Venting About Bad Sellers

Yesterday I found what I thought was a great deal on a 1993 KTM 300 for $500. I have a 94 and they share most parts, so it would be great to have some spares. I talked to the owner briefly and learned that the motor had just been overhauled, but the bike needed a throttle tube and a kill switch to be on the trail. The owner stated that otherwise the bike was in good condition. Sounds like a deal to me!

So I grabbed my $500, put the trailer on the Jeep, and drove 2 hours out into the middle of NH to buy the bike. When I arrive a teen (the seller) opens the garage door. His friend is crouching next to the bike and a space heater. It is clear they were just working on it in preperation of my arrival.

Before I even get up near the bike I know I was dooped. The bike is not a 1993. I walk right up to it, turn the forks to the side and read the the Vin plate. Manufactured in 1989. What shocked me more was that the owner knew. He knew it was an 89 but puposefully listed it as a 93.

Well, I came up to look at the bike, I might as well look at it. And afterall, a 1989 300 in good condition is worth $500 anyway.

It very quickly becomes clear to me that this bike has been absolutely ridden into the dirt. Wheel bearings are trashed, chain and sprockets are junk, brakes are toast, all the plastics had been spray painted multiple times and were flaking and chipping and falling off. The seat cover had been redone with fabric and was wet, soggy and sagging. There was no clutch perch or lever, no kill switch, no throttle assembly or cable. The wheels had flat spots on them. The rear fender sat a mere 3 feet from the ground because the rear shock was clearly ruined and ridden to death.

I told him “This bike isn’t worth $100.”

I didn’t bother checking the engine or hanging around. I got back in the car and headed straight home. That was the UGLIEST “good condition” dirtbike I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of them.


By ef

Hey, I'm Evan and this is one of my motorcycle sites. You can find more about me on my homepage, or visit me on Google Plus: +Evan Fell


  1. Thanks Road Captain. It happens a lot actually, but this one in particular angered me. I’m just glad I can recognize a money pit, a lot of new buyers out there don’t know what to look for.


  2. Evan, found your site researching a prospective first buy [81 GS550L] and haven’t left the computer for last two hours. So much to take in! Noted your article on carb cleaning, and mentioned there, alluded to here, is a first-time buyer/poor running diagnosis guide. I write to second that request! Pondering your possible Argentina presence, this is a note for future. If you are indeed travelling a la “Motorcycle Diaries,” enjoy the incredible journey ahead. Peace, Ben


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