While it’s never been easier to buy a bike from your laptop or mobile phone, the challenge is always finding something worthwhile at the right price. But it’s still possible. Here’s a tale about a cheapie Yamaha Fazer 600 that I bought a few years back.
Keeping the options open.
Having set my sights on a run-around I set my eyes to work. I knew what I didn’t want to buy, so my possibilities were varied. I’m not a fan of single or twin cylinder bikes, so that helped narrow the field.
Next up, anything too sporty or too off road inspired, to be fair any ‘Long Way Down’ inspired bikes were already eliminated in the engine configuration round anyway. Like a bad game of Top Trumps my hand had fewer options.
A few contenders quickly went into my watched items on eBay. And they were all predictably familiar faces. A Honda VFR750 would have been ideal, but the few I watched all made more than I wanted to pay. Bugger.
A baboon’s arse Suzuki GSXF600 held my attention for longer than it should have, probably due to the handy top box offered with it. And yes, I did just admit to admiring a practical bit of luggage – after all I need a city bike, capable of a bit of motorway munching and the ability to blend in to the urban surroundings.
So why I then started to consider a Honda Fireblade of RRT vintage is still a mystery. I was very tempted, but then thought of that cramped riding position and its appeal to sticky fingered bike rippers. So far, so bad.
With no CBR1000Fs around I started looking at early ZZR1100s, an entertaining exchange of questions and answers almost lead to buying one, before I remembered it would be a pile of festering rust. Thankfully my cheeky bid was rejected by the seller, allowing me to walk away from the best deal I hadn’t done for a while.
Then when I was just getting bored of looking I found the one!
So often the bridesmaid and never the missus, a Yamaha Fazer 600 appeared on the bay! It was also local, and fairly priced. So I mailed him and bid him down a few hundred quid. The virtual tyre kick worked, a brief phone call and the listing was ended, I’d found myself a scoot, I just had to collect it!
I arrived earlier than our agreed time so I could be sure matey hadn’t warmed up the bike. It’s good to hear an engine from stone cold – it’s a habit from days gone by which has served me well. But before that, he smiled and pulled back the bike cover so I could see my prize.
Yamaha aren’t really known for build quality, so I was happy to see it wasn’t a heap of festering metal. It’s not mint, but it’s accurately described as ‘honest’. The original black paintwork is actually quite tidy for a 15-year-old bike. And even the exposed engine is in good order.
I nodded politely as the soon-to-be-previous owner talked about the Fazer – I’d already done a passable Robocop impersonation, sized everything up in 10 seconds, and just wanted to cough up my cash and get going.
But manners did pay off when I eventually left complete with a top box full of spares! Heading for the M4, the fruity exhaust note started to become a bit annoying – I was never a big fan of Micron exhausts. A standard silencer came with the bike, but I’m worried that putting it back on will prove I really am getting old.
The new double bubble dark screen in the spares haul won’t be fitted. Instead of going on my bike it will go on eBay to recoup some cash! I can confirm the fuel gauge works, and there’s something that makes me smile about buying a motorcycle complete with a fuel tank of fuel.
The heavens decide to soak me on my first Fazer trip, but luckily 10 miles later I may be soaked, but I’m also back indoors at home. And I’m pleased with the good first impressions. An aggravating rattle was quickly traced to a badly fitting front indicator, and despite being a bit ugly, the top box is going to stay!
After a bit of a run-around I’d found a run-around!
The Fazer proved to be a good purchase, for several months I did nothing more than feed it unleaded and adjust the chain once. We parted company the same way that I’d found it, a free ad on Gumtree that I placed got lots of enquires, and the first bloke to get his arse in gear and show up paid £50 less than my asking price.
I turned a reasonable profit, and had use of the Fazer 600 for free!
Budget biking can be fun, try it, you might just like it.