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T.J.'s Cycle - Austin, TX

Joined
Oct 15, 2017
Messages
201
Location
Brenham
Background: I've never purchased a motorcycle from a dealer before. All the ones I've purchased have been through private sales. My only dealership experience has been related to vehicles (i.e. cars). I have dealt with a few MC dealers as far as window shopping, but that has been it.

While window shopping on CycleTrader, I came across a gem of a KLR650. It was a red '07 with ~4500 miles on it. I saw it was at a motorcycle dealer, T.J.'s Cycle in Austin, so I brought it up to the wife. While usually dismissive, she gave me the okay. I called my credit union, and made all the finance arrangements with them. My credit union told me the dealer would need to submit a copy of my driver's license, insurance card, and a copy of the purchase order (a.k.a. bill of sale) to the credit union and they could take it from there.

I am working night shift at the moment, and decided to email them to see if it was in stock and to get any particulars. I received a prompt email back with all the answers to my questions. Even though I listed my phone number, they opted to continue our conversation via email since that was our primary mode of communication.

I called T.J.'s on Tuesday (10/15/2019), and asked to make an appointment to check it out. I spoke to one of the salesman, and got everything set up.

I arrived at the dealership today (10/16/2019), and saw the KLR in the parking lot with several other used bikes. I did a quick walk around, then went inside. I was met by an employee, and explained I was there to test ride a motorcycle, the KLR. She said the salesman was busy, but Tom could help me out. I signed the paperwork for a test ride, chatted with Tom for a little bit, suited up (ATGATT), and off we went. He lead and I followed. I was expecting a little quick around the block ride, but was surprised when it turned into a 10 minute test ride, including city streets and highway. Once we got back, Tom told me what he knew about the bike, he was selling it for one of his really good customers, they had recently serviced it, and it came with both factory keys. I saw there were bolts missing on one of the radiator shroud pieces, a crack on the cowling, and the right rear turn signal was burned out.

Asking price was $2999. We negotiated for a little bit, and settled on a price. I explained I had financing through my credit union, and what the credit union needed. At that point, I realized Tom was the owner of the business and not the usual salesman. Tom said his techs would go over the KLR one final time and fix the problems before I set off with it, since I was going to ride it home.

What I original thought was going to be an hour tops, turned into not quite two hours of phone calls with my credit union and faxes. I found out later from my credit union, the first set of faxes went to the wrong fax number (my mistake). The second set of faxes went to the correct number, but it only had the purchase order which was missing the mileage and not my driver's license or the insurance card. The third set of faxes had my driver's license and the purchase order with mileage but not my insurance card. The fourth set of faxes had my insurance card and another corrected purchase order because the VIN was wrong on the purchase order with the mileage listed.

Meanwhile, I am having to hunt down Tom to get questions answered and information confirmed. I understand that Tom is the owner and most likely a busy man, so I would be perfectly okay with being passed off to a salesman or assistant manager or someone that can be readily available for me when I need them. Several times I had to either ask an employee to speak with him or knock on the window to his office.

We get all the paperwork done (finally). While the paperwork was being finished, they fixed the turn signal and replaced the bolts on the radiator shroud. Factory bolts weren't used, but seeing as they are a KTM/multi-line dirt bike dealer, but it was enough to keep it secure. The right pitched bolts were used, so I can easily go back and buy the replacement bolts if I so choose.

After getting everything done, paper tag put on, I get to leave. I make it about a mile or so from the dealership, when the KLR starts to surge, sputter, and dies, while I am in the middle lane of I-35. Long story short, it ran out of gas on the main and I had to switch it to the reserve. It was pretty heartbreaking, I am not going to lie. What was supposed to be a period of excitement and elation over the purchase of a new motorcycle, wasn't. I spent the next 80 miles on the ride home worrying if something else was going to go wrong.

All in all, A-/B+ from me. I liked the email communication, so many dealers want to get you on the phone ASAP. I liked how smooth everything went right up until the point of the snafu with the constant faxes and waiting. I wasn't wanting this to take up my whole day, but it did. As I said before, part of my issue was having to hunt down Tom to get the information I needed. Another sore point for me was having the KLR die on me while the dealership was still in sight. I never called them to see what they were willing to do about it since I was able to figure out what the issue was, and I probably won't, since part of it was an assumption on my part. I don't know if it is a motorcycle dealer thing or what, but every time I've purchased a vehicle from a car dealer, I've always gotten a full tank of fuel to go with it.

Update: I wanted to let everyone know, I received my plate/registration sticker and receipt in the mail on 10/21. Jessica went to the DMV on Friday, got my registration in order, and sent it out in the mail same day.

I also realized I didn't answer an important question in my original review. Would I do business with them again? I would. It sounded like they are still working the kinks out (I wasn't aware they had moved to a new location) from moving, which any business experiences some kind of glitch when it moves like that.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 15, 2006
Messages
8,568
Location
Huntsville
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Rob
Last Name
Vaughan
Yes for sure should have at least some gas, full is better, maybe a bad over sight.
From your post you're pretty thorough, which is fine, but expect it to take longer the more you ask and request! Some of the fax issues don't seem to be the dealers fault, so time wise it all adds up!
I've bought a few bikes from them and Tom is sort of a friend and competitor when we race, always been fair to me.
Hope you enjoy your new ride.
 

kubotamiketx

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Joined
Feb 29, 2016
Messages
930
Location
Austin
First Name
Michael
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Morisoli
Sorry for your less than warm and fuzzy experience. I recently purchased a new 2018 KTM 1090 from Tom and get the feeling they are all still adjusting to the new location. I have chatted with Tom over the years and purchased various parts and gear now and again, but this is the first motorcycle purchase I have made. The first 1090 they pulled out for me to test ride wouldn't start. It was clearly a computer issue trying to get it out of the new setup mode. He asked one of his guys to grab another new one and give them a little bit to get it setup for a test ride. I grabbed lunch came back, went for the ride just as you described with Tom leading. I decided right then to buy the bike and he gave me a fair trade in for my Africa Twin with a nice discount on the KTM so I rode home on the new KTM a bit later that day.

Funny thing was a week later when I was at the KTM Adventure Rally in Breckenridge I ran into Tom in the vendor area and we had drinks that night and a nice ride the next day. Super nice guy, great stories and fun to ride with.

Oh yea, the 1090 was full when I rode it home, I even rode much of the rally on that gas since the bike only had 25 miles on when I arrived at the rally.

If you lived closer I would say just stop by and chat with Tom, but its doesn't make sense to make a special trip. Maybe a quick call to Tom would help, he seems to be a super honest guy who wants to do the right thing, but as I mentioned, I think everyone is still getting settled in the new space and unfortunately you experienced more than your share of glitches.

Best of luck with the new ride!
 
Joined
Oct 15, 2017
Messages
201
Location
Brenham
I liked Tom. He was very honest and straight with me, and was genuinely interested in helping his customers. He greeted most of the customers that walked in, and if he didn't know the answer to their questions, he directed them to someone that did. He helped me find a nice set of replacement Alpinestars gloves to replace my worn out old Icons.

I listed when the fax issues were my fault. For all I know, the paperwork could have been faxed over correctly the first time, but since I gave them the wrong fax number, it through everything off.
 

budzrex

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Joined
Apr 26, 2004
Messages
4,385
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New Braunfels Texas
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Buddy
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Slover
Yep, Tom and Brian are great folks, I was there today and bought some items I needed. They always treat me first rate even though both of my KTMs I purchased used from individuals.
I do plan on buying my next new bike from them as they have been fair, honest and they really are motorcycle people not just employees of a large powersports group looking for month end numbers. They come to several ride day and bring demo bike for people to play on wish we had more dealers like them.
 

South Tex

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Joined
Nov 10, 2017
Messages
1,155
Location
Kosciusko
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Kirk
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Shannon
Plus 1 on TJ’s. I bought a husky 701 in January and had an electrical issue about 2 days later. I sent an email to inform them and I was bringing it back the following week. About 30 minutes later I had figured out and fixed the problem (loose ground) but Tom himself had already emailed me saying just bring it back and they will make it right. That right there impressed me enough to go back 6 months later and buy a FX350 from Brian. I can’t say enough good things about that business.

Now I did haul both bikes home so fuel never came into question. In my opinion you might email them to tell what happened. Save the next guy from being in your shoes. If your gonna ride away, they could at least tell you it’s low or put a gallon in.

ps. It’s a tough reminder that klr’s don’t have fuel gauges or warning lights, but the reserve will go 20 miles in my experience. a full tank is 175’ish...
 

budzrex

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Rudy, my first thought on the fuel level is that about 85% of the bikes that leave TJs do so on the back of a truck, mostly off road bikes so its probably not always on their mind. I bet if you had asked or checked they would have filled it up.

I also bet if you put it in an email to Tom that you ran out of fuel on I35, if its not on the mechanics checklist it will be tomorrow

Do you know my buddy Keith there in Brenham?? He is a clean freak and may not let that KLR on any of his rides for fear you will want a gravel road or two thrown in
 

South Tex

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Nov 10, 2017
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1,155
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Kosciusko
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Kirk
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Shannon
Rudy, my first thought on the fuel level is that about 85% of the bikes that leave TJs do so on the back of a truck, mostly off road bikes so its probably not always on their mind. I bet if you had asked or checked they would have filled it up.

I also bet if you put it in an email to Tom that you ran out of fuel on I35, if its not on the mechanics checklist it will be tomorrow

Do you know my buddy Keith there in Brenham?? He is a clean freak and may not let that KLR on any of his rides for fear you will want a gravel road or two thrown in
agreed. I answered Tom’s email and told him I fixed the issue, but also said I’m buying a top shelf bike and don’t expect to push it home. Positive criticism is a good thing.
 

budzrex

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Apr 26, 2004
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New Braunfels Texas
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Slover
agreed. I answered Tom’s email and told him I fixed the issue, but also said I’m buying a top shelf bike and don’t expect to push it home. Positive criticism is a good thing.
Top Shelf I thought he bought a KLR :giveup:

Just kidding guys all motorcycles that let you ride are top shelf in my mind
 

South Tex

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Nov 10, 2017
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Kosciusko
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Shannon
Top Shelf I thought he bought a KLR :giveup:

Just kidding guys all motorcycles that let you ride are top shelf in my mind
I meant my 701 was top shelf. 🤪 but gotta admit I’ve owned 2 klr‘s and never pushed ‘em home.
 
Joined
Oct 15, 2017
Messages
201
Location
Brenham
Plus 1 on TJ’s. I bought a husky 701 in January and had an electrical issue about 2 days later. I sent an email to inform them and I was bringing it back the following week. About 30 minutes later I had figured out and fixed the problem (loose ground) but Tom himself had already emailed me saying just bring it back and they will make it right. That right there impressed me enough to go back 6 months later and buy a FX350 from Brian. I can’t say enough good things about that business.

Now I did haul both bikes home so fuel never came into question. In my opinion you might email them to tell what happened. Save the next guy from being in your shoes. If your gonna ride away, they could at least tell you it’s low or put a gallon in.

ps. It’s a tough reminder that klr’s don’t have fuel gauges or warning lights, but the reserve will go 20 miles in my experience. a full tank is 175’ish...
I actually got a touch over 40 miles on the reserve before I ran out of gas a second time, so not too shabby lol I made it from just outside the dealership to half a mile from the 290/21 intersection.

Based on my interactions, I'd be willing to give them another shot if they had something I was interested in again.

Rudy, my first thought on the fuel level is that about 85% of the bikes that leave TJs do so on the back of a truck, mostly off road bikes so its probably not always on their mind. I bet if you had asked or checked they would have filled it up.

I also bet if you put it in an email to Tom that you ran out of fuel on I35, if its not on the mechanics checklist it will be tomorrow

Do you know my buddy Keith there in Brenham?? He is a clean freak and may not let that KLR on any of his rides for fear you will want a gravel road or two thrown in
Usually when I buy used vehicles like that, I usually hit the first gas station I come across. I didn't think about it this time since I had gotten it from a dealer. I am chalking it up to 'it is what it is'. I am sure he would make it right if I contacted him.
 

Vec

Joined
May 13, 2018
Messages
470
Location
Kerrville, Texas
First Name
Joe
I understand, when i bought the used Harley I ride now i had cash.....and it still took 6 freakin hours...

But i made them change the front tire and fill it up.
 

cdc

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Jul 21, 2004
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Katy, TX
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Camilo
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Diaz
@Rudy - as I see it from your original post, the transaction was not 'super-smooth', but for me, two hours in-and-out, if fairly quick and agree that the low level of gas is a major oversight from the dealer. I have never visited them but from the reviews here, they seem to be fine.
Enjoy the new ride.
 
Joined
Oct 15, 2017
Messages
201
Location
Brenham
@Rudy - as I see it from your original post, the transaction was not 'super-smooth', but for me, two hours in-and-out, if fairly quick and agree that the low level of gas is a major oversight from the dealer. I have never visited them but from the reviews here, they seem to be fine.
Enjoy the new ride.
Hence why I posted I have zero experience with motorcycle dealerships. The last time I bought a car at a dealership, we were in and out in under an hour. The time before that was just over an hour. I don't know if motorcycle dealerships operate any differently, and as of now, my sample size is only 1.

I agree that they seemed to be fine, hence why I would be willing to give them another shot if they had a product I was interested in.
 
Joined
Oct 27, 2019
Messages
6
Location
Austin
I had a great experience last week with TJ’s. Went in on a Friday to see the 2019 Royal Enfield INT 650 which I had been reading and learning a lot about. Talked to Tom himself and had a great conversation. Said I’d be back on Saturday to take a test ride. When I went back I saw Tom again, set up the ride and took a short spin around the neighborhood. Got back, made the decision to purchase, and talked to Tom about the price. Paid cash so no financing - worked with Jessica on the title and other paperwork but that only took a few minutes.

I ordered a new jacket as well and had a great experience with Ariel at that department. The whole experience took 2 hours tops. Had them deliver the bike since I drove my car there, and it was in my garage by late afternoon. A great experience all around. First service is at 300 miles so I’ll be back in a few weeks - will update the post when I have something to report there.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Joined
Oct 15, 2017
Messages
201
Location
Brenham
Updated my original review with the following:

I wanted to let everyone know, I received my plate/registration sticker and receipt in the mail on 10/21. Jessica went to the DMV on Friday, got my registration in order, and sent it out in the mail same day.

I also realized I didn't answer an important question in my original review. Would I do business with them again? I would. It sounded like they are still working the kinks out (I wasn't aware they had moved to a new location) from moving, which any business experiences some kind of glitch when it moves like that.
 
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