How to buy a motorcycle at auction in Japan

Hi all! Today, let’s all figure out how to buy a bike at an auction in Japan and not be overwhelmed by the choice. At first glance, it seems to many that there is nothing particularly complicated in this business. Well, he came, chose and bought - that’s all. But in real life, it’s like a whole world with its own rules and conventions. So be patient and listen carefully.

Why choosing a motorcycle at a Japanese auction is worth attention

Let's start with the fact that the Japanese are simply obsessed with motorcycles. These guys take care of their bikes like they are almost living pets, and this is not just for fun. In most cases, if a motorcycle is auctioned, then most likely it is in good condition according to the minimum wage, and that’s only according to the minimum wage. “Come on,” you think, “they have earthquakes there every day!” But to be honest, in Japan, motorcycles have survived many more tsunamis and typhoons than most of us. So these bikes are hardened like samurai and have advantages like Japanese cars.

Motorcycle at auction in Japan

Plus, in addition to the human technical condition, you can expect significant savings; as a rule, prices at auctions are lower than in specialized salons. And if you're lucky, you can grab a real rarity for ridiculous money. Here are a couple of examples: a couple of years ago, a good friend of mine bought a 2007 Kawasaki ZX-10R for some 250 thousand rubles, and a really rare 1992 Honda CBR900RR FireBlade then went for 400 thousand.

Moreover, both motorcycles were almost ideal. So there's definitely something to think about here. You can see the statistics of bike sales at auctions in Japan: , estimate and digest the prices that await you when buying your dream motorcycle.

Stages of buying a motorcycle at auction

Now let's go through the purchasing process, as experts and bloggers like to say, step by step:

  1. Select the desired auction site (there are thousands of them) and register. Popular options include BikeBros, BayCrested and GooNet Auction.
  2. Study catalogs with descriptions and photos of lots. The main thing here is to look at everything carefully. Pay attention to mileage, year of manufacture, any breakdowns or repairs.
  3. You look at the motorcycles you like and decide which ones you are ready to fight for. Make a list of priorities so you don't get lost.
  4. On the appointed day, turn on the broadcast of the online auction. It might be nerve-wracking, but it's adrenaline, bro!
  5. You are waiting for your lot, trembling like a child under a Christmas tree. Drink tea or coffee to stay on track.
  6. When the desired number is announced, you press the bet button like crazy! Don't spare your fingers!
  7. If you are lucky, celebrate your victory; if not, drink and console yourself. But don't despair, next time everything will work out!

Sounds easy? No matter how it is! The most interesting thing is ahead - delivery of your precious motorcycle. This is where bureaucratic hell begins with a bunch of papers and procedures. You will have to prepare an export declaration, a transportation contract and much more. But more about this some other time...

Factors influencing the price of a motorcycle at auction

The price of a lot at auction is a separate story. It depends on many factors, and sometimes it is very difficult to predict. So what criteria influence the price tag? Let's figure it out:

  • Year of manufacture of the bike. The older the motorcycle, the more expensive it usually is (unless it’s junk, of course). Vintage models from the 70s and 80s can easily cost a lot of money.
  • Mileage. It is logical that the less knurled, the better. After all, a motorcycle with high mileage is more worn out.
  • Availability of tuning, body kits and all sorts of goodies. This adds value and makes the bike more exclusive.
  • Make and model. Everything is clear here - well-known brands like Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki are always more expensive. And if you come across a Ducati or BMW, the price tag will go through the roof!
  • Auction and its rating. There are cool, harsh sites where almost only elite items are displayed, so the prices there correspond to the product one hundred percent.

By the way, according to publicly available statistics, the most expensive at auctions are, so you might think, Harley-Davidson motorcycles. As an example, the cool, almost legendary 2019 Road Glide model recently sold for 2.8 million rubles! Well, Yamaha is considered the leader in terms of affordability - its bikes start from 220 - 250 thousand in good condition.

In general, pricing at motorcycle auctions in Japan is a serious game. You need to be well versed in motorcycle technology to evaluate all the pros and cons of the lot. Experienced players can determine the real cost of a bike in a couple of seconds, focusing on the smallest details.

Tips for participating in Japanese motorcycle auctions

Motorcycle auctioned in Japan

Well, people, it’s time to share valuable advice, if not from an expert, then definitely from someone who is in the know.

  1. Study the auction rules thoroughly. They have their own laws that cannot be broken. Otherwise, you may be banned without talking.
  2. Decide on a budget in advance and don’t let your emotions carry you too far. Betting is a gamble, and it’s easy to get into a decisive rush.
  3. If you don’t want problems, look for lots with good descriptions and photographs. Clear pictures are the key to understanding the condition of the motorcycle.
  4. Take a closer look at seller ratings. If someone has only bad reviews, then there is nothing to catch there.
  5. Don’t be fooled by tricks like “very rare”, “the last one like this”. This is often a scam to increase prices.
  6. Study supply and demand for the desired model so as not to overpay. There are resources with sales statistics.
  7. Cool motorcycles are being snapped up like crazy, so don’t delay your decision. Then you have to wait for months.

The main thing is to maintain composure and soberly assess the situation. But adventurism and greed will definitely not help you save money. A friend of mine once got caught in an inflated bid and paid almost a million for a 2010 Suzuki Hayabusa! Although the real price then was 30 percent lower. He, and I, have since learned our lesson.

Another small illustrative story: One of my friends generally monitored the market for almost a year, looking for the iconic 2007 Honda CBR 600RR. I monitored all auctions using this model, impartially studied the price tags and condition of the lots. And in the end, I literally grabbed my copy for some 370 thousand! He took it directly from Tokyo, through a familiar intermediary. It was a lot of trouble, but the result was worth it. So patience and a thoughtful approach are the main principles of success.

Another trick - do not rush to immediately enter into a fight for the lot. Wait until the eager newcomers race to drive the price into the stratosphere. And in the last 10 seconds, enter sharply with a couple of solid bets. This way you can actually buy the lot for minimal money. True, there is a risk that someone else will guess your scheme. But this is already considered an intellectual game, a fly in the ointment in an overall positive process.

Let's sum it up

Well, I hope you now understand something about how to buy motorcycles at Japanese auctions. The process is fascinating, but not easy, I tell you. Before each transaction, you will have to work hard: study the market, collect information, analyze all the nuances. But the result is worth it!

Driving a bike

If you follow my advice, everything will definitely work out! And you will also save money. Remember, motorcycles from Japanese auctions are almost always in excellent condition and cost 20-30% less than in showrooms. Well, what other arguments are needed?

In any case, purchasing a bike at an auction in Japan is a kind of adventure and quest, just like buying car at auction in Japan. But it’s worth it for the feeling of snatching a fat lot from under the noses of your competitors. This is drive, adrenaline, triumph! So if you are not looking for easy ways, then go ahead and don’t worry! A new two-wheeled friend is waiting for you somewhere on the streets of Tokyo or Osaka. All that remains is to find it!

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How to buy a motorcycle at auction in Japan