Thursday, August 23, 2012
After receiving word the seller had the title in-hand, I realized it was time to do a little research. The first place I went was the California DMV website and the Vehicle Registration Fee Calculator for used vehicle purchases. That revealed there was $582 in back registration from when it was last registered in 1998. Apparently the owner did not pay the approximately $10 to register the bike as "Planned Nonoperation" and the consequence is almost $600, 14 years later. This was obviously pretty intimidating, but I was prepared to use it in negotiation on the price, and equally prepared to piss and moan at the DMV until they dropped the fees.
My next stop was craigslist and ebay to try and find what an appropriate price would be. Depending on condition, I found prices ranging from $750 to upwards of $4000, and this bike was definitely on the lower end of that spectrum. For some illogical reason, I still had the original price from the for sale sign in my mind, $1900. Anchor prices are definitely real. I was determined I would get out the door for that much or less, including the potential $600 in DMV fees.
I went to see the bike on August 4, 2012. It was every bit as decrepit (as my lovely wife pointed out) and spectacular as I remembered. I had to have it. My wife advised me that every single component needed TLC, and I was fine with that. I had invited a friend of mine who is a pretty avid motorcyclist, and, like my wife, he pointed out a litany of potential problems (like the world's stiffest clutch and the refusal to go into gear), but I was blinded by bike. Not to mention the fact that I was clearly meant to have this bike. Why else would I stumble upon it on one of my final walks in the neighborhood? I didn't go out looking for a motorcycle. One word: destiny. It was negotiation time.
The owner asked me to make an offer. I explained the prices I had seen online and he agreed this thing was on the lower end of the spectrum. He suggested $750 (score!), but I played it cool. I brought out my trump card of the DMV fees. The seller was quite displeased with the DMV over this and almost backed out, saying that if he gave me that big a discount it wouldn't even be worth it for him to sell it. I quickly brought him back off the ledge and offered $600 and I would deal with the DMV. We shook hands and I sent my buddy to get his truck while I went to the bank for cash.
I returned a short time later, filled out the appropriate paperwork and loaded my new motorcycle into the truck. This is when the seller started getting a little nostalgic. He was a super nice guy, and this motorcycle had played a big part in his life. He was practically saying goodby to a child. This could have a big impact on how I complete this project, given that he requested I keep him updated on the progress, and I plan to oblige. I will feel a little bad hacking up this thing that means so much to the guy.
The picture above is the bike in my garage, right where it belongs. It only took 10 months and 40+ emails when it was all said and done.
Finally, a big thanks to Eric for the use of his truck, ramp and straps. You are a life-saver.
Also, an even bigger thanks to my wife for understanding my need to have this motorcycle, despite the fact that I already have a perfectly good one. I am lucky to have a girl like her.
Next time, my adventures at the dreaded DMV.