New LT Purchase, in the beginning...
Here is the first of three installments of the New LT Purchase. Season 1, The Search.
I currently own a 2003 Road King Classic. A beautiful bike, that has served me well on cross county rides and all around awesome touring for the past 23,000 miles. It swallows up 12 hour days and on the last two long trips ran flawlessly while another hog had a few minor problems and an RT had a near fatal melt down; literally as wiring harness went up in smoke. However, Harley has, in my opinion, gone from making modern bikes in the retro mold to making old bikes in the retro mold. The frame geometry is antiquated and I have more advanced suspension on my mountain bike. But on a sunny day, there may be nothing more fun; and the dealer network is second to none for travelers For me I hope to extend the riding season in Seattle out much further and for that I need more protection and most importantly I NEED ABS.
Looking for a new bike is kind of like taking a vacation; the fun is broken into thirds. The first part of the vacation is the excitement of the planning, the second is the vacation itself, and the third is telling the great stories to who ever will look at your pictures and listen. Here we have the investigation (being a BMW new-b), the purchase, and finally the ride home from wherever.
I originally wanted the “new” LT and was disappointed to find the ‘07’s to be a re-badged ‘06. I really did not want to wait a year or two for the new one (including debugging) so I needed to regroup as the thought of buying an ’06 or ’07, and taking a big hit on depreciation just before the new bike was not appealing. After a little advice from this forum it appeared that it was the ’05 that I should be looking at with the new geometry, electric stand, and higher horsepower. Made sense to me, I could keep it for a couple of years before the new LT and take less of a depreciation hit than from buying an ’06 or ’07. Let’s do it! I found an over the top f’arcled one in CA. Great price for very low miles, but missed it by a day. Further looking indicated that what I missed was a real bargain; Oh well. The market is quite soft. Another difference from HD’s. Next thing you know folks are going to tell me that these bikes are quiet too!!
From my research as of October, 2006 a very nicely appointed ’05 with very low miles will be in the $15-16 range; and there are many, so if a seller gets more than that, I think they should consider themselves fortunate. For what ever reason I was now questioning myself on spending that kind of money for a “temporary” bike. Talking with a local LT rider here in Seattle who loves is ’01 (would never sell it because he loves it and because “it is worth nothing” on the market) says the HP issue is not that big of deal to him. But the integrated brakes of ’02 are a plus but didn’t see much else significantly different from ’02 to ’04 to worry about. Hmmmm. Keeping the lack of depreciation element in my mind, the ‘02/’03 version may make a lot of sense.
The price for the ‘02/’03 versions varied a bit based on miles and goodies but in general range from $9k on the very low end to about $11.5 (although many asking prices are higher) The ‘02’s I was considering were right around $10 to $11k range. An 4,000 mile ’02 stock LTC for $10.8 for example. The ‘03’s I was looking at ranged from $10.5 to $11.5. Mileage and goodies again making the spread. To get much more than $11k would be a pretty special ’03 or a very fortunate seller. And both are out there. There are some very nice bikes out there, with much invested, it is just that there is also a pretty good inventory out there as well, with only average demand. A buyers market I would say.
So it came down three things: MILES, F’ARCLES, and yes the biggie as it turns out for me, THE EXTENDED WARRANTEE issue. As it appears from talking with a couple of dealers, unless I purchased the bike from them, I could NOT get an extended warrantee if the bike was OUT of its original 3/36. I am keen on an extended warrantee for the LT. Value or not at around $1,200 +/-, I like the peace of mind. So this means that just about all of the ‘02’s and many of the ‘03’s are off my list. I ran across a great bike here on this forum. An ’03 with lots of options and extras that do push the price, and a great guy to boot. But in the end, although I think the price would have fit into the “envelope”; the bike was out of the 3/36 warrantee. (Side bar, I could have had my dealer purchase the bike from him and I purchase it, and the warrantee, from them. Cost: $500 for the service and $1,200 for the warrantee adding nearly $1,700k to the price.) As I said the inventory is pretty big. How about an ’03 with 6,000 miles for $11.5. Or an ’02 LTE with 10k miles for 11k… the list goes on. Saw today an almost unused ’02 with <1,000 miles with a starting bid of $10k on ebay.
In comes Ironhorse Motorcycles in Tucson. I called them after hours Friday night and Jim the owner is burning the midnight oil. We chat, great guy, he has an ’03 for sale, service just done, good price, and yes the original owner purchased an extended Pinnacle unlimited mile Warrantee through 2009. Checked some Ironhorse references from this site. On Saturday I called to confirm the options and the deal (tough call for me because the bike had 25k on the dial, considerably more than many of the others) but we made it work. Sent a deposit. I expect only the best from these guys and I will be on a plane Wednesday for the pick-up and the awesome 1,600 mile ride home. Nothing like a couple iron butts to break in my new steed.
So ends the first season of the new LT if you are still awake. Stay tuned for Season II, The Engagement. I’ll keep you posted on both how the long distance purchase concept worked out and how the experience with Ironhorse Motorcycles plays out as well.