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Back | My Sports Bike | My Old Bike | My first Touring Bike | My macho all-rounder | My Dirt Bike | My Second FJ1200 | My new bike | My Ex Bike | My New Dog | Triumph Thunderbird Sport | My next new bike

My New Dog

click to see larger image

This isn't really what you'd call a motorcycle.  It's an utter shed.  A real snotter as they say.  Yes - it looks OK in the photo (as it did on Ebay!!!!!), but it needs lots of work before I dare let anyone hire it or even see it!

I eventually got paid out for the Bandit 600 which was stolen whist on hire.  To be fair, Devitt were correct in their settlement, but you are never recompensed for the work and all the new parts you've added to a bike.  

I was itching to get hold of a replacment, and by rights should really have bought another Bandit 600 or a sensible little Divvie 600.

However, I've always liked the big trailies, and the Honda Dominator NX650 is one of the best of the genre.  They're not made anymore and have attained a bit of a cult status.

I'd already missed out on 3 similar Dommies on Ebay, and didn't want to let this one go.  I put in a sensible bid, and was pleased to win the item.

Friends of mine have bought some excellent bikes through Ebay, but for me, this was my first purchase of a vehicle on Ebay.  Generally, sellers are painfully honest about the condition of what they are selling, and include descriptions and photos of all defects.  Obviously you are buying unseen unless you live close enough to be able to visit and inspect before bidding.   This is why an accurate and truthful description is very important in an Internet sale.  As Ebay says, you are bidding to buy, not to go and view.  Once you've placed a bid, you are supposedly under contract to go through with the purchase.

This bike has been a bit of a disaster, and it's put me right off using Ebay ever again for anything other than cheap items.  I blame myself partly for not asking enough questions over the phone. Essex Boy's definition of "sound bike" and "good" and "OK mate, you'll have no trouble with this one" vary enormously to what I consider to be a sound bike.  If this had been a normal purchase, I would simply have walked away from it as soon as the seller opened his garage door.  But what could I do?  I was contracted to buy it and in fact, I'd already paid up front, in full, as a gesture of goodwill.


I now believe this bike is only worth about half what I paid for it.  But, as a mate of my old man used to say, "Experience has to be bought, so long as it's not bought too dear".  It's not the money particularly - I'd happily have paid quite a bit more - but for a GOOD ONE to start with.  Not this old dog.


Lesson to myself - in future, in the unlikely event I will buy a bike via Ebay ever again; only buy local, so you can go and view first.  Note - definition of "Good" varies enormously between individuals.  If you really must buy a bike unseen, get a piece of paper, and note down the answers to these questions one by one.  Starting from the front, ask seller....


Front mudguard - is it cracked or damaged in any way whatseover?  YES or NO

Front wheel rim - is it buckled, marked, chipped or corroded in anyway? YES or NO

Spokes - look at them - is any one of them missing, bent, loose or rusty?  YES or NO

etc. etc - you get the picture - go through the whole bike.  An honest person should list any defects for you, but if they somehow fail to see the defects in the pile of junk they are selling - this checklist approach is the only way. Take cash along to buy - if the bike doesn't match your agreed checklist, walk away or re-negotiate on price.  Easy to say that now isn't it?


I wondered why the guy was being so "nice" to me.  He taxed it for 6 months and even gave me a rucksac to carry my stuff home in.  Cheap items, compared to the hundreds over the odds that I had paid him.


If you really want to read my tale of woe, here it is.  This is what I have to attend to to get back to square one, and build the bike I thought I was buying in the first place.


The most obvious damage was the tank and fairing panel, right hand side.  Obvious crash damage, which should have been mentioned on the Ebay advert and during my phone calls to enquire about the bike.  (seller passed this off as something extremely trivial – a little “ding”, almost insignificant.  Not to me it’s not.)


Every single panel on the RHS is broken, scuffed or cracked. (some minor cracks on left side also)

Front mudguard also cracked. (some plastics repaired / replaced now)


Brakes binding (I suspect seized calipers – need to be stripped, freed off, and cleaned).   Stripped and new pistons & seals now fitted.


Front and rear brake disks, both worn.  (Both replaced now)


Engine a little rattly and has erratic tickover, I sincerely hope it’s just valve clearances needing attention, as the supposed low mileage engine is the only saving grace on this bike.


I was told that both tyres were good – in fact the front is OK, rear is a pretty low, just legal.  Way too much air in front tyre, not enough in back.  (new TKC 80s fitted)


All fairing panels, ill-fitting, loose and rattling, and many fasteners missing.


Every bolt head or fastener rusty, and rusty foot pegs etc. indicating general neglect


Front spokes rusty.  Silencers rusty. Split, damaged foot pegs and rubbers.  (wheels replaced)


Engine lacquer is bubbling up or flaking off in many places.


Both alloy wheel rims are corroded and messy, (need replacing) Gold anodising coming off – again, total lack of care and maintenance.


Clutch badly adjusted – no play at lever. (fixed in 30 seconds – indication of no care)


Drive chain way too tight. (new chain & sprockets fitted)


Engine oil black and thin – not been changed for donkeys years.


Seller pointed out newly recovered seat, new Renthal bars and new brake pads – I understood this to mean these were benefits over and above a good standard bike – in fact they’re about the only good things on the bike.


Overall the bike is tatty and unloved.  New rear indicators, new bars, damage all down RHS, loose, poorly assembled fairing panels suggest a crash and poor quality repair.


Sump guard, disk guard and lots of bolt on bits not attached.  Why not?

 No doubt fixing bolts missing as well.  No mirrors.


The supposed low mileage of 15,400 is becoming hard to believe. (my old FJ1200 is same age and has nearly 80,000 miles on the clock – it’s immaculate compared to this old dog)


The whole bike screams out “NEGLECT”.  


A that’s just on first inspection. No doubt more horrors will emerge when I look closely.


(Yes - on stripping off the plastic parts, I find virtually every single lug or mounting point is broken off.  No wonder all the panels were loose! Oh, and some bits were screwed on with woodscrews.  This bike certainly had some tosser of an owner in the past.)


To do it right, it needs….


Full service.  Done

Rebuilt or new wheels.   Done

Ideally, ALL new plastics and transfers.   

Mirrors and a rear rack.   Done

New rear tyre.    New pair fitted

Engine relaquered and rusty bits touched up.

Probably new chain & sprockets as well. (Done)


£600 - £800 would see it perfect,  but less money in total would have bought a perfect bike to start with!


Even my mates are twisting the knife...


"I know this isn’t going to help Bill - but it’s a f*cking dog mate! My CR250 has done the Weston beach race, the Dawn to Dusk 12 hour, and numerous trails and enduro events and it’s in far better nick than that. 15,000 miles my arse, the old owner deserves more than negative feedback - a slap for starters!..

Can’t Ebay do anything about this?"


It will be a nice bike again, when I've finished with it.  I won't let this beat me.  I have learnt from this experience.  I am a wiser man now, and very wary of Ebay.

Went Live : Fri 14th November 2008
Author : Bill
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