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Buying A Motorcycle April 9, 2011

Posted by Mitchell in Science & Technology, Yorling.
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Get Your Motor Runnin’

In about a week or so I turn 41 and I’ve decided to get myself something nice this year. Back in the early 90’s I had a Honda Rebel and it was really fun to ride. Oh it was in terrible shape and laid down a couple times judging by the dent in the gas can and the fact that the rear turn signal lights were scraped off. That last fact I hadn’t noticed for at least a couple months. But I was poor and it was only $500. I eventually got rid of it after realizing that repairs were costing me more than the bike was worth but still I recall it fondly. The funny thing about that particular model was that it generally resembled a Harley-Davidson Lowrider and it fooled people from time to time. Once while I was getting gas a kid nearby suddenly exclaimed “Woah! Nice bike!” Then he looked a little closer and his lip curled into a sneer and said, “Oh, it’s Honda” and turned away. Ah, screw you kid.

Anyway. I didn’t know much about motorcycles then and I still don’t know much about them now, but that don’t make no nevermind. I can also afford something a bit nicer than that one certainly. The question now is, which one? The last week or so I’ve been talking to a couple guys at work who have owned bikes in the past and one of whom just recently bought a brand new Harley-Davidson trike and he made a few suggestions. One thing he warned me off of was any kind of chopper with the big extension on the front wheel. He said that they’re often uncomfortable to ride and somewhat more difficult to control. One suggestion he had was to look into Honda Shadows. I looked. And I liked. Check a couple out:


This here is the Shadow Spirit. Nice eh? Below is it’s sibling the Shadow Aero:

There are a couple more variants in the shadow line but I don’t like the looks as much. The engine size on these things is 745 cc. Currently my price range is four to five grand and I can just pay that outright without needing to finance anything. And it just turns out that there are quite a few of these in the general area with fairly low miles for that price range. Cool! Of course…five grand would make a pretty nice down payment on something a bit nicer though wouldn’t it? Hell, brand new these things are at the seven grand base price. Honda makes a few others in the Cruiser category that look pretty nice too. This is more the style I’m interested in. I’m not going to go off-road with a bike and I’m not interested in the crotch-rocket types either.

Of course, when looking at motorcycles one inevitably starts looking at the Harleys. I’m resistant to them for a couple reasons: first is the expense, second is the reliability (not a good reputation frankly), thirdly is the sound – they are just too freaking loud. Still, I went and prowled around their website for a while yesterday and I was surprised at the prices as a lot of them aren’t really all that expensive. And if I finance with 5k down for three years I can get one of these with monthly payments around $326:


Folks, meet the Harley Davidson Wide Glide. Wide Glide, meet The Folks. Hmm. This is actually do-able people. Of course with a Harley you’re buying into a whole culture / lifestyle thing that goes with it. I’m not entirely certain if that’s a net positive or negative. Any motorcycle comes with that to some degree sure, but H-D is definitely more so. So. Decisions, decisions.

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Comments

1. Lemur King - April 10, 2011

Years ago (like 20+change) I was really into dirt bikes but road motorcycles were an off-on kind of thing. One day I took a Honda Magna V45 for a spin. Got 0-90mph in the section I had available and for whatever reason for the first time ever, my rational brain actually overpowered my non-existent instinct for survival (read: adrenaline junkie). Rode back onto the lot, shook my head, and handed the keys back to the guy.

Crotch-rockets are a bear for me to ride for any length of time if I want to ride point A to B. For curves, where life begins at 45, then a rocket is the only thing that will do.

The Spirit looks like it’s more amenable to horsing around now and then but the Aero looks like it might be a bit more passenger friendly. I like either one. Harleys just don’t blow my skirt up, although an old girlfriend would say “Know where a gal would go with a Harley?” I’d say “No, where?” She’d grin and say “Nowhere, just turn it on in the driveway and sit on it. Go to town. Never leave the driveway.” I said “Huh? What? Ohhhhhh…”

Different color horse, that one.

2. LC Aggie Sith - April 10, 2011

Oh, decisions…

Never been on a motorcycle. Hubby is dying to own one, but it’s not my thing, so I will have to go on looks alone.

I vote for the Aero. The lines are very classic and retro.

The Harley looks like it has a lot of plastic, for some reason.

3. cmblake6 - April 11, 2011

Well, Aggie, you know my scooter personally now don’t you?

LK, I personally do not like those crotch rocket thingies. Just not me at all. I’ve been riding for just shy of 40 years. When I can no longer ride, go ahead and put me down.

4. cmblake6 - April 11, 2011

Oh, and by the way, that Aero will cost approximately half the HD price. And be all that you need for many years.

5. Retired Geezer - April 11, 2011

I got my first motorcycle when I was 14, the day after my birthday and the day I could legally drive one. that was about 50 years ago.
I’ve had motorcycles ever since. In fact I still have two but they are both dirt bikes.

I would be askeerd to ride in LV traffic, and not because I’m old.

Please be careful.

6. cmblake6 - April 12, 2011

You read my comment about the ethereal nature of what is right, Mitchell?

Mitchell - April 12, 2011

Yup! Thanks for the thoughts!

7. LC Aggie Sith - April 12, 2011

cmblake has a sweet ride, too 🙂

8. Nicole - April 12, 2011

Don’t know nothin’ ’bout motorcycles, but I like the look of the Shadow Aero.

9. JAM2 - April 15, 2011

i’ve owned various harleys… while the reliability “issue” was a concern during the AMF years, it is no longer a real issue from a TQM or other quality control method point of view….

the Dyna Wide glide was in fact my favorite harley… you can make them as loud… or as quiet as you like. The Wide Glide is a comfortable ride and has thousands of aftermarket items you can use to personalize, modify, upgrade, etc with.

I’ve also owned Honda’s…. they were all VERY well made and probably the smoothest running machines i’ve owned. My favorite was the CBR 1000F.

I am currently leaning toward a dual purpose ride… like a BMW GS or Triumph Tiger… they handle a B.O.B. better…

10. JAM2 - April 15, 2011

oh…. btw –
Happy Birthday Mitchell!

beers on me –

11. Mitchell - April 15, 2011

Interesting insights on the motorcycles. I was going to start looking at some this weekend and pick up a helmet. I need that to take the riding course so I can get the license endorsement before I actually buy anything.

Thanks for the HB!

12. Tushar - April 17, 2011

Mitchell,
talk to VMax over at The Hostages. He knows bikes. I have a 2006 Shadow Aero. Great bike. The latest one, pictured above, looks even better.

Oh, and don’t be an idiot like me and buy a new one. Look out for some sucker who bought a new one and got bored because a new hobby caught his fancy and buy it off him for half the price.

13. Mrs. Peel - April 19, 2011

Will just got a job with an 80-mile roundtrip, so we’ve been thinking about getting him a motorcycle. We don’t want to put that kind of mileage on his big truck. (And I like my car – I don’t want to drive his truck, particularly since I’m having trouble climbing into it now and I’m only 5 months along.) But it would take nearly 5 years to break even, compared to our switching cars. 😦

Mitchell - April 21, 2011

Yeah, I wouldn’t recommend that he get a bike. Y’all have got a growing family so it’s better off that he stay in a car.

14. Veeshir - April 19, 2011

I second Tushar. Buy a used one. There are a lot of Harleys around as Harry Suburbanite has to save money and that bike he rides 4 times a year is a good place to start.
Just check how much work’s been done. If it’s fairly new and has needed a lot of work, don’t buy it


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