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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There's a separate post about whether to meet a potential buyer for your motorcycle at your home or at some other location. The gist of it was whether to let possible bad actors see what you've got at home and know how to get back to you.

Along with that, when you sell a bike, do you let the potential buyer ride the bike before making the sale? I've got several bikes that I'm about to put up for sale and I'm just curious how others approach this. My thought: we'll run it up and go through all the switches, functions and gears, but you're not riding off with my bike until I have cash in hand. Even then, I'm riding along with you to make sure you didn't hammer through the gears or otherwise abuse the bike. And if you did, it's yours.

I've only ridden one motorcycle before buying it and that's the 2017 HD that's my main bike. The dealer offered it up for a test ride and I took him up on it. Otherwise, I've always just paid cash and rode away.

Thoughts?
 

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No rides unless I have cash in my hands. And if you break it, you buy it.
 

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Rides? Depends what I'm selling. Low value, sure..expensive, nope. I give a 30 minute refund window...pay me cash, I'll hold the money for 30 minutes...you take the bike and the title...you don't come back...bike is sold...you bring it back perfect, I'll give you your money back. Put that up front in the listing and you'll eliminate a whole bunch of people that would have just wasted your time anyway.

There are a lot of dealers around and the bike you're selling is probably for sale there...if they want a test ride, tell them to go to the dealer then come to you for a better deal on the same bike.

Before anyone rides anything, take a pic of their license and be sure they are motorcycle endorsed. Also, ask to hold their insurance ID card for the vehicle they pulled up in and check the names match the license. Read a story of a guy that let a couple test ride his bike...they never came back...they left a car behind...it was stolen...not sure if they ever recovered his bike. Had he asked for license and insurance...checked them for a match...he would still have his bike.
 

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Charlie Tango Xray
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I love saving older, smaller CC motorbikes from tarp deaths and getting them back on the road again. Its always been a passion. But I've always hated dealing with selling them. Years ago I used to allow test rides in the fenced/gated back lot at work, but only with the cash in my hand. It eliminated joy riders and potential drive-a-ways. But lately, I started donating my barn rescue bikes to a local charity auction. And they seem to be pretty popular too, attracting people looking for something other then just a boat or car, and bring in surprising amounts of money for the charity. A win/win for everyone. :)
 

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American Legion Rider
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This is why I let dealers deal with it. Either trading in or consignment. And consignment they look the bike over extensively and agree there is zero things wrong with it or note anything that might be that I overlooked. They deal with people on a daily basis so have insurance to cover anything some jerk might do and can probably spot trouble makers way before I could anyway. I just don't want the hassle.
 

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I can recall when I bought my 2003 Honda Shadow VLX Deluxe 600. I just jumped on the back. Also it was only 3000 dollars at the time and 12 years ago.

I actually did not have a license, put it on a trailer, taught myself how to drive it and took the test. Later on I did go to a class offered by the state and passed.

I rode many smaller bikes when young. I do not recommend to do what I did.
 

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2021 CanAm Spyder RT
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Not being mechanically inclined, nor interested in trying to do my own repairs/maintenance, I have always bought new bikes, using the current ride as a trade-in. The only time I didn't trade it in was when I had my one and only accident that totaled the bike, and the insurance company gave me more than I expected to get for the bike so it worked out well for me. I've told my wife that if something happens to me and she needs to sell my bike, try to find a dealer that will take it on consignment. The percentage that the dealer will keep will be worth the avoidance of the hassle of her trying to sell it. But as an answer to the basic question, no, I would not allow a potential buyer to ride the bike. Too risky in many ways.
 
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Here is my method and it always works just fine:

After the obligatory personal phone call between myself and the prospective buyer, I get a feel for the person and this eliminates 99% of scams.

I send the person numerous high quality digital pictures and the latest, up to date data on the bike.

If there is real interest, and the deal is FIRM, based upon an in person inspection and test ride, which I do allow if I feel the purchaser is a QUALITY person, then I do the following, with no exceptions:

CASH only! No Bank transfers, personal checks nor Cashiers check as all can easily have problems.

We meet in the Lobby of my Bank and the money is counted by machine as it checks for counterfeit bills and if all is good, we finish the lengthy sales contract that I provide with all legal and pertinent information and then both parties sign the dated and dotted line as witnesses stand by. Lastly, the TITLE is signed and given to the happy owner.

I have also suggested if I discern that the person may be a Flake or a Liberal, that we meet in the lobby of our local Police dept or Sheriff sub station to finish the paperwork after the money is counted by the bank.

Sam:nerd:
 

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I'll never buy another bike without a test ride first. You hold my money, I'll try out your bike with the understanding if I crash it, I've bought it.

Now, never say "never", so exceptions would be a new bike from dealers, dealers that offer a warranty, or a bring it back in "X" number of hours or days and bikes whose owners I know.

If you won't let me ride it, after seeing I brought cash, I'll assume something is wrong with it. Thank you for your time, goodbye. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'll never buy another bike without a test ride first. You hold my money, I'll try out your bike with the understanding if I crash it, I've bought it.

Now, never say "never", so exceptions would be a new bike from dealers, dealers that offer a warranty, or a bring it back in "X" number of hours or days and bikes whose owners I know.

If you won't let me ride it, after seeing I brought cash, I'll assume something is wrong with it. Thank you for your time, goodbye. :)
You know, all of us say that about holding the money and agreeing that if you crash it, you bought it. I've never run into anyone who actually had that happen. That would make for an interesting post-crash discussion, wouldn't it? And I wonder how well that would hold up in court if you didn't sign some sort of paperwork up front?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
CASH only! No Bank transfers, personal checks nor Cashiers check as all can easily have problems.
Some years back, I sold a virtually new Toyota to a lady. I had advertised it on Craigslist, my first time to do so and my first exposure to all of the scams and offers that you run into. After agreeing to the sale (delayed for a couple of days) and after I started learning about the scams, problems with bank wire transfers, cashiers checks, etc, I insisted on cash...for a $13,500 sale.

We went to her credit union to do the sale. They wanted to either give me a cashier's check or do a wire transfer. Even though I felt like a bit of an ass about it, I insisted on cash. I don't think they had too much in cash reserves, so it took them a bit to gather it up. Then we all sat around a table while it was hand counted.

Pain in the butt and I was nervous about walking out the door with a bag of cash, but at least I wasn't worried about getting scammed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Not being mechanically inclined, nor interested in trying to do my own repairs/maintenance, I have always bought new bikes, using the current ride as a trade-in.
My last few bikes have all been brand new, primarily because I don't know how a previous owner has treated a used bike. Anytime I see a bike with low mileage, especially if it indicates very little riding over a lot of years, I have to wonder both how the bike was operated and how it was maintained.

I've seen too many HD riders get on their bike, start it and immediately wind the throttle up to rap the pipes before the starter has had time to wind down. And then, while the engine RPMs are just coming down from that initial start, they drop it in gear and blast off. To me, that indicates abuse. And unless I know the owner and know how they ride and maintain the bike, I always assume the worst, which generally keeps me away from used bikes. I may pay the premium for a new bike, but I can at least control how the bike is broken in and maintained.
 

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The only time I've ever heard of someone crashing a bike on a test ride, they didn't have the money to buy it anyway.

It also makes me wonder, what if, on a test ride, you discover the transmission, or clutch or whatever, is bad? Then the owner accuses you of breaking it. Now what? Now the seller has the cash and he/she wants to get rid of the motorcycle. Hmmm....

Maybe the guy that left me his wife and pickup was smarter than I gave him credit for?
 

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I don't know how it is with motorcycles. I assume if you're buying a first bike. or, if you're going from a cruiser to a sport bike or vice versa, then the way a bike feels, is going have an impact on your decision. I've never told anyone interested in buying a car from me that a test drive was out of the question. Obviously, the owner can sit in the back seat of a car. I did have one experience, though, where I wasn't feeling well and couldn't get in the car. I let a couple take a "test drive." 45 minutes later, they came back and told me they weren't buying it. I will never do that again but I don't think it's unreasonable for someone to want to ride a motorcycle before they buy it. When you watch videos about buying a used motorcycle, all of them tell potential buyers to ride or bring a more experienced rider to test ride. I don't understand it. How many ways are you going to handcuff a potential buyer? Why not just sell everything online, sight unseen and prepaid? Take away all the risk and just make the buyers pay for shipping?
 

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By the time I sell a bike, I've usually squeezed the last mile it can give without some TLC... don't think I ever sold a running bike (except the Commandos, decades ago)
 

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Unless you have cash in hand no test ride I hold the cash when you are test riding. Also you must show you have a license and have a helmet. Since my state has a helmet law


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If I'm selling a high dollar machine I would not deal with Craigslist. EBay will do you better, although at a cost. If you are dealing with someone from Craigslist, always a potential whacko, I say thanks, I'll meet you at the local convenience store.

I have found guys having success with few local police departments that have set up spots outside their HGs as a meeting place, so that may be an option that is out there..The down side is most guys want to hear the bike start cold, so there's that...

I understand the easiest way to make contact and communication with a potential buyer is with email, text or your phone number. A better idea would be to go to Wal-Mart and pickup a cheap burner phone, then throw it away...
 

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Here is my method and it always works just fine:...

Lastly, the TITLE is signed and given to the happy owner.:
One problem there...what if they don't transfer the title...they use the bike in a bank robbery, and then the FBI breaks down your door at 2AM, flash bombs the room, shoots your dog, drags you outside and the next day apologizes for the mistake.:kiss:
 
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