"You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy."

Like many riders, I have too many bikes. This isn't usually a problem, but since we're selling our house and I'm losing my garage, I need to cut down. In addition to my Honda PC800, I have an old Shadow ACE 1100 that needs work, so it's on the chopping block. I posted it on Craigslist, and all I've gotten for my efforts is scammers and time wasters.

It wasn't always like this. I've bought and sold many bikes on Craigslist in the past, including these two. There are still many great finds available there. Today, though, the signal-to-noise ratio seems to be nothing but static. There are so many scammers and fake buyers out there that I'm not even sure it's worth trying to sell on Craigslist anymore.

The most common response I've gotten is from someone allegedly trying to buy a bike on behalf of someone else, usually someone serving in the military. This evokes all kinds of patriotic feel-good vibes, as well as explaining why the recipient isn't buying the bike personally. These emails are also written in a way that cleverly omits any specifics about the bike, like make, model, and common questions specific to it (How's your Goldwing's stator? Has your KLR 650 had its doohickey fixed?) Then they want to have it picked up, sight unseen, and pay you with a cashier's check. This check is likely just as illegitimate as the ones offered by alleged Nigerian princes. Nearly all of the offers I get follow this same pattern. That's why I started adding "Local pickup, cash only" to my ads. Not that it helps.

Another scam I've encountered involves someone interested in the bike, but whose mechanic told him to have the VIN run through a particular website to make sure its history is clean. This site costs money to use, and the fake buyer promises to repay the cost when they come to see the bike. Why can't they run the VIN themselves? Because the site is fake, returning all kinds of fake negative history about your bike, giving the fake buyer an excuse to back out of the deal. No doubt the $20 or whatever the site charges goes straight into their pockets.

Even a few short years ago, I got fewer scammers and more live humans answering my ads. They may have made me stupid lowball offers, but at least they were genuine offers, not some scam. Now, if you're trying to sell a car, Craigslist is charging you $5 for the privilege of getting scammed. It's still free to list a motorcycle, but it's honestly not even worth it to me anymore. I've had more luck on Cycle Trader, and evenĀ Facebook Marketplace, of all things. I'd much rather talk to a real human being, even if I don't find their offer acceptable, than some scammer.

Yet scammers are all I ever get on Craigslist anymore. It's just not worth it. I'll still shop for bikes on Craigslist, but I'm not going to bother trying to sell them there anymore.