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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The market for motorcycles is pretty slim in my area, especially for beginners. the only used bikes are 650cc+ beasts from rich towns priced in excess of 5000 dollars. I've been looking on craigslist and ebay and found a couple of bikes I'd be interested in, but since I'm a complete novice I'm not really sure what to look for other than something in running condition with a title. Would it be suicide to buy a bike without seeing it in person first?
 

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Gone
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The biggest problem with buying sight-unseen is avoiding scams. Many times the motorcycle isn't quite as nice as advertised, and especially in the case of Craigslist scams, doesn't even really exist at all. Hint-they take your money and run, never to be heard from again. It happens all the time.

Craigslist offers of "free shipping" and 100% guaranteed money back and free return shipping if you are not absolutely thrilled are clear indicators of scams. Sellers making all kinds of excuses as to why the motorcycle can't be inspected locally before purchase are also a red flag that there actually is no motorcycle to sell. (Seller is usually out of the country on business and the "motorcycle is being held by some escrow company") Some have even gone so far as to host fake websites "verifying" their information.

Ebay does provide a measure of buyer protection as long as the auction rules are followed. You should read the particulars and fine print of any guarantees Ebay offers before committing any funds to be sure of what you are getting into and understand the risks involved. I've never bought a vehicle on Ebay personally, so I'm not sure of the extent of the buyer protection.
 

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Happy Rider
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Ask to have many pics emailed to you. Many times this can tell how well the bike was/is being taken care of. How long owned, maintenance done on it, by whom, why getting rid of it, would you be willing to have a mech look at it, how old are the tires and how negotiable on price are you? Do you have a title in your possession or do you have a lien on it? This should be a start anyway.
As important as the questions are, getting a feel for the seller is as important as the questions themselves. Best of luck.
 

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I believe the advice dodsfall was trying to give is NOT to buy a bike without seeing it. I personally would never, just because there are some things that can be TERRIBLY wrong with the bike that pictures will not show, and that the person will not tell you. For instance rust in the gas tank. sticking brakes. Gas leaks, oil leaks, bent pedals, bent levers, slightly bent forks(which basically means an old bike is trashed)
 
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