Please help me make a decision about my motorcycle
September 12, 2013 8:03 PM Subscribe
I made what I believe was a mistake in purchasing a used (90s) cruiser motorcycle on CL. It starts very inconsistently and frequently dies at stoplights. I need help determining the best course of action.
posted by xiaolongbao to travel & transportation (14 answers total)
My latest experience with this bike (I've had it for going on 1 year and not really ridden AT ALL due to the general feeling of being ill-at-ease riding it, given its behavior) was driving it about 20 blocks, with it dying it almost every stoplight, then parking it, getting groceries, and coming out to find it would not start. I took out the (new as of last October, tended over the winter) battery and charged it overnight, since I ran it down trying to start it, and when I put it back in, the bike still wouldn't start (turns over but doesn't catch). This is a familiar tune for this bike. Other behavior: engine seems to race at idle (stoplights). I have asked on forums specific to this bike for help and they have been as helpful as is possible for people who are not there in person. But the bike continues to behave badly despite my attempts at troubleshooting.
I am a 'novice' mechanic with no workspace (other than NYC streets) and frankly the bike has been depressing to own for a beginner rider. I have had it serviced 2x and each time the mechanic (2 different ones) said that the bike was 1) fine (didn't go back there) or 2) has a faulty starter switch and that I can look on eBay but has a 'solid engine' and I will 'enjoy it for a long time'. I don't have any friends riding bikes to plead with for help getting the real deal on what's going on with this bike.
I paid $1,000 for the bike. I probably got ripped off, I should have known that the seller was hiding problems (8-year-old tires which I replaced, battery secured by a zip-tie & turned the wrong way, semi-working starter switch all never mentioned, seller told me it was fine to ride away) but I'm beyond that, lesson learned and my fault for not taking a mechanic. At this point it is not about the money, it's more very sad feeling that I have 'failed' with this bike and not wanting to end my motorcycling experience so soon.
What should I do with this bike? Keep it and continue to try to figure out what's going on (I have the Clymer Manual, standard tools, and guide to Motorcycle Maintenance)? It's getting wearisome to move a nonfunctional bike for alternate side parking 4x a week. Should I be completely honest about its condition and sell it on craigslist? What should I ask for it, given the information above (plus it has a dent in the tank and rust on the body but not in the tank)? Should I just donate it to charity? I don't want to saddle another new rider with this disappointing bike. The title is clean.
I'm honestly paralyzed by this decision as I really, really want to own and ride a motorcycle, I seem to be a good enough rider based on my courses/lessons and limited riding experience, but this bike frustrates me and I am afraid of being stranded with it somewhere on the side of the road, especially on a ride longer than 30 minutes. Am I approaching this wrongly - have I simply not tried hard enough to fix it? Do I sound as though I am not cut out for motorcycle ownership, or do I stand a chance with a brand new bike?