Buying a repairable write off – Are they worth it?

After selling my MV Agusta I was looking to down grade in price but not in quality. In other words, I had stuff all money but wanted a half decent bike. After doing some digging I discovered the world of repairable write-offs.

Now repairable write-offs have a bit of a negative stigma to them. Don’t get me wrong, there are some cons (which I will get to later), but if you hunt around and know what you are looking for you can get a decent deal.

In my instance I couldn’t really afford anything I wanted. After doing some searching I found a Cagiva Raptor 1000 interstate that was listed as a repairable write off. This peaked my interest so I rung the seller and had a chat to him. Long story short, the bike had been purchased at the auctions and fixed up. He wanted $2700. I thought was a fair price so I researched what was required to get the bike registered.

There are generally two ways you can buy a repairable write-off. One is after the vehicle has been freshly written off and requires work to be done. The other option is buying a vehicle that was a repairable write-off but it now registered. This article touches on both sides, but mainly what you need to get a repairable write-off registered.

What’s required?

First things first, you have to see whether or not the vehicle is listed as a repairable write off. The best way to do this is by getting a REVS or PPSR check. These can be obtained online for a small fee. If the vehicle is listed as a repairable write-off the bike can be registered again. If the vehicle is listed as a statutory write-off you’re up shit creek. The bike can’t be registered and basically makes it an expensive ornamental piece. You will find that a lot of track bikes are stat write-offs, so they do have their uses, but not for the road. Something to keep in mind is new legislation in NSW does not allow repairable write-offs to be registered, bad luck cockroaches. In my case the owner had recently completed a PPSR listing the bike as a repairable write off. Onto step two.

In Queensland, before you can get a repairable write-off registered, the bike must undergo a written-off vehicle inspection. This costs $335 for a motorbike. They are quite strict with paperwork and will make you pay a re-inspection fee ($55) if you don’t have everything in order.

There are several things they require. Number one is making sure the bike has a paper trail. That means receipts from previous owners or the auction it was purchased from. If the bike has been repaired they want receipts for labor (if there was any) and parts. In my case the bike only had cosmetic damage, was repaired privately and did not require any parts. As a result I did not have to provide these receipts. I had to supply my receipt of purchase, the previous owner’s receipt of purchase and the PPSR. I recommend that you get every bit of paperwork the previous owner had.

Secondly, the bike requires a current safety certificate. In QLD the starting price for a safety certificate is approximately $50 without any parts or labor on top of that.

I’ve got all my paperwork, wtf do I do know?

Once you have everything you need, contact your local written-off vehicle station and get the ball rolling. In QLD they are called WOVI and their website is Personally I found them a pain to deal with. My main issue was you either had to make an email inquiry or ring the provided number. This number is not a direct line. The person on the end takes your details and forwards them to WOVI who call you back at their leisure. The company does not give any time frame when they are going to ring and only call on a private number. I’ve got no issues with private numbers (some tin foil hat people don’t answer them), but if you miss the call they don’t leave a number to call them back on and you have to do the process again.

In my case they required a receipt from the previous owner (for when he purchased the bike). I was unaware of this because I missed their calls at work. This delayed the process a couple of days as I had to get them to call me back. They then wanted me to pay a re-inspection fee of $55 because I didn’t get back to them in time (I didn’t have to in the end, thank goodness). So make sure you have everything you require and more.

The actual vehicle inspection is essentially checking that the vehicle isn’t stolen and everything matches the VIN. This is the main reason why NSW have canned repairable write-offs, they were having issues with vehicles being ‘re-birthed’ and this is their way of reducing the problem. The safety certificate already tells them the vehicle is fixed up and ready for the road.

The process itself only takes a few days if there are no issues. Once they have completed all the checks they stamp your documents proving that they are certified and supply you with documentation stating your bike is able to be registered.

After the inspection is done it is simply a matter of going to main roads with your paperwork to get the bike registered.

Is it worth it?

There are arguments either way on whether or not it’s worth your while. Personally I think it depends on what you’re after and what’s available. On top of this you have to factor in the costs involved. For me the bike was $2700, $440 for transport, $50 for the safety certificate, $335 for the vehicle inspection and then $400 for 6 months of new registration. So for roughly $3925 the bike was on the road and ready to rock. This isn’t factoring in your time and transporting the bike to and from places either. In saying that, $3925 is a pretty cheap, ready to rock Cagiva Raptor 1000. If I didn’t have to pay interstate transport that’s a very cheap Cagiva Raptor.

If you do find something worth a look at it pays to know a bit about bikes. If you don’t, take someone that does. Cosmetic damage can be fixed but frames, forks and engine problems cost serious cash money. If the bike is mainly cosmetic damage and is an easy, cost effective fix I would start considering it, as long as it’s cheap.

The main issue with buying a repairable write-off though is that currently there are so many good second-hand bikes available on the used market. It’s just not worth it a lot of the time when you can pick up something that hasn’t been binned and doesn’t need a lot of work for a pittance. And when it comes time to move on a repairable write-off they are harder to sell and will go for less.

So, are they worth it? I think write-offs can be a good idea, especially as a track bike. If you find a bike that was a repairable write-off and is currently registered, have a look. But if you have to get everything done, the bike has to be cheap or you are better off getting something else.


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