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Restoring a Salvage title bike in CA

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So while looking into a KTM 990SMR which was beyond repair I found a lightly damaged Ducati Hypermotard 796. I had always wanted one of these and saw my opportunity to not only give one a shot but also come to an understanding of what was needed to be done for revival of a salvage bike. I found very little central sources of information on this topic, so I wanted to put this together for others to find.

First was the purchasing process. IAA salvage is a national re-seller of salvage cars bikes e/t/c. You cannot as a customer off the street just buy/bid. Whether you go directly through IAA or one of the multiple 3rd party systems you will have to setup an account, pay fees and a deposit to be able to bid live. 

The bidding process is in real time live at the auction lot, I observed online and waited until it was the Hypermotard was up on the block. The auctions starts and ends very quickly so you have to be ready to react. I bid and according to the site it had been "won by another bidder". Three days later I got a call stating the bike had been "awarded" to me and that I also had 2 days to pickup the bike before they started charging me storage fees.

It's always good having a friend with a truck, we used a single dirt bike loading ramp, got a running push and up the ramp in 1 go. We strapped it down and took it back to my house where I started tearing into it.

Here's the first video from the process:



So after this video came the finishing and registering of the bike. I didn't want to get the bike 100% perfect in case something went wrong with the process and I was ending up with a bike to part out. I took the time to find a mix of used and new parts as to keep the budget in line. I received the title after a few months as they did not correctly reflect in their system that I had even picked the bike up. The also had tried to charge me hundreds in storage fee's for a bike that wasn't even on their lot. That got cleared up and I was on my way. 

After getting the bike mostly there I was ready to go to the DMV. I brought all my paperwork and left with a 1 day pass to get the bike to a light and brake inspection shop. You can look up shops that do the light/brake inspection online, make sure to call and verify they do motorcycles as the tech will ride the bike to make sure the brakes work properly. Most of these places are just local gas station type repair shops. After passing this they give you the 2 inspection sheets (one brake one lights) and this cost $100.

Next up you will need a California Highway Patrol (CHP) inspection which has to be scheduled, the $50 fee for this should have been paid upon initial registration to get the 1 day pass. You need to bring ALL paperwork including RECEIPTS FOR PARTS. After the CHP has given you the inspection sheet you can go back to the DMV for a VIN verification (you may be able to get the CHP to do the vin verification at the same time as the inspection). There are only certain CHP offices which inspect motorcycles, be sure to look this up, your local branch might not provide the service however they should be able to look up and FAX the inspection request to the closest branch. They will then call you to schedule, be prepared for a few week wait.

At this point the DMV should be able to provide you with a plate and tags. So just a short list of what is required for all the different steps


Bill of sale

Proof of insurance

Light and brake inspection

CHP inspection

VIN verification (on MC they also note ENGINE#)

Receipts for parts 


This brings us to video 2:



So at this point I just got the tags for 2018 and the bike is finally legit. I've left lots of finishing details to take care of and have been having a great time riding it. I did a bunch of digging and found the local dealer who originally sold it, they were able to give me a great clean bill of health for the bike. Not sure what I'll be doing with it, maybe selling maybe turning it into some other project. I'll update this with some fresh video and pics once I get around to it.








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Thanks it was a much longer process than originally anticipated especially working around holidays e/t/c. In CA they have a prior history listed on the title which reads "salvaged"

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Great job, takes some guts and hard work to get thru the process.

Finished bike looks and sounds great! Hope it's an easy and profitable sale that allows you to repeat. Nothing better than experiencing a bike first hand, and what better way to do with than with a restoration like this. To think this costs most people about $10k (depreciation, finance and insurance etc) to experience what you've been able to do for a profit (I hope).


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