The Trouble With Cheap Bikes

In the continuing saga of my Harley flip, and if, for some reason, you can’t remember my story from last week, then here it is: Found a cheap Harley, bought a cheap Harley, getting ready to sell a cheap Harley for more than I bought it for.

This thing is a time capsule.

24 years old and I’m the third owner. Factory everything and I have all the maintenance records since it was purchased. Build sheet, invoice, everything. The factory paint is still about 90%, the seat and the bags are worn but not torn, and even the suspect wiring from the early nineties is nowhere near as sketchy as some that I’ve seen.

It’s an easy $10,000 here on the regional level and in some markets, substantially more, and I’m into it for less than $2K. And I could damn sure use an extra $8,000.

Runs good, stops good, the blowby that I’d noticed on the first drive has gone away (I’ve put about 500 miles on it this week) and it doesn’t leak or burn oil. This thing is a survivor and what should be an easy decision to make – sell it and laugh all the way to the bank – is one of the toughest I’ve ever had.

This bike is not going to lose any value if I keep it stock and document the work I’ve done to it and just taking care of it for the next decade and riding it occasionally will mean that I have a Harley that will do something that none of the ones I’ve ever owned will do – appreciate in value.

The other factor when you start to think about owning a classic vehicle is “where do you put it” and unfortunately, I’ve got plenty of room in the shop. Since my primary ride, as you folks know, is a 1994, I’ve got the knowledge and the tools necessary to work on this pig and my big plan – buy and flip – is really backfiring on me.

The only thing wrong with this bike was deferred maintenance, and it is no longer deferred.

The other deciding factor that you often have to think about in making a decision like this is the Old Lady, and she simply stated “I don’t care one way or the other.”

So it comes down to this: I can think of a lot of reasons to not sell this bike and to keep it around. It’s never been wrecked, I have full documentation on it, and they aren’t making any more of them. At the same time, I’ve got a place to store it and it will only continue to go up in value.

At the very least, I’m going to sit on it for awhile and try to figure out what to do. There are some big rallies coming up in the coming months where I can easily get my money back, so who knows. The one thing I’ve learned about flipping Harleys? It’s like dating a fat girl – don’t do it because you never know when you’ll fall in love…

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