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Old 02-16-2014, 03:52 AM   #1
Seppo OP
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Buy - ride - sell. With a profit. how to?

hey guys,
i like to buy cheap used bikes. so far, i have been lucky and sold almost every bike for more money then i paid. its not a business, but somehow my hobby is funding itself.
whats your secret on buying a bike, riding it for a season or two and then selling it with a profit?
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Old 02-16-2014, 04:02 AM   #2
orangebear
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I ride my bikes forr years so dont think about that
the only bike i made a loss on was my klr650 just to get it shot.
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Old 02-16-2014, 05:04 AM   #3
scootrboi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seppo View Post
hey guys,
i like to buy cheap used bikes. so far, i have been lucky and sold almost every bike for more money then i paid. its not a business, but somehow my hobby is funding itself.
whats your secret on buying a bike, riding it for a season or two and then selling it with a profit?
cheers
Josef
The secret is to buy a bike I don't like.
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Old 02-16-2014, 05:15 AM   #4
tkent02
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I do this, a lot. Buy cheap, because you can only sell it for so much. I buy dead ones, needs a carburetor cleaning, valve adjustment, tires, maybe a battery. I only buy if it's a ridiculous low price. Get it running, make it safe, ride it a year or so, then make it look all pretty, paint it if necessary, sell it when the tax returns come out.
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Old 02-16-2014, 05:35 AM   #5
burque magoo
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what's a tax return?......
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Old 02-16-2014, 06:14 AM   #6
tkent02
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what's a tax return?......
Obama's government send money to people who have none, so they can buy motorcycles.
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Old 02-16-2014, 06:37 AM   #7
SloMo228
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I have made money or broken even on just about every bike I've owned, too. The only one I lost money on was the one I bought in running condition. Every bike I made a profit on, I bought in non-running condition for a steal. That's really the only "trick." I watch my local Craigslist almost daily, and every once in a while, a screaming deal pops up - like a DR350 for $600, the ZRX1100 I paid $1400 for, a CX650 for $200, a GL1000 for $300, a GL1500 for free. Those are just the ones I've been able to snag. There were plenty more where I was just a couple hours too late. Most recently, I missed a $400 GS500E.

Look for bikes that have been sitting, but not for decades. Wrecked bikes are hard to turn around for a profit, and it pretty much needs to have a title unless you get it for almost free. A bike that was ridden regularly then parked for a year or two is exactly the kind of bike you want - spend a weekend cleaning the carbs, lubing cables and chains, and so on, and you can get a non-running (and therefore worth less) bike back into roadworthy condition (and therefore worth more) without much expense.

Of course, the profit is never huge, the most I ever made on a bike was when I sold the ZRX and got back $750 more than I put into it. But it is nice to have basically free transportation. In my experience, it's much harder to buy a car, use it for a couple years, and sell it for near what you paid for it, let alone more.
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Old 02-16-2014, 06:51 AM   #8
tkent02
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Originally Posted by SloMo228 View Post
I have made money or broken even on just about every bike I've owned, too. The only one I lost money on was the one I bought in running condition. Every bike I made a profit on, I bought in non-running condition for a steal. That's really the only "trick." I watch my local Craigslist almost daily, and every once in a while, a screaming deal pops up - like a DR350 for $600, the ZRX1100 I paid $1400 for, a CX650 for $200, a GL1000 for $300, a GL1500 for free. Those are just the ones I've been able to snag. There were plenty more where I was just a couple hours too late. Most recently, I missed a $400 GS500E.

Look for bikes that have been sitting, but not for decades. Wrecked bikes are hard to turn around for a profit, and it pretty much needs to have a title unless you get it for almost free. A bike that was ridden regularly then parked for a year or two is exactly the kind of bike you want - spend a weekend cleaning the carbs, lubing cables and chains, and so on, and you can get a non-running (and therefore worth less) bike back into roadworthy condition (and therefore worth more) without much expense.

Of course, the profit is never huge, the most I ever made on a bike was when I sold the ZRX and got back $750 more than I put into it. But it is nice to have basically free transportation. In my experience, it's much harder to buy a car, use it for a couple years, and sell it for near what you paid for it, let alone more.
+1, what he said, plus don't do rust. Anything rusty or corroded, look no further. It is just way too much time and effort to fix rust. Also ugly, don't do ugly if possible. It takes a lot more work to fix ugly than to get a dead bike in roadworthy condition. Ugly is not as bad as rusty, but when you are buying dead bikes, pretty ones don't cost any more than ugly ones, so why bother?

Best is to find one like my Concours, it had a failed cam chain tensioner, they guy thought it needed a top end rebuild because it was so noisy. Sounded like a paint can full of rocks on a paint can shaker. We had loaded it into my truck, deal done, I took the tensioner out, put the eraser end of a pencil in the hole, pushed on the tensioner shoe. Started the engine, it ran perfectly, in silence. The tensioner was all it needed.
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:08 AM   #9
TrashCan
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Originally Posted by scootrboi View Post
The secret is to buy a bike I don't like.








That may be the smartest thing to do.

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Old 02-16-2014, 07:13 AM   #10
tkent02
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One more thing, for the profit, stick to big bikes. Little ones cost almost as much to fix up, but even perfect ones don't sell for much.
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:29 AM   #11
Stato
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tkent02 View Post
I do this, a lot. Buy cheap, because you can only sell it for so much. I buy dead ones, needs a carburetor cleaning, valve adjustment, tires, maybe a battery. I only buy if it's a ridiculous low price. Get it running, make it safe, ride it a year or so, then make it look all pretty, paint it if necessary, sell it when the tax returns come out.
This is pretty much the way to go ^^^

Its amazing how many people sell bikes because they just wont start, only for it to be a simple fix(carby clean, new battery, loose wire etc)
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:39 AM   #12
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I'm at a $6000 profit, and a brand new Macbook Pro, off the 3 cars I've purchased from craigslist over the past 4 years. But I've never been that lucky with motorcycles. I've only made a profit 2 times off motorcycles. One time I made a $200 profit and another time I made $300 profit + a brand new never fired Ruger Revolver. I know the used vehicle and motorcycle markets pretty good and realize that I never buy motorcycles to make money. I buy them for a good deal, ride the piss out of them, and then sell them for a slight loss. I bought my 2010 Triumph Daytona brand new otd for $8500, and it came with a free $1500 package of an Arrow exhaust, Triumph quickshifter, and adjustable levers. I rode it for almost 3 years, granted I only put 10000 miles on it (still high enough miles to turn away 90% of potential buyers for those performance bikes) and I sold it for $7600. So I wasn't too upset. I just use my vehicle profits as my motorcycle funds
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:43 AM   #13
tkent02
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Oh yeah, that post remended me of one more thing. If you are buying bikes new enough to still be depreciating, you are fighting a losing race.
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Old 02-16-2014, 09:06 AM   #14
BRPtourer
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I must be doing something wrong...I tend to buy ratty old bikes cheap, spend way too much money fixing them up, ride the crap out of them for a bit, then sell them way too cheap to fund the next purchase.
It may not be profitable but I really enjoy taking an old heap and turning it into a nice ride.
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Old 02-16-2014, 09:09 AM   #15
tkent02
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Originally Posted by BRPtourer View Post
I must be doing something wrong...I tend to buy ratty old bikes cheap, spend way too much money fixing them up, ride the crap out of them for a bit, then sell them way too cheap to fund the next purchase.
It may not be profitable but I really enjoy taking an old heap and turning it into a nice ride.
Buy cheaper. Spend less fixing. Sell higher.

I enjoy it too, but enjoy it more when I make a few bucks. It can never compensate for my time and effort.
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