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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'll start by saying I've never owned a Harley. I, like so many people, have always wanted one, but haven't found a way to afford one yet. I've owned a bunch of old *** bikes, though. My current one is an 81 gs1000, $50 special that I've spent the last few months making rideable. Basically, between a good manual and the internet, I believe I can fix about anything. My problem is I don't believe in loans. I have virtually zero debt and would like to stay that way. I even own my land and house - outright. I know I'll probably never be able to afford a softail. So I'm starting to thinkabout sportsters. I guess my question is what models and years can I expect to get for the least amount of money? How much could I get a buildable basket case for? Is it worth it to buy a frame, motor, trans, etc... or is it just cheaper to just buy a rundown basket case/part bike? What do you guys think?
 

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Incredible
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First off I want to say congratulations on going with the 100% down, no payments, no interest plan. I follow that myself. It does makes it harder to get what you want sometimes because you have to delay pleasure in order to win (famous words from Dave Ramsey i.e. save money). I follow his plan and it is good to be debt free.

I recommend searching www.cycletrader.com or the local trade magazines and see if you can find something in your price range and then do a little at a time to make it your own.
 

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Ironbutt
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7,412 Posts
Get with the program dude. Don't you know it's the American way to be up to your eyeballs in debt :)

You probably already know there's no such thing as a cheap Harley. You didn't say how much you are wanting to spend but even the big twin basket cases usually go for at least a couple grand. Then you could easily spend a few more grand just getting it in riding shape. You can probably pickup a decent old ironhead sporty for 2-3 grand if you shop around. Or you could start buying all the used take-off parts that people sell for cheap on Ebay. I've often wondered how long it would take and how much it would cost to collect enough parts (one at a time) to build a whole bike. On the other hand, if you want something a little newer then you can probably pickup a low mileage sporty evo 1200 for around 6 grand.

Good luck!
 

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'05 Road King Classic
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806 Posts
Thomas,

If the Sportster is what you want then find one you like and can afford and go for it. However, if you want something bigger then starting with a Sporster and working you way up can be a money losing proposition. Maybe you can take a junker, fix it up, and sell it for a profit and work your way up that way then more power to you, but most can't.

Fatboy,

Delay pleasure so you can win later - I like that!

Cheers,
Dennis E.
 

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Terrorists suck!
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647 Posts
Fatb0y said:
First off I want to say congratulations on going with the 100% down, no payments, no interest plan. I follow that myself. It does makes it harder to get what you want sometimes because you have to delay pleasure in order to win (famous words from Dave Ramsey i.e. save money). I follow his plan and it is good to be debt free.

I recommend searching www.cycletrader.com or the local trade magazines and see if you can find something in your price range and then do a little at a time to make it your own.
I also follow the 100% down payment plan. I have went through Dave's seminars and can teach them at my church. www.daveramsey.com for you guys that have never heard of him ot his financial planning tools.:sofa:
 

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Premium Member
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132 Posts
thomastedder said:
I'll start by saying I've never owned a Harley. I, like so many people, have always wanted one, but haven't found a way to afford one yet. I've owned a bunch of old *** bikes, though. My current one is an 81 gs1000, $50 special that I've spent the last few months making rideable. Basically, between a good manual and the internet, I believe I can fix about anything. My problem is I don't believe in loans. I have virtually zero debt and would like to stay that way. I even own my land and house - outright. I know I'll probably never be able to afford a softail. So I'm starting to thinkabout sportsters. I guess my question is what models and years can I expect to get for the least amount of money? How much could I get a buildable basket case for? Is it worth it to buy a frame, motor, trans, etc... or is it just cheaper to just buy a rundown basket case/part bike? What do you guys think?
It sounds like you knew my Father. From the time I could walk, he drilled in me the following: "Never borrow money unless you can make money from the money you borrow."

They phylosophy has served me well and I try to pass it on to all that will listen. Trouble is ... in this day and age, few listen.

Anyway, I can't make any recommendations on an inexpensive ticket to a Harley. I can say that building one from scratch from bits and pieces will make you "one with your bike". There is amazing gratification in doing that.

Carry on, you're heading in the right direction, in my own humble opinion! :cheers:
 

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Tony Kebhart
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194 Posts
I got Mine from....

http://www.wreckedharleybikes.com/

They will ship to anywhere in the US for $300.00. Just make sure you know what your getting into before you buy. Ohter than that....Grats on joining the HD family.
 

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DHARMA Initiative
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5,678 Posts
How 'bout a Buell blast?
 

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0043--Licensed to Doof!
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www.hd4sale.com
Seen some good deals on this site in the past. Haven't been there for a while though.
 

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Ghetto Blaster
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Entry Level

I'd beg, borrow & steal enough green to get a 1996-1999 Evo Heritage Softail or Fatboy. These can be had between 10-14,000 bucks. A guy I know bought a 1997 Fatboy with 2800 (!) miles...bone stock with the usual HD trinkets installed for $12,000. I'd consider that a killer deal. Damn things not even broke in yet. Otherwise go for the salvage thing and buy one, fix it & ride it and when you get the right offer...sell it.Then repeat. Do this a couple of times and you'll probably earn enough to buy a non-salvage title bike as a keeper, not to mention you'll probably get pretty savvy about working on bikes. Deals are out there...you just need to find a way around the middlemen that bump the price up before it gets to you. And, yes, that's often harder than it sounds. Good Luck!
 

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Highly Seasoned Rider!
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4,884 Posts
I think a certain amount of debt is good for the household. You never know when you might need to borrow some cash and if you've never used credit and paid it off, you will have a poor credit number. I use credit cards all of the time and then pay them off flat at the end of the month. The companies like that and your numbers will look better that way.

That said, you can find Sportsters in the 1990's for 3-4-5K. Even a basket case big twin will cost you $5,6,7K. The better Sportsters are the rubber-mounted ones from 2004 - on, by the way.

I would stay away from a salvage title like rat poison. They will cost the same to rebuild and they are worth 50% of a bike with a clear title.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.
 

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newultraclassic said:
I would stay away from a salvage title like rat poison. They will cost the same to rebuild and they are worth 50% of a bike with a clear title.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Fair enough, but I know many who have done well with them especially as track bikes.
 

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I haven't seen your bird.
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You could probably pick up a 1990s-something XL883 fairly cheaply and punch it out to 1200, since you do your own wrenching.
 

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fourty three and seven...
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3,465 Posts
I thought of this dilemma. The low debt to H-D ratio.

I decided to purchase a large cheese wheel.

I have hand sculpted the cheese into a perfect replica of an Electra glide.

I call it cheddar glide.
 

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Banned
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21,644 Posts
newultraclassic said:
I think a certain amount of debt is good for the household. You never know when you might need to borrow some cash and if you've never used credit and paid it off, you will have a poor credit number. I use credit cards all of the time and then pay them off flat at the end of the month. .
Same here. I don't carry much cash. Just pay off at the end of the month.

I seriously beleive in debt. You could be dead tommorrow. Even if your not, the 5 years it took you to save up for a bike could have been 5 years of riding. You only got one life to live. I put a value on that.

I am not saying borrow more then you can afford. But waiting, is wasting your life.

My bike will be paid off this summer. I would hateto imagine, not having lived the last three years. Some people just worry way to much.

I know I didn't contribute.
 

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MadCity said:
You could probably pick up a 1990s-something XL883 fairly cheaply and punch it out to 1200, since you do your own wrenching.
This probably be the quickest and most reliable thing to do. Be riding right away.
 

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I don't mind carrying some debt so long as my income stream to reasonably consistant and the interest rate is low. One of the reasons I bought my latest bike, the 05 Springer Classic, was that I got it new for almost 20% off MSRP and Harley offered 3.9 interest. That kind of debt I don't mind carrying. Also, regarding the insurance salvage bikes, they tend to appeal to folks who can wrench, don't mind using used parts, like to customize, and don't intend on selling in the foreseeable future. Good luck in your hunt.:beer4u:
 
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