By Kevin Domino, author of The Perfect Motorcycle and CycleTrader.com contributing blogger
Inspecting used motorcycles can be daunting, especially for new riders. The following is excerpted from the book, The Perfect Motorcycle: How to Choose, Find and Buy the Perfect New or Used Bike. The information provided here will give you a framework to guide your inspections, but space limitations preclude an in-depth discussion of the subject. For a complete picture of the process, check out the book’s website listed below.
One of the keys to finding the perfect used motorcycle is evaluating whether or not the bike you are looking at has been well-treated and is mechanically sound. The best way to determine the fitness of the one bike you want to buy is a three-pronged approach. You will 1) interview the owner, 2) inspect the machine, and then 3) go home and review what you have learned. Do all of this before you make an offer.
You can save time and money by interviewing the seller by phone or email before you look at the bike in person. You will learn which bikes are worth scheduling and taking a trip to go see, and which ones you can take off your list of possibilities. And afterward, it’s important to objectively assess the facts about your inspection away from the motorcycle with a post-inspection review.
There are forms available for download at www.theperfectmotorcycle.com/download-worksheets-and-che.html that you can use for phone or email interviews, in-person inspections, and a post-inspection review. When you arrange for face-to-face appointments, remember to bring along the completed interview form to verify the previous answers to the questions.
Take special note: The inspecting stage and negotiating stage are separate. By separating the stages, you will be in a much better position to get a great bike at a lower price. Do not negotiate with the seller in this inspection stage of the process! If you can separate the looking and the negotiating into two discrete activities, you are also less likely to shade your purchase by the infatuation factor (falling in love with the motorcycle you’re currently looking at). If you need to get a bike quickly, separate the inspection from the negotiating with at least a coffee break to review your findings, away from the seller.
It is also important to mention that during the motorcycle evaluation, the data transfer needs to be one-way only from the seller to you—not the other way. Don’t share what you are looking for or what you find with the seller. You are simply gathering information objectively about the seller and the bike, and recording your reactions to them. You’ll see later how this one-way communication strengthens your negotiating position.
Contributing blogger, Kevin Domino, is offering an exclusive offer just for
CycleTrader.com customers. Enter CT092010 into the discount box to get 10% off The Perfect Motorcycle and a free eBook.