For several weeks now, I've been scrolling through Craigslist and hitting up dealers in search for the perfect Adventure bike. I started looking in the Bay Area, then widening my search to other California cities and beyond. Two days ago, I came across a 2007 BMW 1200 GS with lots of extras. The bike had 57k miles, ABS and seemed to be in perfect condition, as the owner, Nathan, promised in his CL ad. After a few email exchanges, I arranged to meet him in a town between Portland, OR and Seattle, WA, where the bike was garaged. In a phone conversation, I explained to him, that I would fly to Portland, rent a car and drive to Centralia. My plan was to give him a deposit in exchange for the pink slip and pay the balance when picking up the bike. In addition, I ask him, if he was willing to store the bike until the end of the month. He agreed.
On the phone, I noticed that Nathan didn't seem to know much about his bike. Should I be concerned? I was still determined to see the bike for myself.
The very same day, I find an ad for a 2007 BMW 1200 GS Adventure in the Portland section of CL. Damn, this is exactly the bike I am hoping to find. In "Ready to go" condition, only 33k miles on the clock, with BMW aluminum panniers (side cases). Price, well let's just say, it's within my range. The ad was still fresh. "I'm in luck!", I am thinking, as I am shooting the owner an email. The bike is still available. Yeah!! The plan is the same, fly to Portland, rent a car and drive to Hood River, where this bike is located. I just have to tell the guy in Centralia, I am no longer interested in his bike. What the hell, I want the Adventure! Piece of cake.
So now, I am all fired up, telling the "new" guy my plan and ask him to provide the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), so I can check the service history of the Adventure. BMW keeps such records on file. He does, but he also tells me that the bike is NOT a 2007, it's a 2006. He mixed up the year with his wife's bike. WTF? "Hmmm", I am thinking, "now that changes the price downward a bit". No big deal, I can negotiate that when I see him in person.
I am driving to SFO as fast as I can. Hopefully, I get a seat on the first 50 seat RJ (Regional Jet) to Portland. Not so fast. Plane is full, no standbys getting on. I stay calm. Still early in the day. No need to panic. While waiting, I am thinking to myself "Does the Adventure have ABS (Anti-block locking system) and ESA (Electronic Suspension Adjustment)?". Who better to ask than the owner himself. He response to my text: "ABS yes, ESA no".
"Ok, good", I am thinking, "Bike's got everything I am looking for".
It's 6 pm now. I am on the plane to Portland, a short 1.5 hour flight, a 45 minutes drive to Hood River on 84 along the Columbia river. Beautiful. I arrive at Johns house around 9. All neat and tidy, nice. The bike must be just as clean. I am getting excited. He and his wife are welcoming me, a few jokes, and he leads me to the garage where the bike is parked. Bike looks good. I immediately notice that there is no "ABS" on/off button on the handle bar. And when John turns on the engine, the ABS self-control red light is not flashing. Strange, does that mean, no ABS? "No ABS?", I ask. He response with a "Yes, I think so, I don't know". Okey dokey, let me take this horse out the barn and give it a proper test ride. We'll find out real fast, if your bike has ABS or not, buddy. Sure enough, when I applied the brakes during the ride, the rear wheel locked up. ABS is designed to prevent lock up in order keep the bike maneuverable during a hard stop. An important safety feature.
MY mood is dark as a rain cloud now. Coming all this way to see the bike is ok. But being lied to by the owner of the bike, twice? Upon return from my test ride, John still insists he "thought" his bike had ABS. "I never checked, and I never had to use it", he says. Is this guy on drugs? You don't know, if YOUR bike has ABS or not? What else don't you know about YOUR bike, John?
Slightly disappointed and tired, I am walking back to my rental car. Glad I didn't buy this bike.
Another Craigslist fuck up. Getting tired of this.
And my hunt continues...