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Old 05-26-2015, 02:19 PM   #1
Mane OP
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Question Buy and Repair a salvage Sportster, a good idea?

Hi folks,

Lately I have this idea of buying a salvage sportster and repair it my self, just for the learning experience….

I’m not a experienced wrencher, no even close.. just and enthusiastic amateur with the disposition to learn…

My plan is to repair it with good used parts sourced from ebay and flea markets, etc. enjoy it for a while and then sell it… without loss. I don’t expect to make revenue, just want to break even . Do you thing is possible?

Why a sportster, you might ask? Well, I’ve never owned a Harley and would like to have a try. Besides that, I like the Sportster platform because it seems like simple and solid platform and should be easy to find used parts, right?

Has anyone here done that? Any advice?

Regards,
Mane
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Old 05-26-2015, 03:48 PM   #2
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Consider the price.

Consider the price. You have to buy one super cheap to be able to break even later on. Most Sportsters can be bought for $2k on up. I've owned 2 in my past. The market is full of them. Probably not the best use of your money if you're wanting to see a full return.
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Old 05-26-2015, 05:45 PM   #3
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If it has a salvage title you will be lucky to break even
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Old 05-26-2015, 08:55 PM   #4
Mane OP
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Thank you folks

Thank you folks, I was afraid that could be the answer.

I guess it would be wise to purchase and older one (2003~2004) with a clean title a see how it goes from there...

regards,
Mario
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Old 05-27-2015, 09:13 AM   #5
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Salvage titles can make a bike near impossible to register depending on location. I also can not imagine that a person new to wrenching would be able to accurately access frame damage properly. It is basic, but if the frame is tweaked you have a world of issues.
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Old 05-27-2015, 09:38 AM   #6
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Break even is a noble goal but don't count on it especially with a salvage title.
Sportsters are great bikes but not as an investment. Any money you put into it plan on riding it out in enjoyment ro get your money worth. Old adage still true today: "Sportsters are easy to buy, but hard to sell"
Buy it, fix it, enjoy it.
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Old 05-27-2015, 10:29 AM   #7
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Don't count on full coverage insurance. Ins company will take your money. They will not payoff. Great idea for riding a few years. Bad idea if you put a bunch of money into the project and need to get it back.
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Old 05-30-2015, 10:05 PM   #8
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I don't think any of us make our money back with this hobby.

I have owned two sporty's, go for it, it will be fun, then you can say you did it and move on.

Just some thoughts.

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Old 05-30-2015, 11:16 PM   #9
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Are you still in Guatemala (as your location says)? If so, most of us can't contribute much. Your local market conditions and laws will make your situation totally different than here in the US. Sportsters are generally plentiful and cheap here. They may be exotic and desired in Guatemala. You may also not even have what we call "Salvaged Title" or other such problems.

Is the goal to own a Sportster or to learn how to work on something? Do you already have a good selection of tools? Sportsters can be very complicated, in their own strange ways. They have lots of low-tech design aspects. That also means they may need more finesse and old-school mechanic's skills to work on them properly.
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Old 06-01-2015, 05:26 AM   #10
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The problem with a salvage title is when you sell the bike not owning it.
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Old 06-01-2015, 08:50 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lesman View Post
The problem with a salvage title is when you sell the bike not owning it.
Not true in all States. Here in the Commonwealth of PA if you try to return a salvaged vehicle to the road there is a ton of paper work ($) and inspections (more $$) required in order to get it registered for legal use on the road. Selling it is then a whole different can of worms. I investigated going this route for a project and after speaking with several people I went with a clean title route.

Another way to go which can be easier is to buy a frame that has a clean title. That way you are not dealing with the paperwork issues.
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Old 06-01-2015, 10:49 AM   #12
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If it's "even" possible to wash a title. There is a database of salvage vehicles.
Washing is referring to titling in an another state then retitling in your state.
Tortuous process or going the bonded title route.
Example a buddy buys a buys a "cleaned"bike from Ark. He titles it in Texas.
He has a wreck. The insurance won't pay because it was a salvage bike in Arkansas(they accepted his money). So he fixes the bike out of pocket but must tell any future buyers of the bike it had been a salvage bike in Ark unknown to him. So what's the value of a twice wrecked bike? What's the cost of failing to inform?If you have no assets, fine. If you have any special licenses, you could jeopardize them by failing to inform and possible bonding requirements.
When I was young, salvage bike were a great idea. Now that I'm older and less stupid, not so much.
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Old 06-01-2015, 09:01 PM   #13
Donkey Hotey
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Do any of you guys read before you post? Even the first page?

HE'S IN GUATEMALA! THE STATE DOESN'T MATTER BECAUSE HE'S NOT IN THE STATES!
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Old 06-01-2015, 09:54 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donkey Hotey View Post
Are you still in Guatemala (as your location says)? If so, most of us can't contribute much. Your local market conditions and laws will make your situation totally different than here in the US. Sportsters are generally plentiful and cheap here. They may be exotic and desired in Guatemala. You may also not even have what we call "Salvaged Title" or other such problems.
Yes, I'm in Guatemala and my idea was to gray market a salvage Sportster from the US or buying a wrecked one locally. No many options the for last one around here though...

Regarding the title status once it is officially imported, is something I should research more, don't have a definite answer yet, but I guess it can be cleaned as if nothing ever happened to it. But even if it can be cleaned legally, it is not something I keep the potential buyer from knowing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donkey Hotey View Post
Is the goal to own a Sportster or to learn how to work on something? Do you already have a good selection of tools? Sportsters can be very complicated, in their own strange ways. They have lots of low-tech design aspects. That also means they may need more finesse and old-school mechanic's skills to work on them properly.
Could you elaborate more on these if possible?

Currently I'm well sorted on metric wrenches and tools, but I know I should be getting a nice set on standards for starters. Beyond that, I hope not to need any special tools as I don't plan to go deep in to the engine...

I what kind of ways an Sportster is complicated and strange? I'm really new to Harleys in general and would like know more about these issues you mentioned... devil is in the detail they say...

I used to wrench on older Beemers and really like old-school when it comes to bikes.. ;-)

Regards,
Mane
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'06 KTM 640 Adventure (Sold it and regret it since day one)
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"Never wrestle with a pig. You both get all dirty, and the pig likes it".
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Old 06-02-2015, 04:33 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donkey Hotey View Post
Do any of you guys read before you post? Even the first page?

HE'S IN GUATEMALA! THE STATE DOESN'T MATTER BECAUSE HE'S NOT IN THE STATES!
I thought Guatemala was in Baja Oklahoma.
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