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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My last purchase was painless.



I emailed a local dealer asking about a particular model. I mentioned that I was buying within 2 weeks, and was paying cash.



He replied, saying that he had one ready to go, and offered to sell it at a more than fair OTD price.



So I bought it. Picked it up a couple days later.



Maybe I'm just getting impatient as I get older, but I have zero interest in ****ing around with sales people anymore. If they can't be straight with me - and not waste my m-f-ing time - I'm not buying.



-- Michael

 

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Maybe I'm in the minoritey on this one but when I rode those old bikes, I never felt like I was about to lose all my posessions; get robbed, beaten, and raped; and then die.



But this post will probably be removed so nobody will be able to comment on their experiences with an early 1970's era superbike.
 

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Step 3 - The Demonstration



It really bothers me when I know more about a bike than the salesman does. Don't they go over the manuals when a bike comes in, so they know the bike in and out so they can "brag it up" or answer any and all questions? I don't expect them to have the knowledge of a fully competent mechanic, but should know more than the guy walking in off the street - and I'm no expert.



Do they keep up with the reviews in the motorcycle press? Or how the bike is better than the competition, etc. With this lack of knowledge I get the impression they don't even ride - or at least too lazy to keep informed.



I see the same thing at car dealerships. Maybe most of those coming in are uninformed and the salesman would rather work with easy "marks" or spurt-of-the-moment buyers with money to waste.
 

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Yeah, I've run into this a number of times - it definitely lowers one's confidence in a salesman when he gets his facts and figures wrong. Oddly, the European dealer salesfolks seem to be more knowledgeable regarding their bikes, in my experience, than those at the dealerships for the big 4 Japanese manufacturers. Not quite sure why that would be...



-S5
 

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Focus on one key word: OTD

Once you decide on your motorcycle, you, as a buyer, only care about the OTD (Out the Door) price, after tax, nuisance charges, and everything else.

For all I care, the dealer could charge $1 for the bike and $7998 for freight-and-setup. (And some effectively do-so). So you never negotiate about the sale price of the bike itself, but of the OTD price, so everything is clearly on the table.

And it can really vary from dealer to dealer, and brand-to-brand. EG, some HD dealers are notorious about having huge setup charges.

If in email, be sure to print out all quotes on the OTD price. When buying a car, the dealer finance guy "accidentally" tried to charge me $500 over the agreed price (the price quote I got was before the $500 student discount, he wrote it up as after). So print out the emails.

Another good resource for californians is there are a couple of big dealers that specialize in Internet quotations. (www.otdcyclesports.com is one). These allow you to select a bike, put in an email address, and get an OTD quote.

Print this out and use it as a starting point. EG, in the bay area, I recommend getting an OTD quote from the LA super-dealer, and then going to your local dealer and seeing if they will match the OTD quote + $120 (a one-way, walk-up southwest ticket to LA) + $40 (the gas to do the break-in ride back home up highway 1. Yeah, there is the additional TIME involved, but heck, I'd PAY for a nice relaxing ride up PCH).

This way, you KNOW what the good rock-bottom price is as a starting point, and you know your REAL Costs for the rock-bottom price (the airfair and gasoline).
 

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Nice work Gabe. It's good to have an insider's perspective.



Also, I bought my 1976 Yamaha RD400 for a whole lot less than $1,600. However, while it seemed to perform great at the time, it only did the quarter mile (the holy grail back then) in 14.2. It wasn't a Norton but it wasn't that far off. It's not even on the same planet as a modern 600 sport bike. Six hundred SSs are true engineering marvels and real bargains. Yet I don't lust after any new 600 and want to put another old Yamaha 2 stroke twin and a Norton Commando in the garage in the not too distant future. Go figure.
 

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Excellent article Gabe. Just a comment that you can significantly cut the time involved in a sale by having your financing arranged upfront. Unless the manufacturer is offering promotional financing, you'll get a better deal with your local credit union, can cut an hour or more out of the closing time, and can negotiate a cleaner deal knowing you've got cash in your pocket (negotiate the price of the bike, not the payment amount). Plus it's not as easy for the dealer to add pre-paid oil changes to the financed cost of your bike.

I've bought about fifteen new bikes over the years, and this article describes my experiences very well.
 

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So you're a motorcycle website publisher, and you want to hire a feature writer. While writers will try to get you to pay them a living wage, here's how to get them to work for you for nearly nothing. Just like a motorcycle dealership, they don't really need to be able to pay their rent, utilities or anything else. Don't let these writers take advantage of you - read on as we show you how to make them back down on their wages...
 

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I would never spend 4-5 hours in a dealership talking about buying a motorcycle or a car. Why do it if you can get the same price in 20 minutes.



I think I spent about ten minutes buying my last car...I knew what I wanted, knew how much it cost and made a reasonable offer. The dealer made a reasonable counteroffer within 2 minutes, I wrote the check and we were done. It probably helps that it was a Saab dealership versus some larger more traditional dealer.



Granted some dealers just can't or won't do a deal that quickly, but I don't have to deal with them.
 

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Re: Gap Insurance

Gap insurance protects the lender. If the bike is totalled and the borrower's main insurance policy doesn't cover the full amount still owed, the gap insurance covers the difference.
 

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There is no excuse for not knowing what a bike should cost and no reason to spend more than about an hour in the dealership. Something's wrong if you're in there that long.



Pay cash for a bike. Get your own financing. Don't waste time with a dealer loan. If you can't afford a new bike, don't buy one. There is much less risk buying used these days.



The one problem I have had is that the dealerships (mostly cars) don't get that I'm going to pay cash for the car. I guess know one does that.



I always know what I'm willing to pay for a bike. If I really want it I'll pay up to MSRP, out the door. I did pay slightly over MSRP for a Harley in '92 (out the door). Just make a reasonble low offer and they will tell you eventually if they accept it or not. I've always been within a couple hundred bucks of what I was willing to pay for cars and bikes. You just have to be patient with the dealership to figure out if they can sell at your offer. I usually loose my patience and start to walk out until they come back with an answer - any answer fer chrisakes, just tell me if you want to sell it!!!

 

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Re:

Early '70s superbike? I think he was referring to Norton/BSA/Triumphs, not Kawasaki 900s and Honda 750s. I still have my Triumph 650 Tiger and ride it regularly. It requires a lot more from me than any bike made today, but is more satisfying in many ways. I often take it to work instead of my new Hinckley Triumph -so boring. Jap bikes? Wake me when this nightmare is over and the British Empire rules again.
 

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I'm the same. Know the bike I want, get a good OTD price, pay cash, pick it up that weekend. I just won't play with salespeople anymore -- not worth my time. I'm happy to give the dealership a decent profit for the few minutes they spend with me to buy a bike.



The eternal quest for the absolute, rock bottom price has no value to me anymore....I'm old.....and my honey-do list is long....
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I find it funny that a dealer would complain about Gabe's article. He simply presented a factual guide as to how new bike purchases flow, so that the novice buyer isn't completely overwhelmed during the negotiation process.



I guess the good folks at Marin Cycleworks would rather have their customers totally unprepared. I guess it sure makes it easier to charge inflated shipping and setup fees, eh?



-- Michael

 
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