OK, admit it. At some point someone asked you about buying a clean one-owner rental car. You cringed and cried: “NO – Don’t Do It!” And why? Well, perhaps not you (ahem) but certainly someone you know was less than kind to that bucket of blandness rented when you needed a set of wheels. So what does that have to do with this immaculate example of Milwaukee’s finest machinery? OK, here is the story:
EagleRider might just well be the largest motorcycle rental company in the world. They have over 2000 bikes on hand at any time. They have to keep their bikes in tip top shape since riders from all points of the globe descend on any one of their locations and expect to have a trouble free experience. Fine you think, but do these riders abuse the bikes? Unlike a rental car, where some mechanically induced mayhem may occur, when you’re riding on strange roads, typically in a group while on a tour, no rider is going to ride in a reckless manner and risk his life, as well that of their typically accompanying female on the back, by doing something other than just cruising and enjoying the ride with the others in the group. The tours are headed by member of the Eagle Rider team and the rides are paced to allow folks to enjoy the scenery.
OK you’re thinking, the bikes have not been thrashed, but what makes this a better deal than what I can find on-line, in an auction or in a paper? The typical Harley rarely makes it out the door of the dealership before the buyer spends a bunch of money on accessories to personalize their ride. The bikes are then subject to being ridden with some parts which may or may not be up to factory standards. And, let’s face it, some folks tastes are pretty far removed from yours. On the plus side, these bikes are typically only ridden a few thousand miles per year. When this seller puts a price on their ride, they factor in the cost of all the accessories, so the price gets jacked up.
An Eagle Rider bike is left bone stock. Period. Everything is left as Harley intended so that there are no potential issues about excessive stress or wear and tear. Now, their bikes will have some mileage, typically a fair amount more than that bike in the paper, but EagleRider has a solid response for that concern. When the bikes get to a certain mileage point, typically in the 20,000 to 40,000 range, the bikes are retired from the rental fleet and returned to the Hawthorne, California refurbishing factory with its staff of top notch technicians.
At this facility, the bikes are stripped down and, essentially, restored to showroom fresh condition. The first step in the process is to do a mechanical check of the engine. Although very rare, if it doesn’t have good compression or blows smoke, the bike is sent on to the wholesale auction. Other candidates for the auction are any bikes that have encountered any kind of significant damage. If it is more than a tip over, you won’t find it for sale at EagleRider.
After the bike checks out mechanically, it is given a test ride to insure that all is functioning correctly. If there are any issues with the bike, like a cracked windshield or a broken stereo, new parts are installed. Additionally, any panels with nicks, dents or scratches are either replaced or refinished to factory specs with factory match colors. Finally, tires, brake pads, handlebar grips, floor boards, pedals and levers are replaced with new parts so the bike looks 99% new. Again there are final rides of the bikes to insure everything is right. They call them EagleRider Certified.
Now comes the best part. The pricing on these bikes is substantially lower than what you’d expect to pay for a same year model elsewhere. EagleRider’s goal is to give you a product that will have your neighbors thinking you just came home from the Harley dealer with a new bike. Only you need to know that you just saved over a third of the cost of the bike!
Now that we’ve gotten past any concerns of the concept, let’s look at this sample selected at random from their sales floor.
My first impression upon walking into the sales department at EagleRider’s sprawling super store near Los Angeles International Airport was that they only had new bikes on display. With a critical eye, I looked closer and found flawless paint glistening back at me; chrome was bright and shiny, tires looked brand new as did the pedals and floorboards. I finally found a hint that these bikes were not new in the form of some hairline scratches around the ignition keyhole and a faint patina on the stainless steel brake disks. From 2 feet away, the bike was a dead ringer for something a couple of weeks old.
I selected a two toned 2013 Electra Glide Ultra Limited based only on liking the color. The golden yellow and black combo called out to me, and for my task of photographing the bike, would make my job easier. The key for the bike was summoned and the salesman explained some of the criteria for a bike in their sales pool. It must start right up, because they are fuel injected and it must not smoke. The key fob arrived and the ignition was unlocked. Once unlocked, the fob only needed to be nearby for the bike to be started and turned off. A press of the start button was answered with a brief turbine whirr of the starter with a two or three of thumps of unspent gases exiting the exhaust pipes. The anticipation lasted about one second as the dormant 103 cubic inch torque monster thundered to life with the unmistakable sound of a Harley. Notably absent was any puff of smoke or any smell of unburnt hydrocarbons. Although it had been sitting for a few days, it started like it had just been shut off. This machine proved it was qualified to be offered for sale… so far.
The machine was wheeled out of the oversized showroom area where we were greeted by a group of riders returning from a tour of Route 66. They had flown into Chicago and then followed the legendary road westward to its end at the nearby Santa Monica Pier. The flock of Harleys had road grime but no other signs of having been on a 2000 mile tour. The smiles on the riders and their passengers spoke volumes. I made mental note to think about this group as I tested this bike.
I got a quick check out of the controls. The bike has lockable luggage, a 4 speaker multiband stereo/CD player, built in intercom, the mentioned key fob security and ABS brakes. It also has a gaggle of other features that come with the Ultra like cruise control, adjustable passenger floorboards, cast 28 spoke wheels and the list goes on and on. Thankfully, there are webpages out there with all the details.
Behind the bars, I twisted the ignition knob and pressed the go button. The engine barked its authoritative report and begged to be released into motion. Any Harley demands a deliberate movement of the shifter and with the “cla-thunk” reminiscent of a fine quality shotgun, first gear was engaged. Easing out the clutch, the bike began its charge to the asphalt without any fuss, letting me know that all the torque of the mighty twin was not going to even think about stalling. Getting up to speed, I was impressed about what was not there. There was no excessive noise from the stock exhaust (you might have a different view on loud pipes), there were no noises or vibrations that were out of place and there was nothing that didn’t seem to be other than just as a new Harley would be.
Over the next couple of days, I had a chance to ride some of Southern California’s legendary roads ranging from the Pacific Coast Highway, through LA’s horrible traffic and freeways, to the inviting twisty challenges of the Mulholland Highway in the Santa Monica mountains. In short, I rode the bike in every condition, except rain or snow. I kept a critical ear out for any unusual drivetrain noises, but everything sounded like it should; there was no slack in the drivetrain – everything was nice and tight. The brakes worked just right with the standard ABS and each gear was present when requested… except for neutral which is trait of all Harleys. Neutral needs to coaxed to appear. Afterwards, I realized that this speaks well for the machine, there was no sloppiness in the transmission, either. In short, everything was correct and behaved as a new bike should.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time with this bike. Had I not known that it had almost 25,000 miles on the clock, I would have thought that it was just another press bike with a couple of thousand miles under its belt. On one straight stretch of road, I slowly released my grip on the handlebar. Nothing happened. The bike kept its straight and true path. I’m a big fan of cruise control, and this feature worked seamlessly, like everything else.
Reluctantly, I returned my new mechanical friend to EagleRider’s super showroom and got dialed in to the sales information. This bike was over $30,000 new, but in its virtually perfectly refurbished state, it could be had in the $17,000 range, making it one heck of a deal. This concept of buying a ‘previously enjoyed’ Harley makes huge financial sense. Talking about finances, the Eagle Rider folks can handle that part too, since not too many of us walk into a dealership ready to write a check for a new bike! As we pointed out earlier, all the bikes offered here are completely stock. If your dream bike includes any accessories, their staff of mechanics can accommodate your build requests and, the cost for those extra parts, from practically any source, can also be included in the deal.
Eagle rider has a slew of locations around the world, and four super store locations where they have bike showrooms including LA, plus San Francisco, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. But, that doesn’t mean you have to go to a super store to shop. They even have a photo studio at their refurbishing center where the bikes are photographed all around and the photos, along with pricing information and details are put up on the web for sale at usedmotorcycles.net. You would not be alone shopping on the web. Over 40% of their sales are internet sales where the EagleRider Certified bike is delivered right to a customer’s home.
Their web site is not just for Harleys, there are Indians, BMWs , Hondas and Yamahas as well, including some new bikes that EagleRider might pickup as well as an occasional private party bike. The types of bikes available include everything from cruisers, to touring, sport, and even adventure bikes.
The final bit of news is that starting on October 1st, all bikes sold by Eagle Rider will include 12 month roadside assistance and a 60 day powertrain warranty, by a third party insurer, that will be included at no additional charge! This warranty is not just for EagleRider’s locations; if you bought one of their Harleys that for some unlikely reason breaks down, the bike will be taken to and repaired by the nearest Harley dealer. Even better yet, there is an availability to extend this warranty out for five years.
At the end of the day, the EagleRider bikes become a very tempting choice for the enthusiast looking to buy a nearly new bike, or for that matter even a new bike purchaser can’t ignore the incredible value that can be obtained. In fact, this is an ULTRA good deal!
Browse Inventory: www.usedmotorcycles.net
Text and Photos by Steven M. Green