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When to trade/sell/buy???


markgoodrich

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Limecreek and I were chatting about this the other day. I was wondering if there's an ideal time to change bikes, from a financial point of view. I rode my RT for almost 90,000 miles and got practically nothing for it when I sold it. I'm not complaining I got my money's worth out of it.

 

But now I'm wondering if it is better to sell/trade a bike with lower miles, get more money for it, and end up ahead, financially, of where I was with the RT.

 

Limecreek said I could "run a spreadsheet." Riiiight. Sometimes he forgets who he's talking to.

 

Aside from the usual "it's an individual thing", "depends on your needs or wants," or "keep it forever" sorts of comments, anyone ever done one of those spreadsheets, or have informed opinions?

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Joe Frickin' Friday

I think the general model for resale value of cars/bikes is that the vehicle depreciates on an exponential scale. In other words, the cheapest miles are near the end of its life. When it starts becoming costly to maintain, the cost-per-mile starts going back up, and that's probably a very good time to sell it, at least from a purely financial standpoint.

 

Taking other things into consideration, the inconvenience of having a bike break down in the middle of a vacation could be assigned a dollar value, too. A retired fellow with all the cash and time in the world may not give a rip, but a younger person with limited vacation time might place a higher priority on reliability.

 

I sold my first RT with 10 years, 135K miles on it. The summer before selling it I had replaced the gearbox input shaft. I was prepared to keep it for a while after that, but then during the BRR that fall the clutch actuator arm (the thing on the back of the gearbox that the clutch cable pulls on) simply snapped. I was able to borrow one from a kind and generous friend so I could ride 600 miles home the next day, but that failure rattled my brain. My trust in the bike was broken, and so the next spring I replaced it with the RT I have now.

 

Short version: the most expensive miles on a bike are when it's new. The less frequently you get a new bike (e.g. every ten years instead of every five), the easier it will be on your finances.

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It's probably cheapest overall to buy a high-mileage bike for minimal cost, with the idea that you'll be able to fix anything that breaks for less than the cost of buying new. That assumes that you do the work yourself and that you can access the parts you need. And that you're willing to put up with the inconvenience of breaking down more often then you would on something new. This exercise works better with automobiles given their economies of scale (more parts available, lower costs).

 

I think there are a lot of bikes out there that get parked with 15,000 - 20,000 miles on them, and can be bought for a steeply discounted price. Especially if it's close to a major mechanical check, like a valve check on a shim under bucket engine. If you're aware of that and can get it factored into the price, you can get a better deal.

 

So, a 3-4 year old bike with 20,000 miles on it that doesn't require a major fix is probably the best deal overall, given that parts and dealer support will still be available.

 

But the cachet of owning a new bike is very nice...

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No spreadsheet needed to understand that the first mile you ride it (as you leave the dealer) will cost you at least 20% of what you just gave the dealer...probably more when you consider taxes and fees.

 

 

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It's really hard, if not impossible to make a general rule.

 

Here for example R100R's, R80GS's and all GS-Adventure models will sell, and sell well, regardless of mileage.

Even a non-runner (say, gearbox in need of repairs) will sell quickly and for a surprisingly large amount of money.

 

In short, if you want to buy a brand new bike that will always have some resale value left regardless of mileage, buy a GS-A.

 

And there's always one thing the spreadsheet won't be able to help you with: when a bike goes out of fashion.

Example. when the Ducati Hypermotard came out here, they sold by the truckload and second hand bikes were sold almost the moment they went on sale.

After a while, like somebody had flicked a switch, the bike went out of fashion.

You can browse through classified and find literally dozens of HM's for sale, very often with ridiculously low mileages. No biters: many have been on sale for over a year. Owners keep on cutting asking price but nobody wants them, regardless of mielage and conditions.

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I was wondering if there's an ideal time to change bikes, from a financial point of view?

 

That probably can't be answered before knowing the bike's make, model, year, condition, & desirability.

 

I have owned a few airheads that I sold, after owning for m-a-n-y years, for WAY more than I originally paid for them. It seemed the longer I kept them the more they were worth.

 

I have also owned a couple of K bikes that were only a few years old & I almost had to pay someone to haul them away.

 

But to sort of answer your question-- The ideal time to sell your old faithful bike is before you have to start putting lots of money & work into it but after you have fully enjoyed owning it.

 

The secret is in buying a desirable model that isn't so radical that it loses most of it's value when the new model comes out due to a very dated look.

 

You also need to take into account what your new (replacement) bike will cost. You can do a LOT of work on a high mile 1150RT (money wise) & still be big money ahead of a $25,000.00 replacement RT.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I guess it depends on what you mean by "next to nothing" but I got more than a third of the purchase price of my 07 RT in trade when it had 140k miles on it. Considering the mileage, I was happy with the residual value.

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I'm frugal. The most expensive BMW I ever bought was Foot's GS.

 

The most expensive M/C I bought was a 2014 Wee. Took the expected loss when I sold it a few months later. Lesson learned.

 

I've bought several for $3,000. Rode them a while and sold them for the same.

 

The 99 Boston Green RT in the garage should bring somewhere in that area with Ohlins.

 

I'm going to list them both and keep the one that doesn't sell first.

 

Don't need to sell so I won't take a low ball offer. I can wait till spring when the demand will be higher. I'm assuming the GS will sell first. Who knows?

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Having sold, purchased and traded many bikes and cars ... its simple, rule 1 is keep the existing machine until another one catches your fancy.

 

Oh, if you actually want to consider a path that makes financial sense, then buy a two year old model of your choice (unless that happens to be the first year of that type). You save the depreciation and get something close the the newest technology.

 

Then follow rule 1 above :Cool:

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I buy a new bike when the urge over welms me and I think I should just do it!

I also take a beating usually on trade ins. That's life, I only get to do this once!

GT

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Mark,

What you describe is difficult because you are asking about a rational decision pertaining to an emotional question. The two do not mix all that well. It is frought with peril in many directions.

 

The answer will be very elusive since bike buying/selling/trading is not a pure mathematical/financial decision.

 

If it was only a question of money... you might find a way to rationalize any answer you want. If it was purely emotional you might err on that side as well.

 

I bought a number of bikes I thought would be total keepers... but somehow some elusive factor emerged to make them ready to sell versus ready to keep. That is why I bought so many used bikes, spiffied them up, enjoyed them and sold them.

 

What are you looking for?

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Not really looking, just ruminating. My K has about 33,000 miles on it, works fine, there's no replacement for its purpose that is calling to me.

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Yes.

But first you need to own and run a successful dealership.

 

Otherwise, finances and motorcycles don't usually favor the consumer.

So why try?

You know what works.

Follow Bud's example, you have low outlay of capital and fairly predictable expense and resale data.

Over the long run you could probably do a "new" bike every 18 months, ride for 100,000's miles for less out of pocket expense then buyint one new Beemer.

Or, buy new, ride it forever and decrease the $/mile figure to a ridiculously low ratio and be happy.

Or, forget the money, buy when and whatever you want.

It's only money.

 

My '80 RT cost @$3300 and the odo stopped at 189,000, sold it with ? miles in 2005 for $2500. He was happy, so was I.

He then did cosmetic work, dual plugged it, looked like new and ran better than ever. He was even happier.

When he goes to sell it, he may recover his total cost of investment.

So, which of us had a better ROI?

25 years and hundreds of thousands of miles and 75% return of purchase cost or 100% cost in X years with limited miles ridden?

 

If spending money was just about timing/ROI, almost every restaurant in America would have to close.

When I was selling 'em, found many reasons why people made purchase decision they did and just as many for why the did not.

 

What a great opportunity you have.

Ride whatcha got or get something different.

Best wishes.

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Dave_zoom_zoom
I was wondering if there's an ideal time to change bikes, from a financial point of view?

 

But to sort of answer your question-- The ideal time to sell your old faithful bike is before you have to start putting lots of money & work into it but after you have fully enjoyed owning it.

 

 

Hi DR

 

What you say is spot on. I presently have a 2006 R1200RT with a little over 100,000 KM on it. Bought it new. I've used Amsoil full syn. since the break in. No major problems! Runs strong! I've upgraded to Ohlins shocks (love them). Love the bike.

 

What might be your wild guess as to when I might "start putting lots of money & work into it"?

 

Thanks

 

Dave

 

 

 

 

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I presently have a 2006 R1200RT with a little over 100,000 KM on it. Bought it new. I've used Amsoil full syn. since the break in. No major problems! Runs strong! I've upgraded to Ohlins shocks (love them). Love the bike.

 

What might be your wild guess as to when I might "start putting lots of money & work into it"?

 

 

Afternoon Dave

 

No way to really know-- some 1200RT's will go well past your present mileage with only minor issues & others have had expensive ABS pump failures, broken drive shafts, final drive failures, & rear-of-engine oil leaks.

 

Some of it is luck of the draw & others are due to abuse, or lack of proper maintenance, or even type of miles traveled.

 

100K of freeway is easy miles, 100K of pure city stop & go is brutal. 100K of sand & dirt roads is--interesting.

 

 

 

 

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Dave_zoom_zoom

Thanks DR

 

I guess I already knew what you said but hoped you could look into your crystal ball & give me some kind of wild guess. (you are really quite good you know)

 

I'll just keep on enjoying until our love affair grows cold.

But, from 2006 until now my love still runs strong. :)

 

Merry Christmas

Dave

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when I might "start putting lots of money & work into it"?

 

I would think that first you must decide what is "lots of money" to you. Will it be based on a percentage of your '04 value? Or based on the cost of replacing it?

 

In my case I'm spending around $1500 in parts (free labor; me) to refresh my '02 RT with 134,000 miles on it. That's a sizable percentage of it's worth, but way less than the cost of a new RT. Why? I'm happy with the bike. It's been reliable and doesn't have any known current problems. I'm just hoping to head off some possible failures. Most notable will be new drive shaft, new fuel pump, and new clutch.

 

Stan

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Dave_zoom_zoom
when I might "start putting lots of money & work into it"?

 

I would think that first you must decide what is "lots of money" to you. Will it be based on a percentage of your '04 value? Or based on the cost of replacing it?

 

In my case I'm spending around $1500 in parts (free labor; me) to refresh my '02 RT with 134,000 miles on it. That's a sizable percentage of it's worth, but way less than the cost of a new RT. Why? I'm happy with the bike. It's been reliable and doesn't have any known current problems. I'm just hoping to head off some possible failures. Most notable will be new drive shaft, new fuel pump, and new clutch.

 

Stan

 

 

 

Hi Stan

 

Those are very good points you make. I'm glad to see you're still happy with your 2002 RT. The 134,000 miles you have on yours is more than double the 100,000 KM I have on my 2006 RT. My KM's are all day trips on the highways with a few overnighters. Like you, I'm happy with the bike and can't see enough "really great" improvements on the newer models to make me lust after one.

 

I think my '06 and I will live on happily together until..........I'm losing the love(really high maintenance costs). Newer models have improvements I can't resist. Or God sends me some unforeseen problems I need to deal with.

 

Thanks Stan

Dave

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Hi mileage is the worst thing on any vehicle. High maintenance costs tend to kill it for me. I never want to spend a large percentage of the value of a vehicle on a repair.

 

I've only ever had one new vehicle, a car in 1985. I tend to buy older low mileage and get the advantage of not taking a big hit on buying new and low maintenance from the low miles.

 

It doesn't bother me that someone else has used it. I fall out of love with things eventually. I have 3 bikes. I have the urge to buy an R1200 S but promised myself I would never sell my GSXR or FIREBLADE. Maybe I wii sell my R1200RT. I have never loved it but like it in the winter when it's too horrible or scary to ride a sports bike.

 

I like how the BMW looks but sometimes just sit and look at my Fireblade for an hour and think 'that's a smart bike......'.

 

Pete

 

 

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John Ranalletta

Reality says whatever decision one makes, i.e. sell old and buy newer or keep and upgrade, we easily rationalize the decision afterward.

 

Going through that with my car. Absolutely love it and the 100k miles I've driven it and haven't cared for any new ones I've tested as much. Have decided to ride it out. If it costs a couple a grand a year to keep running, why spend $40k to solve a $2k problem? See? I can use numbers to rationalize keeping it. Using Mitch's example, I can rationalize a new car thinking, "...but what if it breaks down on the interstate with all the costs and inconvenience?"

 

Rationalizing keeps one from going stark raving nuts or "doing spreadsheets".

 

I have an '02 GS that needs refreshing (Speiglers, etc.). It's worth maybe $4k on ADVRIDER. Really would like a new bike ($20k). I can rationalize keeping one or buying the other. That's life.

 

Too much pragmatism spoils things. Do what feels good.

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I'm 71. The future is now for me so I got a new 2015GSW with all the bells and whistles a couple of months back. In general though I agree with the observation that the best bike to buy is one that has more age depreciation and less mileage depreciation.

 

It amazes me how many people, even here in Mexico, shell out huge bucks for a new BMW and the thing sits with only a few miles on it. Look for those deals.

 

I don't keep my cars or bikes much over 50K miles just because I don't want to deal with the increasing maintenance with accumulating miles and I can afford to operate this way. Plus I have to pay someone to fix anything and everything on both car and bike.

 

If you can do your own work, you can ride a nice high mileage BMW really cheap. I admire the people who can do this.

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I have had experience at about every level in Automotive sales. I was sometimes amazed at how much a very high mileage vehicle would bring on trade and what they would then sell again for.

 

Vehicles are not what they used to be, meaning a car/truck with 100K on it 30 years ago was junk. 200,000 miles is nothing now. In fact, about every brand out there would be a bet to go 200,000 miles without major repair.

 

There is NO better value than buying a slightly used 2, 3, 4 year old vehicle and running it till it fails. My advice is to keep it till a major repair seems likely. Such as a transmission or engine. Or, if you cannot do the work yourself, some major electronic stuff can easily run $3000. Sell the car to a wholesaler or scrap yard.

 

Bikes are easy to find with very low mileage. These bikes can also be researched to find out what major defects are likely (ie, final drives on certain models, etc.) and you can watch out for that. Once you hit much over 50,000 miles bikes don't sell easily. By 100K they are worth very little. I am not a "trader". I keep things. My last RT I kept 10 years. I got more in trade value than I should have, but at half that I still got more than my moneys worth out of it. Ask any dealer, it is HARD to trade every couple years and not waste money. That is why leasing is so popular with car owners. Don't know why bikes don't have these programs.

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Terry, that's exactly my experience...any bike with more than 50k goes for a lot less than one with fewer miles, but the real problem is that they're so hard to sell, period. As I said earlier, I got my money's worth out of my RT, but the guy who REALLY is getting his money's worth is the guy who bought it for nothing.

 

I've no current intention of getting rid of the GT, as it is so perfect for its purpose. If Suzanne quits riding, well, I'll probably indulge in something lighter. Or not. The power is intoxicating.

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Perfect advice, although I ignored it last summer when buying a 2016 Honda HR-V, because my daughter's Subaru was dying, and I really, really liked the HR-V (still do — best car I have ever owned). I remember the "good old days" of brake/muffler replacements every 20,000 miles, and cars falling apart before they reached 100,000 miles. After more than 100 years, I continue to be amazed at how fast automotive and motorcycle technology continues to evolve.

 

I picked up a 1999 RT in 2007, and approaching 120,000 miles, it feels better than it did 55,000 miles ago, thanks to years of small tweaks to get it "just right" — for me. I will be turning 70 next year, and I expect the bike to be rideable longer than I will be able to ride it. Eventually I'm going to have to switch to something smaller and ligher, but definitely used.

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