guy. He dusts himself off and agrees to let me have a go at starting it. bike starts after a few good kicks, but he's wary about allowing a test ride. I guess he was worried I might drop it.
I tell him that's fine, but I'd like to see/hear it run and shift thru the gears, if he wouldn't mind riding it up and down the street a few times. he proceeds to haul ass up and down the street in his nice suburban neighborhood for a good 3-4 minutes, no helmet or any gear at all, trying to pull wheelies and generally causing a ruckus. It was cold and wet out too, I thought for sure he was going to eat it.

I did end up buying the bike though, so maybe the joke was on me.
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:51 AM   #10
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Apr 2011
Location: Northern Utah
Oddometer: 372
Originally Posted by Seppo View Post
so, have you guys had similar experiances when looking at bikes? would be great to hear some fun stories here!
Yeah - ad said "excellent condition"... got there and found a 10" puddle of gas on the ground, and it was still dripping... didn't even wait for anyone to come out - I just left.
2009 KLX 250S
If it ain't broke, take it apart and find out why!
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Old 04-09-2013, 12:05 PM   #11
Big Bamboo
Aircooled & Sunbaked
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Joined: Sep 2010
Location: Big Island of Hawaii
Oddometer: 4,119
There was a "MINT" 1974 R60/6 advertised for $4500 on Hawaii craigslist awhile back, so I drove down to Hilo to check it out. Duct tape on seat, chrome peeling off handlebars, rusty spokes, both wheels with 1/4" play at rim, silver POR15 applied over factory red tank liner and peeling, aluminum parts clean where the oil residue had been sprayed off, heavy white oxide everywhere else except the parts where a quick wipe down didn't reach, which were filthy brown with oil/dirt residue, hard to start, barely ran, etc, etc WTF?
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Old 04-09-2013, 12:19 PM   #12
too few miles
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Joined: Feb 2012
Location: Hammond
Oddometer: 70
Man these all sound familiar! Dealing with people on craigslist is a free-for-all, it seems when I want to buy something I have to make it as easy for the seller as possible and when I want to sell something I bend over backwards for the person and they never show up. It gets annoying.

I always find what I want then go buy it. Case in point, I was on the lookout for an old CBR1000. I found a '90 for $1500 last December, it came with a parts bike, had the typical cam chain rattle and was a slow starter. Other than that it ran fine. I showed up, the seller was the nicest guy in the world, we BS'ed and I handed him full asking price cash. Load up and go. I still talk to the guy, he misses the bike something crazy.

I've got my old VT1100 for sale now and had some d bag call me as soon as I get to work one morning and ask if I'll take less for it. How can anyone ask that w/o looking at the bike?? I would never call and ask that, you go look at the bike, see what it's worth and then make an offer! The dude keeps texting me all day, swears he'll be out to look at 4:00. I call him at 4:30 and he says 30,000 miles is too much for a '95 but he'll take it off my hands for $2k. I just say no. Then he says he just bought a much newer fully loaded Yamaha 1100 for way less than mine with a tenth of the miles mine has, how can I expect to get what I want?? I told him not to concern himself with it, somehow I'll manage. Nice of him to be so worried about my bike situation though.
1990 CBR1000F
1975 CB550 Four
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Old 04-09-2013, 12:49 PM   #13
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: Santa Maria, CA
Oddometer: 1,281
I saw my KTM 950 SM on Craigslist. Low miles. Stock with a Pelican rear case and a tankbag on it. Hard to get ahold of the guy. Said he'd be home Saturday morning, but other people were interested. Didn't hear back from him when I emailed him Thursday, finally, on Friday, I emailed, Said I was heading his way, a couple hours away, at 7 am Saturday morning, about halfway there, he emailed me with his address, and the bike was perfect, and he told me the other guy that wanted the bike seemed hinky, and he'd sell it to me instead. And cut me several hundred off the price.
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Old 04-09-2013, 02:36 PM   #14
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Joined: May 2005
Location: Honolulu
Oddometer: 1,516
Had an experience JUST LIKE the original poster. Went to check out a used Ducati ST4. Found the house (cookie-cutter subdivision) and the guy, bike stuffed in corner of the garage, inaccessable - despite the appointment to check it out.

Bike barely starts - lack of charge, hasn't been run or trickled, OK. I check through it - it's a bit rough, and leaks a bit of oil & gas, and had a BRAND-NEW chain on old sprockets. "So when did the chain break ?"

"Oh, it was just replaced when they serviced it."
Which was a lie that I discovered later - a broken chain had damaged the case-seal.

"What happened here ? " One of the lower body panels had been re-painted, a close dark blue, but definately not a perfect match and signs of less-than-professional paint prep.

"I don't know..." that's two....

The guy was the original owner (had all the paperwork) and then launched into a story about how devout he was and how important Jesus was in his life and how important it was to him to live right...

And THAT my friends, is when you grab onto your wallet tightly, because when somebody goes out of thier way to tell you just how God-fearing they are, the rip-off is afoot.

Funniest part ? Guy was about 250+ # and the rear shock was set up with 0 pre-load and it's lowest ride-height - it could BARELY round a corner and ANY throttle sent it yawing wide. How in the world did he put 20,000 miles on it ?

I let him stew for a week and made a very low offer that he took after pretending to "ask his wife".

I cleaned it up and rode it for a year+ and when I sold it wrote down a full description of everything I knew about the bike and gave it to the prospect before he purchased it - I HATE beng lied to. My customer actually said to me something like "I know I'm getting the bike at a lower price because it has some issues." Which is all you can ask for - informed consent.

RedShark screwed with this post 04-09-2013 at 02:44 PM
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Old 04-09-2013, 02:43 PM   #15
Joined: Apr 2012
Location: Madison, WI, USA
Oddometer: 59
Originally Posted by thedrewski86 View Post
I've got my old VT1100 for sale now and had some d bag call me as soon as I get to work one morning and ask if I'll take less for it. How can anyone ask that w/o looking at the bike?? I would never call and ask that, you go look at the bike, see what it's worth and then make an offer!
Yes! Those dbags are the worst!

I sold a couple of dirtbikes a few years ago. One guy kept calling back telling me that my price was too high and would I take less. I finally had to cuss him good and tell him not to call any more!

On the one hand I can understand him trying to talk me down as he would have had to drive 3+ hours to check out the bikes in person. But, the sob story he gave about not being able to afford my asking price. . . . You'd think he was begging for food to feed himself!

I'm always wondering what game they're playing? Does the caller have another deal going and they're telling that other person that they can get the same bike for $X, so they should be able to do $X-Y? Maybe they never had any intention of buying--they're just doing some kind of twisted market survey?

I've finally gotten to the point where I set a firm price and just state that I won't come down. That's worked most of the time for me. Though, I had to drop my standards a little to unload my ST1100!

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