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Buying a Salvage Harley Davidson from Auction

By Mike Richards Updated: 01/28/2020 Posted: 01/06/2020

Harley Davidson motorcycles are another icon of the US. They can be very expensive, so how do you get one cheaper? Can you buy a salvage Harley Davidson motorcycle from an auction and repair it?

Although the motorcycle industry has seen a significant drop in sales, Harley Davidson remains one of the most popular motorcycles in the US. In 2017, 146,500 Harley Davidsons were sold in the US, 40,000 in Europe, and 36,288 sold to other countries. The 2018 sales dropped slightly to 228,051, with 131,100 units sold in the US.

For you to buy a new 2019 Harley Davidson, expect a price range of $19,000 and $28,000. If this is beyond your budget, you shouldn’t give up on the dream of buying one. You may not get the current model, but getting an older salvage Harley Davidson is an option you should consider.

Most motorcycles shed off a significant portion of its value, usually between 19-27%, in the first two years. As soon as the first owner of a new motorcycle registers it, even before he rides it, it loses at least 5% of its original value.

The different Harley Davidson Motorcycles have different rates of depreciation. For example, a five-year-old Harley Davidson Street Glide is worth about $13,000, while the Sportster 883 is worth $5,370. When you buy a salvage Harley Davidson motorcycle, you will likely pay a much lower price, depending on the state of the bike at the time.

Tips to Buying a Harley Davidson at a Salvage Auction

One of the greatest incentives to buying a salvage Harley Davidson for sale is the savings you’ll make, possibly thousands of dollars. If the motorcycle has a few mechanical problems, the cost of fixing it will not be more than what you would have spent on a used or new bike. However, even with these savings, you need to consider more than the purchasing price when buying a salvage motorcycle.

Identify the Model You Want

Before buying a salvage Harley, you need to have an idea of the model you would like to purchase. Just like any other vehicles, motorcycles have different specifications, dimensions and performance levels. For example, the Forty-Eight covers 48 miles per gallon, while the Street Rod covers 54 miles.

The models also have different ground clearance levels. For instance, if you are planning to go off-road and need a bike with better ground clearance, you should opt for the Street Rod, which has a ground clearance of 8.1 inches. The Forty-Eight only offers 4.3-inch ground clearance.

Assess the Damage

When purchasing a salvage motorcycle, you will likely find some damage. This could be because of an accident or the impact of long-term storage. If this is your first salvage motorcycle, you need to exercise caution because it is easy to overlook the extent of the damage. If you are looking for a salvage motorcycle at online auctions, you should zoom in to verify if the damage is superficial. Dents are easy to fix. However, if the frames are bent or the engine is ruined, you may need to move on to the next site or bicycle.

Find out the common problems in the different models. This way, you will be able to assess if the damage could make an existing problem worse. Repairs can be quite costly. Have a budget for the repairs so that you can determine if you can afford the rehabilitation of a salvage motorcycle.

Are the Parts Readily Available?

Before repairing a salvage motorcycle, you need to find out how easy it will be for you to find parts for the bike. Some bikes are more popular than others. In some cases, you’ll discover interchangeable parts. Some parts are specific to the Harley model. Even if you don’t need a part right now, you are likely to need it at some point. If the parts are challenging to find, you will likely pay a high price to get what you need.

Where Will You Be Riding?

Is this your first bike, or are you a seasoned rider? The weight of a motorcycle is of concern to most people. New motorcycle owners tend to worry a lot about weight, with most choosing lighter bikes.

Light motorcycles are greatly affected by the weather. When it is windy, a lighter bike will wear you out faster since you will have to work harder while riding against the wind. You’ll also have a difficult time riding on wet roads after a downpour. If you are riding on the highway a lot, you should consider buying a large motorcycle.

Look Out For Damage From Poor Storage

How a motorcycle is stored tells a lot about its condition. If the Harley Davidson salvage motorcycle was outside, unprotected for weeks, months, or even years, the damage may be extensive, and costly to repair. Look out for signs of rust or molds.

What are the Salvage Harley Davidson Motorcycles to Buy at Auction?

2009-2010 CVO Fat Bob

CVO Fat Bob is a great bike, especially if you are looking for a high performer that doesn’t cost as much as the Low Rider S. This motorbike was initially retailing at $25,299, but the price has fallen to between $10,000 and $12,000. This high-performance motorcycle has an air-cooled 45-degree Twin Cam 110 V-twin engine that uses the EFI fuel system. It is fitted with a six-speed cruise drive transmission.

2007 – 2013 Sportster

The Sportster has been one of the most popular Harley Davidson, primarily because of the price. Motorcycles produced in the late 2000s offer a great range. Buyers of the Sportster had a choice between the 883cc and 1200cc engines.

Besides the price, the Sportster is easy to repair. The design of this motorcycle hasn’t changed much over the years. This means that even if your salvage Harley Davidson Sportster is an older model, it will have minimal differences when compared to the current models. The price of this motorcycle will depend on the model, the motorcycle’s condition, and mileage.

Although the 2007 Sportster 883 is the smallest Harley Davidson motorcycle, it has some impressive features. They include a classic 3.3-gallon fuel tank, a traditional solo seat, combined stop/turn/tail lights, V-twin powertrain, and a rubber-mounted powertrain which helps to reduce vibrations. Some models have slight variations or additional features. For example, the 2012 model has black side covers, 31” front and rear tires, and paint color options.

Dyna Low Rider S – 2006-2007 Models

Just like car drivers, motorcycle riders are demanding more from manufacturers. Dyna Low Rider S offers exceptional performance. Some of the key features include an upgraded suspension, a Screamin’ Eagle 110ci engine, sporty riding position, great SoCal styling, and better braking system. This motorcycle was only available in the 2016 and 2017 models.

This was the only Dyna model to have electronic cruise control introduced in the basic train. This bike was an improvement on the previous ones. The 2007 model was such a success that the 2020 Low Rider S has capitalized on some of the features in the 2007 Dyna Low Rider S.

Since this was a limited edition, chances are this specific Harley will become a collectible. If you find one in a salvage auction and think the cost of repairs are manageable, you should consider getting it.

2009 – 2013 Touring Models

The most recent Road Glide Limited and Ultra Limited motorcycles cost about $28,000. These are great bikes, but the price is prohibitive to many people. The only way you can afford them is if you buy them used or as salvage. The changes made to the 2014 model contributed significantly to the increase in price. Models released after 2014 have the single-handed saddlebag latches and in-fairing infotainment system as standard features.

The 2009 model was Touring lineup was redesigned into a bigger, stronger frame with modern components. These bikes were also now available in various colors. Some of the features you should expect include electronic cruise control, six-speed tranny, and ergonomic rider and passenger seats.

The price of these motorcycles fell considerably after the Rushmore redesign and the release of the Milwaukee-Eight Motor. However, even with the low price, the Touring remained popular.

Heritage Softail Classic

Are you interested in a timeless motorcycle that reminds you of one of the first Harley motorcycles in the market, but with greater efficiency? The 2007 – 2017 Heritage Softail Classic models have a two-tone painted fender, spoke wheels, leather saddlebags, and chrome trim that will remind you of the good old days.

Some of the standard features include a 96-103ci V-twin engine, and six-speed transmission. The later models have ABS brakes, cruise control, medium-haul storage, and a comfortable two-up capability.

Although these bikes don’t have the performance of the Dyna, or the efficiency of the Ultra Limited, you will still get to enjoy the ride at a much lower price.

Before buying a salvage Heritage Classic, you need to confirm that it was always stored indoors as they quickly get rain and snow damage.

How do you Repair a Harley Davidson Salvage Motorcycle?

YouTube video

This video shows how one youtuber reapaired a salvage Harley.

When buying a salvage title Harley motorcycle, you need to note that maintenance is critical if the various parts are to work efficiently. Request the motorcycle’s history to find out if the vehicle received adequate maintenance in the past. If not, it may be best to consider the possibility that besides repairing the damage, you may need to replace most of the parts.

Oil leaks are common in motorcycles, including Harley Davidson bikes. This is often overlooked and considered a regular occurrence, but it is not. Check the drain pipes for signs of wraps which some riders use to delay or stop oil leakage. If you notice a tape on the drain, there was likely a leakage, and the previous owner chose to wrap it. Get a plastic cover that fits under the filter. This part needs to be in place anytime you have an oil change.

A significant number of Harley Davidson bikes have Twin Can engines. The plastic shoes tend to wear out due to the regular rubbing on the can chains, and on each other. This is sometimes seen as a design flaw, but it is something you need to look at. Monitor the condition of the shoes and cam chains for signs of wear so that you can replace them. Failure to do this will destroy the entire engine.

Can You Insure Salvage Title Harley Davidson?

Getting insurance for salvage title Harleys for sale can be a challenge. Insuring a new Harley is costly, but the premium of a salvage Harley can be even costlier. This is primarily because of the increased risk a salvage titled motorcycle carries. For example, if the frame of the Harley was bent in an accident, the motorcycle’s stability is affected. Any insurance company would be worried about offering a comprehensive cover for such a bike since an accident is inevitable.

You may get insurance for your salvage motorcycle, but you are likely only going to get a liability cover, if you are lucky. Most companies choose to stay away from salvage-titled bikes, while others are willing to take the risk.

Start looking for options from large insurance companies since they are more likely to have the resources to accommodate the risk. If you have a vehicle, you can ask your insurer if you can include the motorcycle to the properties you have insured. Some insurers may be willing to bend the rules for their existing clients.

Are Salvage Auctions Good for Cheap Harley Davidson Parts?

Yes, salvage auctions offer cheaper alternatives for Harley parts. Harley Davidsons are not cheap to buy, nor are they cheap to maintain. However, you can make quite a saving getting your parts for Harley Davidson motorcycles from salvage auctions.

Even if you don’t find repairable Harleys for sale at the auction, the parts can come in handy. Salvage Harleys for sale go for very low prices. Most of the businesses that deal with spare parts get them from salvage motorcycles that cannot be repaired.

Buying the parts directly from the auction means you will save the additional fee charged by dealers as profits. You will also have the parts you will need at a later time should you need to replace some of the parts that can serve you for a little longer.

Should You Buy a Crashed Harley Davidson?

Motorcycles may suffer significant damage when involved in a crash. Before buying a wrecked Harley motorcycle, the question you need to answer is why do you want to buy it? Do you want to rebuild it, or are you looking for parts? If the frame of the motorcycle is severely damaged, it may not be a good idea to buy the damaged Harley. However, if the frame is intact, and the cost of repairs is affordable, and the price of the salvage is just right, you should get the Harley Davidson.

How to Find a Salvage Harley Davidson Near Me?

Fortunately, Harley Davidson bikes are quite popular. You can find them at dealer-only auctions, public auctions, and auctions organized by insurance companies. Find out if there are any auctions near you where motorcycles are sold, including specialised Harley Davidson auctions. Most public auctions have a limited inventory available to the public.

Dealer-only auctions offer greater variety at great rates. Unfortunately, you may not have access if you do not have a dealer license. However, dealers like Auto Auction Mall offer the option of being your representative. You will be fully involved in the process, but Auto Auction Mall will place the bids and even clear the motorcycle, for a fee.

Banks sometimes also have auctions, especially of the repossessed motorcycles. Find out from the banks in your locality if they have an inventory of the bikes on sale. You can do the same for the insurance companies in your area.

How To Get Started Buying a Salvage Harley Davidson

Take a look at some of our current Harley Davidson motorcycle auctions here:

Salvage Harley Davidson Auctions

Use the menu on the left to create an advanced search by filtering condition, model and location.

Example Harley Davidson Salvage Auctions

[auctions query=”harley”]