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Bijoy’s blog: Buying pre-owned big bikes

Words: Bijoy Kumar

Being an auto enthusiast and a motorcyclist means friends from all walks of life come to you for advice. It is entirely another matter that it has been seven years since I ditched the motoring journalism ship to join a car company. But it is a responsibility I take very seriously. There are parents of teenagers asking advice for buying scooters for their children with freshly minted licences to those closing in on the half century mark trying to get back to motorcycling. I do realise that they come to me trusting my instincts and experience and I better deliver, right? So sometimes I go the extra mile and go ride the motorcycle in question and help them decide. And guess what, I enjoy the process too.

So when a close friend said he is ready for a Harley, we launched a big hunt. He was certain that he didn’t want to spend a fortune on a brand new motorcycle and was keen on getting the biggest bang for his buck. Who doesn’t want that, right? But an array of glorious possibilities came along as we started hunting for a big used Harley for the price of a spanking new Sportster. We shortlisted on a Dyna that had 9,000km on the clock and close to 2 lakh worth of accessories. The problem area was that it was registered in another state. The bike came through an agent who had removed the aftermarket rear view mirrors (and offered them at a cost later!) but was in good shape otherwise. I went with my friend and paid little over Rs 9 lakh for a motorcycle that would have cost the first owner over Rs 12 lakh. Sure it took a while for the paperwork to be sorted out but hey, it was a clean five lakh cheaper if you add the price of the accessories. The engine had just been run in and it featured a subtle yet loud enough Screamin’ Eagle pipe to boot too.

Another friend whom I had introduced to Harleys on a trip to New Zealand wanted a motorcycle similar to my Iron 883. The hunt was slightly longer since I found the Iron prices in the used market inflated. The first motorcycle that we saw had horrible, cheap aftermarket pipes which I thought had affected the performance of the V-twin. But good things come to those who wait, right? An immaculate Iron 883 in matte black came up with the owner all set to upgrade to a Fatboy. A Harley owner who has his eyes set on something bigger and brighter is always a good candidate to sell his existing steed at a reasonable price – trust me on this. This motorcycle with just 6,000km on the odo was lapped up by my friend for barely Rs 6.5 lakh. Too much, did you say? How about a Hollywood handlebar, medallions all round, an air-horn that can shame a locomotive and last but not the least, a pair of V&H silverware that sounds like instant thunder? And he got the rear seat, sissy bar, foot pegs and the works – all that costs additional money.

While these are stories with happy endings, there is a dark world out there that you need to worry about. Improper imports, stolen machines, failed warranties, crash-repair jobs…you name it. The last thing you want is to get your mate a motorcycle that will land him in a garage or, worse still, a police station.

I ride with the above mentioned gentlemen on a regular basis as we are part of the Creek Slayers gang and it is a pleasure to follow them and listen to the glorious cacophony of their big twins. And yes, you do feel proud that you helped your buddies get back on wheels in style.

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