Thinking About Buying a Used Harley-Davidson on Craigslist? Beware.

You’ve decided to buy a used Harley-Davidson motorcycle, perhaps a 2014 Street Glide. You want to hear the roar of the exhaust and be one with the road. Now it’s time to take the next step.

You have two options: Buy from an unknown private seller on Craigslist or purchase from a trusted retailer. While buying from a private seller may seem cheaper, it can be rather risky. Here are some things to consider before making your decision.

Items to Consider Before Purchasing

Logistics & Paperwork

Typically, buying from a retailer takes a lot of pressure off of you, the buyer, because they handle all of the administrative aspects of purchasing a bike. When you choose a private seller, you must manage all of that yourself. You will be accountable for properly completing and mailing all paperwork to the DMV, insurance companies, and other parties. As with any major purchase, this can be time-consuming and confusing if not completed properly. In addition, you must ensure that the used Harley-Davidson bike will pass inspection.

Building a Relationship

One of the greatest benefits of buying a used Harley-Davidson from a trusted retailer is the relationship you build with the staff. If you have any issues or questions, you can simply call or go down to the shop. The knowledgeable staff will also give you recommendations on customization options, accessories, and new technologies.

If something were to go wrong with a private transaction, the seller has no obligation to stay in contact or address any concerns.

Financing Options

Although some may buy a new used bike with cash, that isn’t the same for everyone. For those who choose to buy a used Harley-Davidson from a trusted retailer, they will either have financing options available or they have a relationship with trusted lenders, allowing you to make monthly payments on the vehicle. Sometimes, there are financing and down-payment specials that can also work in your favor.

With a private seller, you’re responsible for the entire cost upfront. This makes it more difficult to purchase high-quality Harley motorcycles that are in good condition.

Broken Parts & Inspection

Furthermore, many retailers offer regular maintenance when parts need to be fixed. This way, you can bring the bike down to the retailer where they can find and fix the issue in a timely manner. They may also stock less common parts, reducing the time spent on repairs, getting you back on the road faster.

Prior to purchasing a used Harley-Davidson, retailers will also ensure that it is inspected and in good condition. This saves you a trip to a mechanic to make sure the motorcycle is safe to ride.

Private sellers may not offer spare parts or fix mechanical issues. Sadly, this leaves you responsible for any existing problems with the bike.


Finally, most trusted retailers, like Tousley Motorsports, have websites that allow you to view their current inventory. Retailer websites typically provide financing applications, a link to the service and parts departments (to make appointments and requests), and most have a blog. This gives you additional information about best motorcycle practices, manufacturer recalls, and other important updates.

With Craigslist, you’re provided only with the information that the seller wants you to see.