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Sunday, August 24, 2008

How NOT to sell a Royal Enfield

There is a picture on Ebay now that shows the Royal Enfield Bullet being advertised with a big pan of oil underneath it. Probably the owner was just in the process of changing the oil when he shot the picture, but the impression given is that the bike is a terrible leaker.

Ebay ads are expensive. Why would some sellers seem to go out of their way to make their motorcycles unattractive?

This same ad includes two more pictures that do the motorcycle no favors. One shows the bike virtually buried in a very dark, cluttered garage. My garage is overstuffed, too, but when I sell a motorcycle I roll it outside and display it on the lawn to put it literally in the best light.

Showing the motorcycle jammed in a garage makes the reader wonder how often it gets exercised and whether things have been stored on top of it.

A third photo is a close up of the motor, with rust visible on the barrel. A dab of black paint is all it would have taken to dress this up.

The seller's description of the motorcycle further highlights the bad news:

"I am the second owner of this bike. The previous owner stored it outside and did not do much up-keep… Recently, I had the piston and the head replaced, due to damage. The only thing this bike now requires is a throttle adjustment and maybe a carb cleaning, It does leak a bit of fuel from the carb bowl (maybe a new gasket is needed)."

"P.S.: I have also lowered the reserve price so please bid."

The P.S. probably will not move many people to bid. Many will be scared off by the reference to a careless previous owner. If all the bike now needs is an adjustment, a carb cleaning and a small gasket, why not do those simple, cheap things and mention the recent maintenance as a selling point?

I don't mean to make fun of this seller. And he may get a buyer. A couple of years ago a motorcycle was advertised on Ebay that had been parked leaned up against a tree. Over decades, the tree had grown up and had swallowed much of the bike. The motorcycle was shown, swallowed by the tree, which would have to be cut down to reach whatever was left inside.

There was active bidding for it.

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