Friday, May 12, 2006

The Search is Over

I have missed out on the opportunity to buy a couple of motorcycles since I couldn’t just go running off whenever I saw a deal. School has to come first, especially since it has been such a rough semester.

I finally had the time to go and look last weekend. Here is the description from the online Cycle Trader. The image was of a showroom lined with many rows of neatly lined bikes. I have seen that sort of thing before. Some places don't bother to keep up with photos of all the bikes they sell and just have a stock picture they use.

2001 YAMAHA FZ1, blue, 14K miles, very clean, new tires, $5,000, obo, All Texas Powersport, McKinney TX, 972-XXX-XXXX

I called and talked to a man about a bike. Sounded good. Not “too good to be true” good. It just sounded like a good deal. He described the bike as being in great shape with custom tribal graphics job. 14k on the odometer isn’t too bad either. He slipped and told me it was $4500, not the $5k from the ad. I took advantage of the offer and made arrangements to go first thing in the morning.

When I was about an hour away from the shop, I get a call. He asks me how much he had said it would be. I reminded him that he had told me $4500. He told me that the price he had quoted me was for another bike he had. He started to ask for me to meet him in the middle somewhere on the price, but changed his mind quickly and left it at, “If that’s what I told you, that’s what you’ll pay.”

Up to this point I have had different bells and whistles sounding off one warning after another, but I had determined to check this bike out all the way.

The shop is on the southbound feeder, but I saw it and the bike out front from the northbound lane before I exited and made the u-turn. Excitement mounted when I saw the bike, but then I realized something was amiss with this shop. It wasn’t a bike shop. They sell trailer homes there. There is a guy out front that likes to work on bikes and 4-wheelers and occasionally sells a bike or two. There is no showroom lined with bikes of any kind. Just a shack.

Remember the ad at the top? The description says “very clean.” When I walked up, this is the bike I found.

  • Engine cases scuffed and gouged from a (some?) fall/slide(s).
  • Fairing sanded off from sliding.
  • Crash evidence on levers.
  • Crash evidence on Jardine CF muffler.
  • Worn, rusted, and un-maintained chain and sprockets.
  • The clutch cable, likely the original piece, didn’t look like it had ever been lubed.
  • Tires were low quality and improperly sized. Though claimed to be almost new with a couple of hundred miles on them, they had signs of wear and age.
  • Brakes were poor. Though there was lots of pad left, they were probably aged or glazed to the point of not working, nevermind the fluid probably being the OEM stuff and needing to be flushed and bled. These brakes are straight off Yamaha’s finest performance motorcycles. This bike felt like it’s brakes were made of wood and had about as much stopping power as a jelly doughnut.
  • The whole bike was covered in scuffs and scratches from someone probably stunting it and climbing around on it.
  • Custom tribal graphics? More like stickers to cover more scratches.
  • Behind the seat on the tail of the bike was an Evil Calvin peeing on something.

I took a test ride and can say that the motor is probably good, but that’s about it. We parted company after I explained that I didn’t want to buy a fixer-upper, especially so close to blue book value. His boss was probably just as happy that the bike didn’t sell so he could try to get more for it anyway.

With dark clouds hanging over us (literally and figuratively) we were homeward bound, empty-handed. We made a pit stop at a random fast food joint next to the highway and headed off again. I noticed a Harley Davidson dealership on the feeder next to the onramp and thought out loud that sometimes bike shops cluster together, and wondered if there happened to be a Japanese dealer nearby. Just after getting on the on-ramp, I saw it: a big red wing on the side of a large truck. That isn’t a common sight outside the realm of biking. I made it back around to the Honda dealership so I could look at something shiny and forget the earlier trauma.

When I walked into the Honda dealership there wasn’t much in the way of used bikes out. I asked if they had anything in the back. They didn’t, but they had another dealership about an hour north. About five minutes later the salesman comes back and tells me they have an ’02 FZ1, and if I was interested, they could have it at their shop in a couple of hours. I walked into a Honda shop and walked out with a Yamaha.

So, long story short(er), after all the hassle, I now have a shiny ’02 FZ1 in blue with a very noisy pipe. I’ll have to fix that one.

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