How to get ripped off when buying a used motorcycle

In the unlikely event you’d like to overpay for a used motorcycle, then you’ll be happy to know it’s an easy process. Really, there’s just one step: Be foolish and impulsive (or lazy) and do no research.

I could have chosen a lot of examples, but here’s one that works quite nicely. This Cincinnati dealership is advertising this 2009 Kawasaki Versys with just 3,838 miles on it for $4,995. If you don’t know better, and don’t bother to find out, I suppose it could sound like a decent deal. Under $5,000 for a clean, low-mileage bike.

Used 2009 Kawasaki Versys

Good deal? You could have bought this used motorcycle new six years ago for less.

I just happen to know better, because that price is a couple of hundred dollars more than I paid for the exact same bike, same color and everything. And the one I bought had zero miles. Brand new. And that was six years ago.

I really wonder. Are there people out there who really pay anything close to the outrageous prices I see dealers and independent shops asking for used bikes?  Continue reading How to get ripped off when buying a used motorcycle →


Three reasons why your first motorcycle should be a used motorcycle

People get into motorcycling a lot of different ways, but one case I’ve seen over and over is the non-rider who spots a beautiful motorcycle that somehow fires all the right synapses in some deep primordial part of the brain and who absolutely knows in that instant, without a hint of doubt, that this is the bike he or she must own.

Yamaha XSR900

Whenever a uniquely styled motorcycle like the Yamaha XSR900 comes out, some would-be riders fall in love and consider making it their first motorcycle. The enthusiasm is understandable, but the decision is not wise.

In this scenario, knowledge may be lacking, but certainty is not.

Hey, I don’t want to ruin anyone’s fun or drain away somebody’s passion. I think you should indeed buy your dream bike. I just strongly believe it should be your second or third bike. I can think of three good reasons why your first motorcycle should be something used and probably cheap.  Continue reading Three reasons why your first motorcycle should be a used motorcycle →


Kenny Noyes a year later: Back from the darkness

It was a year ago today that Kenny Noyes, an American roadracer who lived in Barcelona and raced mostly in Europe, crashed during a practice session in the Spanish Superbike championship. His motorcycle bounced off the wall and hit him in the head. The early news was grim. Would he live? Would he forever be in a vegetative state? Anything was possible.  Continue reading Kenny Noyes a year later: Back from the darkness →


Why (almost) everyone in the motorcycle industry is unhappy

Motorcycles at the Nice Day Cafe

In general, people working in the motorcycle industry aren’t having a nice day.

I can’t remember the last time I was around a group of people who work in the motorcycle industry, especially the motorcycle media, and heard happy, positive chatter.

I understand why that is. In a growing industry, you can do an OK job and still prosper by winning a slice of a bigger pie. But in a stagnant or contracting industry, players are constantly fighting to hold on to their share, and you always feel under attack. Resources are limited, opportunities are few, anxiety is high and paranoia is never far away. I’ve been there before in a different industry. I used to work for newspapers.  Continue reading Why (almost) everyone in the motorcycle industry is unhappy →


Don’t forget: Monday is Ride to Work Day

Ride to Work logo

Don’t forget to ride your motorcycle to work Monday.

Don’t forget that Monday is Ride to Work Day. Personally, I think it’s a great idea to ride your motorcycle to work every day. But if you only do it sometimes, make sure Monday is one of those times.

When you’re in the minority, as motorcyclists are in the U.S. traffic stream, it’s always a good idea to remind the rest of the world you’re there. Plus, it’s more fun.


The ones that got away: Motorcycles I didn’t buy

While my experience pales in comparison to some of the guys who have been in the motorcycle writing business full-time for decades, I have had the chance, thanks to my work in the industry, to ride a lot of different motorcycles. I’ve lost count of exactly how many. But I am pretty sure the number of motorcycle brands I’ve ridden is 16. I’ve ridden singles, twins, triples, fours and a six. Chain, belt and shaft drives. American, Japanese, British, Italian, German  and Indian. Gas and electric.

Riding is one thing. Buying, however, is another. Perhaps because I’ve had the chance to borrow many bikes, I’ve bought fewer than some people who have been riding as long as I have. I’ve only owned 10 motorcycles and almost all of them were purchased used.

You can learn a lot about a rider by seeing which bikes he or she is willing to plunk down money for, but I think it’s equally telling to consider the ones we almost bought but didn’t. I have some very specific memories of motorcycles that got away.  Continue reading The ones that got away: Motorcycles I didn’t buy →


Toni Elias shakes up the MotoAmerica Superbike series

Toni Elias

Toni Elias has put the Suzuki GSX-R1000 back on top in MotoAmerica Superbike racing.

Just two rounds into the second season of MotoAmerica Superbike racing, Toni Elias has injected both an intriguing new story line and an extra level of excitement into a series that’s still struggling to come back from the hole it was left in by previous management.

None of that should be a surprise. Elias is a former world champion, the first ever to win the Moto2 championship. He is also the last rider to win a MotoGP race riding for a non-factory team, which makes him the answer to a great trivia question (he memorably beat Valentino Rossi by 0.002 seconds at Estoril in 2006). His style, slewing the bike into corners, is exciting in itself. His fierce competitiveness is evident on the track. And the smile nearly always on his face in the paddock shows he’s having a great time. It’s easy to understand why fan and media interest is high. He’s winning, he’s having fun, and he seems to be a genuinely nice guy while doing it.  Continue reading Toni Elias shakes up the MotoAmerica Superbike series →


EPA retracts statement that would have overturned Superbike racing

Yamaha Superbikes

MotoAmerica Superbikes like these Yamaha YZF-R1s would have been illegal under the interpretation the Environmental Protection Agency expressed earlier this year.

Under pressure from Congress and the car racing industry (with very little involvement from the motorcycle racing side, which would have also been affected), the Environmental Protection Agency has backed off an interpretation of emissions laws that would have made it illegal to race modified street-legal machines. In other words, all of the professional roadracing classes in MotoAmerica.  Continue reading EPA retracts statement that would have overturned Superbike racing →