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!"