In which Kevin and Lorin toy with the idea of getting a new used motorcycle

by Lorin Michel Sunday, April 13, 2014 9:22 PM

Kevin and I have long had motorcycles. We like nothing better than to head out on the roadways on a Saturday or Sunday, cruise the canyons or the back roads, drive to a town 40 miles away just to get gas or have lunch. It’s our favorite form of release. For us, there is little more freeing that feeling the rush of the air and the wonder of the day as we meander to wherever we end up.

In 2005, we bought our current bike, a 2004 Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad, metallic black with lots of chrome and white wall tires. It’s a bike made for two, rather than a bike that tacks on a passenger after the fact. It’s always been fairly comfortable for a big fat cruiser. The ride isn’t the smoothest and occasionally Kevin will hit a bump that launches me into space at which time I curse loudly and smack the side of his helmet. It’s not productive but it works to communicate the basic message.

The bike has a little over 25,000 miles on it, all but 3500 of those ours. We bought the bike used and we have been in love with it since. We’re still in love but we’ve started talking seriously about getting something different, more of a touring bike rather than a cruiser. A bike with more storage, like a trunk. A bike that is built for longer distances and travels those miles with grace and a gentle ride.

Years ago, we had a neighbor who had a big BMW touring bike. He and his wife would disappear on that thing for weekends, often towing a small trailer behind it. It was metallic gray and impossibly quiet, at least compared to our bike, which we affectionately call the Kaw (pronounced “cow”). They would wave as they rounded the corner on the way to their latest adventure and we would watch until they were out of sight, a bit envious since our bike is simply not built for any kind of distance.

For our 10th wedding anniversary, we drove it to Las Vegas. About 395 miles of straight freeway in blazing heat. We stopped frequently just to wring out our pants and to guzzle more water; several times to get fuel. By the time we pulled into the Ritz Carlton in Henderson, with the Strip in the distance, we looked like we had been dragged through the desert and left for the buzzards. It was not fun. Two days later we had to do it all over again as we drove home. We vowed never again, certainly not on that bike.

The Kawasaki rumbles and vibrates. It does not have the kind of shocks one wants when one is traveling for hundreds of miles. It certainly doesn’t have the kind of shocks that can help to make the passenger (read: me) more comfortable for a long haul. I also sit high so the windshield does little to save me from wind battering my head. A full-face helmet helps but not enough.

Lately we’ve been having the itch. It’s something that no amount of Cortaid or Benadryl cream will heal. It’s the same itch we had when we upgraded our Suzukis from an 800 to a 1500 and then to the Kawasaki. It was an itch that could only be scratched by getting something different, in this case something with a smoother ride, better shocks, a trunk, communication, the ability to play music, cup holders, essentially a car on two wheels.

I mentioned the BMW and we’ve looked at those but they’re expensive. The other day we were in one of the local Power Sport shops and they had a 2002 Honda Goldwing with only 33,0000 miles on it, barely broken in for a big touring machine. We’ve been toying with it for the last few days, even worked out a price with the shop. Now it’s just a matter of saying fare-thee-well to the Kaw and making the transition to a Honda. The big wing. The monster, at 1800 ccs. It even has cruise control, and reverse. All this in a beautiful sandstone package.

By this time next weekend we could be living it out loud on new used wheels. Definitely something to celebrate. 

Comments (1) -

4/14/2014 11:50:57 AM #

Ruh roh....Smile

Pam United States

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