Looking for a good deal on motorcycle parts (both new and used)? Want to meet other riders and see some of the most interesting bikes in your area? Visit your local motorcycle swap meet. Most bike related swap meets are held on Sunday, and usually held at a fairground of some sort.
What can you expect to find at one? Anything! Most motorcycle swap meets I have attended seem to be intended for a particular audience; Harley owners. But at a meet you will find a wide variety of other bike related merchandise as well, including stuff for Japanese as well as antique/classic motorcycles.
I attended the fall swap meet in Atlanta, Georgia this weekend. I didn’t go looking for anything in particular, but went for the ride and to see other bikes. I browsed a bit, ate some yummy vendor junk food, and just enjoyed being around other bikes and bikers. And, as a matter of course, there were more than a few women in thongs, halter tops, and chaps.
Most swap meets (at least the big ones) usually have a contest or two. My friend Doug had entered his 1928 Indian, but didn’t win anything. Someone had brought a fully restored Cushman scooter. Doug said it was “over restored” and that “they never looked that good new”. Never seen a Cushman? Well it has short fat tires, a luggage rack, and it is tiny. I want one.
If you are looking for used parts, this is the place to be. Need an engine part? An entire engine? A frame? You can find it at a swap meet. Looking for the newest chrome doodad to make your ride look like it’s going faster? You can find those too.
If, on the other hand, you are looking for a rare or hard to find part, and you by chance find it – buy it! If you find two, then buy two if you can possibly afford it. Why? Well because if it is hard to find in the first place, and you need it, chances are someday you will need another. I learned this the hard way. Several years back I had a 1979 Sportster. Sportsters from that year have several unique parts. The hardest of which to find is an original exhaust system. The stock exhaust system was one of the best performing systems that Harley ever designed. The only problem is that it didn’t look like a Harley exhaust. Dealerships pulled the stock exhaust off as soon as the things came in the door and replaced it with poor performing, but Harley looking drag pipes. I found two sets of at a swap meet, but only had the money to buy one. A friend, the same one who said to buy both, offered to loan me the money, but I refused. I purchased one set, and while on the way home, part of it fell out of the truck and was crushed by a truck, before we could turn around and retrieve it. The moral of this story? Buy two. You will not regret it.