What I do not need are any more projects. That’s what the sane me says. The less sane me says, “I wonder what new projects there are out there that might be fun?” And since the less sane me seems to be mostly in control these days, I spend an inordinate amount of time perusing used motorcycle ads looking for anything interesting. Collectible 60s and 70s bikes like vintage British iron or early Honda 750s are priced right out of my budget zone, but there’s lots of other neat stuff out there. I always wanted to do a vintage Gold Wing café build. Or perhaps resurrect an old Honda CB350 like the one I used to own, although they are becoming scarce as well.
What I have noticed more this year than previous is the number of ads for mid-project bikes, partial basket cases that “Ran good before disassembling”. The owner got bored, lost interest, or discovered how much it would cost to rebuild and so wants to unload the lot for about the same price that I MIGHT pay for it if it was complete and running. Sorry, but if it’s disassembled I will assume it did not “ran good” and will also assume the worst in terms of cost to restore. Which makes your disassembled bike worth about as much as you’d get from a recycler for the metal content.
My other favourite is “no papers, bill of sale only”. It’s getting near impossible to get a bike with no ownership registered in Ontario. (It’s a stupid policy, worthy of its own rant.) Days gone by it was a simple process of swearing an affidavit and you were good to go. Now you need to prove you searched for the last registered owner, purchased the bike legally, prove it hasn’t been reported stolen, and find a sympathetic ear at the license bureau. And then, maybe, just maybe, you’ll get ownership. In fact it’s become such a PITA that no one I know will buy a bike without the proper paperwork, unless it’s strictly for parts. And a parts-only bike is worth a fraction of the value of the same vehicle with full documentation. See metal recycler comment above.
So, want to get top dollar for your HondaYamaZuki? Make sure it’s running and you have the necessary paperwork. Otherwise my lowball offer might be the best deal you’re going to get.