funny things happen when you look at a used bike...

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Seppo, Apr 9, 2013.

  1. Seppo

    Seppo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2009
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    Austria "Mostviertel"
    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 it...no, 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!
    #1
  2. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b

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    Maine
    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.
    #2
  3. rat110

    rat110 Has a Zombie House

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2010
    Oddometer:
    617
    Location:
    Australia
    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.
    #3
  4. Blue&Yellow

    Blue&Yellow but orange inside...

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
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    Location:
    Sweden
    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" :huh

    Either he knew exactly what he was doing or not at all - not sure which to this day. :lol3
    #4
  5. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    Location:
    Southern New Jersey
    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.
    #5
  6. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
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    5,031
    Location:
    Southern Louisiana or Southern England or ...
    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.
    #6
  7. the Pheasant

    the Pheasant Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    Oddometer:
    376
    Location:
    Old London Town
    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.
    #7
  8. corndog67

    corndog67 Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,281
    Location:
    Santa Maria, CA
    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.
    #8
  9. bh321

    bh321 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    32
    Location:
    Remington, IN
    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. :D
    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. :lol3
    #9
  10. rgoers

    rgoers Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Oddometer:
    372
    Location:
    Northern Utah
    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.
    #10
  11. Big Bamboo

    Big Bamboo Aircooled & Sunbaked

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2010
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    4,368
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii
    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?
    #11
  12. thedrewski86

    thedrewski86 too few miles

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2012
    Oddometer:
    70
    Location:
    Hammond
    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. :puke1
    #12
  13. corndog67

    corndog67 Banned

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    Jan 24, 2006
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    1,281
    Location:
    Santa Maria, CA
    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.
    #13
  14. RedShark

    RedShark Long timer

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,563
    Location:
    Honolulu
    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.
    #14
  15. GDI

    GDI Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2012
    Oddometer:
    58
    Location:
    Madison, WI, USA
    Yes! Those dbags are the worst! :clap

    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! :lol3

    GDI
    #15
  16. dwestly

    dwestly Refuses to Grow Up!

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    466
    Location:
    Tampa, FL
    Actually, I love dickering on used bikes. They are almost NEVER in the condition advertised, as most owners aren't "bike smart" enough to even find the issues wrong with their "mint" machine, much less try to cover them up. From leaking front fork seals (common) to hard shifting, I always find stuff that gives me some negotiating leverage.

    OK, so I'll admit I probably paid a little more than I should have (maybe a couple of hundred bucks) for my Ducati 749 Dark...but the owner was a dork who shouldn't have been allowed to own it in the first place. To quote him: "It scared me the first time I took it to the track." Well, no sh## Sherlock! It is not your cookie cutter 600cc inline four. After that, it sat in his garage on a battery tender for most of its life, other than when he rode it to bike nights to try and impress people. It was worth the extra $s to rescue the poor thing. A little resuscitation by my favorite master Ducati tech and it is now an AWESOME steet and track bike! :D
    #16
  17. bwringer

    bwringer Gimpy, Yet Alacritous

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,263
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    My favorite trick is the guy who puts a bike up for sale, then enters the witness protection program. Or joins a monastery. Or goes to jail for a month. Or whatever it is these dickbags do when they vanish completely.

    I traded a couple of emails and photos with a guy selling a very nice low-mileage 2007 KLR, then he vanished. No response at all.

    Whatever.

    A few days later, I found a pinkish but low-mileage 2005 for $1,500 less a little further away. I bought it the very next morning in a shining example of an absolutely zero-bullshit transaction. Seriously, it was glorious... so rare.

    A week after that, the first guy calls me with absolutely no explanation or preamble and says he's got a bunch of people lined up who want the bike, but if I commit to $500 over asking price, he'll hold it for me until the next morning... :deal
    #17
  18. Akronorka

    Akronorka Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2013
    Oddometer:
    50
    Location:
    Akron, OH
    Great thread.

    So last year I was on the hunt for a sub 5k 600 SS. Pooling through all the morons posting their "serviced" and "babied" financial blunders was tough.
    I came across a 04 ninja 636 about an hour away and the bike looked clean in pictures. Said it had been dropped once since he owned it, and in doing so he scraped up the brand new two bros pipe he just put on it. In the ad it was at 4500.

    Got into contact with the guy and we worked opposite schedules. Told him I could make the hour trip in a day or two.

    Get off work around nine pm the day I was set to go look at the bike. Get to my house at around 10 then start the hour trip with two of my roommates so someone could drive the car back if I purchased it. I had really wanted a 636, and although I was looking for an 05+ I figured I could negotiate with the guy - the nada value was around 4k.

    We get there, middle of BFE (awesome riding roads, was getting extremely hopeful this was the one just for the ride home) and despite texting and calling no response. So I go up to the house and knock, some lights are on. Stand there for about a minute or two before I see some younger broad poke her head around the corner. She comes and opens the door and I explain I'm here to see the kaw. She was super quiet and submissive, but told me to come inside.
    I turn the corner and her bf, the seller, is passed out on a couch. She wakes him up and with another awkward moment were out to the garage.

    So, this guy was country. I guess you could say redneck. Very young too, obviously younger than me (I was 25 ). I notice through his thick draw that he's either slow or drunk while opening the garage door. Here's where it gets weird.
    The bike is surrounded by tools toys and crap. Totally surrounded. He straddles it by the front, with his crotch on the headlight and starts to upright the bike to attempt to pull it out.
    He drops it on himself. It's at this point that I realize he is sloshed.

    At this point one of my roommates had gotten out of the car and was walking up the drive right as this happened. Apparently I just jumped grabbed the bike up off of him and said 'come on man you got to be careful with these things!"
    At this point I was mad. Dude was drunk and stuttering. I started hinting at this point his bike was worth no where near what he was asking. Noticed multiple drop scratches and neglected simple cleaning. Asked him about service he said he knew nothing. Had owned the bike for less than a month.
    At this point I was getting ready to spit out a offer at less then half of what he was asking, but I felt I needed to ride it.
    He met me with a little hesitation. I just said I wanted to go half a mile down his street.
    He couldn't get the bike out of the driveway because it was a single and full of cars. So drunk as a skunk he fires it up and with no hesitation rides it jarringly off a curb into the street. I'm just shaking my head at this point.

    I return from my minute test ride and offer 2k. Unfortunately he didn't accept. Proabably for the better though.
    #18
  19. Bill Harris

    Bill Harris Confirmed Curmudgeon

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2008
    Oddometer:
    8,711
    Location:
    backwoods Alabama
    I'd have been inclined to "commit" to $500... and then disappear.

    Playing games on a vehicle sale is a PITA...

    --Bill
    #19
  20. JBSmith

    JBSmith Ink-stained wretch

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,309
    Location:
    Southern Oregon coast
    Had a VFR800 for sale. Put it on CL. Guy calls, says he's coming with cash, the full asking price. Wants directions. I say, "Where are you?" He names a city in Southern California. I'm in southern Oregon. Ooookay, then. "I'll be there tomorrow," he says, and hangs up.

    Next day I get a call. He says he's on the northern California coast somewhere, not exactly sure where, but he describes the town he's in and by chance I recognize it.

    "Where do I go next?" he says. "Do you have a map?" I say, then immediately regret it. Of course he has a map, I think, I shouldn't have insulted him. "No," he says, "I don't have a map. But there's one on the wall outside this gas station I'm at."

    He gropes his way to my house after a few hours. He backs his pickup truck into the driveway, gets out, and walks straight into the garage where the bike is parked. As he passes me he hands me an envelope. It's full of hundred-dollar bills. He doesn't start the bike, or ask to hear it run, or ask me anything about it. He loads it into his truck and ties it down with what looks like anchor rope off a tugboat, damn near slicing his thumb off in the process.

    As he's leaving he starts to shake my hand, then looks down at his bloody thumb, and pulls his hand back. "Bye, and thanks," he says, drives down the street, and is gone. We spoke maybe 30 words to each other the entire time he was there.

    On the surface that was the perfect deal. But whenever I think about it, I just shake my head and wonder WTF happened there.
    #20