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  #1  
Old 7 May 2009
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The Pro's & Con's of buying a used Overland bike - Discuss !

Digging deeper into my Africa Twin which has been around Africa (funny enough), it started me thinking about what are the pros and cons of buying a pre-prepped and "Travelled" overland bike.

I've been buying, selling , repairing and rebuilding motorbikes for the last 10 years. Professionally in the trade and privately for pleasure. I've probably owned about 30-40 bikes in the last 10 years and most of these have been "old nails" off Ebay which i've restored and sold on.

My current bike has been around Africa and as I get deaper into it, there are more and more problems caused by the previous "Overlander" owner.

Well... I thought I'd put my thoughts down on this subject as I think its pretty relevant to us all. I've bought some lemons for a lot of money and some peaches for a steal so here's what I think..

Please add your own thoughts on the matter

PROS

  • Price - You can usually pick one up for less than a standard bike and the cost of the mods. The last guy took the depreciation hit on the Touratech and Acerbis goodies. Many people bought it for 1 trip and just want rid when they get home. Overland bikes arn't appealing to 90% of the bike buying community.
  • The right bike for the job - Overland bikes are usually well researched model choices. The legwork and research has been done (Usually).
  • Modifications - Large tank, bashplates and hang guards already there. The preperation, fitting and sourcing of all your parts takes an age which someone else has already done.
  • Spares - It's not uncommon to be handed a bag full of un-used spare parts when you buy one.
  • Previous owner - Was an overlander. The vast majority of us are honest, good people with a common interest. They will usually always tell you what is good and bad with the bike. What mods have been done, what needs doing etc. Buying a dirt bike off Ebay is scary and you can easily end up with a lemon.

(Potential) CONS
  • Bodges - This is probably the worst aspect. When you're stuck out somewhere, you do whatever it takes to get going or keep going. Sprockets welded on, engine oil in the forks, things glued and ziptied together etc.
  • Incorrect parts - When you cant get genuine or quality parts, anything will do. Can be pretty dangerous putting the wrong speed rated tyres on, wrong type of chain and the wrong types of bolts in the wrong places.
  • Hard life - Overland bikes have a hard life. Sand, gravel, crashes, drops, being run on poor fuel and "alternative" lubricants
  • High Mileage - Goes without saying.
  • Lack of maintenance - Just read the technical pages on the hubb. People going 2-3 the distances on oil, valves never checked etc.
  • Paperwork - Where did this bike really come from ????????????? Travel bikes pass hand to hand around the world. Papers are often manufactured. I know this first hand . Could be a big problem if you're caught.
  • Inconsiderate owners - Many people who travel on bikes arn't bikers. They just think "Hey it would be cool to ride A to B then ditch the bike". These are the people who never change oil or care if they destroy the bike. Ride it like you stole it mentality.
Of course, Im not saying this is true of every bike. Just things to look out for which are all too common.


What are your opinions on the matter ??????
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  #2  
Old 7 May 2009
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I think all of the above is true. For me the most important down-sides of buying an ex-overlander are:

  • the lack of regular servicing (its very easy to forget when you last tensioned a chain or changed oil when you are riding 3000km a week.
  • the higher likelihood of the bike having been in a shunt (more dangerous roads and drivers).
  • the much higher rate of wear of certain components on rough roads and with poor fuel. I just changed several of the bushes in my rear sus. - the bike (an XT) has only done circa 20,000 miles. I personally think even a relatively low mileage overlander is about as worn as a UK only bike with half the mileage. Maybe even less. And you are right - overlanders don't always look after their bikes, much less know how to.
Personally I wouldn't buy an ex-overlander unless I was very sure of the seller.

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*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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  #3  
Old 7 May 2009
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When you consider the cost of shipping sometimes, buying at the destination makes a lot of sense. We considered it when going to Argentina, but not for long!!

Basically the things that put me off were not knowing the local market, prices, model choice and how bikes are maintained as a general rule.

On top of that, once you are there you have a degree of time pressure. The longer you take looking for the bike the more time on the road you loose and money you spend in one place...

Then, as said before you have the bike specific worries: how was it looked after. If an overlander, are the inevitable mods suited to you or not. People mod to meet their personal needs....

Basically, I prefered to spend quite a bit more on a bike that I could kit up to my liking and get to know at my leisure, despite the need to cover shipping there and back for that added piece of mind. I did not regret that decision.

If one knows of a reputable seller where one is going and feels confident or is happy-go-lucky and able to solve possible problems, then perhaps buying once there is a move for one to consider , but not quite for me....
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  #4  
Old 7 May 2009
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Thanks for the post Ted. A lot of good points. I'm going to be selling my bike soon and I feel like it should go to an owner that's worthy (who knows if it will happen though). If I got that same, "please take care of my baby" impression from a seller I would trust the sale more than buying from some guy who just "rode it like he stole it".
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  #5  
Old 8 May 2009
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prep

I'd say there are a lot of positive aspects to prepping the bike yourself. You don't have to be a skilled mechanic to ride overland but I think the most basic skills must be attained, and you can't beat the experience of spannering your own machine.
Some get a lot of pleasure doing their own work (myself included) despite the fact they are too tight to pay others! If you build/prep the bike yourself, you know what goes where, which tools to carry and what potential failures there may be. You get to know the feel of your bike, the sound of your bike and are soon aware of any issues.
That said, there is nothing wrong with buying a used bike, stripping it and rebuilding it to your own specs.
Ted hit the nail on the head, when buying a used 'specialised' bike, you miss the depreciation, often get many of goodies you need/want and often pick up £££'s of spares.
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  #6  
Old 8 May 2009
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Kudos to tedmagnum

Each time I read another post by tedmagnum, my respect for him increases. He has covered the bases regarding pros and cons of buying a used bike. My humble opinion is, that he is spot on.

Here is an alternative plan for overlanders with limited time and money who want to tour Argentina.

Buy A SECOND BIKE NEW... Contact a reputable Honda dealer like GENAMAX S.L.R. in Buenos Aires, (very first official Honda agency in Argentina) located at Av. Juan B. Justo 7550, Capital Federal tel/fax (from USA) 011 54 11 4671-2558 speak to Jorge Nakadakare himself, (he is an award winning Official Honda Agent) ...or his side kick Louis, for exact cost of a new dual purpose Honda NX400 Falcon in Buenos Aires. Earlier this year they were selling for $7,000 dollars US. The dual purpose Honda XR250 Tornado for less than $5,000 dollars US. Both bikes are manufactured by Honda in Brazil and therefore are sold without the heavy import taxes attached to the Honda Transalps and all the BMWs, etc.

Order the bike you want from the Honda dealer, don't forget the wind screen and cubremanos... be ready to put the $7,000 dollars on a credit card at one of two banks in Buenos Aires who will do so..., fly to Buenos Aires, secure a domicilio from the local police station near where you are staying, domocilios cost about $3 dollars US are are delivered by the police to your doorstep the next day. Take the domocilio, your passport with a valid Argentine tourist entry stamp to the local AFIP office and secure a CDI (tax # for foreigners) free, beat feet to the GENAMAX Honda dealer sign a few papers for the Gestor (one who transfers motor vehicle titles as a business) while he or she is processing your paperwork, enjoy all that Buenos Aires has to offer for 2 or 3 days....max excluding weekends...

Buy insurance, then load your gear into your soft luggage and tank bag (that you flew in with) and tour ARGENTINA until you need to stop for your 1000 K oil change and maintenance. There is an abundance of authorized Honda agencies in Argentina. Plan to do less than a year and 12,000 K so when you are ready to do the prearranged sale of your bike back to Sr. Nacandakare at GENAMAX Honda it will still be under factory warranty.

You should be able to sell for more than $5,000 dollars US, OR park your bike #2 for as long as you like in Argentina, and return home to your #1 bike. Do the math yourself and discover that buying new bike #2 might be much less expensive than shipping your bike #1.

Pay off your credit debt with the $5,000 from the sale of bike #2 and pay the interest and other $2,000 dollars off as soon as you can. OR, legally park your bike #2 in Buenos Aires, and work hard to pay it off. Then, fly back to Buenos Aires during your next vacation, take a taxi directly from the airport to your parked bike and tour some more.

Ride free....
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  #7  
Old 9 May 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xfiltrate View Post
Here is an alternative plan for overlanders with limited time and money who want to tour Argentina.
I little bit off topic here....

But anyway.....You can't leave Argentina in the first year with this scheme.. It woudn't be much of a trip unless you want to wait a year and come back or spend a year in Argentina without taking the bike out.

Plus, my friends and sources (Argentinians living in Argentina) say the sale will be difficult, slow and you won't get most of your money back.

Are you on commission from this sale ?
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Old 10 May 2009
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Interesting thread, I personally would'nt knowingly buy an ex overland bike for all the reasons mentioned above plus the fact that whilst I recognise that some mods. may be essential I prefer to keep them to a minimum. These days I think there is much to much emphasis on what you couldn't possibly do without. Standard is best, everything else is mostly extra weight.

I have bought a few off road bikes and caught a cold. Most of the problems seem to be poorly modified (simplified??) electrics and I would imagine that many a used overlander would suffer from the same sort of bodging. It always takes longer and costs more to put right than you would think.
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Old 10 May 2009
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From Spain....

Yeah, my comments related to another dynamic of buying new. But, it's your thread so will just answer your comments to me.

Please advise any of your friends who have purchased NEW "Hondas" in Buenos Aires and discovered that the "paperwork" process was slow and/or difficult that they might consider purchasing their next new Honda from a more established and capable authorized Honda deal. Obviously whoever they bought new from did not use professional jestors for the "paperwork"
(I suggested buying NEW 0 - K)

We have purchased 3 NEW Hondas, 2 NX400 and 1 XR250, the sale was done efficiently by the Honda dealer I mentioned above and absolutely no problem or time lost because of "paperwork." The "paperwork" was handled by a professional hired by the Honda dealer.

As far as the buy back, a buyback $ amount is decided upon with the dealer, prior to purchasing the new Honda. This becomes a contractual obligation as long as the buyer returns the the bike while it is still under factory warranty and with no more than normal wear and tear.

Again, please advise your friends, who have apparently lost money on similar deals, to get the buy back deal IN WRITING from the dealer before purchasing the new bike.

NO, I have no commission expected nor received for any sale of any bike, new or used.... and when asked, I simply give potential buyers of used bikes the accurate information regarding transfer of title and introduce them to a "jestor" that is also professional and has on at least 12 sales I know of, performed quickly and efficiently for a very small fee.

If the seller of a used bike does not have all the proper documentation this jestor simply advises the potential buyer (foreign tourist) to find another used bike to buy. This is a good plan because she wants to be absolutely certain the transfer of title will be processed immediately and legally. No one, I have advised, has ever had a delay for transfer of title for a bike prescreened by my suggested jestor of more than 3 working days.

I will be more than pleased to provide your Argentine friends her name so they may avoid the problems they have obviously experienced in the past.

If you have any documentation regarding a foreign tourist being able to ride an Argentine registered bike out of Argentina after having lived in Argentina 1 year, please share it with me. Please see my thread, especially my last posts regarding the issue of a foreign tourist riding his/her Argentine bike out of Argentina.

The folks who park their motorcycle with us have limited time to tour, usually less than a month. No one I know, has ever been disappointed after touring Argentina for a month on their own motorcycle.


Have your Argentine friends show you around Argentina next time you visit. It is a big country.
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  #10  
Old 10 May 2009
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Very interesting thread, as I AM seriously considering buying a used overlander.

It is an F800, new last November and with only 8500 miles on it. The way I see it the bike is still under warranty, and you can extend a BMW warranty to something mad like 60,000 miles right now for less than three hundred pounds.

It has a bunch of mods done already, and the first owner has taken the massive depreciation on it. Anything I figure I don't need I can remove and sell. I'm a very competant mechanic and don't intend to be heading outside Europe on it until next year.

For me, the risk / cost ratio seems to be about right.
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  #11  
Old 11 May 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave ett View Post
Very interesting thread, as I AM seriously considering buying a used overlander.

It is an F800, new last November and with only 8500 miles on it. The way I see it the bike is still under warranty, and you can extend a BMW warranty to something mad like 60,000 miles right now for less than three hundred pounds.

It has a bunch of mods done already, and the first owner has taken the massive depreciation on it. Anything I figure I don't need I can remove and sell. I'm a very competant mechanic and don't intend to be heading outside Europe on it until next year.

For me, the risk / cost ratio seems to be about right.
It doesn't look like it's been too far - you could run up 8500 miles in 7 months commuting to work, I used to. Check that none of the mods. void any part of the extended warranty, also don't you have to have the bike dealer serviced to keep the warranty valid.
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Old 12 May 2009
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I would say not prepping the bike yourself would be a con rather than a pro - You get to know them much better before you go with a strip and prep in the living room. My main reason for going second hand (less than 2 grand) was a brand new beemer or similar would have left me with enough petrol money to go to France and back - not exactly an adventure.

The main secondary benefits (for me) were: that there was no EFI to go wrong, just good old fixable carbs; the bike didnt look expensive - less chance of getting robbed; you can do what you want to them without worrying about voiding the warranty; more kudos of the Dutch ferry guys in Rotterdam (?); crashes cost less on old bikes so you push harder!
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