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Discussion Starter #1
I'm in the process of buying an '03 KLR from a local dealership. It's the first bike I've owned in over 20 years. First off, my situation is a little unusual. I recently had surgery on my right shoulder to repair a torn Rotator cuff (April 29). Due to the unusually tall bike combined with me being off a bike for so long, and my arm still too tender to do anything on the bike except to make a right turn, I really can't even ride it yet. The bike is in a town about 35 miles away. I had a brainstorm to talk to a few of my buddies who are seasoned bike riders and ask them to stop in and give that KLR a test ride and give me an opinion on it. That's when I found out this dealership does not allow test rides. You can only ride the bike AFTER you pay for it and all the paperwork is done. That's no problem with a new bike, but it concerns me a little about a 13-year-old bike. This dealer has been in business for over 30 years, and I've never heard anything bad about them, which is why I'm taking a chance with them. They won't even give me a glowing, "This is a solid bike." or at least "We believe this is a pretty sound bike", or better yet, "We know the past owner and he takes care of his bikes." Is this a standard practice for motorcycle dealers?
 

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Never heard of such a practice myself. You would think they had more to loose letting you test drive a new bike. Maybe it has something to do with their insurance. To me for a used bike, if I can't try it, I don't buy it, simple as that, dealer or private.
 

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Well, the first problem is you are in Oklahoma, :) kidding. My dealership I bought from let me ride it and the previous owner traded it in for a Africa Twin, and had bought the bike from them. same company has been in business for 32 years.

No ride, no buy, best practice, good luck
 

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Some dealerships allow test rides, some do not.

As mentioned above, could be a liability insurance issue.

Regardless, their dealership, their policy. And . . . as an automobile painter once told me, regarding his deposit policy: "Every policy I have has someone's name on it."

Meaning . . . , well . . . you know.
 

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Back in '01, they let me ride the Harley ('96) around the lot and down the
back road and back to the shop. They copied my license and held my
keys while I rode.

This decade anymore it seems, "Do ya want it or not?" type of indifference
on part of the sales droid. There are good one's out there who discuss the bike when
it's traded in and the sales (non-droid) person researches some of the main
features and selling points. They want to make a sale and are much more willing
to convince the mgr you should drive it.

I don't really know dealership policies with liability issues n' such.

I just bought my KLR and drove it home. No demo that I could see of anything
there. (One or two by the door with 80 miles on them.) Dunno the rules on used nor
consignments either.

I think a good salesman should be sought out if things aren't feeling right.
At least someone willing to give answers.
 

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I worked on the sales floor of a dealership for a spell. We didn't allow test rides of sport bikes, new or used. Anything else was fair game. It was insurance rules and there were a bunch of other things that came along with it, like a liability waiver and rules about what the potential buyer was wearing, blah, blah. On the sportbikes, the deal was buy it and bring it back with under 10 miles and we'd cancel the deal.
 

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Some do some don't. I went to look at an Africa Twin a few weeks ago, one dealer said I could test ride, the other said no way. Hummmmm.....which dealer will I be buying from?
 

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I bought my KLR from a auto pawn shop.
They didn't allow test drives of motorcycles since a test drive went bad a number of years back. They did, in writing say you have 24hrs to bring a bike back.

I have no regrets...

Gordon
 

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In lieu of personally test riding / piloting the motorcycle or whatever vehicle we might wish to purchase in a case like this, surely a dealership employee could take you and/or your knowledgeable buddy for a ride.

If they have control issues because of poor running, failing clutch cable, notchy steering bearings or what ever, you as the passenger should be able to feel it. The extra weight of a passenger will exaggerate any faults.

If the 'guest' ride goes smooth I'd say you are 'Good to Go'!

I've 'guest ridden' a few over the years for lack of proper license.
 

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An interesting topic! Quite honestly, of all the bikes I've had over the years I haven't test ridden a single one before purchase! I (luckily probably) never got burned on any of them, and the only one that kind of surprised me handling wise was my old Wing.

Edit: Crap, just remembered, I did actually get burned on one! I bought a VT500 Ascot at an auction. It looked decent enough but when I got it home and took it for a spin it handled funny. Couldn't figure out what was up so I took it to a Honda shop to get checked, found out that pretty much anything that could be bent on the front end was! Funny part though, it looked fine!
 

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I owned a Honda/Yamaha dealership from 1999-2005.

The Garage Keepers insurance policy we carried covered "All Owned Vehicles".

If the Dealer won't allow you to test ride a bike, ask to have the salesperson accompany you. If still no, look elsewhere.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I bought the bike and already brought it home and rode it around a little. It seems to be a good solid bike. While there is also an independent bike dealer in this town (I checked with him and he didn't have any bikes like I was looking for), this is the only name brand motorcycle dealer within a hundred miles of me. I think he is a reputable dealer with overly stringent rules.
 

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I've test ridden most bikes I've purchased from a dealer, including brand new ones. For private sales, when I sell a bike, I let them start it and look at it all they want; if they want to buy it, they pay me and then take it for a test ride; if anything doesn't work as it should, I check it to confirm and give them there money back.....haven't had to do that yet.

This policy saved me once; sold a Honda Interceptor and the guy asked for a test ride. I told him he could test it all he wanted after I had the money......he crashed the bike at the first stop sign about a mile from my house.

Dave
 

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I told him he could test it all he wanted after I had the money......he crashed the bike at the first stop sign about a mile from my house.
Good call. I took a large deposit before I let a guy test ride the only bike I've ever sold. It was about half of what I was asking. Luckily he didn't crash it and ended up buying it right after his test ride.
 

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Personally I wouldn't buy without a test drive. I have ridden different KLRs with completely different "feels." Some newer ones ride like they were beaten to death, while some older ones feel crisp and snappy. With such variation you have to drive to know if you like it. Hard to believe the dealership can stay in business.
 

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When we purchased the little Suzuki DR200SE for Mrs. Acid, I took it for a test ride - however I also handed the bike's owner the keys to my 2004 Ram2500 4x4 before I geared up for the ride.

I figured that would be an adequate "deposit".
 
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