So it came to pass. I have been, for months, pushing the wife to get her own bike. There are a couple reasons for this:
- The most important reason is that I want her to experience the absolute joy of driving the bike herself instead of just being a passenger.
- Riding the bike without a passenger’s weight makes your own ride a little more enjoyable…and stopping at stoplights a little easier!
- We need the storage space of extra saddlebags! Plus, where I could strap an extra bag to the sissy bar on my bike, you can’t when there’s a passenger. (For some reason, we don’t travel super-light yet. Haven’t achieved that level of zen, I guess.)
So, some brief background. We had initially looked at, and was in the process of purchasing, a 2015 1200T SuperLow (Sportster) with 3,000 miles at our favorite Harley dealership, the one I bought my bike from. We got the sale down to $10,034 base, then add the dealer prep, document fees, etc. and it came to just around $12,000 or close that I would need to finance.
Now, I don’t know if this is a standard “sales technique” or not, but it truly seems like our favorite shop is either a) completely incompetent when it comes to dealing with an external lender or b) they make it super difficult so you’ll throw up your hands and say “fine, let’s look at your lenders”.
In trying to get the Purchase Order / Bill of Sale over to our credit union’s loan officer, we go through the following “mistakes”:
- Document contains unnecessary financing information and with a 22.99% rate at that! (Versus the 4.49% from my credit union.)
- Document is a cell phone taken picture, complete with hand-holding-the-phone shadows. (“Print to PDF”, anyone?)
- Document doesn’t even contain the name/phone/address of the dealership so that the bank knows how to pay them.
- It’s a used bike, so the dealership doesn’t have a “parts list” so the bank’s underwriters can make an intelligent decision on how much to loan.
- When that’s solved, the price the HD shop wants for the bike puts me above their max 120% loan-to-value ratio, indicating that (compared to NADA valuation, the bike is likely overpriced. The 120% l-t-v is meant to allow for TTL, minor paperwork, trade-in shortages, etc. On my own purchase I had to put $2,000 down just to offset this with the HD dealer.
So, one hassle after another. Our sales guy was excellent, on both my bike purchase and on this attempt. But the finance folks….just….sigh.
So we started looking around. Via an independent / Indian dealership, we found a used 2016 (year newer), with just 1,500 miles (half the miles of the other). And we negotiated to a complete out-the-door price of just $7,999. So, $3-4,000 cheaper. The “Harley Tax” struggle is real, folks. They’ll get my servicing business still, but…wow.
Furthermore, the ENTIRE operation with the independent dealer took about 30 minutes to close the deal. 30 minutes! We’d spent hours dealing with HD for the intended purchase. Of course, a little longer to get the paperwork shuffled back and forth and the bike cleaned and fueled up to ride off the lot, which was pretty much accomplished while the wife and I went to lunch.
So I’ve taken the wife out to some parking lots to slowly get her up to speed in preparation for taking the classes, which don’t really cover riding mechanics. She’s done great in our first two sessions and I look forward to more. She says I’m a pretty patient teacher and what we’re doing, slowly, has been great from her point of view.
This bike is light, around 400+ pounds, as compared to the (probably by now) 900 or so that is my Heritage. It’s the right height, it’s the right weight. And being a 1200 means it can keep up with my 103/1600+ without too much of a struggle.
We’ll be adding parts, such as engine guards and forward controls. All expected this week. (Not sure how the “T” can be for “touring” in a 1200T without forward controls, but…okay?)
In just five months we’ve put almost 10,000 miles on my Heritage. I can’t wait until we’re BOTH getting that kind of mileage on TWO bikes.