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Terms, disclaimers, and other mumbo jumbo

PARTS: Having been in the old BMW motorcycle hobby for so long, I have picked up a few spare parts along the way, and I know of a few more that I keep filed away in the back of my mind for future reference... but please understand that I don’t do this for a living, it’s just a hobby. Sometimes I get some spare parts when I buy a bike, and if I don’t need them, I’ll sell or trade them off. Other times I find a NOS part, and upgrade what’s on one of my bikes - freeing up a good used part to sell or trade. If there’s a spare part that I have listed that you can use, just drop me a line via e-mail and ask any questions or whatever.

Unless I end up with a partial basket case or a box of mixed spare parts, I don't bother stocking up on a lot of the "easy" parts. Heck, we can get that stuff anywhere. I try to keep an eye out for the hard to find stuff, and I think you'll agree when you see some of the parts listed. There are plenty of folks that can supply you with reproduction parts, but as a rule I don't have any. When I need new stuff I call Bench Mark Works or one of the other good dealers - they have a nice stock of those things.

INVENTORY: I always try to keep the list up to date, but if someone tells me they want a part, I’ll wait for their check to arrive before I mark it “sold” online. Over the years several people have told me that they’d take something, only to never hear from them again! This goes for bikes as well as parts. So please understand that “Consider it sold” has lost much of its meaning for me unless I know the person that says it. If you tell me that you want something, I’ll hold it aside for you. If someone else writes to ask about it, I’ll tell them that I think it’s sold - and I’ll let them know if it falls through. Usually sold means sold, but every now and then it doesn’t work out.

PRICES: As the "unobtainium" label indicates, many of these parts are getting hard to find here in the States - if you can find them at all. As a result, the prices are not always cheap. Sorry about that... but the hobby has changed a lot in the last 10 years. I try to price things at what I'd like to sell them for, so I don't have a lot of "dickerability" built in there. In many cases, these prices are already higher than I wish they were - and I don't like to have to add on 10% because people need to beat me down on the price. If you feel that a price is more than you'd like to pay, and want to make an offer, that's ok - but please don't be insulted if I can't accept it.

PAYMENTS: Sorry, I don't take credit cards! Personal checks or money orders are fine though - whatever is easier for you. Money Orders & Bank Checks will be treated the same as Cash.

If we've never worked together before, I'll probably wait for your personal check to clear before I ship anything. It's unfortunate that many must suffer a delay for the sins of the few, but as with most things in life, that's how it goes - so please don't take this personally. I've only been burned a few times by BMW riders, but I'd rather it not happen again. 

SHIPPING: Unless otherwise stated, shipping costs are not included in the cost of any item. If you're asking for a quote, just let me know where the package will be going, because I've been known to quote $5 for shipping - only to find that it's going to South Africa (you can't always tell by the email ID)! Needless to say, I'm thinking "UPS ground", and that won't work! Similarly, I've also quoted a part price as "including shipping" only to find that the fellow asking lives overseas... I keep forgetting that the Internet knows few borders.

I'm lucky in that the mail room at work will take my First Class or UPS ground packages and ship them for me (for the normal fee). This saves me from having to use up my lunch hour driving to UPS or the Post Office. The only down side is that, in order not to abuse the courtesy, I only send out one box a day.  Other than this, I will make every effort to get your part out and on the way to you as soon as possible - usually the same week I get your letter. If you paid by personal check then it will be the same week that your check clears. Large and/or heavy boxes (for example, transmissions, big gas tanks, etc.) are not accepted at work, so I still need to bring those packages to UPS. For this reason, there may be an additional day or two needed before I can get over to the UPS office.  

Also, if for some reason I'm away from the office, I might use a different method to get the package to you then the one we discussed (for example, Federal Express rather then UPS, etc.). The new delivery method will always be as fast or faster then what was originally planned however. If it's important that the package only come by one particular method, just let me know.    

RETURNS: If you get something from me and you’re not happy with it, let me know... usually there’s no problem in returning it and getting your money back. With photos of everything posted online, this isn’t as much of a problem as it was in the days when we only had print ads, and your vision of "good" didn’t match the sellers! The part has to be the right one for your bike, and it has to be what you expect. That’s what I look for when I get something, and I think you do too.

I say there’s “usually no problem” in returning things because I try to be reasonable, but sometimes other folks are not. For example, I had one fellow that bought a part, and a few weeks later called to say he wanted to return it. When I asked what was wrong, he said that he just came back from a swap-meet and found one that was cheaper! That’s fine - but I really think the right thing to do is to run an ad and sell the one you don’t want.

I’ve also had people contact me several months later to say that they want to return something because “They changed their mind.”  I figure that they also found the same thing for $2 at a Harley meet, and now no longer need this one. I’m sorry, I still think the right thing to do is to sell it if you no longer want it.

TRADES: I have rarely sold or traded away a part that I haven’t wished I had back a few years later, but that’s how it goes. Today I don’t see myself ever needing it, and tomorrow I wish I had two more. I wish I could afford to just hoard all these parts, but I can’t. Trades? Yes, by all means! I’m always interested in trading around some interesting parts, so if you’ve got some old BMW parts that you don’t need, please let me know. If you see something I have for sale and you’d like to trade, ask!

In addition to my changing needs, I have a small network of good friends around the country, and I try to keep up with their current project needs. I always get a kick out of connecting people with parts, especially when it’s a tough-to-find item. These friends have done the same for me, and I consider this pay-back… but it’s pay-back that’s a pleasure to do.

WARRANTY: No warranty expressed or implied! These are old parts, and usually need restoration. I’ll give you my opinion of something, but it’s just that - my opinion. I trust that you’ll use your own judgement when you’re restoring a part. If you find a crack, weld it! If you really don’t want to restore something, then maybe a repro part would be better for you. I prefer original if I can get it, and to me it’s worth putting the extra time into an original part to have it look and perform as it should. But that’s just me.

RUMORS, STATISTICS, AND OTHER HALF-TRUTHS:  2002 will mark my 30th year of riding, collecting, & enjoying old BMWs. During that time I've met or dealt with literally thousands of good people. There are, however, about five or six folks I would have been just as happy not to meet. I refer to them as my 1%'ers. On bad days I have other names. These are the folks that I've had some trade or sale experience with that just didn't have a smooth ending. Let me give you an example:

Back around 1984 I was selling a bike, and advertised it in the Vintage BMW club bi-monthly magazine. A fellow on the other side of the country wanted to buy it. We agreed on a price, and he sent me the money. He looked into shipping the bike, but he didn't want to spend any cash on that, so instead he asked if I would hold it for 6 months until he could come out and pick it up. This was back in the days of print ads, where two months had already passed before the ad was even published. By the time the ad came out I had mixed emotions about selling the bike, and the thought of storing it that long just made me decide to forget about selling it altogether. So I returned the fellows check, along with an extra $10 to cover his money order, phone call, and postage costs. The fellow wasn't happy, but I could understand his disappointment - I've had this happen to me too.

About a year later I was changing careers and really needed some cash. Someone offered me a package price for 4 bikes I had, and the above mentioned bike was one of them. I couldn't refuse. Well - 18 YEARS later the first person is still telling the tale of how I cancelled his sale because "someone else offered me more money". Witnesses have told me he foams at the mouth (their words) at the mention of my name, and tells everyone how I "screwed" him. I don't think so...

My good name and reputation mean a lot to me, and I never appreciate people who rearrange or leave out facts to help them build a case - or in the above situation, time-compress events to fabricate a story where there was none. That fellow knows 14 months passed between the two events. I think some of these folks want a pity-party so bad that they'll throw one for themselves.

Anyway, as I write this I'm in the middle of another one of these situations. Someone is unhappy with something they got from me, and even though I offered him his money back, he wants to keep it - but at the same time allow folks to believe that I gave him a bum deal. He's not making all the details of the sale - or my attempts to make him happy - public. The word is going around that I "failed to give him satisfaction". Once again, I don't think so....

You can accuse me of being passionate about BMWs; you can say that I'm nuts for devoting so much of my time to bikes; but I don't think most people would say I'm a bad person - at least 99% wouldn't. I always appreciate those friends and supporters out there that correct these folks when they run into them. One of these fellows was actually asked to leave a friends house because he said something against me. This friend didn't even know the details of the story, but he knew me and that was good enough. You can't put a price on friendship & loyalty like that. At times like this though, I can understand how grumpy old men get grumpy - too many 1%'ers in a lifetime can knock the smile off anyone's face. 

E-MAIL: E-mail is my preferred method of communication.  At work I spend a little too much of my day on the phone, and by the time I get home I just like to stay away from the phone if at all possible. If you write, be sure to include your correct email ID inside the note, because many times I get my reply notes back with errors about them not being deliverable - so I might need to check your email address.

VISITS: When I’m in the middle of a project, my garage is usually a mess - and I’m ALWAYS in the middle of some project!. When someone tells me that they want to stop by, I feel the need to clean up, but I don’t always have the time. For this reason, I usually need a little notice before company comes over. To be honest, there’s not much here that's that impressive, as there are usually 2 bikes in some stage of “apart” and 2 on the way back together. My garage really isn’t much different than yours! Spread out in color photos, these parts all look nice, but usually they’re just in a box packed away, with a laundry basket resting on top! Anyway, when my garage starts looking like a place worth visiting, I’ll either have won the lottery or have WAY too much time on my hands!

ADVICE: As they say - opinions are like a[CENSORED]s, everybody has one! If someone asks my opinion about something, I'll be happy to share it - as long as it doesn't create a conflict for me (where I don't stand to gain or lose) - in those cases I will bow out. It's just possible that I've been down the road you're just now looking at. In the case of a "what's it worth" question, or a "should I buy this bike/part" question, I basically reply with what I would do if it was me. I don't always have the advantage of seeing (in person) what it is you're asking about, so this should be factored in to what I say. I'm also assuming that the rent is paid, the kids are happy, and this is something fun that you'd like to do because you can. At all times, please feel free to do exactly what you think is best, because in the end that's all that matters!

So justtttt in case I wake up stupid the day you decide to write, be forewarned that all opinions & advice come without a warranty! :-)

ME, MY, MINE: The Internet is a wonderful thing, allowing me to share 25 years worth of photos and memories like this. While scanning and posting all these photos, I tried to identify which were machines that I owned, verses bikes that I just "saw along the way." The problem is that before too long, I started to feel a little redundant with the "My Bike" captions. In a way it’s hard to avoid, having had so many different bikes through the years. So until I can think of a better way to label them, I hope you’ll bear with me!

Speaking of which, yes - all these bikes WERE mine at some point, but I don’t still own them all. To be precise (if not grammatically correct), I don’t still own most of them! I’m just a regular working stiff who happens to enjoy old bikes. I usually have about 5-6 bikes at any one time, usually in different stages of ‘complete’, or undergoing restoration. Some bikes I’ve owned for 10-12 years, while others stay only a year or so. Very often I find another bike that I’d love to have, and invariably something has to go to scrape up the money for the new toy. I wish it wasn’t so, but it is. So when you look over theses pages, remember that I’m really NOT in a position to challenge the Barber Museum in total bikes owned! We’re just time-compressing 25+ years of fun on to a few screens.

BMW: Please note that the name BMW is a registered trade name of Bavarian Motor Works, A.G. (henceforth known as BMW), and is used for reference only. Many words, model names, and designations mentioned herein are the the property of the trademark holder, and I use them for identification purposes only. There is no association of any form whatsoever with BMW and/or its subsidiaries and the author of this web publication.

Also please note that if a suitable position should open up at BMW  North America for a historian, museum curator, or obsolete parts storage area night watchman ;-), I'd love to have a shot at it.

Disclaimer: The information in this web publication is true and complete to the best of my knowledge. All recomendations are made without any guarantee on the part of the author, who also disclaims any liability incurred in connection with the use of this data or specific details.

Copyright: Copyright 1998-2008 by John's Beemer Garage. All rights reserved. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism, review, or direct web page link, no part of this web publication may be reprinted, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted  in any form by any electronic or mechanical copying system without the explicit written permission of the author.