Originally Posted by caponerd
What they all said.
I bought my 1982 RT (rough, but presentable @60,000 miles) back in 2000 for $3000. It needed a new battery before I could ride it, then the diode board failed the day after I bought it.
Later, I took it to a very competent and thorough airhead wrench with instructions to check it out and take care of anything it needed.
My $3000 was nickel-and-dimed up to $5200, for which, I could have gotten an immaculate example, with either very low miles or completely restored.
Even if presented with a service history (as I was, and should have read more carefully to spot the sudden drop-off in records during the PO's stewardship!) any bike bought from an individual seller is an unknown that will probably require work before it's ready for daily service.
add to that they are OLD. Old parts fail, new parts fail. Like I tell everyone that buys one of my old bikes. A tranny that is 30-40 years old and running great one moment and fails the next isnt always a result of bad maintenance, neglect or deception. As vintage bike owners we are obligating ourselves to help stimulate the economy.