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Buying a Bike - do you really need to test ride it?

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by Toecutter, Nov 9, 2006.

  1. No way

  2. I would, only if I could test ride a similar bike at a dealer

    0 vote(s)
  3. No worries, if it gets good reviews on the net or from others I know, I'd buy it

    0 vote(s)
  1. The other thread about "do you allow test rides" got me thinking about my last three bike purchases.

    I first saw my Harley on consignment, the shop did not allow test rides. The bike was immaculate, but was priced just a bit too high. So the search continued till I saw a description in the Trading Post that sounded familiar. Called him up, and yep, same bike now $4k cheaper direct from owner. Met at a petrol station and he offered to double me, but as the bike sounded fine, and he was a mechanic, I trusted my gut instinct and gave him a holding deposit. So no, didn't test ride that bike.

    Next buy was the Caponord, great test ride of a few hours through Royal National Park.

    Last bike purchase was the KLR. Bought sight unseen, from a fellow Ulysses member in Canberra. Did not even see bike till it was ridden back to Sydney.

    So two out of three, not even ridden and one not even seen before handing over the cash and all bikes went well with no issues. The internet has no doubt helped a huge amount in this regard, many reviews are available, and you pretty much know the strengths and weaknesses of the particular models you are looking at, with the test ride only really confirming what you have previously read.

    When selling my Harley, the price was agreed on before test ride, but was bought by a mate.

    And the Capo was bought by another Ulysses member from Wagga, who also had sold his Guzzi, sight unseen and he delivered it to the Ducati Bike show in September. So his Guzzi was sold in the morning and my Capo went in the back of the ute on the way home.

    Having said all that, I'd still imagine most will want to do the test ride.

    I guess you can always test ride a similar bike at a dealer and then assume the same model should ride the same.

    So any other interesting tales? I'd still like to buy a new bike in say Melb or Bris and ride back to Sydney and be ready for first service.
  2. Nah.

    I don't reckon you know much from reading a bunch of reviews. You might get up to freeway speed and find that it buzzes in a really annoying way, or the airflow buffets your head around.

    You might realise that the chain or bearings are rooted, that the fuel delivery is choppy, or the mirrors vibrate too much to be useful.

    You might just find you don't dig the engine character, that it makes your wrists sore or that your feet are too big/small to fit on the pedals comfortably.

    All in all, there's plenty in a test ride to either put me off a bike altogether or give me grounds to ask for a discount. I won't buy a bike without one.
  3. Oh - OR, you might find that the bike just really f*cking clicks with you. :)
  4. I bought my 600 without test riding it, but I had ridden the same model (although a couple of yrs older) my previous bike I put a deposit on it without riding it but again I had ridden a similar model and new what they could do.
  5. I personallly would never buy a bike without a test ride, even if I can't ride it myself.

    i/e - my BF test rid the CB250 before I bought it, as I hadn't been to motor reg yet (couldn't go on a sunday!).

    my dad & my BF both test rode the Hornet 600 for me as I couldn't legally ride it. All I did was sit on it to make sure it felt as perfect as I expected.

    However having said all that, my dad recently bought a bike from perth with no test ride at all, as we're in SA. He just had a "good feeling" about the seller. He did get a RACW check on it first though to make sure there was nothing blatantly wrong with it. And he has not regretted buying the speed triple at all.
  6. I wouldnt buy a bike without test riding or having someone I trust test ride it..........
  7. Yeah, no way I'd buy a bike without riding it first. In fact, I'm going to far as getting my experienced uncle along to test ride the bikes iv been looking at as well, because I don't really know what it's meant to be like.

    Also, test-riding is heaps fun! You get to try out a lot of bikes which I reckon is great. No idea how you're meant to work out what you like unless you've ridden a few... at least for your first bike.
  8. Probably not interesting, and I couldn't find a poll option that suited me, it would have been;

    "I would always prefer a test ride, but am not fussed if I can't get one."

    I have a pretty comprehensive 'tried and tested' inspection technique that I have progressively improved over the years to the point that I don't believe a test ride will tell me anything about the condition of a bike that my inspection won't. A test ride will tell me about things like torque, handling, comfort, and general 'feel' though, but only if it is a model I have not ridden before.

    I bought my BMW R60/6 sight unseen from a bloke in Queensland, and I was not totally comfortable until it arrived. A 1975 bike can be a heap of junk or a gem, but I spent a couple of hours on the phone with the seller, and I made a decision about him. Having done so it was all down to trust, and he was as good as his word.

    I also commited to buying my Ducati sight unseen, but that was because it was a very rare bike and too good to miss, it was grab it quick or lose it. The fact that the guy who put me on to it was a Ducati and MV factory trained mechanic, who has also been a mate for years made it easier of course.

    I bought my Honda Valkyrie sight unseen because it was so new there were none in Australia. I ordered it from the brochure, and I never regretted it. The bloke who eventually bought it from me also did so without seeing it. He flew over from Melbourne and rode it back.

    The only bike I do regret buying sight unseen is Mrs Incitatus's Benelli Quattro 250. The bike is exactly as described by the interstate seller, better in fact, but he did mislead me on the availability of parts, and a year later it is still without a working crankshaft. I don't think he did so maliciously, I just believe his enthusiasm for obscure Italian motorcycles got the better of him............and me
  9. My first bike was bought without a test ride as I didn't have a licence at the time, and so was my second, but that was because I bought it straight out of the container from Japan...

    I'm planning (in the next few years) to find a nice old tourer in Perth, get a nice Perthian Netrider to check it out for me (Inci, maaaate!!), then catch a VirginBlue flight over there and ride it back to Sydney to sell it... Gonna be great!!
  10. When I bought my 748, the guy who owned it had let his insurance expire (so he said) so wouldn't let me ride it. It was his first bike and had only done 200kms in the year he owned it.

    I got it taken to a Ducati shop who checked it out and took it for a ride for me (they have some kind if insurance to cover anything they ride). The bike was sound and I have enjoyed it since.

    What I had missed was the previous owner had "Armor All'd" the back tire (to make it nice and shiny). The bike shop picked it up and roughed it up before riding it. If I had taken it for a ride, I probably would have come off on the first corner!
  11. No problem, I'd be very happy to thrash, errrr......'inspect' it for you.
  12. If all goes well I'll be purchasing a Daytona 675 at the end of June and hopefully get in on the end of financial year deals :p. I'm not off restrictions until July 10 so I doubt Ill be able to take one for a test ride.
  13. Ebay's the worst for this- you see a great deal on a nice bike, but you can't drive the hour or so to go to the sellers place for a test ride before the auction finishes.

    I myself have "commited to buy" a 1982 suzuki GSX400f. 400cc, four cylinders, nice 45bhp, supposedly some design issues with a sump too small, meaning if the oil level drops a little the whole thing can overheat and cause serious damage very quickly.
    Going to look at it this Saturday. Yes, it is dumb to commit to buy a 24 year old bike unseen and unridden, but life's too short to have a CB250n as my only bike.

    The very cheap, sub-$1000 price is the reason I'm not too worried about any minor problems. Can't go wrong with a roadworthy bike for the price.

    Even though I've in theory "commited to buy", I do feel a test-ride's essential, and I've no hesitation to walk away if it's totally fcuked.
  14. A test ride is essential in deciding whether or not you like that particular model of motorcycle. It is however not necessary for determining the condition of a 2nd hand bike.
    As Incicatus mentioned, most problems can be found out by knowing what to look for during an inspection and taking along a few tools.
    Considering most riders know very little about mechanical matters, asking for a test ride is insulting the sellers intelligence.

  15. haha paid 1500 for my GSX 250 1982 WITH roadworthy...
    which happen to be dodgy and have no end of problems with the bike.
  16. If I can't test ride it, I wouldn't buy it. Especially if buying privately. I know some sellers have an issue with that, but if they're serious about selling it (at least to me) then they shouldn't have a problem letting me ride it.
  17. Why should a seller let you ride a bike you haven't purchased?
    Are you a qualified mechanic or have years of experience working on motorcycles? If no, then what benefit is there in test riding the bike?
    I'm not having a go at you personally but I'd just be interested to hear peoples justifications for asking to test ride.
    Personally I think it's taking a huge liberty with someone else's property.
    There is no way I would let an unknown person ride my motorcycle without either a substantial deposit and/or they'd already had the bike checked out professionally or I've determined that they actually are mechanically minded and not just tyre kickers.
  18. OM - think of it in terms of buying a car privately. It's exactly the same thing, but no-one thinks twice about being able to test drive a car, or allowing someone to test drive the car you're selling.

    I will not buy what I cannot try.
  19. Nice try, but no cigar. You can accompany a person test driving your car.
  20. It's remarkably hard to completely write off a car during a test drive. It's also much easier to accompany the person.
    A bike on the other hand is surprisingly fragile and expensive to repair.

    FYI - I wouldn't let someone test drive my car unless they paid a substantial deposit and/or had it independently checked. This would indicate they're serious and not just another tyre kicker wanting to fang someone elses V8 (for example).