Author Topic: making the best of my motorcycle mistake  (Read 3172 times)

jbaile38

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 4
making the best of my motorcycle mistake
« on: February 07, 2016, 09:17:46 PM »
The story:

~4 years ago I inherited $40,000.  I used this money to pay off a lot of consumer debt and a car loan.  High five!

Being newly out of debt, with only temporary employment, I thought I'd celebrate and buy a motorcycle!!! It would pay for itself with the gas I saved on my 50 mile round trip commute to my temporary job!!! What a great idea!!! So, I financed a $5500 1980 Triumph Bonneville on my newly paid off credit card.  I also ordered a fancy weatherproof cover and a beefy chain lock, on credit.  I stored the bike on my covered back patio semi-permanently, BECAUSE I DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO RIDE A MOTORCYCLE.

I signed up for a riding course, on credit.  I then imagined all of the awesome times I'd have once I learned how to ride safely. Vroom vroom.  I missed the class.*  Vroom vroom.  No refunds.  Vroom vroom.

The bike has been sitting outside, covered, for the last four years through Colorado winters.  I put fuel stabilizer in the tank before the first winter.  I would start it up every once in a while.  I removed the battery when it started to leak and never put another in.  It hasn't been started in two years.  There are some very small rust spots on the chromed tailpipes now.

I also never registered it.  I have the title, but didn't want to register a vehicle I wasn't using.  Smart, right?!

Damage done. I'm determined to make the best of this.

My Plan:

1.  Check blue book value. Done. Retail KBB has it at ~$4500 for my zip code.
2.  Buy a battery and install.  Cross my fingers.  Try to start it.
3.  Regardless of if it starts, hire a mobile bike mechanic to come out and inspect the bike for overall condition and safety.  This won't be cheap, but I don't know enough about bikes to gauge it, and think knowing it's condition is necessary prior to sale.
4.  Register the bike so the title is fully transferred. Pay associated fines. I may need to insure it for this step.  If so I'll cancel the insurance immediately.  Just dawned on me: Can I insure the bike if I don't have a motorcycle endorsement?
5.  Sell the bike, no idea as to the best method here.

Mustachian Participation Section:

1.  Is the above plan optimal in terms of getting the most cash out of the bike?  Are there options/risks that I'm not aware of?
2.  To quantify this debacle in mustachian units, please rate it with a suitable number of face punches.
3.  Assuming I get to step 5 of my plan, any advice on actually selling it?  I'd really like it to quit mocking me every time I walk out the back door.
4.  Anyone want to buy an untitled motorcycle, sight unseen?

*I missed the learn to ride class for safety reasons.  I hadn't slept the night before because someone close to me needed support.  Riding for the first time on no sleep seemed like a very bad idea.

Thanks,

JB






JustTrying

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 216
Re: making the best of my motorcycle mistake
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2016, 09:34:44 PM »
Do you have a friend who rides who can help you with step #3? Step #3 sounds potentially costly and unnecessary. Most bikers know a bit about how to fix up a bike and could help you. Motorcycles are much easier to fix than cars because everything is relatively easy to reach and you don't need a computer or anything like that. Motorcycles often sit around a lot, just like yours has. Speaking as someone who is totally non-mechanic but has ridden my share of older bikes. Your bike likely needs: An oil change, a new battery, maybe some new spark plugs, and probably to drain the gas tank, examine the gas for potential problems, and then put in new fuel. It won't be hard. In fact, I've done all of these things and I couldn't fix anything on a car.

That being said, I've never let a bike mechanic touch any of my motorcycles, so I'm not actually sure how much more expensive it would be to pay someone to do it than to DIY...I'd just guess it's expensive and you might be talked into things that aren't actually necessary.

aspiringnomad

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 810
Re: making the best of my motorcycle mistake
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2016, 10:09:39 PM »
1. Yes, I think your plan is solid if you don't intend to take the course and finally get your motorcycle license. Given that it has sat unused for four years, I would absolutely either get someone who truly knows what they're doing to look at it, or forcefully disclose its unknown condition to potential buyers. You can insure without an M endorsement.
2. Ugh, so many facepunches for you. You were on the right track, but you should have just rescheduled the course. It's not too late to get that license. How do you commute now?
3. After following your plan, put it on Craigslist and Cycletrader at the same time. You'll get some bites.
4. It's a beauty, but no thanks and good luck :)
« Last Edit: February 07, 2016, 10:31:03 PM by dcmustachio »

jbaile38

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: making the best of my motorcycle mistake
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2016, 11:22:58 PM »
JustTrying - Thanks!  The battery, oil, plugs and gas are all things I'd be comfortable doing with some amount of internet guidance/research.  Inspecting the fuel is the only item on your list I'm in the dark on, but I imagine there are resources out there.  I'll do this work, try to get it to start, and take it from there.

dcmustachio - Thanks for the response.  Yes laziness, compounded by hair on fire financial problems which I'm just the other side of now.  I should have sold it a LONG time ago.

I currently commute in a '97 4Runner, about 13 miles each way in medium city traffic.  Replacing that beast is on my list. I'm strongly considering selling the car too, soon, without a replacement. I'd bike commute for some time.  The route is shorter, at 10 miles each way, I've been doing training rides, and have commuted by bike in the past.  I'd want to get a used commuter car eventually, but could weather and enjoy 6 or so months without.

I considered keeping the motorcycle and commuting on it when conditions allowed, but now isn't the time.

Le Poisson

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 12331
Re: making the best of my motorcycle mistake
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2016, 07:34:18 AM »
I'd start by putting it on Ebay without doing any steps, with the caveat that its an AS-IS sale.

Costs nothing, and you have nothing to lose. Many dreamers eager to ride from Colorado to wherever. And a bike with Zero miles OMG, what a deal!!!

rothwem

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 579
  • Location: WNC
Re: making the best of my motorcycle mistake
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2016, 07:53:54 AM »
I'd start by putting it on Ebay without doing any steps, with the caveat that its an AS-IS sale.

I'd do this, but with two changes:

Start on craigslist so you can avoid ebay seller fees.  I wouldn't bother saying as-is or anything, but I'd put a battery in it and see if it'll start.  Mention the running/non-running status in the ad. 

The other thing is to wait until spring.  You might catch some of the "tax-refunders" if you list it now, but motorcycles sell for a lot more money when its nice out. 

Dicey

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10845
  • Age: 61
  • Location: NorCal
Re: making the best of my motorcycle mistake
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2016, 09:19:44 AM »
I'm not in Colorado, but in my state if the vehicle has been in storage and unused, registration is not required. You may get away without penalty when you re-register it. There's probably info on this, and the correct forms, on your DMV's website. No facepunches for fines, in fact, you may have saved a bit as it was stored in your, ahem, "garage".

Bearded Man

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1142
Re: making the best of my motorcycle mistake
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2016, 06:23:44 PM »
Mother of....

Just put a battery in it and see if it starts. Then sell it. No other steps needed. Registration is their problem. I sold a car with expired tabs once.

JustTrying

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 216
Re: making the best of my motorcycle mistake
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2016, 08:01:10 PM »
Oh yeah, that's the thing about motorcycle repair, it's easy to learn about how to do it, since most owners do their own repairs. You can go to your local library to see if they have a Hanes manual for your bike's make and model. I am really not mechanically minded and have always done most of my repairs on my own...til I got married, then I made my husband do it! If I recall, looking at the fuel is easy - you drain it and then just look at it - you're hoping to not see specks of metal or other none gas-things. There could be water that got in there somehow and if that happens, it's no big deal, you just put clean gas in! I do agree that probably spark plugs won't be needed. Most likely you could get away with a new battery and oil change - though I don't agree that a battery will be enough, the oil is easy to change, cheap to change, and will potentially help it run better which will help you get a higher price. I don't have many other opinions for you, just that I think you'll fetch a higher price if you do minimal things to get it running well!

Retire-Canada

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6752
Re: making the best of my motorcycle mistake
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2016, 07:33:50 AM »


Wow! I'm just sad that beauty hasn't been ridden.:(

jbaile38

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: making the best of my motorcycle mistake
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2016, 07:12:55 PM »
Thanks everyone!

I think it deserves to be used too, glad someone will be able to soon.  Learning to ride is still on my list, and they'll always be more bikes out there if I enjoy it.

I'm going to go get a battery this weekend and see if it will start... then start down the path towards a sale.  I will wait until it warms up though.  Don't think I'll contact a mobile repair company.  I thought this would be necessary, but as long as it starts . . .

aspiringnomad

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 810
Re: making the best of my motorcycle mistake
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2016, 08:33:39 PM »
Thanks everyone!

I think it deserves to be used too, glad someone will be able to soon.  Learning to ride is still on my list, and they'll always be more bikes out there if I enjoy it.

I'm going to go get a battery this weekend and see if it will start... then start down the path towards a sale.  I will wait until it warms up though.  Don't think I'll contact a mobile repair company.  I thought this would be necessary, but as long as it starts . . .

If it starts and you disclose that you have no idea about its condition then that's fine. It's unlikely, but if something is really wrong with it, part failure on a motorcycle can obviously be much more devastating to a rider than part failure on a car. While the burden to get it checked out is on the buyer, that person still needs to get the bike home. I've also been told by someone that knows their way around bikes that motorcycles love to be ridden and hate to sit. No idea if there's any truth to that, and maybe I'm just a sucker willing to pay for a clean conscience, but I'd at least disclose that it's been sitting four years unused and unmaintained.

yyc-phil

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1041
  • Location: Yellowknife NWT
Re: making the best of my motorcycle mistake
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2016, 09:13:03 PM »
The story:

~4 years ago I inherited $40,000.  I used this money to pay off a lot of consumer debt and a car loan.  High five!

Being newly out of debt, with only temporary employment, I thought I'd celebrate and buy a motorcycle!!! It would pay for itself with the gas I saved on my 50 mile round trip commute to my temporary job!!! What a great idea!!! So, I financed a $5500 1980 Triumph Bonneville on my newly paid off credit card.  I also ordered a fancy weatherproof cover and a beefy chain lock, on credit.  I stored the bike on my covered back patio semi-permanently, BECAUSE I DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO RIDE A MOTORCYCLE.

I signed up for a riding course, on credit.  I then imagined all of the awesome times I'd have once I learned how to ride safely. Vroom vroom.  I missed the class.*  Vroom vroom.  No refunds.  Vroom vroom.

The bike has been sitting outside, covered, for the last four years through Colorado winters.  I put fuel stabilizer in the tank before the first winter.  I would start it up every once in a while.  I removed the battery when it started to leak and never put another in.  It hasn't been started in two years.  There are some very small rust spots on the chromed tailpipes now.

I also never registered it.  I have the title, but didn't want to register a vehicle I wasn't using.  Smart, right?!

Damage done. I'm determined to make the best of this.

My Plan:

1.  Check blue book value. Done. Retail KBB has it at ~$4500 for my zip code.
2.  Buy a battery and install.  Cross my fingers.  Try to start it.
3.  Regardless of if it starts, hire a mobile bike mechanic to come out and inspect the bike for overall condition and safety.  This won't be cheap, but I don't know enough about bikes to gauge it, and think knowing it's condition is necessary prior to sale.
4.  Register the bike so the title is fully transferred. Pay associated fines. I may need to insure it for this step.  If so I'll cancel the insurance immediately.  Just dawned on me: Can I insure the bike if I don't have a motorcycle endorsement?
5.  Sell the bike, no idea as to the best method here.

Mustachian Participation Section:

1.  Is the above plan optimal in terms of getting the most cash out of the bike?  Are there options/risks that I'm not aware of?
2.  To quantify this debacle in mustachian units, please rate it with a suitable number of face punches.
3.  Assuming I get to step 5 of my plan, any advice on actually selling it?  I'd really like it to quit mocking me every time I walk out the back door.
4.  Anyone want to buy an untitled motorcycle, sight unseen?

*I missed the learn to ride class for safety reasons.  I hadn't slept the night before because someone close to me needed support.  Riding for the first time on no sleep seemed like a very bad idea.

Thanks,

JB



Your bike is a classic! This is mine, a 1971 Tiger still in original condition, that I bought when I was still a young man several decades ago. If it makes you feel better, it has been sitting in our condo parade for five years because my DW absolutely refuses that I ride it. But I can't get around selling it...Once in a while, I put my leather jacket on, kickstart it, and drive around the parade for 15 minutes....