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Where do people find the cheap bikes?

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Sep 4, 2017
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Katy, Republic of Texas
So I have been looking around on craigslist for a sub $1000 (actually closer to $500) bike for my 15 yr old daughter to learn to ride on.
A street legal (or able to be street legal) bike, 500cc or less. Cosmetic not important, just something that works. No real preference for street, cruiser, dual sport etc.

Everything I find for <$1000 is a parts bike or "project" bike. Or no/lost title, flooded or just sketchy overall.
Maybe is it just around Houston it is like this. I have searched areas within 200 miles of me though.
I could handle something that just needs some basic work (carb work or tires or such), but not something that needs a rebuild.
Things I look at (the Rebel 250, Suzuki TU/GZ etc) are $2000+, even for 20 year old bikes.

I always hear about the great deals people find, but not sure where they find them. I don't really know where else to look besides craigslist and cycle-trader (way overpriced). Any other suggestions?

I have seen a few good deals for sale here, but at the time I was not really looking to buy, but nothing lately, is it just the time of year?

This is something of what I am looking for, just not that big.
Or should I buy this, fix and flip it :)?
 

2WheelNut

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Most people doing the Craigslist thing search for what they are selling and price it where others seem to. They don't actually research what it "should" be worth.

That being the case....if everyone seems to ask $1500 for a running bike, people start thinking theirs is worth that.

I'd suggest finding ads that are 3 weeks old or more and offering what you think they are worth. Some will ignore you but others will take it.

Having said that, a bike that runs and passes inspection is probably worth $500 minimum. If it's decent looking or capable at all, it's probably worth $800 to $1000.
 
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Frisco, TX
If you’re looking for something just for her to dip her toe in the water you could probably get some kind of Chinese scooter for $500. It’s at least let her get the feel of balancing and using the throttle. It wouldn’t be a long term option, but I don’t think anything you could get for that price would be. Once she gets comfortable in that and has a good amount of seat time you could start looking for a “real” starter bike.
 

kurt

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I don't think I've seen a street worthy bike for less than $1500 in a very long time. Most are at least $2500. They may be out there, but everything I've seen in that range needs serious parts, repairs or maintenance.
 
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Frankly, in that price range these days, your best chance may be to pick up a street-legal dirt bike with a lost title. Whatever you pay for the bike, though, factor in about $125 extra to cover the bonding fee + assorted state fees. If you have a buddy who can run the VIN first, the risk isn't really high, since that's exactly what the bonding company will do. If the bike later turns up on a stolen list, it's the bonding company's problem, not yours. Just be prepared to spend all day walking the red tape.
 

Tourmeister

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I don't think I've seen a street worthy bike for less than $1500 in a very long time. Most are at least $2500. They may be out there, but everything I've seen in that range needs serious parts, repairs or maintenance.
This! To find something under $2500 that is street legal, in any size, and not in need of serious work is pretty rare, even with crappy cosmetics. You might find a few dual sport type bikes in that range, but they will likely be too tall. I would focus on finding some kind of dirt bike in the 125-250cc range and let her learn on that. Stay OFF the streets for now. Then, if she has an aptitude for riding and likes it, you might be more inclined to spend a bit more for a decent street legal bike.
 
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Send thebigman a pm about the bike he recently got back. It's a Honda Trail 110 (I think) and he was wanting to sell it. It's street legal and he has a title for it. It's a perfect bike to learn on with the exception that it doesn't have a manual clutch.
 

h2000fb

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Crawford, TX
So I have been looking around on craigslist for a sub $1000 (actually closer to $500) bike for my 15 yr old daughter to learn to ride on.
A street legal (or able to be street legal) bike, 500cc or less. Cosmetic not important, just something that works. No real preference for street, cruiser, dual sport etc.

Everything I find for <$1000 is a parts bike or "project" bike. Or no/lost title, flooded or just sketchy overall.
Maybe is it just around Houston it is like this. I have searched areas within 200 miles of me though.
I could handle something that just needs some basic work (carb work or tires or such), but not something that needs a rebuild.
Things I look at (the Rebel 250, Suzuki TU/GZ etc) are $2000+, even for 20 year old bikes.

I always hear about the great deals people find, but not sure where they find them. I don't really know where else to look besides craigslist and cycle-trader (way overpriced). Any other suggestions?

> > > > PM sent to you < < < < <

I have seen a few good deals for sale here, but at the time I was not really looking to buy, but nothing lately, is it just the time of year?

This is something of what I am looking for, just not that big.
Or should I buy this, fix and flip it :)?
How about a Suzuki 650 Savage? I think I might know where one is with that might just fit your requirements. I believe it has between 1500-1800 miles on it. The fellow got it in trade and just put it in the garage and left it. It is nice shape, just set up for a while. I rode it down the block and it did well. I will call him tonight and check up on it.
 
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Joined
Sep 4, 2017
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184
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Katy, Republic of Texas
I'm not sure you're going to find much in that range outside of a buddy deal. With that said a couple of guys here have posted up "I want a ... and am willing to pay $..." and ended up with a deal. It's worth trying.
I guess I am looking for the buddy deal, but not from a buddy. :mrgreen:

I am still in the "just window shopping phase" right now, unless I find a really good deal.
When I get to the actual point of needing to buy, I may post up here then...

...
I'd suggest finding ads that are 3 weeks old or more and offering what you think they are worth. Some will ignore you but others will take it.
...
That is what I did when I found my Shadow. Got it for $500 less than he was asking.

Guess there is no harm is going low if I find something...

If you’re looking for something just for her to dip her toe in the water you could probably get some kind of Chinese scooter for $500. It’s at least let her get the feel of balancing and using the throttle....
I would rather not have her learn "wrong" on a scooter (don't want her getting used to grabbing the rear brake with left hand or not pulling in the clutch when stopping).
If she starts on a scooter, I would rather her stay on a scooter. Which may be an option.

Frankly, in that price range these days, your best chance may be to pick up a street-legal dirt bike with a lost title. Whatever you pay for the bike, though, factor in about $125 extra to cover the bonding fee + assorted state fees. ... Just be prepared to spend all day walking the red tape.
Don't want to mess with lost or missing titles, specifically because of the theft and extra cost issues.

That’s gotta be a scam.
I agree, same bike is listed here in Houston...

https://houston.craigslist.org/mcy/d/magna-1100cc-v65/6662633074.html

and San Antonio...

https://sanantonio.craigslist.org/mcy/d/1100cc-honda-magna-85/6662583305.html

That is something I would like...

Seems Austin has a lot more deals than Houston.

Also found this one:

https://austin.craigslist.org/mcy/d/73-honda-cb-550cc/6662666945.html

almost something I would want for myself.

How about a Suzuki 650 Savage? I think I might know where one is with that might just fit your requirements. I believe it has between 1500-1800 miles on it. The fellow got it in trade and just put it in the garage and left it. It is nice shape, just set up for a while. I rode it down the block and it did well. I will call him tonight and check up on it.
A 650 i a little bigger than what I am looking for, although the Savage does not have that much power, and is not all that heavy.
If you would PM me info if you get it, that would be great.


I will probably just wait out till we do the MSF basic course and let her decide on their bikes if she really wants to do it.

Thanks for all the input.
 
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h2000fb

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PM Sent.

This bike is like sitting on a bicycle. Skinny, light, small. About like riding a 250 Rebel.
 

RTL

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Keithville, LA
I sold a low mileage Yamaha V-Star 250 about a year ago. My wife and son learned to ride on that little bike. Very user friendly, light, not too powerful and low seat height allow shorter folks to easily reach the ground. I highly recommend this bike for true beginners, especially women.
 
Joined
Apr 25, 2007
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Austin, TX
I was effectively flipping bikes for about 2 years in Austin. Takeaways:

-If it runs at all, I put base value at around $1k. It has to be pretty rough for me to see a bike for less than that.

-Austin craigslist is cheaper for everything but dirtbikes and older japanese stuff. Those are cheaper in Dallas and Houston. There's no dirt scene here in Austin, and the older Japanese stuff is popular here amongst the hipster crowd (myself included).

-VIN checks are cheap, a bonded title is honestly minimal trouble, and if it's old enough you can Vermont title it. Especially if this is going to be a "learn to wrench" bike.

- Being in the window shopping phase is great. Hold your cards as long as you can stand it. Prices dip with the first couple of cold snaps, bottoms in about January/February. If you need something before then, look for older ads.

-Remember that nobody's prices are firm. If they are, they're not going to be fun to do business with anyway.

-Watch out for stick on carbon fiber stickers. This is the most reliable predictor of whether a bike has been abused.
 
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Whether or not the ad is otherwise legit, the only problem with the logo is that the picture got flipped. It should look like this.
 

Attachments

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Ada, OK
I have a 93 Honda 750 Nighthawk. I know, you wanted something smaller cc wise, but do the research, this thing is as smooth as silk and tame as a kitten. It was my wife's and has about 33K on it. Its been sitting for about 3 years in the back of my shop. I have not checked the fuel in it but most certainly its bad. I did drain the carbs years ago but have no idea if for sure they are okay. It will also need a battery and has a fork seal leak. I have the fork seals, the leak wasn't real bad, but enough to notice when it was last rode. It is a beautiful Honda Tahitian Blue and has no real cosmetic issues. It also has a small clear wind shield. The tires, brakes and chain are all good. The tach has never worked and seems to be a Honda defect that is repairable (broken wire inside) is someone was handy enough to take it on.

$1000 as is or $1900 running. I have a clear Oklahoma title and can send pics via email or text if you like. I even still have all of the wife's riding gear.
 
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Whether or not the ad is otherwise legit, the only problem with the logo is that the picture got flipped. It should look like this.
Right you are. The Austin Vintage Moto guys found the same picture on a couple dozen different craigslists.
 
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Heartland, Tx
Also, I think the days of really cheap bikes on CL are gone. There is no means of searching what bikes are selling for in CL only listed. In the end its only worth what someone will pay. The issues is the raising cost of new bikes. It tends to make the used ones worth more. KBB and NADA don't reflect that much.

Currently cleaning up a couple of used dirt bikes to sell for a new purchase. Hard to price what they are worth, but if what folks are asking on CL is any indication with a bit of polish, a few bucks in inexpensive cosmetic parts, and removal of aftermarket parts for separate sale I maybe able to come out nicely with the new purchase.
 

Liteitup

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Also, I think the days of really cheap bikes on CL are gone. There is no means of searching what bikes are selling for in CL only listed. In the end its only worth what someone will pay. The issues is the raising cost of new bikes. It tends to make the used ones worth more. KBB and NADA don't reflect that much.

Currently cleaning up a couple of used dirt bikes to sell for a new purchase. Hard to price what they are worth, but if what folks are asking on CL is any indication with a bit of polish, a few bucks in inexpensive cosmetic parts, and removal of aftermarket parts for separate sale I maybe able to come out nicely with the new purchase.
Buy high, sell low. That's my philosophy. Well, not my philosophy, it's my reality:doh:.
 

mitchntx

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-Austin craigslist is cheaper for everything but dirtbikes and older japanese stuff. Those are cheaper in Dallas and Houston. There's no dirt scene here in Austin, and the older Japanese stuff is popular here amongst the hipster crowd (myself included).
My daughter lives in Seattle and she keeps telling me to ship my vintage CB750 up there and it will bring top dollar. I never really considered Austin.


What I've discovered is that when it comes to selling, its all about location. I live 30 minutes SW of Ft. Worth. No one wants to be bothered with the 45 minute drive to look. They'll drive 45 minutes across the metromess ...

So my retirement dream of flipping bikes is quickly fading away.
 
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I could be wrong, Mitch, but I think people who are truly interested in a quality CB750 would drive a few miles. If they're looking for a cheap old commuter, probably not. But a CB750 is a true collectible. And it doesn't hurt its case any that, a couple of years back, Motorcyclist Magazine named it the "bike of the century" because of its impact on the industry.

Of course, it's a still 70s Honda bike, not an AC Cobra. And it's all about condition - also about ORIGINAL condition - I don't think conversions to cafe racers or choppers are worth as much. And my guess is the early years are worth more. But my perception is that a good, clean 1969-75 will go anywhere from $3000-6000.
 

2WheelNut

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I also have an 05 SV650 that needs carb work and a battery. Same story, its been sitting a long time. I'll let it go for $900.
I'll send you a PM. Have a buddy looking for a first bike for his daughter that is interested in this.

Obviously the OP has first dibs....but assume your offer is open to anyone and this might work for him.
 
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Thanks for all the info. A lot of good points and hints.
A bike is on hold for now.
Momma has said no in no uncertain terms to a bike anytime soon for her, as well as my "spare" cash is spoken for with other stuff.


I'll send you a PM. Have a buddy looking for a first bike for his daughter that is interested in this.

Obviously the OP has first dibs....but assume your offer is open to anyone and this might work for him.
Have at it.
 
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Clean title, tagged, current registration, good tires and ready to ride. $1,000 seems like a fair asking price to me. Why the quick lowball $500 offer? Yes highish miles but doesn't warrant that IMO. That's the exact thing that so many complain about and keeps them from selling on CL.

Sent from my SM-G860P using Tapatalk
 
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mitchntx

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First of all ... it's an offer. Not a disparaging comment about the person's mom.

It's a cheap bike because it's 20 years old, not a sought after model, 50K miles, well loved and a terrible rattle can paint job.
$500 is generous ...
 
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Remember that nobody's prices are firm. If they are, they're not going to be fun to do business with anyway.
It doesn't get any more fun than one person posting a firm fair price and another person showing up with that much cash and walking away with the product.

Haggling is a huge pain in the rear and is the most not fun you can have. But it has to be done which is why folks like me will intentionally mark up our price so that the buyer can come down to our firm price. This could be the reason there's no reasonably priced beaters out there, because everyone feels like they need to beat a better deal out of the seller than what they are offered.
 
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Haggling is a huge pain in the rear and is the most not fun you can have.
You know there's plenty of folks who enjoy haggling right?
Some cultures are offended if you don't haggle with them in fact. But I do think there's a right way and a wrong way to do it. For example, just emailing a lowball offer is not haggling, it's a hail Mary in case the seller is desperate.
Showing up and inspecting the bike with cash in hand, making an informed offer will usually result in good deals being done.
Just a different POV.
 
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First of all ... it's an offer. Not a disparaging comment about the person's mom.

It's a cheap bike because it's 20 years old, not a sought after model, 50K miles, well loved and a terrible rattle can paint job.
$500 is generous ...
Actually it is a sought after model by many. I wouldn't say rare, but only a few years of production and has lots going for it.

Nothing disparaging about making an offer you feel is warranted after research and inspection. Personally I'm never offended just quick to say no. But I also size up buyers beforehand so I don't waste my time.

My point in posting was to show OP that I felt bike was probably worth more than $500 and not to walk away if it ticked all his boxes otherwise.

Sent from my SM-G860P using Tapatalk
 

mitchntx

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Well, it is a two-way street ... what might be considered a "low-ball" is actually a price offered after the seller artificially jacks up the price. Works both ways.

And it's probably why one sees bikes on CL or ebay or CT stay up and for sale for weeks/months at a time. It's easy to point the finger at the BS. But if the seller creates it, it should be expected.
 
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You know there's plenty of folks who enjoy haggling right?
Some cultures are offended if you don't haggle with them in fact. But I do think there's a right way and a wrong way to do it. For example, just emailing a lowball offer is not haggling, it's a hail Mary in case the seller is desperate.
Showing up and inspecting the bike with cash in hand, making an informed offer will usually result in good deals being done.
Just a different POV.
Yea, but just because someone doesn't enjoy haggling and has a firm price doesn't mean the process won't be fun or go well.

Haggling buyers can often be the worst and the process is most assuredly not fun. Agreed on a price with a guy and offered to meet him halfway. Then he starts nipicking the bike and saying I should take this much off or that much off. Turns out, he didn't even bring the amount we'd agreed on because he expected to walk away with it for less. That was a process that was NOT fun. In fact, it's happened to me more than once that a buyer intentionally shows up without the money.

Again though, the haggling process demands that the seller jack up the price to get where he wants to be. So probably many of these bikes seen on craigslist can be had for less but are listed for more. I bet he can end up with a bike for $1K, it's just not going to be obvious and will be a process. The process could in fact end up being worse than the bonded title process, which I've done twice.
 

2WheelNut

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It's Craiglist, nobody lists for what they really need to sell it for. They always pad it.

Haggling is expected. It's how you figure out what they really want.

Or..just pay sticker if haggling upsets you. You'll be happy and the seller will be thrilled.
 

OldTLSDoug

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I just effectively haggled over my Baby Bandit, I lowered the price until it was attractive and BAM! hooked one. Bike prices can be all over the place. I have lost more than I gained selling used bikes. Buying used bikes is both a joy and a pain as well. I am with Mitch, toss him a price, see what he says. If you still want it and they say no, you can either raise your offer or walk away. Nobody should ever get butthurt over a lowball offer. I have actually had more than a fair share of them myself. It works out when the buyer and seller are both happy. I find when I share with TWT I can get a huge range of responses assessing my deal. So, I usually do my deals in private.

P1011385.jpg
 

mitchntx

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You certainly beat me up on the blue devil. I'll get it back, though, in the morning.


Another point about haggling face to face ... some of us are hours apart.

Wouldn't it be prudent to test the waters so to speak to see if we are anywhere close in price?
Burning a day and $100 in gas can get expensive just to find out.

Also, talking on the phone can give both parties some assurances about the other's integrity.

texting and email leaves a paper trail to help old, feeble minds like mine remember what it was we discussed.

So there is more to it than having fun. It's business, not a game.
 
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Haggling for items is great. Bikes, etc... I don't get offended by a low ball offer. I just say no. I might throw out what I would pay or think it worth then if they are offended buy it then so be it. They don't have to talk to me. Keep in mind its only worth what someone will pay. I expect that someone will try and chop my price if I'm on CL anyway. I just hate the haggling by text and I usually won't do it. It really depends on the price of the item and what I'm sell though. A car or bike... usually no. A household item not worth a lot I'm way more open. Maybe if the price is close I might, but generally I don't. I usually respond with" I asked what I think is fair, if you want to beat me up over price come look at and then we will talk. If you'd like to set up a time I'm open". I get that sometimes a drive is long, but if you don't want to make the effort to look at then don't expect me to make an effort to knock like 50% off the price. If Its a bike or car I won't deal much unless your standing in front of me.

I just love the CL adds " Don't bother with low ball offers" or "I know what I've got". That just means you want to much and I should move a long.

What are your thoughts on the "firm" add? Toss an offer or move on down the road?
 
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You certainly beat me up on the blue devil. I'll get it back, though, in the morning.
Another point about haggling face to face ... some of us are hours apart.

Wouldn't it be prudent to test the waters so to speak to see if we are anywhere close in price?
Burning a day and $100 in gas can get expensive just to find out.
Also, talking on the phone can give both parties some assurances about the other's integrity.

texting and email leaves a paper trail to help old, feeble minds like mine remember what it was we discussed.
So there is more to it than having fun. It's business, not a game.
Agreed, I can usually get a sense of people on the phone, and I have been known to fly a few hundred miles for a deal only on the basis of a phone call and a couple of photos.
 
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