Saturday, February 24, 2018

Royal Enfields for sale in the U.S.; but not ALL of them

This blog lists Royal Enfields I find for sale on eBay and CraigsList in the United States. But I don't list them all.

In some cases the ads strike me as suspect. Royal Enfield models may be misidentified in the ads, or claims are made that the motorcycle in question could never match.

In most cases, of course, this is completely innocent. The seller is probably convinced that his description is correct or, if not, is of no importance. Where a Royal Enfield is concerned, the buyer is pretty much assumed to know something about the subject.

The seller shouldn't need to warn you that early Royal Enfields are maintenance intensive, won't keep up on the expressway and are noisy and vibrate. These characteristics are part of what you are buying (new Royal Enfields are superior in all regards but still have limitations).

There is one area, however, that makes me particularly leery of listing a particular ad. This is when the motorcycle has obviously not been officially imported into the United States, or is being sold in California but is of an early year that was not officially sold in California because of that's state's emission regulations.

These ads may claim that while the motorcycle isn't currently registered, "it's easy" to do so. Ehhh... maybe. But it's akin to saying that rust spots aren't serious, or that blotches on paint will rub out, or that a filthy motorcycle "will clean up."

If all that's true, and it's so easy, why hasn't the seller done it? And let's say that the seller has indeed succeeded in registering the vehicle. Will the buyer succeed in registering it in his own name? What happens when the buyer someday wants to sell the vehicle? Will its funky origin spoil that deal?

Of course none of this matters if the buyer knows what he is getting into and accepts it as fair.

I do have a lot of sympathy for sellers who may not realize their buyer is naive. I once sold a creaky old car I owned for a very low price. After the sale, the buyer complained that I had not pointed out there there was no passenger side door window. Well, there wasn't (the car had been broken into long before) and I thought this would have been perfectly obvious when the buyer test drove the vehicle.

Apparently not.

Despite the care I take with this blog, all ads deserve scrutiny. Don't buy a motorcycle you haven't inspected, learn all you can before you buy. Consider buying from a dealer rather than risking a private sale.


  1. Anonymous2/26/2018

    Be on high alert if the seller is reluctant to answer pertinent questions and seems impatient. Better to walk away then be too willing to accept costly unknowns ! If no paperwork is available, do your homework as to what is required for titling and registration in your locality. Some areas are far easier than others. And for some, almost impossible. It is not cheap or quick to create documentation in any case.

  2. Anonymous2/28/2018

    There are so many REs available that it is a buyers' market. Even new, these bikes are not expensive and once the twins are in the dealerships the price on all the singles will drop further. Do your homework first and physically inspect the machine before purchase. There is no substitute for doing that. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!


Follow royalenfields on Twitter