3. Test Rides


Allowing a test ride before money is exchanged is just a bad idea. A prospective buyer may seem honest and claim a solid skillset, but too many things can go wrong. Besides, if the two parties involved can’t agree on a price, the test ride was nothing more than unnecessary risk.

  • Alexander Pityuk

    I expected more humor in this article. Oh well, not every one should be as MOronic as usual.

  • Old MOron

    Thanks for the T-CLOCS reference. I’d forgotten it exists.

  • JMDonald

    I have sold a few bikes over the years. I have had to agree to a test ride only a time or two. I also had to deny a few test ride requests. Looking back on it I have kept my bikes in great condition along with an up to date folder of maintenance and purchases. Those things alone have made the sale for me. I sold my VFR to a friend that knew the bike including the warranty work I had to have done. It was as simple as how much do you want for it. I told him. He peeled off the Benjamins I handed him the title. He still owns it.

    • Old MOron

      Hmm, great condition with meticulous records? You sound like the sort of chap I would like to buy a bike from.

  • Mahatma

    I would never agree to buy a bike I haven’t tested unless new.Maybe it’s a culture thing.ID is essential along with documentation of license.

    Also,be honest.It’ll just wash back on you putting saw dust in the motor oil to hide leaks;)

  • John B.

    Negotiation is almost as much fun as riding a motorcycle. Techniques that sometimes work:

    – Information is King: The more information you have the more likely you will make a good deal. If you saw the last 40 sales transactions at your local dealer, you would be far less likely to overpay. Moreover, buyers sometimes say things like, “I’ve wanted a bike like yours for two years, and I can’t find one anywhere.” Money! Don’t give away critical information. Let the other guy talk. Silence makes people uncomfortable, and they often fill the void without thinking.

    – NEVER EVER: Negotiate against yourself;

    – When the buyer makes an offer, ask “What’s that price based on?” Be prepared to answer the same question from the buyer, and never say “That’s how much I owe on the note.” Buyers often assume a seller with a note is more eager to sell. Moreover, how much the seller borrowed to buy the motorcycle may be an obstacle to the sale, but it has no bearing on market value;

    – When the buyer talks price (i.e., wants concessions on price), you talk product (e.g., “You will not find a better maintained motorcycle anywhere!” “This model has cruise control and is still under warranty”);

    – Price: If your counterpart accepts your first offer, you likely made a lousy deal. Give yourself negotiating room and give yourself a chance to get lucky.

    – SET A GOAL: It’s impossible to negotiate toward an undefined goal. “Just get it out of here ASAP” is a much different negotiation than “I want top dollar.” Moreover, at some point in negotiations someone will offer to split the difference. Bracket offers to meet your goal;

    – Saying “No” makes buyers want it more (This applies to goods and services);

    – Non-Monetary Compensation: If the seller will not go any lower on price look around the garage for something else you want (e.g., a leaf blower, power washer, saw, tools, beer, etc.), and see if the seller will sweeten the deal;

    – Cash is King: Low ball offers never seem quite as insulting when you have cash in hand. Similarly, clear title iconveys seriousness.

    – Position of Strength: “I’m selling because I just bought a Ducati Panigale and I want to upgrade the wheels” is fine, but, “I’m selling because I’m getting divorced, I’m broke, and I’m moving to Saudi Arabia on Monday” hurts your negotiating position.

    – Remember ABC: Always Be Closing! Just kidding….

  • randy the great

    On the topic of service records..
    What if you do all your own maintenance?

    I recently listed a bike for sale and received an inquiry asking if I had service records from a certified dealer. I responding saying I did not since I do all my own work and I never heard back from the guy.

    Obviously this will vary from person to person, some parties will be scared of a bike that was not serviced by a dealer, others will not mind. I feel like if the the individual is that concerned about it nothing you say will put them at ease since all they’re going by is your word that you know how to turn a wrench.

    Any tips on how to approach this when questioned about it?

    • I keep a log book with dates and mileage of all maintenance performed by me or the dealership. I do this for all my bikes/cars. An lone logbook could be forged, but when you have a few all documenting maintenance records, the person would have to be conspiracy theorist to think you created a variety of logbooks on various vehicles just to sell him a lemon.

    • Craig Hoffman

      Keep all receipts for oil changes, etc, and a logbook. I would rather buy a bike from a guy like you who knows how to take care of a motorcycle than someone who doesn’t and takes it to a dealer for everything. Also, I have seen the poor work that dealers charge a lot of money for. Makes me wonder if they have baboons working back there in the shop. Unfortunately, motorcycles simply do not support the repair network that cars/trucks too. It is a sad fact of life – good owners are self sufficient as much as possible. You sound like one of those, someone like me.

      I “buy the owner”. If the vehicle under consideration is at a house that looks like it should be condemned and the owner’s life in general appears to be a mess, I pass. This approach has served me well. My last purchase was an old RAV4 for my HS kid. Despite being as old as she is, it has been a great car. The owner lived in a very nice home, had receipts for all the work done to it, and he was a cool guy in general that I liked immediately. Two years later, that car continues to run great!

      • TC

        Great advice about the owner, I do the same thing.

  • TC

    Research the going price and be realistic. Just because YOU own it, doesn’t make it worth any more.

    Don’t think you can add the price of all the extras to the price of the bike. Nobody cares, they are comparing base price. Good extras will make it easier to sell though.

    If someone wants to test ride, I offer to let them ride on the back. I will show them how it runs, and shift through all the gears.

    Don’t look at the price of excellent condition bikes and price your beat up, high mileage bike the same. Condition makes all the difference. Be honest, if the bike has problems, let the buyer know about them.

    Never, never, advertise a bike as ‘Best Offer’. You will get nothing but crazy low ball offers. Don’t waste your time talking to anyone that offers you less than 90 percent of your asking price. I only accept cash or cashier’s checks, from a local bank.

    If you get the type of buyer that tries to nit pick your bike to death and then gives you a low ball offer, don’t argue with him, just tell him politely that he should go look at some other bikes. If you are asking $8,000 and he offers you $3,000, suggest that he needs to look at bikes in his price range. If the buyer says he needs to get his financing in order, take a non refundable deposit and give him a maximum of 7 days.

    Make it very, very, clear that you are selling the bike ‘as is’, and that you will not be responsible for any repairs that might be needed after purchase. Put it on the Bill of Sale, “Bike is being sold ‘as is’ no warranty expressed or implied”.

    I’ve sold lots of bikes, never had an unhappy buyer.

  • Rich Miles

    What the HELL do they mean by #3? You should NEVER, under any circumstances even CONSIDER buying a used motorcycle without test riding it first! Especially if it’s a sport bike. So many rocket riders are “thrashers” where there was basically no “break in” on the bike when it was new, and they won’t shift until “red line” because they think it “sounds cool”. Those engines are TRASH at 10,000 miles. Better yet, insist on a test ride to a licensed and certified mechanic and have it checked out first before ANY money changes hands.