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You needed some cash, and you sold your favorite motorcycle. Now you realize you’ve made a huge mistake, and you need to find a replacement bike. Perhaps you’ve planned ahead, and you want to find your next ride before you sell your old motorcycle. Maybe you’re helping a friend or significant other abandon their cager past. Whatever the reason, if you’re looking to buy, we’ve got some to tips and tricks on where to go shopping.
The Local Dealership
First up is the local motorcycle dealership. Bring up any sort of dealership to many people and you’ll hearing groaning, an obligatory stealership joke, and a horrible story about how they charged your friend $2,500 for a repair he could have done in 30 minutes with duct tape. All that aside, the dealership is the most expensive option, but it also has a lot of advantages that are often overlooked. If you’re buying new, this is really the only place to go, because no one else can sell you a truly new motorcycle. Even if you’re buying used, some manufacturers and dealerships can offer you the peace of mind of a certified pre-owned motorcycle. This will usually include a promise that they rigorously inspected the motorcycle combined with a satisfaction guarantee and/or a limited short-term warranty.
The prices you’ll pay at the dealership are probably the highest. However, there are some benefits with dealing with a dealership, because they are a registered business. You’re the least likely to get outright scammed or conned, because the dealership operates at a fixed location. If you have a problem with your newly purchased motorcycle, you know exactly where to go to complain, and you also have the ability to escalate any problems to management or even the manufacturer. Almost all dealerships have an in-house service department, and they may resolve any early issues for free, as part of a warranty or even just to maintain their goodwill. The dealership really does have an incentive to maintain their reputation, and given how easily you can review a dealership online these days, you can use this to your advantage. Lastly, if you shop around for motivated dealer or are a expert negotiator, you can often find some really good deals even at a dealership too.
Reputable Motorcycle Online Classifieds
If you’ve decided a dealership is not worth the added price, or your local dealership doesn’t have a good reputation, your next most secure option is an online classifieds website. The best sites in this category are those run by reputable companies that offer telephone customer service, specialize in motorcycles, and charge the seller a fee to list their bike. These websites have similar incentives to a dealership, in that they have a reputation to maintain. If they offer telephone customer service, this lets you know they are a serious website with employees, and not just a kid running the site in his basement. Furthermore, their customer service teams can also help you determine if a given deal is shady, and provide you advise on how to close a deal safely and securely. So, while they can’t guarantee the motorcycle is in good operating condition, like a dealer could, they do try to remove obvious fraud and scams from their websites. For the buyer it’s also preferable if the website makes the seller pay to list their motorcycle, because this indicates the seller is serious about selling.
Large Popular Classifieds
There are plenty of other websites that list third-party motorcycles for sale, and two of the largest are Craiglist and eBay. These types of websites also allow for tons of other items to be listed for sale. Don’t expect the same sort of motorcycle centered experience. These type of sites appeal to a different audience, and the selection of motorcycles may not be as large or diverse. Customer service is usually all online, and limited to technical problems. You will have to work with the seller directly without any guidance, and they certainly aren’t going to be able to help you with any motorcycle questions.
Craigslist is a huge classifieds site, and it’s free for individuals to list almost anything, including their motorcycles. The size of the site, combined with zero cost, creates a very unique marketplace. You’ll find plenty of motorcycles, but sellers may or may not really be interested in selling. The site is also very well-known for the free and the bizarre ads that get posted. Good deals are common here, but they also go very quickly and can come with strings attached. You need to be careful when you meet anyone in person that you met online originally, but as you can see, you may want to be extra cautious with Craigslist sellers. Check if your local police offer a safe zone for online transactions, or look for some other very public place to inspect the motorcycle and conduct your transaction.
eBay is another large site that lets people list a wide-variety of items for sale, including motorcycles. It’s not as much of a wild west as Craigslist, because they are very strict with their listings and the categories of products they allow. They charge very steep fees, but only if a motorcycle sells on their site. This can be good for the seller, since they can list for free and only pay if their motorcycle sells. However, it’s not that great for the buyer, because you don’t really know if the seller is serious. Also, since eBay only gets paid if the motorcycle sells, they have to monitor the actual transaction. They require you to follow strict guidelines when communicating, and they do not allow offers to buy or sell outside eBay.
The above options are your best bets, and they will provide you an ample selection of motorcycles. Of course, there are always other options if none of those pan out. Ask your friends or fellow bikers at local biker events or rallies if they know of anyone selling their motorcycle. You can be on the look out when riding or driving for motorcycles with “for sale” signs. If you’re looking for a classic or collectable, you may also want to check with auction houses like Sotheby’s, Mecum’s, and Bonhams.
Which of the above has worked best for you in the past? Or, do you have another source to find a great ride? Let us know in the comments below.