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During a recent search for some Triumph-related items, I stumbled upon this Craigslist ad:

99 TRIUMPH LEGENDTT 900 - $1250 (BOONVILLE)
Date: 2011-10-18, 8:04PM EDT

1999 TRIUMPH LEGEND TT 900. 23,500 MILES. RUNS PRETTY GOOD, NEEDS TLC. $1250.00 OBO. [Blah-Blah-Blah]STEVE. NO EMAILS.

Location: BOONVILLE

I emailed him.

I asked lots of questions, particularly about the title. He seemed to avoid some of my questions, while answering others. After a day of emails back-n-forth, he said he'd let me have it for $1000 if I came and got it NOW. I was getting that uneasy feeling. Too good to be true? Perhaps. I almost bailed right there, but I figured that worst case, I could part it out. I spoke with him last night on the phone. He described it to be in fairly good shape, it having a very [very] minor miss when you first roll on the throttle, but that it ran extremely strong (too fast for him he says). The title was open, signed by the previous owner. Not ideal, but I was still willing to go for it. He desperately needed to get rid of it, because he wife was chewing his ass every day. He wanted it gone. I felt much better about it after talking with him. He seemed legit. The story seemed to make sense.

Today I drove 250 miles with my trailer, $1000 in cash, with intent to buy. Hoping that this would be Triumph #5 for me. When I got there, he was on the phone with someone calling about the bike (hmmm...). As soon as I saw it, I should have just thrown up my hands and ran away. But no, I was looking deeper. Hoping for some true value.





I looked it over closely. While looking it over, he gets another call. He makes sure that I hear his conversation... "Yeah, a guy from Ohio is here looking at it. If he doesn't buy it, I'll call you back". I'm not impressed. It needed tires, fork seals, chain/sprockets, carb boots. All aluminum was corroded. Anything rubber was dry and cracked. The seat was a mess. The tank and all the body work was scratched up with major chips and dings, and some areas painted with a rattle can. The turn signals didn't work (he mentioned that before) and from what I could see under the seat, the wiring was a mess. He did not want to pull the seat to allow me a closer look (hmmm). It needed everything.

My photos make it look far better than what it actually was.



It looked like it had been sitting in a field for 5 years, and someone drug it inside, slapped some chrome on it, and tried to make it look pretty. Pretty it was not.

He talked a little bit about how he was unable to get any help or suggestions on what to do, couldn't find any good resources or info on how to work on one of these, and how the dealerships only wanted to sell him parts and make money off him. He's a car mechanic, but these motersickles err differnt. He didn't know what was wrong with it, but probably just some carb adjustments.

Started it up. It ran rough. It was bone dry before I started it, but after it idled (well, sorta idled) with choke for several minutes, it leaked fuel, it leaked clutch hydraulics, it leaked coolant. I asked if I could take it down the road. He asked if I was a "Real motorcycle ride". I explained that I have 76k on my Trophy, so... yeah... I guess. I took it down the road (why? I dunno). It ran REAL rough. I immediately realized that it was actually only running on two cylinders. At about 4k RPM, the third cylinder would kick in like a turbo. Two miles down the road, I'm thinking I should turn around because I'm not sure how much further it's gonna take me. I turn around and it stalls. I hit the starter button. Notta. Stone dead. Luckily I'm on a hill, and I bump start it. I limp it back to the garage, it stalls 100ft out and I coast it back in. I look it over again. Why am I not running away???

At this point, I KNOW that I'm not going to pay him $1000 for this bike. I look it over again. It's wet with oil underneath. #2 cylinder is hot, but not real hot. It has MAJOR issues. I don't want this bike. I don't want this bike even if I can get it for $500. I'm not even gonna offer. I tell him I'm gonna pass. I remain friendly about it and offer up some advice. I say, "If it doesn't sell to the other guys coming to look at it....", he cuts me off and says "I'm not taking any less!". I correct him and say, "No, I'm not offering you any less for it. I'm simply suggesting..." and I continue to point out some trouble areas of concern, offer some Triumph-experience and make (IMHO) some good suggestions on how to address these issues. He just kinda glazed over and really wasn't interested. His lack of interest told me a lot.

On a positive note, it rode straight and it had good brakes. That's the only thing I can say nice about it.

I finally ran away and I drove 250 miles home.

I'm not gonna bad mouth this guy. I'm not telling everyone here NOT to buy this bike... but, I just hope if you do (or if you already have) that you know what you're getting yourself into.

I'm just saying...
 

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Enjoyed the post

As Mr. Rodgers put it in song,

You've got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run
You never count your money
When you're sittin' at the table
There'll be time enough for countin'
When the dealin's done

I recently had a similar experience looking at a early Honda 750 Sport from CL. The photo posted was very kind to the machine when viewed in person. When I heard there was a slight problem with the title, IE, it didn't match the bike, I headed home in a hurry. Fortunately it was less than two miles from my house. He later emailed me and offered the bike for $400, the asking price $900. Funny thing, he got a phone call about the bike while I was there too.........
 

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Good report and soft warning for everyone. Makes the Legend I bought a few weeks ago for 1900 dollars look like a new Porsche. On second thought, the Legend I bought does look and ride like a new Porsche!
 

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A POS is a POS, no matter the tank badge. One thing I have learned is to trust my inner voice about these things. Looking back at every bad deal I've ever made, if I am honest with myself, I have to admit that my radar was working just fine, but I chose to ignore it.
With a few more years under my belt, I always trust it now!
 
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