The decision was pretty easy.
Day 3-4 I contemplated what bike to get. I knew I wanted a big bike (Electra Glide, Gold Wing, etc.) I had just spent time in the Harley store and saw some beautiful bikes. However, I eliminated HDs for a couple of reasons. First, the Harley was a little too loud for my liking. I had a neighbor that wakes the entire neighborhood when he leaves on his HD at 5:00 in the morning. Second, I wanted the most reliable bike I could get. While I believe the newer HDs have very few break downs, I was going to buy a used bike, maybe 5-8 years old. I heard a guy once joke that “95% of all Harleys are still on the road today …. the other 5% made it home”.
My decision came by way of my lawnmower. Thirty two years ago I bought a Tru-Cut 25” front throw lawnmower. It has a 5 hp Honda motor. After 32 years it still starts with one pull! It has been super reliable.
Since I had a little experience (very little) on a 1991 Gold Wing … well, just like that I decided to start looking at Honda Gold Wings. Now, I knew very little about GWs or any motorcycle for that matter. However, I placed my entire focus on searching for a Gold Wing GL1800.
I found http://www.cycletrader.com. This is a great website! If you’re looking to get a new or used motorcycle spend some time on this website. After becoming an “expert” on 2007-2009 GWs I found one that I started to focus on. It was down in Huntington Beach, CA at a motorcycle shop … a 2007 with 70,000 miles. This used bike had a couple of extras like a seat back rest and floorboards. The price was $12,000. We were heading down to the area in a few days and was excited to go see my new bike!
On day 4 while spending way too many hours on cycletrader I came across a new listing of a Gold Wing. This was a 2008 GL1800 with 17,000 miles for $10,500. Hmmm, big difference in price and mileage. While most listings on cycletrader have several pictures attached this listing had only one.
Calling the phone number I spoke to James. I had a simple question: “Why are you selling your bike?” James said that it was his Dad’s bike and that his dad had passed away a few years earlier and the family was now ready to sell the bike. I asked if I could come up and see the bike and two days later one of my sons and I were there looking at a beautiful 2008 Gold Wing!
We talked to James about the GW. We started it and listened to the engine run … sounded good to me. Checked out the lights, oil and other fluids. All looked good to me (frankly, I had no idea what to look for … leaky fluids?). James volunteered information that he had trailered the bike 50 miles to a local motorcycle store to place the bike on consignment a few days earlier. At the same time he paid a $100 for an inspection of the bike. They suggested that the bike needed new tires, a front fork seal was leaking and perhaps a new battery. It’s fair to say, James didn’t have a good feeling with these guys and brought the bike home and placed the add in cycletrader. He offered me the invoice as proof and I knew I didn’t need to read it.
When you do business like buying a used motorcycle, I feel you should trust the person you’re doing business with or walk away. In a short time, we felt James was very trustworthy. We settled on a price of $10,000. I gave James a deposit and agreed to me coming in a few days to get the bike.
I now have a lot to do before I pick this bike up in 5 days. Get a permit to drive it, helmet and gear and whatever else you need.
This is when the first challenges begin to pop up ….