A Tale of Two Dealers

I struggled a bit to decide which bike to get, but now it’s time to hit the dirt!

Bike prices have gone through the roof over the past couple of years. Doesn’t matter if it’s a dealer or private seller, everyone’s acting like their bike is made of gold. Just before prices skyrocketed, I had the bright idea to pick up a new ride. I’d been contemplating a used Harley or a mid-sized dual sport. Two completely different machines, but I wasn’t sure which way I would go.

My local Harley dealer had a couple of bikes listed on their website that I was interested in – a 2016 Sportster 1200T with 2,400 miles, and a 2018 Heritage Classic with 20,000 miles. Of course, neither bike had a price listed, and instead had a “Contact Us for Price” button.

I hate the game, but I was interested enough to click the button and fill out their webform. As I expected, I was soon receiving calls and text messages with them trying to get me to come in for a test ride, even though I requested all communication be through email.

OK, whatever. I texted them back, asking about prices, explaining that I’d come in to see the bikes if the price was reasonable. I didn’t want to waste their time nor mine and I thought it was a simple request, but I was met with resistance and a hint of hostility. They seemed to only be interested in getting me to come in and refused to give a price unless I came into the dealership for a test ride.

After a few more texts and another phone call, I told them I would not come in to see the bikes until I had an idea of the price.

“I’ll call you back and see what I can do,” was the response.

Fine by me. I was in no hurry and didn’t really need another bike anyway. I was content to continue to look around and was ready to snag something if the deal was right.

Before I got a call back from the Harley dealer, I sent an email to a nearby Suzuki dealer. They had a brand new DR-650 listed on their website, and it showed the price. I sent them an email, asking about the “out-the-door” price, and received a reply minutes later.

It was a decent price considering what was going on in the bike market, so I told them I’d come by to see how it fit. It was a little tall, but nothing I wouldn’t be able to handle. I talked with the salesperson a bit more, got a few things thrown in, told him to get the bike prepped and I’d pick it up in a couple of days. The whole process with simple. They didn’t try to sell me more stuff, try to force an extended warranty on me, or any of the other shenanigans dealers like to employ.  

I did get a call from the Harley dealer a few days after I picked up the DR, asking if I’d be interested in any of their other bikes. I hadn’t even been given a price on the bikes I had originally contacted them about and was still waiting for them to call me back. 🙂 Then I was told the bikes I was interested in were no longer available, but they had several other bikes I was sure to love!

Several months later, both Harleys were still listed for sale on their website. Seems like a classic bait and switch to me.

I’d assume this is dealer issue, and not something to hold against the manufacturer. I find it funny how the dealer acted like they were the only game in town. There were plenty of other choices, and I chose one.

I’m sure my decision to do business somewhere else isn’t a big deal to my local Harley dealer. Though their way of doing business has caused more than one lost sale from me, I’m small potatoes and don’t matter much to their bottom line.

It was great for me, however, as I’ve been enjoying the DR-650 and have been having a blast getting back to my off-roading roots.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Similar Posts