Used Motorcycles: The Swap Meet Queens

May 22, 2013 View Comments by

Used Motorcycles: The Swap Meet QueensIf there is a hierarchy of used motorcycles, then the swap meet queen must be at the bottom of the list, just before landfill/junk yard. To be honest, I have been known to “feed” at this end of the food chain now and then, which is my way of saying “been there, done that.”

The preferred pecking list would run something like this: original owner, brand dealer, Craigslist (could be third or more owner), used motorcycle dealer, a “buddy,” swap meet, junk yard (may not have a title). Each step requires more work on your end to keep this treasure running, or to even get it started.

The thing about people selling at a swap meet is that whatever it is, it’s not their main item. They are offloading stuff they found in their garage, shed, side of the road, field, or barn. Mixed in with the bike are probably a Muncie Four speed, a blender, a set of dull steak knives, and a Scooby Doo doll that used to talk. Chances are this machine has fallen under the hands of a well-meaning but totally inept mechanic named Snake. Generally the first place “Snake” tested his talents was on the electrical system. If you see new wires, duct tape, connectors, or fuse links, run, don’t walk, away from this “amazing” deal. I would be willing to bet that you will never get this bike to run like new, ever. You would be better off trying to ride the blender. As the old saying goes: “if it’s too good to be true…”

So, before you go to the swap meet, save that money in your sock drawer for a bike you can actually “ride.” At least at that point you know it runs. Who knows, it might even get you home before it burns up. Ride on.

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About the author

A Wisconsin farm boy, I learned how to ride a cow, before a horse and way before a motorcycle. I first started riding on my 16th birthday and I took my first real ride at my party: I pulled a wheelie and dug a trench in the lawn, which sent the bike in one direction and me in another. I was irrevocably hooked!