eBay Madness Part II

Well, I bought a Yamaha YP125 Majesty on eBay, picked it up in a van, got it serviced and am now waiting for the insurance to come through on it. I still can’t quite work out if I did the right thing or not, but it was fun. You only live once, etc. etc. For those interested in the details, read on.

After a 10-day listing, I put an £813 proxy on it. The bidding closed at £561.00.

The following weekend, I hired a van for the weekend. The plan was to pick up the bike on the Saturday, then I could take it in to the bike shop for a seeing to on the Monday morning. Turned out the man at the hire place was a scooter freak, and he lent me his loading ramp – I felt luck was surely on my side when that happened. We wouldn’t have been able to get it into the van otherwise!

So we packed some sandwiches and piled in for a nice drive around the M25 and M11 to Epping. Axel was squeezing his mum’s hand the whole way as I ground the gears of the cheapest Transit in London. When we got there about an hour and a half later, Lee, the seller, turns out to be a nice bloke (I’d spoken to him a couple of time on the phone during the week). He buys bikes from salvage shops and sells them on. He said he a was a police officer, and I think I believe him.

I have to admit I didn’t do anything that would have stopped him from ripping me off, but the bike looked OK, the engine started, and apart from the clunk on the side, all seemed well. I chatted to his wife about the pets (three boxers and two cats) as I sat in her living room while Lee made out the invoice and counted my money out on the rhubarb-coloured shag pile carpet.

These scooters are all curved edges and slippery plastic so lashing it down in the back of the van wasn’t easy. Our first attempt ended in it toppling over as we went round the block for a shake-down (I remembered that from the army – pack up, shake down…). So we re-lashed and got back on the M11.

After a rather frantic Monday morning drive to the bike shop, the prognosis looked good: the frame didn’t seem bent, but it did lean to the left slightly, which could mean twisted forks. But they didn’t seem too concerned. I decided not to ask for a ball-park figure. What if they said it was going to be a thousand quid? What if they found it had some irreparable damage? All I could do was hope.

Despite saying they’d ring once they had a good idea of how much it would cost, I got a call on Tuesday afternoon saying that it was ready for collection. The frame was sound, it had needed a service (very low oil, and the tires were half flat, which would explain the leaning). The damage to the side was not, however, not something they could do much about. I took that to mean it was more trouble than they were willing to spend on it. So the bill for the service and a couple of replacement bits came to £123.68.

I agreed to pick it up Saturday morning. I’ve never ridden a twist-and-go before. It’s like a dodgem. Your legs just sit there motionless with no gears or breaks to worry about. The first thing I noticed was the acceleration though – or lack of it. After twelve years on a 250, a 125 is a lot less punchy. But I’m not into bikes, I keep telling myself.

I stopped by the BP station on way back to fill her up. Unlike my Honda, this machine as a fuel gage. Posh! Five litres later (I thought What Bike? magazine said it took ten?) I paid and tried to leave.

I say tried, because when I twisted the key, and pressed the nice red ignition button, nothing happened. I tried again. I checked the kick stand. Nothing. The garage attendant was staring at me from behind a pile of Bounty Bars. What was he thinking as I pushed the machine to the side of the forecourt and walked towards him?

Taking my helmet off, I mumbled about having just bought the bike and could I borrow a pen. I phoned Kumi to get the bike shop number.

“Hello, I’ve just picked up my Majesty 125 and am at the petrol station and I can’t get it started.”

“Did you engage the break?”

“No, do I have to?”

“It won’t start unless you have the break on.”

“Ah, OK. Thanks.”

As embarrassing conversations go, I suppose it wasn’t too bad. I continued on my way back home. I think I need a copy of the owners manual.

Now the machine is sitting chained to my old one outside under a tarp, I feel a bit tired, but relieved the main job of getting the bike is over. Now I just need to sell the old on (eBaaaay!) and look for somebody who’s willing to repair the cosmetic damage to the side.

The figures for a one-owner, 2003 registered, Yamaha Majesty 125 with 2,500 miles on the clock:

eBay Purchase        £540.00 (less £20 from auction price for lack of a log book)
Van Hire	      £90.00
Service	             £123.68
Log Book	      £19.00
Lock & Tarp	      £86.49
Tax	              £15.00
Datatag	              £15.50

TOTAL:               £889.67

Insurance (annual)   £147.25