By Bruce Mike
Working for this fine publication has allowed me to ride a lot of different bikes and I now own two of the bikes I have ridden. My obsession with motorcycles is the reason why I can be found talking about them at least twice a day. Because I’m always talking about bikes, I’ve developed relationships with people who sell, service and even build motorcycles. These relationships have given me opportunities to purchase bikes I may not have otherwise bought.
So after returning from Utah last month I started wheeling and dealing my way into the Ural pictured above. I told my wife I would get rid of three bikes that were in the garage to make room for the Ural. The three bikes that moved on were, a Yamaha XT225 (The Goat), a Honda CRF 250L and a 1972 Harley-Davidson Ironhead Chopper. I don’t get emotionally attached to bikes so it wasn’t difficult to send them on their way.
I accepted a long time ago that making a profit on bikes I own is not going to happen. What’s more important is that when the deal is done, everybody is happy. The XT went to my nephew in exchange for labor on my truck and a Sportster he is hot-rodding for me. This is a bike he will use. He knows the bike inside and out because he has pretty much rebuilt it from the ground up. The only thing he has not had to touch is the motor. This deal worked out great for both of us and I took my first step to getting the Ural.
I had tried selling the chopper and Honda on Craig’s List but was unsuccessful. Mostly because I have little patience for Craig’s List buyers. I decided to call Dell Zehm at St. Croix Harley-Davidson. He had told me at the International Motorcycle Show that he would consider taking the chopper as a trade-in on a Ural. Not only did he take the chopper but he took the Honda as well. Dell is a great guy and I trust him. I also never would have met him if it wasn’t for MMM. This was a deal where I walked away happy and I believe Dell will have a better chance of finding a new home for the chopper than I did.
These are the kind of deals I like. I will not hesitate to buy a used car from a friend. I especially like it when they are going to trade it in and I can buy it for trade-in value plus the sales tax. I’ve done this a few times and everybody comes away happy. There is sometimes concern from the seller about coming back to them if something goes wrong but I assure them that I don’t work that way. Half the reason I’m making the purchase is because of who they are and I know they cared for their vehicle.
A few years ago I was involved in a three bike deal where I ended up with a KLR 250 with a storied past. Everyone involved in the deal came away happy. That KLR was then sold to another friend who it ignited a passion for riding that I don’t think he even expected. He is now a devoted Kawasaki rider who can’t get enough off-road riding. His goal of a Baja 1000 was born out of that ‘86 KLR 250. He has since moved that bike on to another of my nephews who will continue it’s story. This is not a unique sequence of events in my circle of motorcycling friends but it is one of my favorites.
A great friend, who I have been involved with on a couple of vehicle and bike deals, put together one of the best deals ever. He traded two motorcycles and a truck straight-up for a much newer truck. Nothing exchanged hands but titles. It’s all about trust and faith in decent people. I think the world would be a better place if more deals would be made like this. Ride safe and don’t bump your head.