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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all (and hope it's OK posting this here),

I've recently returned to bikes after a 3 year break (scared myself witless with a VMAX) and thought I would share my experience of buying a used VN800 Classic/Standard from a supposedly reputable (and previously trustworthy) dealer/importer in the UK.

It's 4 weeks ago to the day when after much researching, I decided on a rather tidy VN800 Classic that had been bobbed by the current owner using an imported Blue Collar Bobbers kit. After arranging to see the bike and (from the telephone conversation) fully expecting to be riding home on it that day, I withdrew cash for the agreed price of £2400 (providing everything was OK) and set off on the 250 mile journey - good lady wife coming along to drive the car back. :kiss2:

However during the journey, the wife suggested (insisted) that before I took the plunge, we visit a dealers en-route where I've bought a couple of bikes before, just to see what they had.

As sheer coincidence would have it and sat there in the showroom was an extremely tidy looking VN800 Classic, albeit currently unregistered in the UK.

We inquire with the dealer. The asking price is £2995, 1998, it's done 10,500 miles or 16000 kilometres (it's a Japan market import) and after looking around it and firing her up, I take a back seat and let the wife (who doesn't know the meaning of the word no) go to work on the poor guy. (Later that day I find the bike on eBay and their own website at £2995, 1998, VN800 Classic, very low mileage, beautiful example, standard bike etc . . .)

Result, the price is knocked down to £2750 and shortly thereafter the dealer says he would also change the horrendous non-standard mirrors and rear indicators for "something nice" and also fit a proper MPH overlay to the speedo that "they keep in stock". As an extra incentive, the bike would be fully checked over, serviced, 12 months MOT and 3 month warranty.

Only catch was that he was still waiting for the UK registration doc's to come back from the DVLA in Swansea but that he's already received the paperwork back for another 9 bikes and that mine will be "any day now". He also tells me that it will more than likely be on a '98 R or S Plate.

Excellent and seeing as I had the £2400 already on me, thought that I may as well get it out the way and handed the lot over, leaving a balance of £350.

This was a Wednesday and I patiently waited until the Saturday before giving the dealer a ring. "Sorry Kev, nothing yet. It'll definitely be the next few days".

The next Wednesday comes along, still nothing. "Sorry Kev, I'll ring the DVLA in the morning and find out what's going on".

Now jumping ahead slightly and 2 whole weeks of "Sorry mate", the dealer finally says he could loan me a bike. Another 150 mile trip and I'm now riding a 2002 Fireblade. Holy crap, just what I didn't want as I spent the next week painfully suffering wrist, back and knee pains and trying my best to stay off the throttle - yuck !!! Still, not wanting to appear ungrateful for being entrusted with such a capable machine etc . . .

Then finally at the end of the 3rd week, the phone rings (just as I'm being told my VW Camper has failed its MOT :D) and it's the dealer "the bike's ready Kev". Phewww !!!

Now during this long wait, it had given me sometime to examine the various pictures I had of the bike - and a couple of things stood out. One was the fact that the forks were missing the chrome covers and the other was the headlight looked like it was the smaller one from a Standard VN800. Oh well I thought, maybe the previous owner didn't like the larger 'Classic' headlight and (as some do) had removed the fork covers.

Things really started to smell a bit iffy when I asked for the newly granted registration number so I could sort insurance. It was a P Reg (95-96), not the promised R or S Reg (97-98). Oh well I thought, it's still a beautiful bike, clean, low mileage, I'm eternally grateful etc . . .

Then I arrived to collect it. Here I checked the one thing that had been nagging away at me for the last few weeks, the VIN number - VN800A. It's a bloody Standard (no offense) not a Classic !!! To top it off, the MPH overlay hadn't been fitted.

I point this out to the dealers assistant (the dealer was conveniently in Japan buying more bikes).

"Tell you what Kev, keep the Blade until he comes back from Japan and we'll sort something out". By now I'd had enough.

"No, I'm not pi**ing about anymore. I've just ridden 150 miles to pickup the bike."

"Ok Kev, tell you what we'll do. Take the Kawasaki home and wait until he comes back".

So I take the bike home, minus the registration document or MOT certificate but at least I've got the bike and still owing the balance of £350.

On getting home I give the bike the once over. The clutch lever has about an inch of freeplay and the adjuster is at it's limit. Luckily there's plenty at the cable mid-point adjuster so that's sorted out. The rear brake has even more free-travel in it, so that's fixed. The fuel tank and speedo housing are strangely mounted way off to the left, so out with the spanners and everything's positioned back in the middle where it should be.

This leaves me thinking 'what kind of a pre-check is this?' Also, how do I know if it's had at least an oil change? The air filter looks new and the oil filter paint is shiny.

Then I check the engine number. VN800AE05****. The Chassis number is VN800A06****. These would appear to be from different years?

In my favour however, they had fitted two brand new Dunlop tires, which was nice. The bike is also VERY clean, hardly a mark or chip anywhere (even underneath) and rides an absolute treat. Feels very tight.

What I have then is a 1996 Kawasaki VN800 Standard, with a Classic front end, Classic front and rear Fenders, Classic chromework and seat and possibly a 1995 engine.

So here we are today, 4 weeks after buying the bike and one week after collecting it. No word from the dealer and me with a bike for (currently) £2400 but no documents. Either way I'm keeping it but I don't want to pay the agreed sale price, for obvious reasons - it's not what I was sold or thought I was buying and I was basically bull shi**ed from start to finish.

Simple fact though is that I love it. The missing fork covers don't bother me. In fact I think that with the rubber gators they add to the 1940's 'Indian' look that I love and have already had some cool rides and comments. Even the smaller headlight adds to the whole.

Bit of a long tale but this is pretty much what I'll be emailing to the dealer and/or possibly Trading Standards.

Cheers, Kev


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