Here is the bike shortly after its arrival. You can see the VIN number on the headlight that serves as the inventory and shipping control number.
As you can see, the mileage is the same as what was stated by both the seller and the shipper. This ensures no one was joyriding the bike after the deal was made.
Here is a bit of the paperwork involved in shipping the bike. Pretty much everything about the bike is covered as well as all of the seller's and buyer's info.
Covered in dust with chipped paint and pitted chrome, this Evo-powered Road King is going to see tons of changes in the pages of this magazine over the next year, so stay tuned.
and shipping done right
During our morning ritual of coffee and scouring the Internet for killer deals on bikes, we came across a 1997 Road King with 2,600 original miles for sale in a far off land. Well not that far off. It was in Billings, Montana, about 1,200 miles away. After contacting the owner and settling on a price we both couldn't refuse, the deal was made and a deposit was sent. As soon as the phone was hung up, we knew we were in a pickle and had to start figuring out just how to get it to our offices in Southern Cal. Would we fly up and ride it down? Not in the middle of winter, and the owner wanted it out of his hands ASAP, so we couldn't wait for the spring thaw. Would we have it shipped on a train or by truck? Could we trust the seller to make sure it was a square deal? Was the truck company actually going to bring it to us or to some chop shop lying in wait? The questions started to mount up, and we began to think this might have not been such a good idea.
We gave a few shipping companies a call and got all sorts of different answers and prices. Then our man Sam Terry with Keyboard Motorcycle Shipping gave us a call back and told us to cool our heels and that he would make sure it got from point A to B with lots of love, caring and most of all, security at a reasonable price.
Keyboard is who the big companies call to ship their show and demo bikes to events all over North America, and in their years of service to the industry, they have honed their skills into an impressive business. Sam told me that major precautions are taken well before even picking up the bike. It all starts with Keyboard contacting the buyer and faxing them a pickup and delivery form gathering info such as the buyer's and seller's address, contact number and most importantly, the bike's VIN number. The VIN number now serves as the control number on the bill of lading and makes sure the bike you are buying is the same "Black Harley-Davidson" that was agreed upon in the initial sale. From there the form asks all sorts of questions such as if the bike has saddlebags or a windshield as well as if the bike is crated or not. It is even so detailed that it asks for the number of keys supplied with the bike. All this info gives them a better idea of how easy it is going to be for them to transport. This and the distance of the delivery will pretty much decide the price of getting that new bike to your door.
From there, one of Keyboard's trucks, which seem to be roaming this great nation of ours 24-7, arrives at the seller's pickup point, and it is ever so carefully checked out, loaded and secured for the miles ahead. From there you are contacted, and a tentative date for receiving your new wheels is given.
We got the bike a little less than a week later. It arrived with nary a scratch and was unloaded by the driver with as much care as it was loaded. When the bike showed up at the offices, it was covered in dust, cold and alone inside a 40-foot container. That's when we slapped it with its new name, The Lonely King. We invite you to stay tuned to the multipart series of turning this lowly 11-year-old bike into something that anyone who opens the pages of this magazine will lust after.
Things to Watch
Out for When Buying
a Bike Online
We suggest using sites such as eBay and CycleTrader.com, because there is a good amount of security in buying a bike when using their services.
Make sure the person is legit. Put on your Sherlock Holmes hat and try finding out a bit more about the person you are sending a healthy amount of money to. Get alternate phone numbers, a home mailing address and even try Google-ing them to see if anyone has had any run-ins with them.
If you know someone local to the seller, ask them to take a look at the bike and make sure there is actually a bike for sale by this particular person. Also verify its condition.
If you can pick up the bike in person, this is tops. Nothing like actually being able to make sure the deal is a good one with your own two eyes.