A number of years ago, I was leaving work when I got a phone call from my brother. He went on to explain that he had spent the day visiting local Motorcycle Dealerships and wanted to buy a Honda CBR600RR. Unfortunately, none of the dealerships that he visited were willing to allow him to test ride a bike. Out of frustration, he changed gears and visited a smaller dealership to take a look at a Yamaha R6. The dealership was Martin Motorsports (it was located in Pottstown, PA at the time) and, to his amazement, they actually encouraged him to take the bike out for a test ride.

After telling me about his day, my brother asked me if I was willing to co-sign for him on a brand new Yahama R6. I was happy to do it – he was responsible and a hard worker so the risk of me having to pick up payments was very slim. I made my way to the dealership on my way home from work, signed the papers, and he was all set to ride his new bike home.

The way Martin Motorsports treated my brother left a lasting impression on me. I decided right then and there that when it came time for me to buy a bike from a dealership, Martin Moto would be my first stop along the way. Between the initial purchase and now its been quite a few years. I’ve since gotten married and now have three beautiful little girls at home. Life got complicated and I stepped away from Motorcycles for more than a decade.

Despite the time away, I’m extremely loyal to businesses that treat me and the people in my circle with respect. That is why Martin Moto was my very first stop in my journey towards getting back on a bike.

Reaching Out

As I’ve said – It’s been more than a decade since I’ve been on a motorcycle. For this reason I wanted to start fresh and begin my journey with a Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Course. They are free to all Pennsylvania residents and they supply you with a bike to learn on. While this was a solid plan, COVID-19 created a number of hurdles and ultimately cancelled all rider safety courses throughout the state.

In an attempt to be proactive, I reached out to Martin Moto to inquire about their advertised Motorcycle Safety Courses. My hope was that I could somehow make my way onto a waiting list when classes resumed later in the spring. A few days later I received a call from the dealership with bad news – a deal that they had for a training location fell through and they were not going to be able to hold courses when the state opened back up.

Despite the bad news, I appreciated that someone in the office took the time to give me a call and explain the situation. They could have fired off a form-letter and effectively blew me off but someone took the time to call me personally. That sort of thing goes a long way with me and the small act solidified my resolve to buy my next motorcycle from them.

Price Shopping

Even though I fully intended to buy a motorcycle from Martin Moto, I wanted to be educated on pricing. When I narrowed down my bike of choice I began to do some simple price comparisons. I was okay with the idea of spending a little more to support a local dealership but I didn’t want to overpay.

The bike that I ultimately decided on was a Pre-Owned Honda CB650F. The average price was a little outside of my intended budget but it was the motorcycle that I wanted to call my own. As it turns out, Martin Moto had one in stock and they had the best-advertised price within a reasonable distance. It seemed like the stars were about to align and I was going to be able to purchase the bike I wanted from a local dealership at the best possible price.

Negotiating

After a few weeks of looking (practically daily) at the Pre-Owned Listing for a 2018 Honda CB650F, I decided to fire off an email through the contact form. I explained my situation and was clear that I was very interested in purchasing this bike, however, it was a little outside of my budget – was there any wiggle room on the price? I sent my message through the Contact Form and waited for someone to get back to me.

Several days went by and I still hadn’t received an email or phone call about my inquiry. After a couple of more days waiting, I decided to pick up the phone and see if I could speak to a salesman. This whole time I had assumed that the dealership was slow (The showroom was only open by appointment and I assumed that there wasn’t much going on in the way of sales). As it turns out, things were kind of crazy and I wasn’t the only person interesting in buying a bike during a pandemic.

The advertised price for his particular bike was roughly $6,700 and I anticipated another $400 in taxes and fees – giving me an estimate of $7,100 out the door. To make my budget work (Bike plus all of my Gear for $8,000) I needed to come in at about $6,500 out the door. I knew that knocking $600 off the price of the bike was a lot to ask for but I thought it best to be upfront and simply tell them where I needed to be.

When I explained my situation to the salesman, he broke the news that my figures didn’t account for Document and Licensing Fees – which would push the out-the-door price closer to $7,400. We talked for a few minutes and he was able to knock a couple hundred off the final price. Unfortunately, I was going to come in over budget but, on the bright side, I was able to get the bike that I wanted and pay what I felt was a fair price.

Honda CB650F at Martin Moto

Financing

When I initially laid out my plan to get back on a motorcycle, I intended to purchase my bike in cash. This was going to require more than a few months worth of saving but it meant that I wouldn’t have a loan hanging over my head. It was a solid plan but as the weather warmed up, I found myself getting eager to get on a bike. After all, what fun would it be to buy a bike in October and not be able to comfortably ride it until Spring (We have a snowy winter here in Pennsylvania).

I sat down with my wife and we came to an agreement that Financing was an option. If I took a 36 month loan and stuck to financing $6,000 – I could comfortably manage to purchase all of the necessary riding gear and pay the loan off early. With my wife on board, this became my new plan.

Rather than go the traditional route of financing through the dealership, I secured my own financing through my local Credit Union. While the interest rate was a touch higher than it would have been otherwise, I’ve come to really enjoy working with my Credit Union and felt that it was a good trade-off for the convenience of having things centralized in one place.

With everything wrapped up on my end, I made arrangements with Martin Moto to move forward. The process was fairly simple but there was one hiccup along the way – the pandemic created an issue that wouldn’t allow me to take ownership of the bike for roughly a week and a half. In the end the difference between picking up the bike and having it delivered was just a couple of days, so I opted to have it delivered.

The other major decision came down to if I wanted an extended warranty or not. I was quoted roughly $830 for five years of Honda Premium Coverage (100% parts and labor on everything but the standard wear items). This was a major decision because the price seemed a little steep, however, if something were to happen after 30 days I would be on my own to get it repaired out of pocket.

To help make my decision, I began watching YouTube Videos on Extended Warranties and speaking with trusted friends. The majority suggested that I skip the warranty and take the risk but there was one person that had me thinking about biting the bullet. My brother told me “These new bikes have a lot of electronics – while it may be expensive I think you might appreciate the peace of mind you’ll have for the five years”.

I came to grips with the price of the Extended Warranty and decided to proceed with it. When I called back a few days later to pay the balance on the bike and purchase the Extended Warranty – I was informed that a mistake had been made. The $830 on my sales agreement was the cost of coverage on a new bike and since mine was pre-owned, it would be approximately $700 for one year of coverage.

This news left a bad taste in my mouth. The extended warranty was explained to me over the phone, I was given a price, and then that price was put in writing on my sales agreement. When I went to purchase it, I was basically told “Sorry, our mistake – you can’t have it”. I’m not suggesting that Martin Moto should have taken a loss and somehow created a extended warranty that didn’t pertain to my bike but zero effort was made to rectify the situation. In fact, it was so casually blown off that it was a bit insulting.

The decision was crystal clear, I wasn’t going to be spending roughly $700 on a one year warranty.

Search | Sign | Deliver

Due to a number of restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Martin Moto has been relying on its Search | Sign | Deliver Service to make the sales process as easy as possible. In a nutshell, this service allows you to find a bike in their inventory (if they don’t have it, they claim to be able to find it within 48 hours) and have the motorcycle delivered to your home. Delivery is free within 100 miles of the dealership (I don’t know if this is standard or a courtesy due to the pandemic).

The process is painless and takes very little time on the customer’s end. All I needed to do was send in a copy of my driver’s license and proOf of insurance. I also dropped off a physical check but I’d imagine you could completely eliminate this step if financing through the dealership. Once all my paperwork was in, they loaded the bike into a van and drove it out to my house. After the van arrived, the process of unloading the bike and signing paperwork took less than fifteen minutes.

In a situation like this (Current Pandemic) Martin Moto’s Search, Sign, Deliver service was the easiest and most efficient way to buy a bike – especially if you have made up your mind and know what you want.

Final Thoughts

From a Customer Service perspective, I wasn’t thrilled. There were a couple of emails that went unanswered and I was forced to call the dealership to get the information I was looking for. Not to sound harsh but there were times when I couldn’t help but think maybe I was more eager to buy a bike from Martin Moto than they were to sell me one.

Taking a step back and looking at the big picture – perhaps the less than ideal customer service was due to my approach. I handled my own financing, asked for a lower price, and didn’t buy any sort of warranty or service plan. I’m sure the margins weren’t as good as they would be from a typical deal. Compound that with the craziness going on as a result of COVID-19 and the showroom closure and I can see where Customer Service might fall a little short of where it is normally.

I think it is important to stress that I am happy with my 2018 Honda CB650F and feel like it was priced fairly. The process of purchasing the bike, despite the craziness going on with the pandemic, was surprisingly simple. In terms of facilitating the deal, Martin Moto did a fantastic job.

I suppose the big question at this point is “Will you buy your next bike from Martin Moto?” While the experience wasn’t perfect, I would definitely make Martin Moto my first stop when considering a future motorcycle purchase.

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