Motorcycle Brokers

Who the heck are they?
My favorite pastime, other than spending quality time on my dirt bike, is
spending quality time reading what others say about their dirt bikes. Every
month or so I read a discussion thread questioning how a company called
Motorcycle Brokers can sell dirt bikes so cheap. I wondered the same thing
during the summer of 2003 and did a little investigating.

Motorcycle Brokers is actually a company doing business as Goodfellow
Racing, located just outside Vancouver in North Delta, BC Canada. Zach
Graham is the man in charge, and his business is selling new dirt bikes,
ATV’s, snowmobiles, and personal watercraft. He does it differently than
most, as his primary sales mechanism appears to be the internet. You may
have seen new 2003 KX250’s listed on eBay for $3,899. That’s Zach and
Goodfellow Racing. Although they sell off-road vehicles made by most of
the major manufacturers, they’re a bit selective on what they offer. The
motorcycle inventory list on the Motorcycle Brokers web site shows plenty
of motocrossers and a few enduro bikes, but not much else.

Goodfellow Racing is careful to call themselves a “broker/wholesaler” and
not a dealer. Probably a reason for that, possibly having to do with the fact
that U.S. dealers surely can’t be excited about the Motorcycle Brokers
sales model. I've been told Canadian import taxes on these vehicles are
less than U.S. import taxes, so that’s apparently how Goodfellow Racing is
able to sell these vehicles for what appear to be razor-thin profit margins.
As Canadian-spec vehicles, the bikes are sometimes a little different than
what a U.S. dealer would sell. For example, the KTM EXC’s are described as
“Dual Sport California Spec” which means they come more or less street
legal (if you want a 300EXC with turn signals, you may be in luck). However,
most of the motocross bikes are no different than what’s sold in the U.S.

So how do you buy a Canadian dirt bike? Here’s how:

1. Call up Zach using the number on the web site (his cell phone, I think).
Ask him questions. When you’re ready to buy, he’ll give you the number of
Brandie at the Goodfellow Racing office.
2. Brandie will gather your critical information and give you the lowdown on
what you need to get your bike.
3. First things first…you gotta send them some money in U.S. dollars.
Cashiers check, money order, or wire transfer is preferred. Not sure you
want to send thousands of dollars to someone you don’t know? You can
use PayPal (with credit card), but Motorcycle Brokers charges an extra 3%
to cover their transaction costs.
4. After receiving payment, Brandie sends out the
shipping information. The
bikes are shipped in the crate via Forward Air for $200. The day Brandie
received my cashier’s check for purchase of a 2003 KX250,
the bike was
shipped and she faxed me the tracking information.
5. My bike arrived at Forward Air’s freight terminal in St. Louis exactly one
week from its original shipping date. From there, it was my responsibility to
pick it up (although they might have arranged home delivery for extra cost).
6. I took delivery of the bike,
drove it home and put it together.

That’s it, pretty much.

From there, you get to decide whether or not you want to title the bike. I
didn't title the previous two bikes I purchased, but with the KX250 I decided
strange Canadian documentation might scare off potential buyers
when I sell the bike. Many buyers are okay with a Certificate of Origin in lieu
of a title, but I could only imagine the reaction to the documents that came
with my KX. Even though a title meant I would have to
pay sales tax on the
bike, I have a feeling I’ll get it back when the bike gets sold someday.

So, the title process began. We've all been to the Department of Motor
Vehicles, and I think it’s safe to say that no matter what state you live in, the
best way to describe the overall DMV experience is “challenging.” I didn't
even want to attempt what would surely be a painful procedure, full of blank
stares and “You wanna do what?” Since I was titling the bike in Illinois, I
visited a currency exchange in a town close to my parent’s farm. Why
would I go to a currency exchange to get a vehicle title? Because many of
them provide vehicle title and registration services. This can be especially
useful when you buy a used car from an individual. At the currency
exchange there’s a “hassle factor” of about 2 on a scale of 10, versus the
DMV which is more like 15 on a scale of 10. Again, just my personal
experience…maybe yours is different.

Anyway, the currency exchange that I used does many
title applications
every day. They probably send the paperwork directly to the State of Illinois
and know the specific individuals at the Secretary of State office where the
documents get processed. Although the currency exchange charges a fee
for title services, this seemed like a better alternative than wasting half a
day in the DMV office and probably having to follow up later on because I
didn't fill out the right form or some document ended up in the wrong place.
And even if the currency exchange didn't get something right the first time,
it was their problem, not mine.

As it turned out, the nice lady who handled my title application had never
processed an application for a Canadian vehicle, but she said she’d give it
her best shot. Whatever she did, it worked. The title application was done
over Thanksgiving and
the title arrived by Christmas.
My Continuing Quest for Cheap
A journey down the highway of frugality
Update June 2007:
It appears Zach Graham has moved on to other things, as the Motorcycle
Brokers website is no longer active. What follows is my 2003 account of an
interesting method of buying a motorcycle.
It's so duurty... Orange envy It's not easy being...oh hell, it IS pretty damn easy being green Homeboy