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Old Man Riding
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930 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm considering the idea of buying a bike in the next 45 days (?) that I can work on during the winter as a project bike. The bikes I'm looking at usually have salvage titles. I've looked online and saw some of the steps that you have to go thru, and the forms and inspections that must be completed, but I'd love to hear from others that have rebuilt a 'salvage title' bike.

Some of the things I haven't checked out yet are:
1- insurance (I know some companies, or maybe all companies, will only insure liability for these bikes/cars)
2- the title will ALWAYS be a salvage title, and of course, will always be valued less than the same bike with a clean title

I worry about the frame being bent. How would I know that if the salvage yard that sells it doesn't reveal that info? Do they have to provide that info by law?

As for what type of bike I'm looking at - I prefer those with fairing damage, taillights, foot-pegs, windscreen, etc - not frame or engine damage. Basically - cosmetic damage and the bike runs/drives. I don't even want to deal with fork damage if possible. I could probably deal with that, but just prefer not to. I doubt seriously that I'd ever make a penny on the bike. Just doing it as an interesting project.

Can anyone who has rebuilt a bike with a salvage title let me know some of the pitfalls to watch for? Any ideas would help.
 

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Loud Pipes Keep Me Awake
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1,648 Posts
I can't speak for Alabama, but in Washington it's no big deal. I bought my bike back from State Farm, bought parts with my payoff money, re-registered the bike when I was done fixing it, got a new title in the mail with REBUILT printed across in in huge letters, and nobody even looked at it until I went to my insurance agent to get full coverage reinstated. He told me the rebuilt title won't affect the value because I restored the bike to new condition, but then he wasn't offering to buy it.
 

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Registered
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543 Posts
Some states have problems with it some don't. You need to contact your local DMV and insurance company to get that information.

As far as the bike itself goes frame damage is the worst thing to deal with. It effects the handling and safety of the bike and they are very difficult to get back into alignment but a lot of times they are just scrapped and a donor bike is purchased for it's frame and forks. Your best bet for a rebuild bike is looking for a couple donor bikes, preferably one of them never having been wrecked but if you must then one that was only lightly laid down. Biggest thing to look for is front end damage, if the forks are trashed on it then probably the steering head is screwed up and bent.

But with rebuild bikes you have to be careful because they can be quite the basket case and sometimes can cost you more to get back on the road than just buying a running used bike with no problems.
 

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TV Guru
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11,779 Posts
I totally wouldn't use a bent frame. Unlike with a car, the least little thing can put a bike out of balance. Find a bike with a dead power plant and use the frame from that - or just get a frame from a parts bike on E-Bay or somewhere else.
 

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Patriot Guard Rider
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562 Posts
Each and every state varies how they handle salvage titled vehicles and its a pretty drastic swing......unless someone here is from your state their advice wont help much.

I own a vehicle thats salvaged. I bought a 2001 600 Ninja for $1300 with a scuffed fairing.....that was the extent of the damage. I wanted a naked sport bike so I merely removed the fairing and rode it that way. I may or may not ever refinish/repair the fairing in the future.....but Im sure having a heck of a lot of fun for $1300.

The bike had about 12K miles on it so I merely checked out he stuff I usually check and gave it a test ride...no problems found other then the obvious damage so I bought it.
 
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