Test rides - how do you cover risk? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-26-2017, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
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Test rides - how do you cover risk?

So, this must have come up with others:

When I test ride a private sale bike, I bring the cash and let the owner hold it while I take the bike for a spin.

This, to me, serves two purposes: it tells the owner I'm less likely to be just out for an afternoon's entertainment and, much more importantly, it means that if I wreck it, I bought it.

It's not agreeing to buy it, just strikes me as the fair way to take someone's bike out for a test.

Well, there's the obvious problem that it involves I heck of a lot of trust. It's occurred to me that maybe I'm being stupid - though I'm not the only one who does this - because there are just so many ways that can go wrong. The owner could slip out some of the money; I could right before I hand it to him; heck, the owner could say I'd never given him any cash at all, just taken his bike for a test drive and come back screaming like a madman about some envelope full of money!

That's always occurred to me, but I've always had good luck with motorcycle owners. Or maybe just good sense. When I bought my last bike before this, I spent a couple hours at the guy's house, over a couple weekends. And the worst things that's happened was that someone couldn't find the service records - in that case, I believe him because his place was quite the mess, and the bike had been kept up beautifully.

But a bad experience with my most recent purchase has me reconsidering. I don't think I'm going to be handing over cash pre-sale again.

I do the obvious things, like meet people at their houses... although maybe the owners are actually on vacation and some guy's just standing in their driveway with a motorbike. Maybe thugs are awaiting me. Maybe... etc, etc. I've taken a quick video of the person acknowledging the cash and holding it up and thing like that, but mostly it's about trust. When I go would only meet me at a gas station parking lot and only at night and would only communicate by email, well... I really wanted to, but woudn't you know it, I had my hair and nails appointment that same evening, and you know how the salon just has a fit when I reschedule.


None of the solutions people I've talked to have suggested would actually work for both parties. (Bring a second person, pack heat, etc.)

I'll probably put this question up to a more general motorcycle site, and maybe there's no solution, but I was just curious what anyone thought on this one, and how other people do it.

To me, leaving cash with the owner has always seemed fair - too easy to show up excited about much more bike than you can handle, after not riding for several years, and... "I can still take turns that speed. I know I can. And warming up tires if for sissies!"
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-26-2017, 04:18 PM
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When i sold my 09 Versys. The guy gave me $1000.00 to hold for a test ride and i gave him a receipt. He like the bike and said he wanted it but would need to go to the bank to get the rest of the cash. So he gave me back the receipt and i printed out a non-refundable deposit for the $1000.00 that we both signed and had a copy of. When he came back with the rest of the money i printed out a bill of sale.

When i bought my FJR from a guy i took cash. This guy had to be OCD from the looks of his house and garage. Plus the bike was low mileage,well kept,etc,etc... He fired it up and asked if i wanted to take it out for a test ride. I said no I'll take it so we went to his financial institution and paid off the bike. Took what paper work i needed and received the title in about 2 weeks.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-26-2017, 04:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KipPrdy View Post
So, this must have come up with others:

When I test ride a private sale bike, I bring the cash and let the owner hold it while I take the bike for a spin.

This, to me, serves two purposes: it tells the owner I'm less likely to be just out for an afternoon's entertainment and, much more importantly, it means that if I wreck it, I bought it.

It's not agreeing to buy it, just strikes me as the fair way to take someone's bike out for a test.

Well, there's the obvious problem that it involves I heck of a lot of trust. It's occurred to me that maybe I'm being stupid - though I'm not the only one who does this - because there are just so many ways that can go wrong. The owner could slip out some of the money; I could right before I hand it to him; heck, the owner could say I'd never given him any cash at all, just taken his bike for a test drive and come back screaming like a madman about some envelope full of money!

That's always occurred to me, but I've always had good luck with motorcycle owners. Or maybe just good sense. When I bought my last bike before this, I spent a couple hours at the guy's house, over a couple weekends. And the worst things that's happened was that someone couldn't find the service records - in that case, I believe him because his place was quite the mess, and the bike had been kept up beautifully.

But a bad experience with my most recent purchase has me reconsidering. I don't think I'm going to be handing over cash pre-sale again.

I do the obvious things, like meet people at their houses... although maybe the owners are actually on vacation and some guy's just standing in their driveway with a motorbike. Maybe thugs are awaiting me. Maybe... etc, etc. I've taken a quick video of the person acknowledging the cash and holding it up and thing like that, but mostly it's about trust. When I go would only meet me at a gas station parking lot and only at night and would only communicate by email, well... I really wanted to, but woudn't you know it, I had my hair and nails appointment that same evening, and you know how the salon just has a fit when I reschedule.


None of the solutions people I've talked to have suggested would actually work for both parties. (Bring a second person, pack heat, etc.)

I'll probably put this question up to a more general motorcycle site, and maybe there's no solution, but I was just curious what anyone thought on this one, and how other people do it.

To me, leaving cash with the owner has always seemed fair - too easy to show up excited about much more bike than you can handle, after not riding for several years, and... "I can still take turns that speed. I know I can. And warming up tires if for sissies!"
I think a large amount of this comes down to human trust. You can usually get a sense if someone is trustworthy after talking to them for a few minutes. Do they live in a nice house in a decent neighborhood? Are they well spoken? When I test drive a bike I give the owner my license to copy down info and leave my bike with the key with them while I am gone. Never been asked for a deposit.

I would never ever pay for a large ticket item with cash, use a bank draft instead which is traceable and guaranteed cash for the seller unlike a personal check. No legitimate seller will refuse a bank draft. Then again I live in Canada were virtually no one carries cash or uses cash, especially for large value items. One option is to have the bank draft made up at the bank (most banks provide these free) with the amount you want to pay. If the seller refuses this and you settle on a higher price you can always make a trip to a nearby ATM to supplement the value of the bank draft. Also draw up a bill of sale on the computer that defines what is included. Lots of templates to be found using a google search. This also leaves a way out for you if you make the sale conditional on an inspection by a qualified mechanic of your choosing.

Last edited by twowheels; 09-26-2017 at 04:58 PM.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-27-2017, 08:02 AM
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If you have full coverage insurance you should call your company and ask them if they would cover you taking a test ride. That way if you do get wrecked for some reason you are not out all of your money and have a wrecked bike to deal with. Many insurance companies have this type of coverage.

When I go to look at a bike that is close by, I go first to inspect the bike fully. Check the air pressure, oil level, brake pads, tire wear, etc. Things that provide information as to the care of the bike. I always look in the fuel tank with a flashlight for signs of corrosion.

Then based on that information I determine if I am still interested in the bike and if the asking price is close to what I am willing to offer. If the guy is asking $7k and I am only willing to offer $4k I usually just walk. If I get an indication that the person is a motivated seller, then I might offer the $4k with an explanation.

If he offers a test ride, I will take it if the bike passed my inspection. On this first visit, I will probably be on a bike so the person can see that I am a rider and I will only have enough funds with me for a deposit. If I am going to buy the bike I will come back with truck and trailer to haul it home or with someone to drop me off so I can ride it home. Then I will have the rest of the money in either cash or bank check depending on purchase price.

If the bike is hours away, I will negotiate my purchase price based on photos and conversations because I hate driving 4 hours to find out it isn't exactly as described and have to go home empty handed. I have done that a few times. This way, if I do find some things that need fixing I already have that worked into the price.

When selling I won't allow test rides unless the person shows they are a serious buyer. We do all the paperwork, cash changes hands, and they go off for a ride. At that point it is just a confirmation ride to make sure I wasn't lying about the transmission, brakes, etc.

I have also transacted sales at the persons bank because they were getting a loan to purchase the bike. Then the bank wants the bike there so they can verify paperwork and the transaction is really with them instead of the purchaser.

Lately, I have been trading bikes in because many dealers are hungry these days. Especially if you buy a bike from a individual at a great price you can almost get your money back when trading in. Then if you get the new bike at a discount you can trade it in at a different brand dealer who didn't know the bike was discounted to get it off the floor and you can do well. You can never trade that bike back in at the same dealership though. In my state you only pay sales tax on the difference between trade in and purchase price so you have to factor that in if you sell on your own.

I am amazed when I see the asking price of '09 - '11 motorcycles today when I know what they were actually selling for during the recession. Buying bikes during those years is what allowed me to trade up into more expensive motorcycles.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-10-2017, 08:28 PM Thread Starter
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I wrote a whole detailed reply. It got eaten. Wrote the whole thing again... when I tried to post that one, eaten again.

Gave up. A couple days later, tried again, this time carefully copying everything. (Smart one, me.) Clicking post wiped it all out again.

Ah, but I was prepared. I just copied the address, pasted it into another browser, and voila, all ready to go.

I clicked paste and... there, instead of my latest try, was... the address.

I gave up.


But I liked the answers. I think I'll go with my gut a lot more in the future, and just never drive four hours (unless I've got a really great feeling about the whole situation). The bank draft suggestion seems the way to go - useful in showing seriousness and for negotiation, not to mention that if things got really weird, you'd have at least some proof that money had been exchanged. (And in my recent situation, I wouldn't have already handed him cash when I realized he wasn't quite trustworthy. Even if you'd signed things, you'd have a way better chance demanding your bank draft back then an envelope of 100s.)

I guess lot of it really does come down to trust. Why is this guy really unloading the bike? That's a big one. Receipt or no, if you give a guy cash you're exposed - he just says you decided didn't want the bike, and he handed it back to you, and now you're acting like a lunatic and waving this receipt around. His neighbor backs up his version...

I think no matter how careful, you always need some trust in there. But I won't be doing the cash thing again. I guess I've been lucky thus far. Also gives me something I can tell buyers - come with a bank draft, which I'll hold during the test.


Now I'm gonna start saving up to buy motorcycles during the next recession...
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