Low Mileage Fraud? - Honda Shadow Forums : Shadow Motorcycle Forum

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Old 12-11-2012, 01:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Low Mileage Fraud?

I'm amazed at the number of bikes 8 to 12 years old that have less than 5000 miles.
There have been a couple of old bikes with less than 1000 miles.
I've looked at several of these and the bikes do not look like they are low mileage.
Tires are worn. Paint is faded.
I wonder if people aren't turning back their speedometers.
Is this a common practice?
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Short answer: Yes it's trivial to rollback or replace an odometer with one that has fewer marked miles on it.

Long answer: It's not likely that these have been rolled back, and miles don't mean as much as they do with cars anyway.

Years are harder than miles, and bikes don't like to sit much. Tires still crack and dry rot, and can develop wear spots where they were parked forever. Mileage within increments of 10k shouldn't be that big of a factor. Maybe just some talking points to ask about various maint that was due and if it was done, and work price down a bit if not.

My V-Max had 2000 miles on it when I got it this August (<350 miles a year). The rear tire was new from hitting some road debris, and the rear brake pads were worn to nothing while the fronts were like new, and I actually had to work the front caliper pistons to free them from disuse shortly after purchase. Somebody bought a monster bike without knowing how to ride and were too scared of it to ride it very far or often. It happens... especially with bigger bikes and a conversation with the owner that reveals it was their first bike.

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Old 12-11-2012, 01:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Bikes with less than 300 miles/year are not all that rare. I've bought two that more or less fell into my lap. I've seen dozens of others listed on eBay and Craigslist over the years.

That said, just because the odometer shows low mileage doesn't mean the bike hasn't accumulated many miles. I do not believe anyone tampers with the odometer -- too much effort for too little reward on a bike. But they do swap speedometers. Or ride the bike with a broken one.

You are doing the right thing by looking for the other tells. Faded paint is NOT a reliable one; it speaks more to storage than to mileage. Tire wear is definitely a solid one. As is wear on the brakes. And a loose chain.

Got to assess all the clues!
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I donít think that turning back speedometers is a common practice. Not to say it never happens. But tires wear out pretty fast and paint fades if the bike just sits outside.
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Old 12-11-2012, 02:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowdreamer View Post
I'm amazed at the number of bikes 8 to 12 years old that have less than 5000 miles.
There have been a couple of old bikes with less than 1000 miles.
I've looked at several of these and the bikes do not look like they are low mileage.
Tires are worn. Paint is faded.
I wonder if people aren't turning back their speedometers.
Is this a common practice?
I used to be amazed, but I've found that a LOT of people, maybe most, who buy bikes just don't commit to it. Or they get scared & don't ride. Or only ride when it's warm & sunny. It's really not that unusual for a fairly new bike to just get stuck in a garage for nine months a year and barely ridden the other three.

As a matter of fact, my current Shadow was 13 years old when I bought it with only 6600 mi. She was practically brand new and was sitting because the old guy who owned it got word from his doc to lay off. Too bad for him; good for me.

But as others above have astutely said, look for signs other than just appearance. (For a 12 year old bike, figure on replacing the tires whether they're worn or not.) Don't discount appearance completely though. How a guy stored his bike can be a good yardstick of how well he took care of the insides too. (My own dirty machine is an exception to that.)

If you find a garage kept older bike with low mileage, grab it. The age drives the book value down, but they're still great bikes.
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Old 12-11-2012, 03:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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My Buddys 02 Road King has 9k on the clock and my 03 Shadow Spirit has 25 K.Who rides more.He He
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Old 12-11-2012, 03:48 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Lot's of people buy and don't ride. Looking at a 1998 Valkyrie with 30k miles on it. That averages 2k per year? Some people ride, some just like the butt jewelry.

If you have doubts about actual mileage, ask for maintenance receipts or any document that contains mileage.
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Old 12-11-2012, 03:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Yea, tons of people buy bikes and let them sit. After they get stick of them taking up space in the garage, they go outside and rot. Older, low mileage bikes are extremely common.
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Last year bought an '03 750 w/ 7349 miles from its second owner - thats 918 miles per year. I immediately rode it to California and back and now have 14k+.
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:11 PM   #10 (permalink)
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My neighbour bought a brand new 900 Vulcan in 2008. It has 1600 km on it.
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