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Thread: Tips on buying a used bike longdistance

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Oregon & Arizona

    Tips on buying a used bike longdistance

    I am considering buying a bike from a long distance sight unseen.. Can anyone give me tips or share your experience. I want to optimize my chance of making a deal I am happy with for a long time.

  2. #2
    Rally Rat
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Salt Lake City
    If it sounds too good to be true, don't. Get someone from MOA anonymous to check it out for you.

  3. #3
    Registered User miairhead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Otsego, Michigan


    Get to know all you can about the seller, he is for real? As for fresh pictures, and see if you can find someone in the area to check it out.

    This summer I purchase my second Beemer from a long distance seller. I paid a fair price and knew alot about the seller and the bike. I was sure he cared about the bike as much as I would.

    I should of waited: I found the exact bike for 1/2 the price. There it was an a couple of sites for 1/2 what I paid. The exact bike, for 1/2? Yep even in front of the same house, same yard, and difference was the email address. 2 different sites, 2 different emails: of course it was scammers. They did not change the discription.
    '84 R100RT '04 CLC(gone) Honda NT700V
    Beer Motorcycles Women

  4. #4
    the Wizard of Oz 26667's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    NW suburban chgo


    service records and someone local from the anon' book are great ideas. long phone calls with the seller may also help. Turn up your crap detector and ask questions, not just about the bike, and how he came to own it, or how long he's used the shop that serviced it...but his life, interests, family...idle chit chat and perhaps you'll get a feel for the sort of person/rider he is.
    We might as well walk. ~ Adam Guettel The Light In The Piazza
    used to own: 1982 R100T, 1984 R65, 1986K75C, 1997 R1100RT, R850R, K75S, 1978 R100RS... what was I thinking?

  5. #5
    maacova maacova's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Richmond, VA

    Buying a Bike

    I got my 04 RT 3 years ago on Ebay. I felt somewhat protected by Ebay plus the seller had a good rep on Ebay. Plus it had low miles (8200). Had it shipped down from NH to VA and was very happy. Still happy.
    Ken Denton

  6. #6
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    WNY, Further fron NYC, than 6 entire states!
    Quote Originally Posted by Jogitu View Post
    If it sounds too good to be true, don't. Get someone from MOA anonymous to check it out for you.
    What he said or post up on one of the regional forums on ADV rider. I am sure you can get someone to check it out.

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Northern New Jersey
    Like the previous people said, communication to the point of almost being bothersome. Talk. A lot. Get their cell phone number and call them. Ask for a close-up photo of one or two things that the seller doesn't show in their pictures. If they're too busy to entertain your questions or to take an extra photo, then move on. Either they want to quickly unload a bike they don't want to answer a whole lot of questions about, or the bike isn't theirs to sell it's a scam.

    I've been both a buyer and a seller and talked on the phone for 30 minutes or even an hour with people. Sometimes they and I did a deal, sometimes we never spoke again, things just worked out differently, or the timing was worng and they really weren't ready for whatever reson. Some people don't have 10 minutes in their busy lives, I understand that, and some people want to talk for an hour.

    Like Tom (MIAirhead) said- seems to be lately there's a lot of scammers stealing other people's ads. Do a google search with the search words just like is in the ad of the bike you're thinking of buying. You just may see it in 5 or 6 places. THEN you have to decide if you're talking to the 'correct' seller! (Tom bought my bike and showed me all the scammer ads with my photos and description, but different phone number and ridiculous low prices)
    "The two most important days in your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out why" -- Mark Twain

  8. #8
    Old man in the mountains osbornk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Marion VA-In the middle of some of the best riding in the country.
    I have bought several cars and motorcycles from E-Bay and other on-line sites. However, I have never been trusting enough to buy them until I saw them personally. I have been in the used car business and was an insurance adjuster for 31+ years. I have ben "misled" by everyone from well respected preachers to convicted felons. I don't take the word of anyone at face value. I figure a wasted trip is cheaper than a mistake. Fortunately, I have not wasted a trip after talking with the seller and I have been able to save enough by negotiating face to face to pay for my trip after considering the savings of shipment by others.
    'You can say what you want about the South, but I almost never hear of anyone wanting to retire to the North.

  9. #9
    It is what it is. Bud's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Long gone
    I bought my current bike off the Flea Market here. Talked a long time on the phone. Drove to Cincinnati with cash in hand. Took one look in the garage and said "let's load it up on the trailer" before he changed his mind.

    Seemed surprised that I didn't want to test ride it. The guy was anal. Clean garage with brand new R 1200 R in the garage and a Bimmer in the drive and service records an inch thick.

    Best deal I ever got.
    Ride Well

  10. #10
    Layton layton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Ft. Smith Ar
    I bought my 96 R1100RT from the flea market on this site. I spent a lot of time on the phone with this man and drove from Arkansas to Florida to get the bike. It was just as he described,He and his wife let us stay in their motorhome when we got down there and fed us a delicious breakfast before we left. We talked for a few hours before we even looked at the bike. I did pay for most of the bike before I left Arkansas. They were some of the nicest people I have ever met. What he wanted more than anything was for the bike to go to someone who would ride it,take care of it and yes,love it. I almost felt bad about buying it.........Almost.......

  11. #11
    Registered User NavyCWO's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    East Texas
    I bought two BMWs, a '91 GS and a '93 RT off eBay. I spoke with both sellers before hand, both gave me the VIN on the bike and I went on the TXDOT site and verified that the seller was the registered owner. Both sent me additional photos and answered ALL my questions quickly and frankly. Both bikes were located in Texas which made it easier for me. One was shipped to me and the other I picked up and rode home.

  12. #12
    Registered Schmoozer irish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Madison, WI
    I live in WI and bought my bike from a guy in TN. +1 on asking for additional photos and spending lots of time on the phone talking about the bike beforehand. I'd add the following:

    1. Trust your instincts. If the seller seems impatient with questions or you get an uneasy feeling about it, walk away. There are other bikes out there. If they want you to come from out of state and drop $10k on a bike, they should be willing to take the time to answer questions.

    2. Ask the seller to take the bike to their local dealer and arrange with the dealer over the phone to test-ride and inspect the bike for problems. You can pay for this over the phone with a credit card. I thought this independant opinion was well worth the peace of mind and $40-50 before I bought a one-way plane ticket to Knoxville.
    14 R1200GS, 02 R1150RT (retired)

  13. #13
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Albuquerque, NM
    Find out who the guy's local dealer is and call them and arrange a pre-purchase inspection.
    Kent Christensen
    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S

  14. #14
    I've purchased two from out of state. You [are] at the mercy of the seller. The first one showed up betterthan I expected.

    The second one , while perfect in the pictures posted, wasn't. It was 'tacky' and had a bent wheel. I called the guy and he thought he'd done nothing wrong, said perhaps he had over looked a few things!.......ya think? So? my experience, it is a crap shoot , plain & simple.....The bike turned out beautiful though!!

    Now!...the shipper. I really recommend against Allied Van line shipping. Price was OK, time was met, But!.....when it arrived the driver had me ride the lift gate up with him, he unstrapped it from the skid, and said there ya go!..there I go what?...I had to back it out onto the lift gate [it & I barley fit] and hold it while he lowered the gate, which BTW free fell about two inches. Motorcycle & I damn near took a tumble. Not to mention the fact that it was March and the damn gate platform was wet from snow.
    I called & complained, and all they said was, that's how they do it!.....never again , with me anyway!!

    So, unless that does not matter too you ? Be very clear on how it is done by the shipper you select.

  15. #15
    Swamp Fox GeneT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    South Florida

    Long Distance Purchase

    I was interested in an RT a full days trip from my home, sellers home not near airport or train. The seller seemed like an up right guy but the more we emailed each other the more sceptically I became, serial number sent to me was short one digit, so I could not check service records, now it seems photo of license tag is 1 year out of date, seller says he rides it every week. I find even with the low mileage tires are 5+ years old, plus there is damage to the front fender. Considering the agreed price and travel expenses to get it back here exceeded the average price of a bike of that age, I decided to buy one locally. Patience, one will show up near you.
    Gene T

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