DEMO DILEMMA: Would You Buy A Dealer Test Bike? | ANSWERS

This demo bike had 175 miles and was the last model in stock. Would you pay full retail for it?

Q: Last week I went to a local dealer to buy a new bike. There was just one left on the showroom floor, and the salesman said he wouldn't be ordering any more. The price sounded good, so I asked for a test ride. When I got back I said I'd buy it, and we started the paperwork. At one point the salesman left the office, went out to the bike, and came back. I asked what he was doing, and he said he was checking the mileage on the odometer. I asked what it was, and he said 175. It was only then I realized the bike I was buying was a demo.

I was hesitant to go through with the deal since people I didn’t know had already ridden the bike and might not have respected the break-in procedure. The salesman refused to come down on the price, saying the bike had been checked out by a mechanic after every ride and that 175 miles was nothing to worry about. I walked out, saying I didn’t want to pay for someone else’s mistake, but later I started wondering. Did I miss a good deal, or was I right to be concerned?

Toby Riley / Bandon, OR

A: Our opinion? You overreacted. Modern motorcycle manufacturing techniques and metallurgy are so good that the lengthy break-in periods of old aren't really necessary anymore—even if the recommendations in the manual haven't quite caught up. A new engine is practically broken in when it comes off the assembly line. As long as you don't subject the engine to high loads—lugging it in a high gear, for example—or overheat it, you can pretty much ride normally right from the start.

You don’t say what bike you were looking at, but ask yourself if the average person interested in that particular model is likely to get a bike from the shop and light up the rear tire or bang the engine off the rev limiter. Odds are most of the riders who filled that seat before you rode it the same way you did, keeping in mind that they might ride home on it.