Over the years I've made money in many different ways, from telemarketing in Orange County to teaching school children in Costa Rica. When your lifestyle requires flexibility, you need to get creative funding it.
During college I decided to buy a street legal XR650R. I found a perfect candidate for my purposes, a plated 2001, with Precision Concepts suspension. It was a great bike, everything I expected it to be, but for the lack of a few various aftermarket parts. I wanted a true dirtbike but with the ability to use it on the street in relative comfort. So naturally, when another XR650R popped up with two sets of wheels and tires, I jumped on it. But I wasn't done yet, one more appeared, with an engine and some other various parts I was excited about. so I scooped that one up as well.
With three XR650Rs in hand, a 2001, 2003 and 2007, I decided to consolidate. The suspension and plastics off one, the frame and electronics off another…until what I had was exactly the motorcycle I wanted. But what to do with all the extra parts?
Fortunately, there is a huge market for used motorcycle parts. I began listing all the leftovers on ebay, ADVRider, ThumperTalk, Craigslist and Race-Dezert. Pretty soon I had sold off two engines, two frames, a bunch of suspension, some wheels/tires…I had a lot of parts left, but had already paid off all three bikes and then some. It's not a pretty business, hacking up bikes and selling them for parts, but it does yield a way to make money while working with motorcycles. And if you've ever been intimidated by the functions of a motorcycle, stripping them down to the frame is an excellent way to get familiar with them.
Just remember some basic rules:
1. Price out your inventory
2. Clean parts well, and take representative photos
3. Be patient, buyers will come
4. Don't be afraid to ship international. I found that Aussies love XR650R parts!
I sold an engine alone for $1000, and a frame for $650. Don't undervalue your stock. Before jumping in with both feet, it's best to test the waters by doing research on bike parts to verify the ones you're interested have decent resale. The hottest items are engine, frame and suspension. If they have a low resale (relative to purchase cost) then likely it won't be worth your time.
Have fun with it! I quite enjoyed the ordeal, and you should, too. If you don't, then it's best to avoid the endeavor, as you might find it isn't worth your time otherwise.