In 2007 I became a motorcycle owner in Japan. I bought a Yamaha XJR 400 for the purpose of touring all over Japan. I used it for a couple trips around Tokyo and only a couple trips outside of Tokyo. It was such a pain to get out of Tokyo that it wasn’t really fun to go riding. Add to the fact that there was no one to really share in my passion while I was in Tokyo and I was not the happiest rider in Japan. I loved riding in Vancouver as I had many friends whom I could call up at a moment’s notice and go riding with them. Now I am in a foreign country and I haven’t met enough people with bikes who would like to go riding. Even now it is a difficult task but it I doubt it would be as hard the way Facebook has taken off and how my own personal networking skills have expanded. In 2009, I decided to sell my motorcycle because I was at the end of my mechanical inspection and it would have cost me a lot more to keep my bike. I did a few calculations and if I maintained going on a single motorcycle road trip once a year for 2 weeks, the cost of renting a motorcycle would be the same as owning one. The math decided things for me and I decided to sell my bike.
Selling a motorcycle in Japan is a fairly easy task to do. At first I thought it would be very hard as I would probably have to head to a dealership or find some other method of selling it. I instinctively thought about going to the dealership where I bought the bike to see if they would buy it back. I also considered selling it to another guy and I told him how much I was willing to accept. I was willing to accept a significant decrease in price but at the same time I had no experience selling a bike so I still had to figure out how to do the transfer of ownership and so forth. Instead the Saviour saved my butt, for the umpteenth time, and did a little Googling. We found a few websites to give us some information on what to do and ended up calling a few bike purchasing companies. We set up the appointment with all of them and to our surprise they all asked if someone else would be going. We set up the appointment for a time when we could all be there and I proceeded to clean up my bike a little so that it would look clean. On the appointed day that they arrived, I brought my bike to our location and then the inspection started.
Upon their arrival, they introduced themselves to me and they did a quick visual inspection. They then proceeded to explain what they would do and they all seemed to know each other to some degree. They went over my bike with a fine toothed comb and noted various scratches and marks on the bike. They took photos with their phone and uploaded it to their company servers. Of course they did an engine start and let the engine warm up while testing the bike. They never rode the bike but they did inspect the sound, the exhaust gases and other things like signals and lights. From there, they called their company to get a final estimate for me. It took a few minutes for the companies to return with a reply and they proceeded to write the prices on either a piece of paper or their business cards. They handed the prices to me secretly and allowed me to make a decision. I was pleasantly surprised by the offers as I wouldn’t lose as much as I had suspected. I actually lost almost nothing on depreciation and I was really happy with it. The only sour point was the fact that one of Japan’s largest used bike retailers, Bike O (バイク王), had low balled me by about 100,000 yen! I feel that the system where various companies will come to your house and take a look at your bike and then bid on it is one of the most convenient ways to sell a bike. For a foreigner like me it made the process of selling my bike very easy and painless and I couldn’t have been happier.
After the sale was agreed, the guys who didn’t win with the highest bid took off and I was left to complete the transaction. The guy who did win did ask for a little discount and since I was really happy as is, I said okay and let him get a small discount of less than 10,000 yen. I can’t remember exactly but it was a small amount. I then proceeded to sign all the paperwork and so forth and the guy was then left with my bike and key. It took a bit more time for him to load his truck but that was the last time that I saw my beloved XJR. It has now been about 3 years since I have had a motorcycle and I do miss it. It is a passion of mine that I wish to do again in the future but with a dog, travelling by train, and other activities, I just don’t have money to keep doing it. Tokyo isn’t an ideal place to have a motorcycle as it takes nearly a full day to get out of town. If I ever lived somewhere else in Japan, I think I might be getting into motorcycling again.
Bike selling website (Japanese only)
Ru’s Hero is a biker (or rides a bike at least), right?
I looooooove bikes. But as I married someone who doesn’t, I’ve stopped riding one since 1996! Have to say, there are times I missed the feeling of being free while zooming on one.
pst… have to admit though I only rode RXZ and the cubs (fondly known as kapchais here xD)
I think I remember hearing about that. Can’t remember myself though…
Maybe travellers and bikers run in the same group. I went from travelling for biking to just travelling now. Just love it. Love to see new things either way.
My past bikes have been at least 400 cc. My Canadian bike was 650. 😀
He is! Also a Yamaha. ^^
Bikes are sexy. I love your bike’s colour. Always been partial to blue.
What I want is a little scooter to assist me in my temple-hunting endeavours. 🙂 I’ve never really pursued it because it’s such a schlep for a South African to get a driver’s licence in Japan. I can’t convert my SA licence; I have to go through the whole application/testing process in which failure is guaranteed several times … unless you spend a fortune at a driving school managed by amakudari former cops. I’ve decided it’s too much bother. I’ll just wobble along on my mamachari. :p
Yup, I like blue too but I would settle for black or silver.
SA doesn’t convert licenses to Japan? That’s too bad. Canada does and I wrote about it before. I’ll link it here when I’m at home. Trying to copy paste and search on a smartphone is really hard to do. (^^)
No, we can’t convert, and I don’t blame Japan for insisting on total re-training, given how most Africans drive. Heck, we don’t even have roads, we just go hell-for-leather into the bush, scattering elephants and terrorists as we careen along. :p
Wait. Actually …
That’s exactly what Tokyo mamacharis do: ignore roads, go wherever they want to go, terrify cats dogs pedestrians taxis trucks cops and yakuza.
^^ Made me smile reading about mamacharis.
Here is the link to how I had to convert my license. I should read it again to remember it. 😀
Yay! I love Yamaha. Second is Suzuki.
PS: I love your blog’s top photo banner thingie that keeps changing. ^^
Me too. Gotta thank the designers. If you ever want a self hosted blog and design, I’m sure they can work something out for you. The photos are all mine though. (^^)
Wow, so close to home. I am searching around the web to find out about buying a motorcycle here in Japan because I miss riding SO much, having done over 45,000 km’s in about 3 years in the backroads of Maple Ridge, Mission, Abbotsford <- just outside Vancouver!!!
So surprised to see someone from my area here in Japan dealing with bikes! Gambate!
I don’t think I racked up 45,000 km but I did rack up a lot. I miss riding out there. I remember the big loop ride, heading up to the Duffy. So beautiful in the summer.
I don’t actually “deal” in bikes. I just sold my bike after 2 years with it. I hope you get one yourself. Japan is beautiful, but Tokyo is not the place to ride. If I lived in a suburban area, I might consider buying a new one again. If I lived in Shikoku, definitely. Kyushu, probably. The roads are beautiful. Check out my past bike tours in Japan here:
What is the name of the website you used to sale your bike in Japan please
The link is at the bottom of the post, but you can also follow this: http://www.bikehikaku.com/
It is only in Japanese and it provides a list of the various companies you can call. You can call any of them, but I do recommend having knowledge in Japanese prior to setting up an appointment. They will all visit you at the same time if you set it up that way. Then it is like a silent auction.
Hi, how long does the sales process take all together? Cheers
It’s been so long ago but not long. I would say 30 minutes max.
I thought I’d post a follow up to this as a bit more information for the next guy who does it.
Firstly, this method will get the job done, and rapidly. However I wouldn’t really recommend it for lower end motorbikes, bikes in not so shiny condition etc. For my bike, with both of those attributes, it was basically a fire sale method.
My purchase price was about 160,000 from a dealer’s shop, and the best I could get for it a year or so later through these commercial buyers was 30,000. I guess this makes sense, in that they then have to restore it to shiny showroom condition, but its a hefty depreciation to swallow. Nevertheless, it had to be out of my hands.
If you’re going to do this, definitely try hard to arrange a common assessment time from at least 2 or 3 companies, and do the silent auction style as mentioned in the blog post. I found this very hard to accomplish though since my Japanese just isn’t good enough, so I was relying on a friends help who was busy, didn’t want to overburden them etc.
If you meet them individually it takes a lot of power away from the buyer, because they can give you a price, and then say “but if you don’t take it now and call me back, then I know the last guy offered less, so I’ll offer less”, etc. But I wasn’t going to try put my friend through the hassle of being the go-between organizer with several companies.
For a low end bike, and given that you’re going to have to speak Japanese to the purchaser anyway, it would probably be better to sell using Yahoo Auctions or a similar website. You’ll have to do paperwork etc, but that’s all easier to preparing in advance for, by translating things online etc. It’ll be slower than just calling one of the bike-hakaku companies to come and assess and take it away, but you’ll lose less.
Hope this helps someone, and thanks for the blog post.
I might add this sale was following non-concurrent assessment from 3 companies from bike-hikaku.
Interesting story. Sorry to hear you didn’t get much back for your bike. I know I barely used mine, relative to some people, and it was still in pretty good condition. No rust and had a quick wash before the “auction”.
Anyways, you are right on all points though. I guess it is better to sell privately if you have time and a relatively poor looking bike. I don’t know how but the Saviour scheduled them all to come at the same time but I think it was just a matter of setting the date and time and being firm, but we don’t all have the luxury of having friends who can do it for us.
Thanks again for the follow-up. Was pretty interesting and informative if I get another bike again in the future.
Lots of really good information here, so thank you for that. I had really good luck selling my bike on motorcycledealers.ca. It was free to list and I got as close to my asking price as I could reasonably expect to get. Can’t wait to go back to Japan.
Its really sad to hear that you had to get rid of your XJR. I used to ride a lot more when I was living in Vancouver, like you said, friends will just call you on that morning and ask for a quick run on the sea-to-sky highway. But then again that has a lot to do with culture differences and the busy lifestyle of Asian society. I totally agree with that it takes a long time just to get out of Tokyo traffic, but the passion for bikes is still in me, even though with a dog and family. My wife kept asking me what is the point of keeping a 1000cc bike at home when i only ride it for a few days of touring in a year or two? The answer is simple. I love Motorcycles.
Great to hear you are still riding, even if only just a few days a year or so. I really couldn’t justify the parking fees, and renting would be cheaper for sure. But I guess I ended up not even renting either. I do need a new helmet now though.