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Snippet from Adventure Rider Radio Podcast: Tips from the Experts: What to Consider When Buying a Motorcycle

Last Played: February 11, 2021
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There are so many things to consider when buying a new adventure bike. In this snippet, host Jim Martin asks one of the most basic: How much bike do you need? Listen to expert Grant Johnson weigh in on what produces the happiest results when it comes to investing in a motorcycle, whether you are at the dealership or perusing the used ads. While there is no definitive answer for any rider, there are some great tips here.
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One of the things I spend a lot of time trying to convince people is that you don't need the 1200 Gs if you're going to go to South America for the winter by yourself. Ah, 6. 50 single will do a much better job for you. Most of us tend to overbuy. Most of us tend to buy a bigger, fancier, cooler, sexier bike than we really need, because it's cool. Uh, that's fine. You need it. Well, it's It's fine as long as you understand that as long as you're saying I'm buying this because it's cool and I love it and I want it, That's great. But don't buy it because everybody says you gotta have it because you probably don't. Well, we know this because of all the people that are riding around on unconventional, so called adventure bikes. Oh, the range of bikes that people are riding. It's absolutely amazing. Like Doug Watkin around the world on an Indian are rigid chopper. Come on. I mean, that's that's not seen, but nobody ever said Doug was seen, and I mean that in a nice way. Uh, people have written around the world on 50 CC scooters people have written around the world on Harley Electric, Allied's Peter and K from Australia. Did 193 countries on a box stock, I think was 93 or something. Hardly electric lied. You could do it on anything. I used to ride my R 100 s BMW on gravel roads quite happily, and it was a street bike was a sport bike with a bikini fairing and small handlebars. And it's fine, depending on what you do and how you do it. Uh, so unconventional. Yeah. Sometimes people choose unconventional because it is unconventional. That's the point. A conventional bike is almost too easy. Why not do it on something interesting? There's a couple of riding around South America right now when a 67 b s a 6 50. Personally, I think they're nuts. But hey, go good for them. Go for it. Have fun. And but it drives home the point, doesn't it that you don't need necessarily that bike that a lot of people will tote as the adventure by the ultimate adventure bike? No, on the ultimate adventure bike is very much in the eye of the beholder. It depends on what you want, what you want to do. I mean, I know lots of guys who are out there on 6 50 singles, 4 50 singles and think that is the ultimate adventure bike. It's perfect for them and for what they're doing, a kind of riding. They're doing 1200 gs or 11 90 KTM or whatever is just plain stupid on the road of bones in Siberia. But pick the bike for the job and pick what works for you and pick what you like. And I think that's that's probably the most important thing to understand. Is no matter what everybody says about whether it's the best bike or the perfect bike or the ultimate bike. If you don't like it, you don't like it and you'll never like it. And no matter what it does, you'll hate it. Um, if the bike brakes once, it's the biggest piece of garbage you've ever seen, whereas if you've got a bite that you love and it breaks 25 times, you still love it, and that's important. If you don't like it and take care of it, look after it and and get emotionally connected to it. It's just a piece of garbage machinery and you're gonna beat it to death and it's gonna be poor. It's not gonna work for you, and you're gonna hate it. So why would you do that? The point of going for a ride is to become one with the motorcycle on the trip and to enjoy that whole. I'm on my bike and I'm writing and I'm feeling good about it. So you gotta like your bike. I just talked to somebody a couple of weeks ago who was exactly that? He was sort of complaining about the fact that bike wasn't all that reliable. He's replaced a lot of parts on it, but when I said well, so what bike would you take? The next one? He said, Well, I think I'll take this one because I love to ride it, you know? And he loves the bike. And he said for him, he has to get up in the morning and want to ride. He says, This bike, I want to ride it. Yeah, maybe hasn't been so reliable for me, but I love to ride it. There you go. That's what it's all about. That's exactly what I'm saying? What about used versus new? How do you feel about that? I mean, obviously cost is. I mean, everybody has to consider how much money they have to spend, Obviously. Yeah, well, there's two sides to the if you look at use versus new for cost because you could always just get a size or two smaller bike and get a new one. If that's your concern, Um, I think a reasonably new bike is a very good idea for most people. If you are very mechanically confident and like your friend, then it breaks a lot. But you're okay to fix it than an older used bike is fine. People are still big fans of the old old are 80 Gs like mine, and I know a guy who spent $10,000 rebuilding one after he spent $7000 to buy it, which is a ridiculous price for a bike that old. But that's what they go for. So he's got a very expensive motorcycle. It's 30 years old. He could have had a new bike for the same money, but he loves the old bike, and he's comfortable with it, and he's confident he can fix it. He could repair it. He could look after it. Um, that's his choice. But for most people who aren't really mechanically inclined and aren't wanting to spend a lot of time fixing the bike, but they'd rather spend most of their time writing it, um new or very close to new, I think is a good idea. Definitely recommended one if you're looking for use. I've talked to several people now who bought the bikes from other travelers. The thing I keep hearing from is, though they were very candid about the condition of the bike, which might be an asset. You know, you go on to, for instance, going to your forum at Horizons Unlimited and Post you're looking for a bike or look at the bikes for sale that people have written them to certain locations, and they and they don't want to ride any further, and they like to sell them back there. That's a good option, probably because you're dealing with sort of a kindred spirit. Yeah, that that works very well. There is actually a guy on there right now who's in Europe. I think he's an American. If I remember rightly He's got an American registered Bystrom for sale at a very good price in Europe. They'll right now, if you're an American, fly over there by the bike from them and go ride. He's been riding and he's had a great time with it. You could do that. But what you have to really watch when you're buying a bike that's used or while buying any bike in another country is registration. You can't bring it that bike home. If you're from a different country, you may be able to get it transferred. But that could be difficult. Basically, if you're, for instance, an American by an American bike and then registration is no big deal. If you're Canadian by a Canadian bike, even if it's in Timbuktu, it doesn't matter if it's Canadian bike. You can deal with the registration because that's your home country. Um, same thing for any European Germans by a German registered bike. It's easiest to deal with the registration of paperwork and remember, when you bring it home, some countries are very, very difficult to bring foreign registered bikes in. You may be able to get it registered in another country, but bringing a German bike to Canada, for instance, can be extraordinarily difficult and expensive. So you've got to make sure you understand import rules and regulations if you're going to do that. Having said that, you can always sell it on to somebody else, of course, and you just write your distance and then put it back up for sale. Keep selling it. I thought I'd mentioned here a dealer pricing because I recently read an article about how dealers Attn least in North America. They buy their bikes from the manufacturing. They really they could sell them at whatever price they want. So quite often you'll find some fairly large price differences from one dealer to the next on the exact same bike. And it may be just down the road, so it's worthwhile shopping around a bit. Yeah, always shop around for sure, but don't think that you're going to get massive discounts on bikes because the average dealer makes at most 10% on the bike, which is a shocking Yeah, I was reading is really surprising, and what I was reading in that same article was that they count on their accessory sales and their repairs and and and maintenance work to sort of even up even things up. It's sort of like you need all of them to really make a living at it. Yeah, the amount of money the average neither makes by the time he pays. His salesman pays for the building the bike is sitting on, pays for the floor plan financing and all the rest of it. He's making peanuts on the bike. But what he does get if he does a good job is he's got a customer who's going to come back and buy some goodies and helmet and jackets and maintenance and service and all kinds of stuff over the years, um, the actual bike sale. There's not a lot of room for them, so give him a break It it's not like in cars where you could get a fairly substantial discount
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