Watson On: Trying To Buy A Second Bike

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Watson On: Trying To Buy A Second Bike

I’m told that a fool and his money are soon parted. Well no matter what this fool did last week nobody it seemed wanted to take his cash. After several weeks of research and checking prices and values both here in the U.S. and in Europe, I set myself a goal to try and find a second motorcycle. But no matter where I went, or what I did that second bike still eludes me.

I decided to keep it simple. I set myself a budget (and a reasonable one, I thought) even though it might mean our new baby doesn’t get clothes for a few years and the dog will have to gaze pathetically at the neighbors until someone finally agrees to feed her.

I also decided that, no matter what happened, I would keep an open mind and look at whatever bike came my way. Heck, I’d consider any type of motorcycle, providing it was within my budget and wasn’t made up of stolen parts or was going to catch fire the moment I rode off down the road on it.

Ideally, I’d like something British that will throw oil around and make me cry every time I kick-start it. But, a Suzuki or Honda from 30 plus years ago would also work. Unfortunately all of my plans fell by the wayside, as I got increasingly frustrated until I found myself standing in the showroom of an Italian motorcycle dealer lightly caressing the handlebars of a truly beautiful looking bike.  I knew it was miles outside of my budget, it felt and looked like something from the 22nd Century and was utterly, gob smacking gorgeous. It was also going to kill me, as it was going to be way beyond my capabilities of riding it properly. But I’ll come back to that bike in a minute.

My quest began with Craigslist. Some friends had suggested to me that CL is a bit like a psychopathic dating website. The big difference is that instead of the victim being hunted down by an axe wielding murderer, you (the victim) call, make an appointment and then obliging turn up on the killer’s doorstep, clutching fistfuls of dollars only to be slaughtered.

I chose to ignore my friends’ advice. There were a ton of bikes in my area but once I whittled them down to what was worth looking at and was basically a box of broken parts that may have once been a motorcycle I was left with two – a 1967 BSA Victor and a 1973 Triumph Bonneville.

1967 BSA Victor
1967 BSA Victor

I didn’t know much about this BSA, so I looked it up and got a feel of what a late 1960s British pseudo-scrambler bike should be like. This one was all there. It started first kick, and sounded good too. There were a few spare parts and some literature and a spare gas tank as well. The owner was selling it as he had bought it for his teenage son who now didn’t want to ride it. The victor was not an A1 show bike but it was straight and all the numbers matched and I really liked it.

The next bike I saw was delivered to me at a nearby Starbucks because the young owner was worried about people like me coming to his house and murdering him. I liked this kid and I don’t mean that in a derogatory sense, but he was very young.

1973 Triumph Bonneville
1973 Triumph Bonneville

I was also impressed with just how much he knew about his 1973 Triumph Bonneville and all of the work he had done on the bike he was trying to sell to me. It made me happy to know there are young guys out there working on old bikes and learning about them as I did when I was young.

Like the BSA, the Triumph was a straightforward, clean looking motorcycle. It had been serviced and there were a lot of new parts. It still needed a few things doing to it but all of the hard work had been done. I could ride it for the next few years before even thinking about tidying it up a bit more and selling it on.

1959 BSA A10 Super Rocket
1959 BSA A10 Super Rocket

I then hopped up the road to look at a 1959 BSA A10 Super Rocket. A dealer was selling it on consignment for an antique dealer who thought they’d spotted a quick profit opportunity but I think sadly missed the mark. This was a really nice bike. If a 10 would be a show bike this was a 5. Someone had chromed everything on it, literally everything, the headlamp was wrong, it had the original West Coast-spec mini-ape handlebars, which were horrible, and there was a Honda taillight bolted to the rear. Small things, but all easily sorted and I genuinely could see this BSA sitting in my garage. I really, really liked it.

But herein lies the problem. Every single bike I saw last week, and I saw probably upwards of 25, was seriously over priced. I’m a sucker when it comes to something I like. I will go and buy it even if I know I am paying over the odds. But every single old bike I saw was way off the book value. Either owners think buyers are gullible or they are just being greedy.  Both BSAs were not hundreds of dollars overpriced but several thousand dollars too expensive. The Triumph Bonneville, which I really wanted to buy, I could not justify giving the owner what he wanted. Even though he told me that he just wanted to break even and get his money back.

For a while I thought it was me, but a friend told me that I needed to keep on looking and that the right bike will turn up. It’s hard to negotiate with people when they want way too much money. In each case, rather than insult the seller, I told them I liked their bike, but felt we were far too apart for me to even make an offer.

This is why at the end of a long week, I found myself sitting on a Panigale 899 in a Ducati dealer’s showroom. It was painted in fabulous flat metallic white and the sales guy had been very helpful and far from pushy. He’ given me a brochure, told me all of the details and answered all of my questions and then let me sit on the bike. Then he told me the price out the door. Oh man, I am back to where I started. I’ll let you know what happens next.

Do you have a second bike? If so, what did you get and why? Still trying to decide? What are you looking for?

  • Joshua Winn

    I hear you on the too expensive part. I routinely check in on the AMCA websites and I see two things that constantly come up: the sky rocketing prices of classic bikes and parts, and the need for younger people to join.

    • Comic Chuck Ludwig

      Unfortunately, skyrocketing costs drive lots of young people away.

      • Hayden Cameron

        Not sure about that. I got a nice Moto Guzzi V50 for $2000 at the start of last summer, bike only had 10,000miles on it and it was super clean. I tried the CL thing and failed but narrowed down my search and started to use owners groups instead. Im 26 and that was my first bike. The original owner was a nice a guy and helped me out with spares and manuals.
        Having an old bike as a first bike has been really nice, I can adjust valves and carbs and do all the fluid changes. Im looking at new ignition modules and might try re-wire it next year with a motogadget m unit type control. I also got a nice looking bike for way less than the current V7.

        • UrbanMoto

          The V50 is a ton of fun. Rode one with Retrotours a couple of times. Nimble as heck, it handles really well. On a couple of trips I was on, when it came time to swap bikes no one wanted to give it up (Retrotours fields a fleet of 70s twins and riders swap off so everyone can experience the different bikes.) Nice find on your V50, you got a decent deal for such a lightly used example.

        • Comic Chuck Ludwig

          $2000 is a lot of money for a first bike, especially for and 18 or 19 year old. I bought my first bike, a CB550 about 11 years ago for $500 and that was a major financial stretch for me at the time.

          • Ken Lindsay

            My first street legal bike was a little Suzuki 50 enduro. I think I paid $75 for it. It needed a new chain, sprocket and tires. The rest was in excellent condition. But that was back in the 80s… :-)

  • CB

    I’m having this same problem now that I’ve moved back to North America and am shopping around. I’m looking for an older bike, too; something mid-70′s and Japanese. When I first got into motorcycles, those were the junk bikes no one wanted, but I loved the look of them and the simplicity, reliability and everything else that everyone loves about a UJM. My first dream by was a 1979 CB650 that a friend bought for $500. Following suit, I bought my first bike a CB900f (bad choice, I know) for only $900. It was too big to learn on, so I gave it too my Dad and found numerous other old Japanese bikes that people were practically giving away, but never pulled the trigger because I had school and other life stuff to pay for instead.

    Now, 7 years later, I’m looking for an old bike again and I’m finding the same issue with pricing. Everything is either over valued by at least $1000, or it’s mid café-ification or Bob’n'chop and I don’t want it anymore. Nothing against cafés and bobbers, but if I want one I’ll do it myself. That’s the whole point, right? I think it’s this café/retro/”authentic” trend that murdering the used classic market. Bikes are getting over valued by the owner for what they could be, not what they are. If a bike could be an awesome café, but is an old UJM, I’m willing to pay for the reality, not the unrealized potential.

    Also, I don’t mean to talk down café bikes, but I don’t want’em. Sometimes you just want an old cheap standard with a kickstart and a carburator, you know?

    • E Brown

      “My first dream by was a 1979 CB650 that a friend bought for $500.” If you say this was a standard, rather than the much less attractive Custom, I will scream. Diogenes had it easy compared to someone looking for a nice ’79 CB650 standard, before it began to evolve into the Nighthawk.

      • CB

        Don’t worry, it was the ugly custom. It’s pretty much impossible to find a standard around here in Canada. The C might as well stand for Canadian. For a long while manufacturers figured all we wanted were cruisers, because we’re such a big country, I guess. Lots of highway, not a lot of corners.

        I fell in love with handling as a feature of a motorcycle in New Zealand where it’s all corners all the time. It’s a beautiful place where 70′s Japanese standards frolic in the rolling hills with BSAs and Matchless’. Where motorcycles are cheap and insurance is 6$ a month, and also totally optional. But, sadly, I’m now back in Canada where budget motorcycle gangs in the 70′s loved rake and only going straight. That is the legacy I have to choose from.

        • Piglet2010

          Yes, the “Customs” took a good standard and ruined the handling and looks. :(

          • E Brown

            It really is annoying – it’s my biggest gripe about the bikes of the early 80s, that design move to swayback seats and dipped tanks.

            • Piglet2010

              Do not forget the added fork rake.

  • hunkyleepickle

    people need to realize that if they buy a used bike for X, spend a year tinkering with it and making it look better/different as a hobby, it doesn’t necessarily, mean your time is equal to X amount of dollars. Its the same for these guys that buy a new sport bike, throw all kinds of bits and bobs on it, mile it up, and then try to resale it for original new retail, because it has ‘tons of extras’. Vehicles are a depreciating asset, and a luxury item, so you are going to take a loss when you resale them, generally speaking.

    • CB

      I agree very much with this. You need to be careful customizing your bike if you plan to sell it. At some point it’s going to be so customized and tailors to you that it’ll actually be less valuable to someone else.

      • Piglet2010

        Kill the hipsters that mutilate old bikes!

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbu6nXV3xZ4

        • zedro

          Ahaha…..I actually liked 3 of them….and wtf is up with Portland?

        • CB

          That is often how I feel when I see people selling a project bike that started out as a bike I’ve been looking for. But that said, I’m all for customizing your own bike and changing stuff you don’t like.

        • Ken Lindsay

          Oh, I needed that! Thank you

    • zedro

      Yeah that drives me nuts, essentially the seller wants a free ride. I was looking for a Versys and a dealer was selling last years model new for 6K, and Kijiji sellers were typically asking for more on a 3-4 year old bike with up to 20 000 km’s on them. I really felt like emailing them to say how insane their prices are, but I know the response would simply be ‘buy the other guys then, I’ll wait’.’

      • Piglet2010

        Three of the four new bikes I have purchased have been new but one to two years old, and were purchased at significant discounts. Since dealers typically borrow money to buy their inventory, they will cut prices to move old stock at some point.

        • hunkyleepickle

          this. Especially 600cc + sport bikes these days, 2-5 years old can be had for a song, either brand spankin new or less than 5000km from the dealers. I hope to pick up a 09-13 daytona in a couple years, well under 10 grand i’m sure.

        • Rameses the 2nd

          Problem with dealership, at least in IL, is extra BS money (frieght and assembly?) they add and then state tax. If you buy from a private buyer, you pay $130ish for registration and $25 flat tax and you are done. 9% sales tax on a 10,000 bike means additional $900.

    • Philip Azzara

      Yeah, the kitted-out sportbikes drive me crazy! Nice call on the “tons of extras” quote. Don’t forget “no low-ballers”, and “no tire-kickers”. Bonus points if the the entire ad is in capital letters.

  • Jonathan Berndt

    what an interesting article.
    let me get this right, you want another motorcycle but you dont know what you want????
    you sound like a chick… should i get the green one with the flowers, or the yellow one with the white belt?… oh wait there are some gorgeous black boots with fur on the top! be a man, grow a set, and make a decision for god’s sake!!

    • zedro

      So to sum up your post, chicks are dumb, and Tim’s a puss?

      • Jonathan Berndt

        chicks tend to be indecisive yes (do you really live in such a politically correct world that you havent observed this?), and yes Tim’s approach to buying a motorcycle is stupid!
        man i cannot imagine wanting a second bike and thinking, gee what should i get a vintage triumph that leaks oil, gas, doesnt start… or wait a shiny new Panigale!

        • zedro

          Just summerizing, not judging. Gee so overly sensitive like a chick would be….

          • Jonathan Berndt

            sensitive? , ahh no

        • hunkyleepickle

          i’m very indecisive, and decidedly….not a chick? i enjoy researching and looking at different bikes, new old, modern, retro, i see value in all of them. So to call his decision making process stupid, well, i politely disagree. I already have a modern, fast sports bike. So to me, the choice between a new panigale and a vintage classic that might be a bit temperamental as a second bike, i for one would choose the latter. Different strokes you know?

          • Jonathan Berndt

            who doesnt enjoy looking at and researching differnt bikes, we all do. but if im considering a second bike, like a supermoto, when i already have a Superduke in my garage, im not going to come home with a Tuono V4 R… ill find a supermoto.

        • jlxn

          “do you really live in such a politically correct world that you havent observed this?”
          I live in a world where women are not “chicks” and stereotypes, like “chicks tend to be indecisive,” are held by ignoramuses.

          • Jonathan Berndt

            i dig chicks man!
            incidentally, calling someone an ignoramus is also stereotypigraphical

          • Michael Howard

            So, among other things, you’re saying that women DON’T tend to be indecisive? Where is this world in which you live? ;)

    • Tim Watson

      Not really what I was saying. The issue is not knowing what I want but not finding what I want. That’s why in my frustration I ended up sitting on a Ducati. Bit of a difference to your interpretation . Not judging just summerizing…

      • Jonathan Berndt

        so you went from searching for a vintage machine to considering a modern sports bike?

    • Philip Azzara

      Tim’s not being indecisive, just shopping around. He clearly stated many times, the fact that he did not pull the trigger on the bikes he looked at was because they were all overpriced, not because he could not make up his mind. I’m not the kind of guy to get on the internet and throw zingers at people, but in your case it would be very easy. I’m still not going to though.

  • Jeremy

    Be careful my friend. Craigslist will consume you like the One Ring nearly did Frodo (sorry I just rewatched the Lord of the Rings trilogy). Since my will is weak I use this app for getting my Craigslist fix: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cpro-craigslist-client-for/id310947683?mt=8 . It allows you to save searches and favorite items as well as the usual search and post and such.

    In my own searching I have found that people are more playing the “make me sell it” game as they are not in a huge hurry to unload it. Also, having been trying to sell me own bike for a while it is a difficult game to play. Price too high and people dismiss you, price too low they dismiss you too since ‘something must be wrong with it’. Price it in the middle and you inevitably get those trying to trade you their barely running Ford such-and-such. Sorry, I digress.

    Good luck and please let us know if you find a ‘trick’ that worked for finding and/or selling a motorcycle.

  • di0genes

    You are contemplating a road from which it may be impossible to return. Your future could be a garage, yard and spare rooms packed densely with bikes and parts. Turn back now while you still can, or abandon all hope…. But whatever, if you want to get into the collecting game you have to grab em cheap when nobody is paying attention and corner the market before the punters with more bucks then brains get into the game. That door has closed for brit bikes.

    If you trace the selling price history of any object that has achieved
    collectable status, you see a curve that slopes downward from new,
    bottoms out when it is merely old, but then
    rises again as its status transitions from obsolete to nostalgic to retro to
    antique. Any motorcycle is a safe bet, no matter how sorry it was when it was new (eg cb 350s) so long as you acquire them at the bottom of the curve, when the no longer happy owner is contemplating whether to trade it for a case of beer or just park it beside the trash cans.

    People are now starting to collect Japanese bikes from the 1970′s. 70′s oriental bikes had fantastic engines that would last forever but
    crap frames and suspensions, they are not worth collecting imho, even CB
    750s and big Zs were seriously flawed motorcycles. They are still affordable but getting less so.

    If you want to catch the wave that is sure to come but no one has noticed yet, historically the most important technological motorcycle decade since the (19) teens, the 1980′s. This is decade the big four figured it all out, and built the best motorcycles ever seen, Interceptor, ninja, gsxr, cbr, rz. On the other side of the pond the GS bmws and the first BMW model that did not begin with the letter R, liquid cooled ducatis.

    • Rob

      I think you and I have the same train ticket, sold my 70′s ujm last fall and moved to a mid 80′s sportbike

    • Peter Negru

      also, turbos XD

  • zedro

    Lucky you do have a fairly good idea on the type of bike you want (when freed of the Ducati day dream), my problem is deciding which role/priority I want my next one to fill. Currently my KLX fills the fun local rides and off road, but next in line is either a distance tourer/adv bike w/luggage (used Versys or new Vstrom 1000), sportier carving bike that can do some mild distance but is happy anywhere ( FZ09, Duke 690?), a sporty cruiser or classic standard (OK low priority here, sometimes just seems cool), or a dirt cheap small displacement sport bike to interminently get the ya-ya’s out and learn some track skills. And of course there always some overlap in what these bikes will cover. ( ha just noticed this may of been written to my priority level….)
    But basically all our problems are solved with a small lottery win or a lobotamy.

    • Piglet2010

      I have seen reasonably low mileage mid 2000′s vintage pre-gen Ninjettes for $2K – my choice for a cheap track bike, especially since all track damage comes out of your own pocket.

  • John

    The CB500x is probably doing more to do bring back prices to realistic than anything in recent memory. There’s a guy trying to sell his stock ZRX as a collectors item for $5900. And he won’t stop. It’s quite annoying. BMWs are the worst. People ride them all over the planet and then want 95% of MSRP because, I don’t know, they figure they’ve done a nice shakeout for you and now it’s proven reliable. But NOW, it’s like “well, I COULD spend $6000 on your 30K mile bike OR….just buy a new one.”

  • Pete Augenbergs

    here’s how to do it. search on craigslist for keywords and price range. there may be 1 or no hits for your search, but add the RSS feed for that search to an aggregator like google reader (no longer available), feedly, etc. then when new stuff pops up you are automatically notified. if you tune your filters you will be able to quickly narrow down to sellers that are eager or negotiable, have something that matches what you want, and is close enough to you to not waste time to look at. i’ve bought 4 bikes (out of the 8 i have found on craigslist) this way and always gotten a good deal.

    • Jack Meoph

      Someone knows how to use the intertubes! I couldn’t make it past the RSS feed……………..:(

  • Jack Meoph

    I look at some of the prices on Craigslist and just laugh. As was pointed out, people want as much money for their old/used bikes as new ones, and that’s just stupid. Vespa’s are another example of over pricing by their sellers. Most Vespa sellers are looking for 90% of what they paid. I haven’t bought a used bike in a long time, and one of the reasons is that for a few more $$$ I can usually get a new one, and all the goodness that comes with it. As far as looking at old brit iron and then going 180 for the Panigale, that’s lust wins over desire. But um, get the Ducati!!! hahahaha

    • Piglet2010

      Best I have done is $2,950 for a new 2010 TW200 when a new 2012 was $4,450 – only difference between the two is the color of the graphics stickers.

  • jlxn

    I had the same problem searching for another bike after not riding for about 3 years. Every used bike was far above blue book, really close to new. So, I bought a new bike instead.

  • Rob

    vintage standards and “cafes/cafe potential” are hot right now, not least of which is the brit bikes. To be blindsided by something hot being overpriced is stupid, I don’t know what you were expecting, especially with something that runs, turns, and stops.

    • Tim Watson

      There’s a difference between something being hot and then being seriously overpriced. Spring is coming, prices are starting to rise. I’m just not prepared to pay several thousand dollars over what I think it’s worth just because it’s ‘hot’ , and you say runs, turns and stops, or is that being stupid?

      • Rob

        I’m just saying, everyone who owns anything that’s roadworthy made from about ’65-’78 right now thinks it’s worth gold, so if you’re not really absolutely set on having a vintage standard as a second bike (as you say in the beginning, you’re kind of just looking for any bike at all within the budget) you might want to give some other genres a chance. Best of luck in the search, I hope you find what you’re wanting, truthfully.

      • Jack Meoph

        The only reason for you to get an old brit bike is because you want one. They really suck. srsly, they suck. If you want the look, buy a new Triumph, end of story. But if you want to be wrenching, looking around for parts, not riding it because for some unknown reason it has decided not to kick over, draining the oil pan you’ve placed underneath it, and cr@pping yourself in normal everyday situations that could be handled by a modern bike without a twitch, but instead have become life or death situations due to weak suspension, shoddy brakes, and just the fact that you’re sitting on a piece of 40 year old machinery that was designed to last maybe, MAYBE 10 years, then you know, buy the overpriced piece of nostalgia. Did you even ride these bikes when you were young? Because you don’t look that old. I rode them, they’re junk. Buy the Ducati.

        • Tim Watson

          Ha…I wish you’d say what you mean and mean what you say! Unfortunately I am that old and have fond memories of Triumph Tigers and BSAs. I know I will lose all the skin on my shin from the kick start, bits will fall of going down the road and the bike will never work properly, but I like that. To me that adds a new dimension to riding bikes. Modern motorcycles are terrific. Get on them, start first time, stop, go and ride really, really well. Old bikes are a whole new world and one that I like too.

          • Jack Meoph

            Seek professional help. srsly though, right now my local Triumph dealers have $1k off of MSRP on 2013 Bonnies. It basically means they remove the destination and setup fees, unless you can talk them out of that as well by flashing some fat cash. Also, 6.5% financing for qualified buyers, you have job and a pulse. In theory, less than $8K OTD for a new, nostalgic dripping MC. BTW, I can absolutely do without the wrenching. I’ve always hated it, and as soon as I could afford to pay someone else to do it, I paid them. And it’s not just the mechanical failures, but finding parts for those old bikes, parts that will also fail almost as soon as they are installed. What little time I have for riding, I don’t want to spend trying to get a motorcycle up to speed so that I CAN ride it. I’ve haven’t went backwards when purchasing or riding motorcycles in a long time, and I never plan to. If unforeseen economic circumstances should develop, then yeah, I might have to get a used, old, tired, sad, crippled up MC ( I think I just described myself) but until that day comes, it’s new and shiny!!!

            • Piglet2010

              I tried to get my Triumph dealer to kick in some of those fake oil pools with my Bonnie, since it does not leak. I figure by the time the engine internals need work, I will be too old to ride.

          • runnermatt

            From what I have read about your Harley on RideApart, it already fulfills the “it needs a little work” part of a vintage motorcycle. You have been looking for something classic which I can understand wanting to relive old fond memories. Then you ended up sitting on the Ducati, which you admit you would never be able to use all of its abilities but it is a beautiful bike. So I’ll make a suggestion based on your article. Moto Guzzi V7 Racer. Vintage look, modern reliability, not as fast or requiring as much skill as the Ducati whole being cheaper, and it is completely different than your Harley. As an added bonus you won’t risk souring you fond memories of the old bikes you used to ride.

            • Tim Watson

              I actually did that. Went back three times to the MG dealer and even talked numbers. I liked the look of the MG V7 racer but something felt a bit contrived – it was trying too hard to be something it was not. Leather straps on the shiny chrome tank, racing number, etc . Dealer said I could have a V7 Racer for $2,000 off list as it was a 2013 model. I was interested but then the dealer told me the one they had came with $3,000 of accessories so that pushed the price back up again. I didn’t want the accessories and they wouldn’t take them off. Shame, I liked the bike.

              • runnermatt

                In the Ride Apart article on how to buy a new bike I seem to remember one of the commenters saying that sometimes you have to go back to the dealer 3, 4 or 5 times in order to get the price that you want. Since you have already been there 3 times and talked numbers then left because they wouldn’t take the accessories off maybe a 4th or 5th trip will be what is needed. Also, several months ago (at least within the past year) I heard about a study (on the morning radio while commuting to work in my car, oh the sin of it of driving my car to work) that found the by bringing food to negotiations the other party will be more willing to meet your requests. Since it was morning radio and they were taking calls a bunch of people started calling in; several of which said that it worked when buying cars. I tried to do a quick google search, but couldn’t find an article referencing it. I plan on trying it next time I’m going to make a big ticket purchase. If it works I would say it is well worth the price of a dozen donuts in the morning. If it works for you it would make an interesting point in an article about your purchase.

          • Ken Lindsay

            A friend and I had a talk with our wives during a wedding reception a while back. We were trying to convince them that every serious motorcyclist should be allowed to have at least 3 bikes, as long as they can afford them and have enough space to park them. The first is your daily ride, your commuter, ole reliable if you will. The second bike is your hobby bike (dirt bike, weekend cruiser, track bike, etc.). Your third bike would then be your project bike. This might turn into your #1 or #2 bike or it may just never get restored or running or whatever. But as a motorcyclist, you deserve all 3.
            I think right now, you’ve skipped #2 and went looking for #3. Not there is anything wrong with that!

  • Jeromy

    I have bought 5 bikes off cl, my advice is approach the seller with praise and genuine enthusiasm. “I love your bike! This is great, that is great. This is broken, but that’s OK.” I have (with out meaning to at the time) gotten sellers to drop hundreds below what they thought they were willing to sell forr, because I showed them that I loved their baby as much as they did. Don’t be negative. Don’t talk their bike and them, down.

    But more importantly ALWAYS be ready to walk away. Make up your mind as best as you can, and set ground rules for yourself before you sit on the bike.

  • tiredofdummies

    The most dangerous part of getting the second bike is it leaves the door open for the third.
    I have a road king, Ktm 990 adv, and a k1-all very different, all special and flawed in their own ways.

  • Nemosufu Namecheck

    I like the idea of having a second bike for lazy Sunday riding and picking up curbies at cafes, but one seems plenty right now. All of those BSAs and RAT bikes look awesome, but they are so hip right now the market needs to cool off for about five years so prices normalize. Good time to build a kit bike maybe…

  • el Iguana

    I also have 2nd bike fever. My sole steed is a 2012 650 strom which has telepathic handling, is efficient and low maintenance, and is really a complete joy to ride. Unfortunately it is not a joy to look at with its acres of plastic. My lust for a Bonneville, CB1100 or even a Sportster or Dyna is aroused whenever i look at it for more than 59 seconds. I won’t give up the Strom, it’s simple too good at everything and too much fun. Unfortunately I think the only remedy is to buy one of the aforementioned beauty queens and the realize that the Strom is superior in every way excepting beauty, only them will I realize I just wasted a pretty penny on nothing but vanity. HELP

    • Piglet2010

      The Bonnie is fun to ride, but I would not take it as my only bike over the Honda Deauville since I ride to get places – if I only wanted a weekend toy I would keep the Bonnie instead.

      • el Iguana

        I hear you loud and clear Piglet. My Strom is my main form of transportation/communting even during the winter. My top box on it doesn’t make it any more hideous than it already is but it’s utility can’t be beat (side boxes would make it way too wide for the very occasional lane splitting I do – illegal in DC/MD) . Of course any top box on a Bonnie or a CB750/1100/whatever would spoil it’s lines. I periodically keep my eyes open for a used Bonnie but they are hard to find. Seems no one wants to sell them (which makes me pine for one even more…).

        • Piglet2010

          Look for the rare used Honda NT700V Deauville – the built-in panniers are no wider than the handlebars.

  • Michele Menichini

    No negotiation? Really? The problem with not trying to offend a seller who is overpricing the bike is not a problem for me: go for it straight and try to make a deal, this cannot offend anyone. If he is trying to really sell the bike it’s ok, if he just want to make money then it’s even more ok.

  • Colin Samuel

    A year and a half ago I had one bike. Now I have four. Careful, they multiply.
    What may be worse is that if a well priced example of either of two models (SV650, VFR800) were to appear in my sights, I would have a very hard time saying not doing something ill advised.

    • hunkyleepickle

      haha, yeah those are two of the most magnetic bikes i have ever come across, in my estimation. Especially in N.A. where a decent vfr is getting more and more rare. I myself have been terribly tempted by both of them, to sit next to my street triple.

      • Peter Negru

        I have a sv, and i would like to move up to either a VFR or a daytona 675r…
        but i cant bring myself to sell my sv. i’ve put too man memorable km on it to let it go for the market price

  • metalheartmachine

    Second? I have 4, not counting my wife’s CBR, and I kid you not: they came looking for me. My first was a garage sale Kawi 250 with 800 on the clock, soon after a KZ1000, another 250 my mechanic friend wanted rid of, a shiny shiny 500 engine just right for a frame I have, and finally a zx1100. Wasn’t my fault, they followed me home.

  • mms

    The first time I ever owned two bikes at the same time that were both on the same continent and one was not a dirtbike was when the guy I was seeing sent me a link to a craigslist ad for “the ugliest most horrible bike” he had ever seen. I fell instantly in love. My official advice is to buy whatever seems like a good idea at the time.

  • Philip Azzara

    Wow, Tim, I have an amazingly similar story! I see two main problems in the vintage bike market: 1) sellers typically think that heir bikes are much more valuable than they actually are, and b) they try to make back the money they spent fixing them up. Just as your young Triumph seller only wanted to “break even”, not turn a profit. And I feel for him, but the sad truth is that fixing up an old bike is not something you do to make money. It is something you do because you love it, and the money you spend on it will never be seen again.

    So, a year or two ago I fell madly in love with old BMW airheads. Morning, noon, and night I was on web forums and Craigslist just drooling over pictures of these Bavarian beauties. Long story short, I finally bought one (paid too much, of course), spent a bunch of money and hours in freezing cold garage replacing worn-out bits and getting her road-worthy again. A thousand dollars latter the engine blew–money down the drain. I briefly looked for another on Craigslist. Every early to mid seventies airhead I saw was listed for at least a thousand dollars more than it should have been. One of these bikes in decent (not perfect) condition, regularly maintained, with cosmetic wear, but no mechanical issues, should sell for around $2,500. With prime examples going for $4,500. A friend of mine, local BMW Motorrad enthusiast and owner of upwards of thirteen motorcycles (all BMW’s from 1920′s up through the ’70s), purchased a ’71 R75/5 toaster tank all original, shiny paint, no rust, 4k miles for $4,000. Yet sellers were listing projects on CL for around the same price–in many cases more. Sellers seem disappointed that these machines have not appreciated in value yet the way the fifties and sixties bikes have, and

    I had $3,000 to spend and decided that I was better off going for a new bike. I went to my dealer and put that money down on a 2012 Ducati 848 evo corse se, and got an ecxellent financing deal. It was certainly the better option. It’s prettier and faster than the airheads, and I have the peace of mind of a warranty and knowing that no one else has owned it but me. Vintage motorcycles do have an inevitable romantic appeal, but if you look at it another way, in fifteen years our bikes will be considered classic. Either way, enjoy the 899! I toyed with the idea of trading my 848 in for one, but I can’t. I love it too much. And, my hunch is that the 848 corse will be somewhat desirable in the future due to the short production run. I would like to hear if other Rideapart readers or staff have any thoughts on this. Happy riding!

  • Piglet2010

    Here is the answer – inexpensive, new (reliable), and fun in a funky way.

    http://www.cycletrader.com/listing/2013-Yamaha-TW200-106063522

    • Davidabl2

      Wow, but Piglet could you find me a funky one that’s old enough to have a kickstarter..for an appropriate old bike price?

      • Piglet2010

        Hey, it is for sale at 2/3 MSRP, and you can add a kick-starter if you want to.

        • Davidabl2

          I didn’t know that: And the TW is probably the only bike out there that you could do that with. Certainly the only recent unit-construction bike

    • Doug Erickson

      Hells yes. I always look forward to trips out to the back country where I can ride my friend’s TW200. WHY STOP AT A SECOND BIKE.

  • 480272

    Am I missing an important factor here. whats the first bike.?

  • dan

    Wanna buy my xs850? Vintagy without the pretension ;)

  • E Brown

    To answer the question at the end, I’ve got a second bike, but only because I sold my 3rd bike yesterday. I’ve always been a two vehicles type guy, owning a Mini and a Boxster for a while, replaced with a Fiat 500 and a Z4 M Coupe. Now that I ride for the commute, the plan is a cheap, reliable daily ride (my CB400T) and something powerful and fun to cruise around on weekends, like a Sportster, Bonneville (British Sportster), Ural Solo (Russian Sportster) or Bolt/Vulcan/Shadow (Japanese Sportster).

  • Davidabl2

    “..but I’d suggest Mr. Watson just get a SV650 and leave a few ducats still residing in his wallet.”

    • Doug Erickson

      sv650′s a great pairing for his cruiser.

      • Davidabl2

        I pair one with mine. Cruiser helps me “maintain my driving privilege” in CA.

        • Piglet2010

          That is another reason for the TW200 – hard to get a lot of speeding tickets on a bike with ~13-14 RWHP.

          • Davidabl2

            Yes, I’ve noticed something similar on my Enfield single. It was initially also true on my kawasaki Vn800,but it is sadly less so now.
            After awhile, the four-wheel traffic started to look like it was moving in slow motion..exactly as it did with the SV650. Problem is, that
            many passes easily achievable with the SV are not safely attempted with the Kawasaki. And inconceivable with the Enfield. Unless one doubles the h.p…Which is doable, but not at all cheap. In fact doing so costs about as much as buying a TW like the one you posted ;-(

  • Clint Keener

    Panigale, do it! haha!

    • Lourens Smak

      When I think of overpriced used bikes, the Ducati Monster is the first one that comes to mind…
      Ducati ST2 and ST4 seem to be at the other end of the Ducati-spectrum; I’ve seen several with low mileage, matching painted panniers etc., for very decent prices. Asking-price of a nice low mileage ST2 is often less than for an older M600 with frame-damage from a leaking battery. Crazy.

  • Doug Erickson

    i got a scooter as a second ride — originally a fly 150, now a vespa 300 gts. for urban hoonin’, hoppin’, and grocery runs, it can’t be beat! (seriously considered the grom, too.)

    • Davidabl2

      The Grom would be hilarious parked next to Watson’s Harley. He could tell folks that the Harley had just given birth..after mysteriously disappearing for a few days 9 months ago ;-) And that he was eager to see how much the Grom was gonna grows it got older :-)

  • Justin McClintock

    I bought a second bike to be as different as possible from my primary ride, that being a SV1000S. So the second bike is my DT175, a 1978. I dig it. My third bike splits the difference, a DRZ400SM. And I had a CX500 for a while but never got it running. That would’ve been a nice compliment to the others, as well as something that’d yank a sidehack around eventually. Oh well, I’ll just have to get a Bonneville for that then!

  • Rameses the 2nd

    So how did you end up at a Ducati dealership sitting on a $15K bike from where you started? I don’t see the connection.

    I bought 2 bikes on Craigslist and my brother bought his Suzuki GS500 on Craigslist as well. No issues. You just have to be patient to get a good deal. Usually good deals are gone within days while overpriced bikes are on Craigslist for weeks, if not months. Be patient and be a little flexible and something will show up soon that will work for you.

  • JVictor75

    What you’re describing is known as the “Barrett-Jackson effect” in the muscle car, European sportscar, classic truck scene. Inevitably, when one goes to look at a prospective project vehicle and one of the innumerable auctions is on the television, one can count on the price of the vehicle (or vintage OEM parts) to be 1.5x minimum going price. Same problem. People with money to spend (more money than I have, anyway) are throwing off the market so badly that the rest of us are having a hard time keeping up.

    That being said, if you widen your search and your options you can find screaming deals. I was able to find and buy a 2007 Ducati Monster 695 for my girlfriend for the princely sum of $3.5k (less than 10k miles, $4k in upgrades, clear title, extensive service history, etc.) And two years ago I found my 2004 RC-51 (also with tons of extras, upgrades, and less than 8k on the clock) for $6k.

    Be willing to travel (for instance, to pick up the Duc, I had to travel 150 miles one way), establish a friendly rapport with the seller, and widen your search parameters. You might be pleasantly surprised at the results.

  • needthecoffee

    I’ve owned my 1988 Honda Hawk GT for almost 7 years now. It became my “second bike” last year when I bought a new CB1100. When I’m out on the CB1100 people are honestly surprised to find out it’s a brand new machine. Conversely, most find it hard to believe that the Hawk GT is now 26 years old. Hawks are great bikes and the prices have held fairly steady on them for years now, one could do a lot worse for a “second bike”.

  • JT

    It is possible to get good buys on CL but it takes some work. I found someone selling a 2004 Honda ST1300 for $6,000 and the bike sounded perfect as he’d taken good care of it and put every tweak on it that I would. He kept that thing up on CL for 5 weeks as I’d check everyday for his listing and then bam, he lowered his price to $5000. I was lucky enough to be the first to contact him. While I was looking at his bike people were calling him and offering up to $800 more for the bike but the guy was cool and sold it to me. The reason he was selling, his wife hated it and wanted it gone.

  • John S

    Here is a pitch for the early Buells. Not the really rare ones but the Tube frame models from 1995-96. Yes, they have Sportster motors but they also have a perimeter frame, upside down forks, exhaust under the engine and belt drive. They are fun to ride, and have enough power to get around corners quickly. They even made a touring model. Also, the prices have hit rock bottom, $2500 – $3000 is common. They are so cheap that often they get torn down to make ugly choppers. Parts are not insanly expensive or impossible to get and they are easy to work on and maintain. Unfortunately, also not popular and you get points off for the motor. It is fun to ride though….

  • SneakyJimmy

    That BSA Victor look sweet, I want it as well. I think you are looking at bikes that are quite rare. The owners are going to ask for a lot and see if someone will pay the price. You can find deals on CL but usually not on classic British bikes. I think I’d be looking at 10 year old Ducati’s or the old Honda or Suzuki you mentioned. You can find good examples of those on CL if you are patient and have cash in your pocket.

  • Christopher Murdock

    It also depends a lot on market. 1978 CB500 in ride-able condition on ebay last week went for $850 (It’s in Mass.) Parts bikes on CL in Colorado are going for $1500-$2K it’s ridiculous

  • Benjamin Lindemuth-Mcrobie

    I spend all my free time on craigslist and have bought everything currently in my garage on CL. Depending on your region – there are a ton of options. Probably your best bet on CL is a low hour dirt bike if your in the market. But all too often multipurpose / dualsport / sport touring bikes are the way to go. TONS of 650r Ninjas, sv650s, Fz6′s, a few FZ1′s at great prices, Vstroms KLRs. etc. Typically bikes that arn’t really anything too look at, but nonetheless have solid performance. As soon as you crossover into vanity bikes – Harley’s, Ducati’s, Vintage CB550′s, BMW R60′s – prices go crazy – especially with all these damn hipsters living in los angeles. I bought my 2006 Fz6 on CL for 3k a year ago – 11kmiles – bone stock, and not a scratch on it. I still had another 15k before the first scheduled valve check. Fantastic bike. A few models have slipped between the cracks over the years that have been discontinued today so alot of people don’t even know to look for them. I feel like the sweet spot on CL are japanese middleweights, years between 03 and 07, for around 3k – 4k. You’ll probably only loose a few hundred dollars on value over the years, if you keep it in solid condition.

  • James Walker

    Reading this article I haven’t really gotten the sense of why you want a second bike. For me, I wouldn’t buy a bike unless I was tremendously passionate about that particular bike. You seem like you don’t really know why you would want this bike or what you would do with it.

    For instance, my first road bike was an old 1978 CB750. That bike was way too big for me, but if I ever had some spending money and saw a good CB550 four I would buy it because of what I could do with it, to relive that old bike feel and to improve that specific and wonderful machine.

    My second bike was a 1989 VTR250, but I’m currently riding a 2004 CB600F Hornet and sometimes (all the time) I really miss the pep and zip of that great lightweight sportbike, so when I see things like the RC390 I salivate a little and I can never help checking craigslist for another one of those old VTR250s that I miss so much.

    So I would say if you don’t know exactly why you want this bike, and what you’re going to do with it, why are you getting it? Do you just want a bike to have a bike? Because I’m not sure that that’s a good reason to buy a motorcycle.

  • Tom Byrne

    I have read several comments bemoaning the lack of safety of a 1970s bike. I have several, only one cost me mere than $1000 to buy. I replaced shocks and rebuilt forks and the go down the road just fine. No leaks, no bits falling off, just good riding. Last year I bought a 79 CB400 Hawk with about 10,800 miles that needed nothing but fresh paint. Cost me $1000. The bike was well maintained by on older gentleman.
    I painted it, recovered the seat and swapped the mini apes for 1970s Superbike bars. What a blast to ride. With electronic ignition, it is as reliable as a new bike. I also have a 75 Suzuki GT380 that is a blast to ride. I prefer old bikes that I can personalize for the cost of a down payment. My daily rider is a 1989 750 Katana. I am no hipster, but I prefer old bikes to modern ones. However, the new FZ-09is tempting. I lime triples.