Motorcycle Dealer Fees and Weight Savings | Answers

In the Shorts
I got a quote at a dealership for a $7000 motorcycle, and with dealer fees and taxes the total price was $8970. As far as I can calculate, taxes make up about $500 of this. It seems crazy that dealer fees would total almost $1500, or about 21 percent of the bike's value. Is this normal?
Juan Saldarriaga
Miami, FL

It’s not normal, though it may be a sign of the times. With the economy and motorcycle sales limping along like a three-legged dog, dealers sometimes advertise suspiciously low prices to get you into the showroom and then hit you with the profit-making add-ons when you’re ready to sign the contract.

Florida sales tax is 6 percent, and most Florida counties have a discretionary sales surtax, so your estimate of $500 for taxes is likely about right. There are too many variables to suggest a fair value for the rest of the services, but $1500 for freight, setup, and document fees sounds high to us. Our advice? Always ask for an out-the-door price, and don’t be afraid to walk out that door if the total seems out of line.

Battery Daze
The Doin' Time on the Aprilia Shiver 750 in the October 2012 issue talks about the weight savings from replacing the stock exhaust and battery. It got me thinking about the impact of the weight of things that don't rotate. I have a 2011 Triumph Speed Triple and have contemplated replacing the exhaust and battery for weight savings. I like the sound of the existing exhaust, so I don't really want to replace it if the weight savings isn't going to buy me any significant performance advantage.
J. Elton
Saint Johns, FL

With most bikes in the Speed Triple’s weight range (about 475 pounds wet), shedding 15 or 20 pounds won’t make much of a difference in handling. However, both the Shiver and Speed Triple have undertail exhaust systems, and your model year in particular is known to be somewhat top-heavy, so cutting weight from high up on the chassis via aftermarket mufflers and a Li-ion battery will make more of a difference on the Speed Triple than, say, a Yamaha FZ8 or similar machine with a low-slung exhaust. Even so, you’re unlikely to notice the difference unless you’re an aggressive street rider or frequent track days; the Speed Triple is already a fast, quick-handling machine.