Avoid Test-Ride Theft or Damage

Avoid this problem with a 10-minute buyback contract

Test-riding a used motorcycle is sort of a dicey deal. The potential buyer needs to do it, and the seller needs to avoid it. We have heard horror stories from plenty of would-be sellers who have lost their bikes to test riders, either through crashes or, more commonly, theft. One reader told us about a guy who left "his" truck and girlfriend as collateral while he rode the bike. It turned out that the truck was stolen and he'd just met the girl at a party. The seller even had to give her a ride home.

pre-owned motorcycle insurance with 10-minute buyback contract
Avoid being the seller who gets their motorcycle stolen or damaged with a 10-minute buyback contract.Illustration by Doug Fraser

One solution to this is to meet in a public place where the deal and transaction will be made. A bank is a good location, because any financial issues can also be attended to, and there are usually notaries available to sign any papers. Include as part of the sales deal a contract that says the seller will agree to buy back the motorcycle during first 10 minutes after the sale if the buyer is dissatisfied with it (and hasn’t crashed it). You need to settle on how it’s insured, and the buyer may want to bring a friend who makes sure the seller doesn’t disappear the moment the buyer turns the corner on the bike, or have a third party hold the papers and the money.

The contract can be longer or shorter, but 10 minutes should be ample time for the buyer to be sure the bike's basically sound.