Tips for Buying Used Motorcycles in the Bay Area – Part 3

In part 1 of this 3 part series, we discussed the benefits of purchasing a new motorcycle.  Part 2 discussed the advantages of buying a used motorcycle from a dealership. This 3rd and final part of the series will discuss purchasing a used Suzuki motorcycle (or any other type of motorcycle) from a private party or thru the website Craigslist.

1.  Price – At first glance, it may appear that buying a used motorcycle (such as the Suzuki GSXR600) thru a private party is less than thru a dealership.  But when you factor in the low financing rates that are typically available thru a dealer, the overall cost of the

2007 Yamaha Vstar 650

purchase may be the same or even less thru a dealer.
The other difference has to do with the speed or timing of the transaction.  A dealer can offer on site financing and complete the entire transaction at the store, usually in a little less than an hour from start to finish.  If you want to finance a purchase thru a private party, you first need to view the used motorcycle, negotiate a price, go to your bank to obtain the financing, go to the DMV and process the transaction and finally submit proof of registration (with bank as lienholder) to the bank.  Typically this process takes 1-2 weeks to complete.  To speed up the process even more, dealers such as Contra Costa Powersports offer a secure online credit application so that a buyer can get pre-approved before they even walk into the dealership.

2.  Condition – With regard to the condition of a used motorcycle (such as a Honda CBR600rr), when purchasing from a private party, the word is “Buyer Beware”. The used motorcycle may look good on the outside but there are some questions to ask the seller or at least ask yourself before making the purchase:

2007 Honda VTX1300r

–  Has the oil been changed regularly?
–  Has the scheduled maintenance been performed at the correct intervals?
–  Was the motorcycle used as a “Stunt bike”?
–  Are the forks in need of repair due to “Front Wheelies”?
These are just a few of the items we have encountered on used motorcycles for sale by private party.
If you decide to purchase thru a private party, have it checked out by a factory trained mechanic who will give you an accurate opinion of the condition of the motorcycle. Contra Costa Powersports offers this service thru our Service Department. If the motorcycle is as good as the buyer says it is, he won’t have any problem at all with you having it inspected.

3.  Scams – It is unfortunate that I have to talk about this but the reality is, there are a lot of scams out there, particularly on Craigslist.  Craigslist is a great site and this has nothing to do with them, it’s just that the crooks out there have found this new medium to try to rip people off. 

2003 Suzuki GSXR750 - Purchased thru Craigslist

We have a 2003 GSXR 750 currently sitting in our shop that a customer purchased on Craigslist.  He paid $2,500 for the motorcycle and made the payment for the motorcycle prior to seeing it in person.  He was told to pick up the motorcycle at a random location (should have been the first clue that something was up). When he went to pick it up, what he found was a trashed motorcycle that looked nothing like what he had seen in the add.  The used Suzuki GSXR750 is probablhy worth $500.
To top it off, the motorcycle has not been registered in over 2 years so the back registration fees (with penalties) will probably add up to another $500. Unfortunately, this happens all the time.  Bottom line, never pay for something that you have not physically seen and better yet, have it professionally inspected before you lay out any money.

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