Sunday, April 24, 2011

ADVentures in Motorcycle Shopping

For a year or more I’ve been giving thought to adding a dual sport to my garage. It seems every summer I find myself on roads, or avoiding roads, that no self respecting K bike should be on.
Sandwich Notch Rd

And I’ve been hanging out with those ADV type people and their dual sport bikes.
ADV Maine 066

For a variety of reasons I decided to make it happen this year. I had a budget in mind, I lined up the finances, I started learning about the market, pinpointing the year, model, and mileage for my budget, elicited friends opinions, even put down some money.
The deal for this R1100GS did not feel right, and I moved on.
Seattle R11

I poured over hundreds of ads on Craig’s List, BMW MOA Flea Market, ADVenture Rider’s Flea Market, my BMW dealer's inventory, and eBay. I made a spreadsheet, I assessed priorities…I found some more money for the budget, and I just about started over. Over the course of 6 weeks, I moved my search from an R1100GS, to R1150GS and landed at R1200GS. Sometimes you just have to decide to spend your money.

In between all this, I was buying a car for Lisa! Ok two cars. I shopped for 3 weeks before finding her a 2000 Audi A4; a nice little starter car, under 4K.

It lasted 10 days. Lisa was caught driving while inexperienced…and made a mistaken left turn into a Saab. Leaving the Saab hurt, and the Audi, technically totaled.

Totaled Audi A4
So after a 2 week respite from car shopping, I was back at it; the bike shopping on hold. My insurance company, Amica, had a check in my hand in 4 days!
What a pile of crap I was seeing in the 4K car range. I reluctantly considered moving some of the bike budget to the car budget. My willingness to do this caused me to look at an eBay auction for an Audi A6. A crazy nice car for the kid. I put a watch on the car and had pretty much forgotten about it when I got a “4 hours until this auction is over” notice on it. The car was sitting at $4,200. Examining the completed auctions for this model/mileage, I could not find anything under 6K. I decided to go for it. I put in a bid near 5K. The car was a trade in at a BMW dealer, I felt there was a better chance that it had come from a loving home, and the dealer was not going to be pawning off a lemon. The 118,000 miles was low for a 2000. The 6 speed manual, was attractive to me, because I think the kid needs to learn a stick, but probably helped keep more bidders away.
Lisa and I sat in front of the screen and watched the auction tick down until I was the proud owner of a $4,400, 250hp Audi A6. My bike budget intact

Back to bike shopping. Somewhere in all of this I had thought a lot about taking a road trip to pick up the bike. This all started when my friend in the Seattle area turned me on to an R1100GS. My road trip gene kicked in. But that all fizzled when the A4 was totaled. Still a road trip was in the back of my mind, but due to timing, a West coast epic journey was out. Maybe something less epic? The wider you’re willing to cast your shopping net, the better your chances of landing just the bike you want and a bargain price. I made an offer on a beautiful 1150GS, it was rejected. I started watching an ’05 R12GS, I asked the seller lots of questions. I was ready to pull the trigger on this one. It was navy blue, as my friends pointed out, I needed a blue bike. The day before the auction was to end, I made one more pass through the flea market circuit.
And what before my eyes should appear but an Ocean Blue R12..the color I really want. And it’s located in Birmingham, AL, just 4 hours south of the Navy bike in Knoxville.
It’s stunning and well geared up, a good 25K miles on it.
2005 R1200GS
The owner has had plenty of inquiries but no one ready to pull the trigger. It’s completely in my price range. I don’t have to’s the bike I want. I make him an offer, if he’s willing to accept it, I will send him a deposit ASAP.
I shoot. I score. He accepts the offer.
2005 R1200GS

Next up, road trip to Birmingham.

Lessons learned: Know what you want, know what the market is for what you want, and be ready to pull the trigger.

My last bike buying road trip - Picking up the K12GT in Cleveland, Aug. 2005.
I Won it on Ebay


fish said...

Well done! Congrats!

Ronman said...

Congratulations on the new ride ma'am. What an epic adventure it's been. I see right now that you take your shopping serious. Perhaps you could start a career as a buyer for people. I know you'll love the bike. I keep thinking of someday adding such a bike to my garage as well.


redlegsrides said...

Congrats Gail, that's a fine looking GS!

Low Buck Rider said...

I have enjoyed the fallowing this saga as it has unfolded and look forward to the pics of the ride home. The deal on the second Audi was great! Lisa will really enjoy the stick once she gets use to it, just hope she does't become to much of a Rickie Racer. Living is So. Ca. we are spoiled with the glut of used vehicles to choose from. The idea of an out of the area purchase is kind of foreign. The down side, our prices seem to be higher.

Now when are we going to see you on the Battle Scooter section of ADV?

Guido said...

This is awesome! Beautiful bike with very useful accessories. The cases are cavernous, the engine guards can come in handy - you'll love it!

RichardM said...

I hope that your daughter is okay. An experience like that early in their driving career may be good lesson. The GS looks wonderful. It comes fully outfitted for long trips?

Glen Sansoucie said...

I didn't realize it had spoked wheels too. You got a heck of a deal here.

Roger said...

Awesome right up and so try about buying bikes and cars, do your homewaork is the key. Looking forward to hearing of your adventures.

Paul Encarnación said...

Nice job Gail, congratulations and good luck on the road trip.

Sulu said...

My sister had an accident, rear ender, the day after she got her license. No real damage to the other vehicle. It almost totaled our car.

That was 34 years ago and she hasn't had a single bump since. Your daughter will be fine. And, knowing how to use a manual transmission is a great skill to have.

Congrats on the bike as well.

irondad said...

Here's hoping your adventures are as satifsying as the purchase!

Of course, you do realize that there are more bragging rights to going offroad with a full street bike, don't you? I'm talking about doing it on purpose, of course. :)

EddyQ said...

You sure are a great shopper. I'd never find deals like that. Can I consult you next time I'm shopping?

I too am interested in getting back to riding some dirt. Not sure I want the weight of a GS though. Your GS is about as nice as I have ever seen. I'm certain you will have some fun with it.

GF said...

I hope your daughter is fine, cars can be replaced. Let that be a learning experience. Congratulations on the new bike, beautiful bike you bought, now join "ADVrider" and start posting your new adventures off road, I'm there already, look up "Goldie05". I'm still waiting for my new Yamaha Tenere, now it's delayed because of the earthquake and tsunami :-(

EddyQ said...

Birmingham has had really bad storms (tornados) Wedneday. Please have a safe ride!

Unknown said...

Your daughter's "accident" will server her well. Glad she's alright! Wish I'd had your sense of bargain hunting about 30 years ago - Informative post.