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Are Rockets the Solution to a Crashing a Motorcycle? | 2019 Report

Posted By

Ed Merati

Ed Merati, Director of Logistics, lifetime motorcycle enthusiast and garage guru. [email protected]

 

Drivers distracted by their cellphones. Wildlife. Loose gravel. A quick search online will pull up countless surveys, all asking riders some form of the same question: “What’s your biggest safety concern when you’re on your motorcycle?”

When Bosch conducted its own survey, the answer was clear: hitting a slippery patch. So the German brand decided to do something about it. Enter “jet thrusters,” which have been making headlines ever since Bosch rolled them out last year on the motorcycle tradeshow circuit.

The rundown on “lowsider” crashes

If you’ve never experienced a lowsider crash while taking a turn, you’ve definitely seen a video of one online. It goes something like this: you accelerate or brake too much, or run into slippery road conditions, and it causes your bike to lean to one side when you’re cornering. The result? Either your front or back wheel slides out from under you, and you skid across the pavement.

Compared with a “high side” crash—the kind where you’re thrown from your bike—“low sides” are generally less dangerous. Still, the result of a low-grip lowsider isn’t pretty: gravel rash, impact injuries and potential damage to your bike. (Note that you’ll be a lot better off in this scenario if you’re wearing protective clothing.)

A lowsider is one of the most common types of motorcycle accidents, and even experienced riders can’t always avoid a low side accident. But what if your bike had a way to gauge wheel slip and right itself before an actual crash occurs? That’s the idea behind Bosch’s jet thruster and other sliding mitigation technologies popping up in motorcycle R&D labs around the nation.

How Bosch’s jet thrusters work

When Bosch debuted its jet thrusters, industry reviews were positive, but a bit tentative. That’s not surprising. Given the “new age” aspect of having jets attached to your motorcycle and the description of the technology as an “invisible hand” that prevents lowsider accidents, it’s natural to be a bit skeptical.

And at first glance, the concept does beg the question: Will rockets on your bike actually make riding safer?

But when you take a closer look at how Bosch’s jet thrusters actually work, they’re not as outlandish as they sound. More than that, they actually make a lot of sense. As Bosch explains it, the technology uses a sensor built into the motorcycle to detect sideways wheel slip. If that slip hits a certain level, it triggers the release of gas—a lot like the kind you find in a car’s passenger airbags. That gas moves into the tank adapter, where it’s vented out through a nozzle in the direction needed to keep the motorcycle upright. (That’s a fancy way of saying that the gas jets out from the “high” side of your bike.)

Bosch’s jet thrusters are getting a lot of attention, but unfortunately for riders, the technology is still in development. No production launch is planned as of yet. And based on the system’s single-use design and complexity, it’s likely that the first bikes to get the “invisible hand” treatment will be high-end models.

Too many accidents, too much technology or both?

Technologies like Bosch’s jet thrusters are part of a bigger push to minimize—if not eliminate—motorcycle crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows motorcycle accidents up 5.1% between 2015 and 2016, with riders accounting for 14% of all traffic fatalities.

Images courtesy of Bosch

Safety is an undeniable consideration for every rider, and I think we’d all agree that the fewer accidents, the better. And with Bosch’s jet thrusters still in the testing phase, it’s safe to say that we’ve got some time before slipping mitigation technology is a feature of all new motorcycle models. But the shift toward more tech-heavy bikes is fueling a debate in rider communities that’s much bigger than a single sensor or system:

Does technology really enhance our riding, or does it take the joy out of it? And on a much more literal note, what happens if the jet thrusters go off at the wrong time?

Legal Aspects of Selling Your Motorcycle

Posted By

Stewart Dunlop

Stewart Dunlop, content manager working with LegalZoom. In his free time, he likes to play football and read Stephen King’s novels.

 

Legal Aspects To Pay Attention To When Selling Your Motorcycle

Selling your motorcycle is, admittedly, a moment of sadness and happiness. Sad because you’re finally letting go of one of your most prized possessions. And happy since you now get the chance to get rid of an old bike, then perhaps upgrade to a much better one in the near future.

Whichever side you lean towards, the end result depends on not only the condition and price of the motorcycle, but also how you handle the entire sale process.

Thankfully, selling a motorcycle isn’t difficult at all. It’s a pretty straightforward process. But, it could go sideways if you fail to apply the law accordingly.

You might, for instance, get swindled and end up losing the motorcycle without any form of payment. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, there are more than 40,000 new motorcycle theft cases each year. And to make matters worse, the corresponding recovery rate is alarmingly low. Only about 39% of them are ultimately found and repossessed.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Following the due process doesn’t only protect you against such risks, but also helps you sell much faster as the buyer will know that you are a legitimate seller.

To help you, here are the top legal aspects to pay attention to while selling your motorcycle:

Image Source: Pixabay

Get the Paperwork Right

You might consider skipping the cumbersome selling process and instead, trade-in your motorcycle with a seasoned dealership. Not a bad idea, but when you come to think of it, such a deal may not result in the highest sales price possible.

To get the best out of your motorcycle, you need to sell it yourself. And that requires a couple of legal documents.

For starters, you need the motorcycle’s title. Titles are the single most important proof of ownership when it comes to vehicles in the US. Without one, you won’t be able to transfer ownership of the motorcycle to its buyer. And that would, of course, mean dropping the whole deal altogether.

The second most critical document is the Bill of Sale. You can think of it as the sale agreement since it outlines all the purchase details. More specifically, it identifies all the parties involved as well as the accompanying ownership conditions. You can easily get yourself one from this online form.

Way before you finalize the sale of the motorcycle, however, you might consider accepting an initial deposit payment. It’s a clever way of forcing the buyer to commit to the sale in advance. And to formalize it, you need what we call a Motorcycle Sale Holding Agreement.

The other thing that may possibly come up is a test drive request. Of course, you’d prefer leaving it out of the sale negotiation. No one would want to have multiple strangers taking rides with their precious motorcycle. But, a test drive is inevitable if you need to convince prospective buyers about the motorcycle’s condition.

So, you might also want to throw in a Motorcycle Test Drive Agreement into your paperwork. It should protect you if things go wrong during the test session.

Confirm Your Motorcycle’s Registration Details

Each state has a DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) handling, among other things, registration of vehicles. In Florida, for instance, motorcycles and other vehicles are registered by the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) department.

Consider conducting a vehicle information check from your state’s DMV. You just need the title number plus the corresponding VIN, and the system will automatically generate your motorcycle’s registration details.

From that alone, you should be able to track information about the motorcycle’s previous owners, any unsettled lien on the bike, as well as your personal details. Scan the whole document for possible errors, before saving it for scrutiny by prospective buyers.

But, if it turns out that there are errors on the document, you can proceed to raise the issue with the DMV, and have it resolved as soon as possible.

Verify Credentials Before Test Rides

The test ride agreement is just one aspect of a motorcycle test ride. For the whole exercise to be considered legal, you need to first verify your prospective buyer’s credentials.

Do they have a motorcycle license or endorsement? Are they wearing a proper DOT-approved motorcycle helmet? Is it accompanied by the right safety gear?

In short, simply ensure anyone who attempts to test ride your motorcycle is adequately experienced and, follows the standard motorcycle safety laws in your state. Remember, if the prospective buyer were to be stopped by the police during the test ride, and they were not properly licensed, your motorcycle could be impounded and towed.

Finalize the Sale Accordingly

If you have all the documents ready and you’ve come to a mutual understanding on the price, you can proceed to finalize the sale of the motorcycle.

Don’t make the mistake of rushing the process through. Conduct the transaction diligently as you verify every single detail involved. Be honest with your potential buyer, especially if that person has never owned a motorcycle before. Share important information about motorcycle maintenance, discuss post-sale hidden costs a new buyer may not anticipate.

When it comes to payment, for instance, establish if the mode used is genuine before eventually transferring ownership of the motorcycle. Money orders and cashier’s checks are some of the safest cashless payment models you could use, but you should still have that form of payment verified by the bank before you release your bike to the new owner. Otherwise, you could also settle for PayPal or by far the most safest of all, the bank wire transfer.

And as you sign the corresponding sale documents, ensure you retain a copy of every single one of them for future reference. Many states require that complete a vehicle release of liability form and remit such to their motor vehicle department. This step is crucial as  unless you have proof that the motorcycle has been transferred to a new owner, you may still be liable for citations, fines and or accidents that occur.

When everything’s done, you should return the license plate to the DMV. They’ll, in turn, issue you a receipt, which you should keep for the long haul.

Ship Your Motorcycle to a New Buyer

If you need to deliver your motorcycle to a new place, you might consider motorcycle shipping services. You won’t be thinking about the best way to deliver or give your motorcycle, the company relieves you from this headache and all you have to do is focus on a nice and smooth sale process.

 

 

 

Harley Drops Again, But There is Good News

Posted By

Clint Lawrence

Clint Lawrence, founder of Motorcycle Shippers. Helping give riders more freedom to enjoy the bikes they love. [email protected]

 

Can Harley Stop Its Sales Skid?

The numbers are in, and they won’t come as a shock to anyone who follows the motorcycle industry: Harley-Davidson just posted yet another quarter of falling sales. The drop was sharper than expected in the U.S. market, fanning the flame for skeptics who say the brand’s days as a major motorcycle manufacturer are numbered.

 What does this latest financial report mean for the most iconic motorcycle brand in America? Here’s the bad news, the good news and the “Hail Mary” that could help accelerate Harley’s sputtering sales.

The bad news

Riders already know that the U.S. motorcycle industry has been suffering since the recession. Motorcycle sales peaked at more than 1.1 million in 2005. But new sales have plummeted by 50% since 2008, with fewer bikes owned in every age bracket under 40. With more Baby Boomers retiring their motorcycles, there aren’t enough Millennial riders to offset the gap.

In a recent study, Millennials said they do consider purchasing motorcycles—for “ease of transportation.” This is a much different reason than cited by the older rider demographic, which chooses to own bikes as a “hobby” or because “motorcycles are cool.” (In case you’re wondering, the average Harley rider is now 50 years old with a household income of $90K.) With practicality becoming an increasingly important purchasing decision, Harley has some work to do. Otherwise, as one market researcher predicts, it could become the latest brand “killed” by Millennials.

Declining sales. Millennial disinterest. Tariffs galore. What does that mean for the U.S. motorcycle market? More than a decade since the recession, the industry is still struggling to recover—and Harley has been far from immune to the turbulence.

In Harley’s just-released earnings report, its U.S. sales dropped 8% in the second quarter, which is significantly more steep than the expected 6% decrease. This marks the company’s 10th consecutive quarter of declining sales. But more concerning is its international motorcycle sales, which have dropped 8.9% since this time last year. In Europe, which makes up 47% of Harley’s international sales, motorcycle purchases have decreased 14%. Even China’s interest in motorcycles isn’t enough to offset that unexpected downturn.

And that’s just the half of it.

Once lauded by the president as an “American Icon,” Harley has also found itself caught in the political quagmire. After the federal tax cut last year, the brand spent $700 million on stock buybacks and closed its Kansas City plant—wiping out 260 jobs and angering both sides of the political aisle. With the Trump trade war heating up, Harley shifted some production overseas and began the process of opening up a plant in Thailand. Depending on who you ask, Harley’s (mis)use of the tax cut and its turn away from U.S. manufacturing have left a sour taste in the public’s mouth.

The good news

Harley’s Made in the U.S. motorcycles face a stiff 31% tariff when entering the European Union. However, the EU recently provided a silver lining to the brand’s woes: Harleys coming from Thailand will only face a 6% tariff. The brand is betting that Europeans will recognize that its operations in Thailand are simply a result of the tariffs and not cutting corners on quality.

But even this positive comes with a dose of reality. Because the EU delayed its decision, Harley had to push back its shipment of bikes from Thailand to Europe until mid-2020. It shifted down its shipment forecast accordingly, putting the number of Harleys shipped globally in 2019 at about the same level as 2010—the thick of the recession.

Are EVs the “Hail Mary?”

Harley is betting big on technology to accelerate its sales. The brand opened up a Silicon Valley office last year to support its vision for a full line of electric motorcycles and scooters. This comes hot on the heels of its much-anticipated LiveWire launch, which is slated for next month.

The battery-powered LiveWire, which generated major buzz at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, can go from zero to 60mph in three seconds, topping out at 110mph. Its charge time is one-hour flat for a city range of 146 miles; that’s 95 miles for a combination of city/highway riding. To sweeten the deal for consumers, Harley has partnered with Electrify America to give LiveWire riders 500kWh of free charging time over two years—the equivalent of about 32 fill-ups. Riders will be able to locate these charging stations, roughly 70 miles apart, using a new Harley-Davidson app.

Will electric motorcycles be Harley’s saving grace? Could a new line of EVs satisfy Millennial hunger for a more practical ride? It’s too soon to tell. But one thing is undeniable: the mix of tariffs, declining Millennial interest and politics has already dealt a heavy blow to a motorcycle brand once seen as invincible.

Science Just Validated What Motorcyclists Have Always Known

Posted By

Clint Lawrence

Clint Lawrence, founder of Motorcycle Shippers. Helping give riders more freedom to enjoy the bikes they love. [email protected]

 
 
If you ask 100 motorcycle riders how riding makes them feel, I’d be willing to bet that a majority of them describe a “pick me up” or peace of mind they can’t get anywhere else.

Reddit has an entire thread devoted to how riding makes people feel. Brian Steuber, a former U.S. Army staff sergeant, describes the rush this way: “My medical prescription is 800-plus pounds of American-made metal and chrome. No drug can compare; no feeling is better. That’s why I ride.” And then there’s Dan Aykroyd, who once said, “You do not need a therapist if you own a motorcycle, any kind of motorcycle!”

Maybe it’s the surge of adrenaline or that sheer feeling of freedom. It could be the thrill of hitting the road with your riding buddies—or, if you prefer going it lone wolf, the moments of solitude away from the rest of the world. But no matter how riding makes you feel, the impact of a good ride is unmistakable.motorcyclist riding on a two lane highway

Riders instinctively know that the best cure for a tough day is two wheels and an open road. Still, research about the mental benefits of riding a motorcycle has been surprisingly spotty at best. That is, until earlier this year, when Harley-Davidson America funded a study to explore how riding affects our brains.

After decades of relative radio silence, science is now confirming what riders have known all along: getting on a motorcycle is good for your mood.

A quick rundown of the UCLA-Harley motorcycle study

In the recent University of California, Los Angeles study funded by Harley, researchers recorded the brain activity and hormone levels of more than 50 riders. The scientists tracked brain activity before motorcycles hit the road, mid-ride and afterward—plus while they were driving a car and relaxing. The ride was 22 miles, in normal weather conditions, and all participants rode their own motorcycles.Motorcycles Parked in Front of an Old General Store

Here’s what the researchers found: A motorcycle ride decreased the participants’ stress biomarkers by almost 30%. Riding for 20 minutes boosted their heart rates by more than 10% and adrenaline by 27%—similar to the effect of getting light exercise. (Check out this article we wrote on the health benefits of riding a motorcycle, from a stronger core to better stability.)

Meanwhile, the EEG detecting the riders’ brain activity found that the ride did more good than just getting their cortisol under control—though that’s pretty significant to begin with. Changes in brain activity showed that the riders were more alert and less likely to be distracted, similar to what happens when you drink a cup of coffee.

It might feel like a bummer that Harley is planning to use the study to sell more motorcycles.

But if that news gets you down, at least there’s a science-backed remedy for easing your worried mind: going out for a ride.

Motorcycles are Taking Over Golf Courses Near You

Posted By

Clint Lawrence

Clint Lawrence, founder of Motorcycle Shippers. Helping give riders more freedom to enjoy the bikes they love. [email protected]

 
 
When you picture motorcycles on a golf course, the first thing that comes to mind is probably something like this video: a rider ripping up the green, wreaking more than a bit of havoc. But in the near future, golfers might be seeing a lot more two-wheeled vehicles on the links.

At the PGA Demo Show Day earlier this year, a number of motorized single-rider scooters made their big debut, gaining a lot of traction for their potential to infuse some much-needed speed and sense of adventure into a historically slow-moving sport. Here’s a quick primer on the rise of scooters and motorbike-style rides in the world of golf.

Two-wheelers hitting the links

Golf carts are typically designed to zip around the course at between 12 and 14 mph maximum speed. The slow speed and overall inefficiency of “hole to hole” transport has been holding back the golfing community for ages, leading to plenty of complaints on the green—and even more “DIY” approaches for making existing golf carts go faster, legally. (Why legally? Because every state has a different law for just how golf carts can be modified, and how fast they can go.)

Simply put, sharing a ride with another golfer, and potentially having to zig-zag around the course because of it, is pretty inefficient. It’s even led some to claim that the golf carts of the past will soon go the way of the dinosaur. Why? Because electric scooters and motorcycles are delivering more speed, more efficiency and a better pace-of-play overall.

One of the most talked-about electric golf cart alternatives is the FinnCycle, the brainchild of Sun Mountain Sports, the same company that brought the golf world built-in legs on golf bags. The FinnCycle electric scooter claims to shave an hour off a round of golf by getting players from one hole to the next faster. Although it tops out at 15 mph, the scooter allows for much more agile maneuvering than four-wheeled golf carts, with the major advantage of each golfer going solo to his or her ball. And where do the clubs go? They attach right to the front of the scooter.

For golfers who have never operated a scooter before, let alone a motorcycle, the creators have lessened the learning curve. Golfers can control the pedal-free scooter with a thumb throttle and hand brakes. At 80 pounds, the ride uses low-pressure tires—the back tires have turf tread—to deliver the desired traction without damaging the green.

Although the FinnCycle might make golf course transportation look and feel easy, Sun Mountain Sports’ CEO said creating it was anything but. They started out with a three-wheel tilt scooter but couldn’t get the suspension quite right. After building out a complete prototype for a four-wheel standup scooter, they realized two wheels was the way to go.

Meanwhile, the Phat Scooter—named for its fat, cruiser-style tires—is also hitting the green. But unlike the FinnCycle, this ride is actually street-ready (if you stick to the bike lane). Topping out at 20 mph, the Phat Scooter rides like a bike-scooter hybrid. Complete with a USB charger, a built-in cooler, a place in the back for your golf bag and a spot especially for keeping balls, tees and scorecards, the Phat Scooter is designed to meet the unique needs of golfers.

But does all that make for a comfortable ride? Just ask PGA Pro Pat Perez, who says using the Phat Scooter is “like riding a couch.”

Over in Sweden, Eduard Gray has launched the Ellwee, a four-wheel ATV-inspired golf course vehicle with specialized features like a downhill brake. It claims to increase the speed of completing a round by 25% while delivering the lowest rate of wear and tear.

But are they really ‘motorcycle-style?’

As these golf cart alternatives appear more frequently on the green, there’s been talk of them delivering “fairway freedom.” One article even said the FinnCycle “lets you channel your inner Steve McQueen,” pairing the headline with an image of someone from Sun Motor Sports ‘popping a wheelie’ on the scooter. But although riders can relate to the thrill of the open road, it’s impossible to compare these golf course scooters to motorcycles themselves. (And as some forums share, these rides also remove the barrier between golfer and the elements, which might be an undesirable reality of riding that many golfers aren’t quite ready to embrace just yet.)

Will there soon come a day when the icon Caddyshack-style golf carts disappear from greens altogether? And will these golf cart alternatives continue to evolve from their current scooter-esque functionality and get closer to delivering the experience we know so well as riders?

7 Things to Know When You’re Moving a Motorcycle Yourself

Posted By

Clint Lawrence

Clint Lawrence, founder of Motorcycle Shippers. Helping give riders more freedom to enjoy the bikes they love. [email protected]

 

You’ve searched far and wide for the motorcycle of your dreams. And then, after countless hours of researching models and even more hours scouring sale listings, the moment you’ve been waiting for has arrived. You’ve finally found your perfect bike.

The catch? It’s sitting pretty three states away.

As more of us choose to purchase motorcycles online, we’re faced with a choice: ship the motorcycle or move it ourselves. There are definite advantages to making the drive, strapping down the bike in your pickup truck and driving it home yourself. There’s nothing like seeing the motorcycle in person and being able to hand the seller cash when you confirm you love what you see. And what rider would pass up an opportunity to try out their new motorcycle on a nice long ride? Or maybe you’re planning to make a mini-road trip out of it, flying to pick up the motorcycle and then riding it home.

No matter your reason for moving your motorcycle yourself, keep these logistics issues in mind to ensure you’re making the choice best for your bike (and your wallet). 

  1. Choose the correct tie-downs

How you tie down your bike can mean the difference between a safe arrival and a damaged motorcycle—and the damaged ego that comes along with it. Use high-quality tie-downs with ratchet or cam buckles .

Which model of tie downs you choose may vary, but one thing is for sure: don’t trust the $10 4-pack of tie-downs from Home Depot when your motorcycle’s safety is at stake. Now Home Depot is a fine establishment, but they certainly aren’t in the business of transporting motorcycles.

Check your tie-downs for a manufacturer’s rating that matches the needs of your motorcycle. Many tie-down brands boast about the “web rating” of their product. This is simply the amount of weight that can be applied to the strap portion before it breaks. Don’t be fooled by the web rating alone as usually the assembly or the hooks are the first to fail. Look for a strap with an assembly rating of at least 800 lbs, and a hook rating of 1000 lbs. Higher quality tie-downs are expensive, but their cost pales in comparison to your motorcycle’s value or the cost of repairs from a motorcycle transport gone wrong.

Your straps should have a soft, nylon portion in which to connect to your bike. Avoid attaching the metal hooks directly as they may cause damage. The best strap is one that has a built in soft loop. Or you might simply use a simple soft tye attachment with your metal hook.

  1. Make sure your truck is properly equipped for the job

Having a truck is a good start. Having high-quality tie-downs is even better. But once you’ve got these basic elements in place, it’s time to consider all the logistics of getting your motorcycle securely strapped down, loaded and unloaded.

You’ll want four ties for a street bike—at the front and on both sides—and as many as six for a larger motorcycle, situated at the front and back. Make sure your truck has strong hooks capable of holding down your new ride. These points should be part of your vehicle’s structural body. Factory installed hooks are the best, don’t rely on Tie down points in the back of a pickup truckaftermarket clamp-on style hooks. Don’t make the mistake of attaching a strap to the sheet metal of your fender, or worse yet, your removable bed liner. The best location is low in the bed. You want to achieve a 45-degree angle as shown in the diagram if possible.

Next, you’ll also need a proper ramp to load your motorcycle in and out of your truck bed. You may think it’s easy enough to get a motorcycle into your truck, but we can tell you from experience that it’s simply not. Just for fun, type “motorcycle loading fails” into YouTube and you will see a few examples of this.

One of the most important things to remember about your ramp, is that it is secured to your truck so that it doesn’t slide off when loading. This can be accomplished with just about any ramp if you run straps from the ramp to secure points on your truck. Here is a ramp that will get the job done for you. Spring for the ramp; your back (and bike) will thank you.

  1. Position your vehicle properly

Common sense will tell you to find a level place to park your truck, but here are two more tips to consider that are even more helpful. First, it’s always better to load on concrete or asphalt instead of dirt. This will make the base for the ramp more stable and give you and anyone helping you much better footing. Next, try to find a low spot in which to place the rear wheels of your truck. Sometimes the best is to simply back your truck into a driveway and leave the rear wheels in the gutter or next to a curb.Silver truck backed into a driveway

Set your parking brake. Whether you’re driving an automatic, or a stick shift, the last thing you want is your truck to move even a couple of inches while you in the middle of loading your new bike.

  1. Get people to help

You may be more of a “lone wolf” rider, but when it comes to moving your motorcycle, don’t go it alone. We have seen people who successfully load their motorcycle, using the engine to drive bike up the ramp, but this is not the preferred method. It’s best to have at least one person on each side of the ramp to assist with balance, and one person at the back of the bike. You should have people ready to help you at both ends of your journey: loading the motorcycle onto your truck and unloading once you’ve made it home.

  1. Tie your bike properly

One person should steady the bike while another starts the process of strapping the bike in the front. Make sure the kickstand is up during this process. The most important part here is to choose the correct location and method of connecting the strap to the bike. As mentioned previously, it is best to start with a soft tye, but always look for a structurally solid place to wrap the tye. My favorite is the lower triple clamp or fork assembly.Overhead diagram of proper motorcycle strapping locations Just be sure that you wrap the strap around the clamp or fork and avoid pinching any wires, cables or brake lines. You sometimes need to really work the nylon strap into the right position to avoid any damage.After you have the strap connected, extend the other end to your connection point inside the truck bed. Make sure the strap does not put any pressure on bodywork, fenders, light bars etc. If so, choose another strapping location or connection point.

Repeat this procedure on the other side and add straps to the back of the bike as well for a minimum total of four.Motorcycle strapped in the back of a pickup truck

  1. Check your vehicle pre-trip

When you’re riding high on the thrill of your new motorcycle, the last thing you want is car troubles. Check your tires, brake pads, fluids and other essentials before you embark upon your road trip. Also keep in mind that moving a motorcycle will put wear and tear on your vehicle (in addition to racking up miles, depending on how far away your motorcycle is located).

  1. Factor in your true trip costs

When you’re finally going to pick up your new motorcycle, it’s easy to overlook the true costs of moving it yourself. But be sure to factor in gas/fuel, wear and tear, materials like tie-downs—and the value of your time—when budgeting for your road trip.

With spring weather here and summer right around the corner, there’s never been a better time to buy your dream motorcycle and have some fun. If you’re looking for a cost-effective, safe way to get your bike from Point A to Point B, Motorcycle Shippers can help as well. Get a free quote today to see if we can save you some time and money when buying that new bike.

Get Top Dollar When Selling Your Motorcycle

Posted By

Clint Lawrence

Clint Lawrence, founder of Motorcycle Shippers. Helping give riders more freedom to enjoy the bikes they love. [email protected]

 
 
We assist 1000’s of riders every year that are buying and selling motorcycles. Through all of this, we have learned a thing or two. We thought we would share a few tips that will help you find the best way to sell your motorcycle and get more money.

We’ve all experienced the moment when the thought first enters our mind: Should I sell my motorcycle? Maybe you’re ready for an upgrade, or maybe you just don’t have enough garage space for your second bike anymore. But no matter the reason, selling your bike is a big decision—especially if you’re as passionate about riding as we are.

You’ve probably already heard the statistics on motorcycle sales, which peaked at around 700,000 in 2006 and have been skidding ever since. In 2016, riders bought around 370,000 new bikes, about half the amount they did 10 years earlier. To entice new bike enthusiasts, manufacturers are touting less expensive bikes, with Harley famously promoting “nine bikes for less than $12,000.”

Given the current market, what should riders do when they decide it’s time to sell their bike?

 First, breathe a sigh of relief, because it’s not all doom and gloom. A recent Foremost Insurance study found that nearly half of the motorcycle owners surveyed planned on purchasing another bike within the next two years—and that’s good news when you’re in the market to sell. Harley CEO Matthew Levatich has called used motorcycles “a great entry-point” for new riders and those coveted millennial motorcycle enthusiasts.

When it does come time to sell, use these tips to maximize the value you get for your used motorcycle—no matter the market.

Get your motorcycle in top shape

Cleaning your ride might sound obvious, but it’s crucial to commanding the best price from prospective buyers. Forego a typical wipe-down in favor of a deep cleaning, paying attention to often-overlooked areas: grime under your seat, surface rust clinging to metal or chrome, buildup around your battery and more. (For a full rundown of how to clean your motorcycle, check out this article.)

Some other tune-up tips:

  • If your bike could use some touch-ups, make sure the paint color matches as closely as possible. Otherwise, it could be a detriment rather than a selling point. Here is a company that I have been using since 1995 who specializes in motorcycle touch up paint .
  • If your paint has minor scratches for is sun-faded, try some rubbing compound to reclaim that original finish. Here is an amazing product called Farecla that not many riders know about, but one that is used by professional body shops . It’s not cheap, but the results are worth the cost.motorcycle touch up paint
  • Check your motorcycle against the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s safety checklist—and include this comprehensive list with your sales paperwork.
  • Make sure your bike is running properly, and capture it in your sales video. (More on that below.)

Make sure you do all the above before taking the photos for your listing. You’d be surprised how much high-quality product photos can build trust and influence a buying decision.

 Organize your service history records

Savvy buyers will undoubtedly ask for service history records—and if they don’t, they’re likely not serious about buying. Likewise, having all your documents ready will show buyers you’re serious about the sale. Minimize back-and-forth and maximize your sale prospects by gathering your service history records before listing your bike. If you don’t have a organizer for your documents, but one and include photos of them in your listing.

If you’re meeting the buyer in person, you can bring your record organizer but when listing your bike online,  you can upload your documents to a folder on Dropbox or Google Drive and then simply

motorcycle records organizer

share the link on your listing. With this detail, you’re sure to impress your prospective

buyers by showing them all the ways you’ve meticulously cared for your motorcycle over the years.

Include (or chase down) an original owner’s manual

Many buyers want to see the original owner’s manual when deciding whether to pull the trigger. If you have lost the original or in any case simply don’t have one, consider purchasing one on eBay, which has a surprising number of originals at good prices.

Get savvy with your marketing

In today’s buying landscape, it’s not enough to simply park your bike in your neighborhood with a “For Sale” sign and hope a buyer comes by. The name of the game today is online listings. Here are a few market places that might help you get top dollar for your bike. Autotrader (motorcycles only) , Motorcycle Classics, and of course Cycle Trader. For local listings you might even try Oodle, Pennysaver, or one of my favorites, Offerup. Local listing platforms usually have lower or zero fees to sell.

Remember, your looking for that one person who will fall in love with your bike and ultimately pay more than anyone else for the chance to own it. Emotional attachment is a valuable factor for any purchase, so make sure you reach as many people as possible with your listing. Take advantage of all the listing opportunities that you can, and use “featured” listings when available to help boost exposure.motorcycle for sale

Because your listing’s content largely determines who will find it, it’s crucial to apply online marketing best practices. (Don’t worry; you don’t have to be a digital influencer to implement them.) Give your listing a title that’s descriptive but also general enough to show up in a variety of related searches. Take a look at the tags other listings are using and make sure yours uses them, too. And be sure that your description answers these common questions honestly:

  • How long have you owned the bike?
  • What’s the status of the title and registration?
  • What modifications, if any, have you made? (More on that later)
  • How often do you get maintenance? Who handles your maintenance and repairs?

Round out your online ad with high-quality images and video; all can be captured with your smartphone using these simple tips. (If you think a video isn’t really necessary, consider this statistic: 73% of consumers are more likely to buy after watching a video about the item being sold.)

Your first image will likely show up as a thumbnail for mobile shoppers, so be mindful about snapping a shot that makes sense for that format. Use natural lighting when possible, take shots from many angles and choose a neutral or de-cluttered background so your motorcycle is what stands out. For the video, hold your smartphone horizontally and capture crucial details like the look and sound of your motorcycle starting up.

 Document and tout your customizations

According to Foremost Insurance’s 2015 Motorcycle Market Facts Study, 33% of owners put $100 or more into customizing their bikes, with the average amount weighing in at well over $3,000. If those customizations improve performance or have wide appeal, that could be a good thing for your sale. If they’re unique or only appeal to someone with very particular tastes, keep that in mind when pricing your motorcycle.

Because customizations can have a major impact on your bike’s value, secure the original invoices to help assess their real worth. Like your other documentation, this paperwork should ease a buyer’s mind and show them you’re ready to sell. If you still have the original components that you replaced, include those to sweeten the deal for your buyer.

Take a hard look at your accessories

The reality is that you might get more for your accessories selling them separately than including them in your motorcycle sale itself. Do your research and make the smart choice about whether you’ll wind up with more in your wallet if you sell your accessories on their own or with your bike.

 Offer to ship the motorcycle to the buyer

With the rise of ecommerce, today’s shoppers are less hesitant about making major purchases online. Although it’s always important to keep your eyes wide open when you’re not dealing locally, opening up sales to out-of-state riders can also significantly boost your chances of finding the right buyer. If you’re open to nationwide buyers, consider offering to ship the motorcycle to its new owner.

At first glance, this may sound prohibitively expensive, especially if the buyer is a thousand miles away. But with the right shipping partner, transporting your used motorcycle can be surprisingly affordable—and a key perk that seals the deal.

If you’re offering to ship your motorcycle to the buyer, be smart. Get a free transparent quote so you know exactly how much it will cost to get your former ride from Point A to Point B. Consider wrapping that cost into the price tag of your bike so that it’s a win-win for you and the new owner.

Ready to sell your used bike online? Let a trusted partner like Motorcycle Shippers get your motorcycle to its new owner affordably and efficiently. A shipping offer just might be the boost you need to find the perfect new home for your motorcycle.

It All Started With a Crash – How Motorcycle Shippers Began

Posted By

Clint Lawrence

Clint Lawrence, founder of Motorcycle Shippers. Helping give riders more freedom to enjoy the bikes they love. [email protected]

 

Why I’m Sharing My Entrepreneur Story

For years, I’ve been asked a question that business owners hear a lot: What made you start your company? I’ve told the simplified story at local Entrepreneurs’ Organization events here in Orange County and have shared it with customers from time to time. But I have never publicized what really started it all.  I guess I didn’t value my journey at a young age as much as I do now.  Recently, I was compelled to share the story more widely in a series of articles published on Medium.

Whether you’re interested in how a farm kid from Idaho started a motorcycle business in Southern California or are a rider who can relate to a dramatic crash story, I hope you’ll walk away from these articles with the feeling that you know me, and our philosophy here at Motorcycle Shippers, just a little bit better.

The first article in that series, which I aptly named “It All Started With a Crash,” tells the story of the motorcycle accident that indirectly led me to start Motorcycle Shippers more than 25 years ago. (That article was published today on Medium; you can read it here.) In Parts 2 and 3 , I dive deeper into how I started Motorcycle Shippers and my approach to running the business amid the changes in the motorcycle industry.

And if you happen to be an entrepreneur yourself, I hope it compels you to share the ups and downs of growing your company. Running a business isn’t easy. But just like riders, entrepreneurs always manage to get through the bumps in the road—even if they’re as serious as the crash I had 25 years ago.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Trump Harley Feud Update – Harley is Shipping Fewer Bikes to the US

Posted By

Clint Lawrence

Clint Lawrence, founder of Motorcycle Shippers. Helping give riders more freedom to enjoy the bikes they love. [email protected]

 
 
Where the Trump-Harley Feud Stands Now

Summer may feel like ages ago, but the feud that President Trump ignited with Harley-Davidson in June is still smoldering. Although the president has shifted his Twitter focus away from Harley (at least for now), the repercussions of the scuffle, the trade war and the motorcycle market dynamics have created a perfect storm for Harley-Davidson. (It’s a situation so stark that a recent Fortune Magazine headline reads, “Harley-Davidson Profit Wiped Out by Trump Tariffs.”)

Where does the Trump-Harley feud stand, and has the iconic motorcycle brand’s bottom line really been decimated by the dispute? Here’s the latest on Harley’s position in the motorcycle world and what factors are contributing to it.

(Need a quick refresh on the Trump-Harley feud? Check out our article.)

How the Trump war is hitting Harley

In September, Harley-Davidson celebrated its 115th anniversary with an event that drew 150,000 bikers to Milwaukee. The President had recently recommended that riders boycott the iconic brand, and unsurprisingly, reporters were in attendance to gauge the Trump-Harley fallout. One reporter summed it up this wayChart Showing Harley Davidson Sales Decline: Although the riders were indifferent about Harley’s response to the feud, they loved Trump.

That same month, bikers halfway across the country shared a much different sentiment with USA Today, pledging their loyalty to an iconic American brand. And in September, just months after Trump called a Harley boycott a “great idea,” the U.S. Secret Service put in an order for new Harleys with sidecars. Their justification? Secret Service mechanics already know how to service Harley-Davidsons; despite the political perceptions, the switch wasn’t worth the time or money.

Meanwhile, a key Harley competitor, Indian, saw a 4% surge in sales this fall. Following Harley’s decision to move some production overseas, Indian dealers reported a significant uptick in HOG trade-ins. Where does all this leave Harley-Davidson?

It’s impossible to fully gauge the biker community’s response to the Trump-Harley feud that exploded over the summer. But where the market is concerned, the impact has been crystal clear. Harley’s retail sales dropped 10% in the final three months of 2018. The company barely broke even in its most recently posted earnings

Steel Tubes with Tariff Logo

report. With eight quarters of consecutive declining sales, Harley’s shares tumbled by 9.5% to finish out a tough 2018.

Mainstream media headlines were quick to cite the impact of the Trump tariffs. “Once Lauded by Trump, Harley-Davidson is Now Sputtering,” read one CBS News piece from last month.

What’s really to blame?

Are the Trump tariffs the only reason for the brand’s decline? You can easily point to the lack of enthusiasm among Millennial riders, and you wouldn’t be out of line to cite the rise in electric motorcycles as a threat to the Harleys of the past. (Harley’s LiveWire electric motorcycle hits stores in August, with a cool $30K price tag.) Although it’s not the only factor making Harley sputter, the Trump tariffs have undoubtedly worsened the situation. The company told the SEC that the new EU tariffs added $2,000 to the cost of each motorcycle.

Keep in mind that it’s not all doom and gloom for the motorcycle market. Recent research shows that women riders have hit record numbers; they now account for 19% of the total U.S. rider population. And innovations like the ones from CES are becoming more prevalent in the motorcycles hitting dealerships, which could help entice more Millennials to embrace the ride. Still, Harley’s executives predict 2019 will be another tough year for the brand.

Harley estimates that it will ship between 217,000 and 220,000 bikes to the U.S. this year—one of Harley’s lowest shipment rates since 2010. Between already-declining sales and the continuing trade war, the situation begs the question: Will extravagant anniversary bike rallies in Milwaukee soon be a thing of the past?

Where do you stand on the Trump-Harley feud? How important is it for your motorcycle (and its parts) to be manufactured in the U.S.?

 

 

 

 

 

 

2019 Guide for Winterizing Your Motorcycle

Posted By

Ed Merati

Ed Merati, Director of Logistics and lifetime  motorcycle enthusiast, garage guru.  [email protected]

 

Top 7 Motorcycle Winterizing Questions

It has turned into a seriously cold winter. The Polar Vortex that swept across the Midwest and East Coast brought, as one professor of atmospheric science put it, “temperatures dropping rapidly to values that are dangerous to human life and damaging to buildings and infrastructures.”

We all know what that means for us and our families: extra layers, limited outdoors time and lots of hot drinks. But what does all this extreme weather do to your motorcycle? From corrosion and rust spots to a dead battery, motorcycles feel the effects of cold weather and snow just like we do—especially if they’re sitting idle for months at a time.

Maybe you’ve never winterized your bike before to get it ready for storage. Or maybe you do winterize but aren’t sure if your techniques will stand up to this winter’s freezing temperatures. Either way, we’ve compiled this quick list of common questions and answers to help you keep your motorcycle in perfect form until spring comes back around.

(And in case you’ve got an adventurous streak like this rider trekking across Siberia right now on his Yamaha XT660Z, we’ll also provide a few links to essential cold-weather riding gear.)

1) Do I need to winterize my motorcycle even if I’m going to be riding it before spring?

The word “winterizing” might bring to mind months on end devoid of riding, during which your motorcycle sits hibernating in your garage. But even if you’re going to be riding during the winter, you should still follow some winterizing best practices to keep your motorcycle running at top shape in cold weather conditions.

  • If you were putting your bike away for the winter, you would be replacing all your fluids (more on that later). But just because you’ll be winter riding doesn’t mean you can skip this step entirely. Make sure to maintain your fluids—especially your coolant, which can become acidic quickly in the cold weather.
  • Wash and wax your motorcycle. Dirt, grease and water spots can affect your bike’s finishes; an all-over cleaning with a motorcycle-specific wash product will help prevent corrosion. Once you’ve washed and dried your ride, wax it. This will help repel salt water that’s common on the road in the winter—and that could otherwise cause corrosion.
  • Treat your fuel every time you come back in from a cold-weather ride. (Keep reading for more on this point.)

Another important note: If you’re serious about braving cold weather on your next ride, make sure to do so safely. This Popular Mechanics article outlines top-rated cold weather gear, from a dry pack to boots to a Carhartt helmet liner we won’t leave home without. You’ll find a road-tested set of heated grips and even a full-body heat suit in this list from Motorcycle.com.

2) What should I do if I’m storing my bike outside?

In an ideal world, every motorcycle will be stored carefully inside a heated garage with a breathable, waterproof dust cover. But not everyone has the luxury of a garage or shed. If you fall into the latter camp, then follow these tips:

  • Bring the battery and seats inside; these are the parts of your bike most affected by cold weather. Storing your seat indoors and conditioning it with vinyl protector will help prevent it from cracking. To keep your battery in good shape between now and spring, hook your battery to maintainer/charger quickly via quick connector (watch how it’s done in this Revzilla video).
  • Even though it might feel counter-intuitive, if your motorcycle is staying outdoors during the winter, it could be best to keep it uncovered. A cover that’s out in the elements can do more harm than good, collecting moisture and pinning it against your motorcycle. (And remember, moisture often equals corrosion.) Note that the same goes for bikes stored indoors: if your cover isn’t breathable and shifts around rather than staying secure, you’re better leaving your motorcycle uncovered.

Whether storing your motorcycle indoors or outdoors, avoid using a tarp as a cover. Although it may be conveniently sitting around your house, it’s just not designed to get the job done. Tarps trap moisture where as a quality motorcycle cover is designed to ventilate.

3) Is it better to empty or fill up my motorcycle’s fuel system?

Filling gas tank motorcycleAfter you’ve taken your motorcycle for a ride, one of your first major steps should be to treat your fuel. You likely fall into one or two camps on this issue: either you’re the type of person who empties the fuel system completely or the one who insists on filling it up.

But which is best for your bike?

If you have a fuel-injected bike, filling it up is a whole lot easier. And it’s also effective: by filling up your fuel system, you drive out any air space and minimize the possibility of water. (Water and oxygen are two major reasons why your fuel gets gummy.) Because an empty tank is also vulnerable to corrosion, we recommend the fill-up method.

Once you’ve filled up your fuel system, add some treatment to top it off completely. Then, run the motor so the treated fuel makes it all the way through your motorcycle’s intakes and injectors.

Pro tip: While your bike is still warm, wax the chain. This gets the  Maxima Coolanolchain lubricated more easily and ensures it’s protected from salt and rust.

4) What fluids do I need to replace?

Don’t leave old, broken-down oil in your motorcycle all winter long. Make it a priority to change your oil; a winter-weight oil like a 5W30 will make it easier to start up your bike when spring rolls around.

Also check your coolant system to make sure there’s enough anti-freeze. This is crucial for any rider, but especially if you’re not going to be using your bike until the weather gets warmer.

5) Is fogging oil worth the time and money?

Sta-Bil fogging oilIf you’re truly not going to be riding your motorcycle until spring, consider fogging the cylinders—aka, lubricating the inside of your motor with fogging oil, a heavy lubricant that comes in the form of an aerosol spray. Fogging oil runs about $5 per can, so it’s likely worth the extra few bucks to keep the expensive parts of your bike in good shape. But you can also use motor oil instead.

6) Do I really need to put cardboard under the tires?

After you’ve finished filling up your tank, replacing your fluids and giving your motorcycle a full wash and wax, it’s time for the finishing touches: adding a cover and, according to many, cardboard under the wheels. It may seem unnecessary, but putting something underneath your tires—carpet squares will also work—can keep the moisture in your floors from affecting the rubber.

You can also try a bike stand, which brings the added bonus of keeping the weight off the tires. If you’re going the carpet or cardboard route, rotate the wheels every few weeks to prevent flat spots.

7) Do I need to ride my motorcycle once per week until spring?

This is a question you hear a lot, especially when Mother Nature makes a weekly ride difficult. Although regular use is good for your motorcycle, if you commit to a weekly ride during the winter, make sure it’s more than just a quick spin. You need to run your motorcycle to its full operating temperature to cook off moisture and recharge your battery. Otherwise, that quick start can be hard on your motor and moisture could end up where you don’t want it.

Although every rider has their own winterizing routine, the goal should always be to keep your motorcycle in top shape during the winter months. This not only keeps your bike running better for longer, but also helps you get right back to riding as soon as the warm weather rolls back around.

Feel the need for a warm weather ride? Ship it to motorcycle to Florida or California for winter get away! Get a free quote on our world-class motorcycle shipping service.