Wednesday, October 10, 2007

New Toy

Woo Hoo!

I got the bike: 2007 Suzuki V-Strom DL1000.


Getting a motorcycle was not a really easy decision. I have wanted another bike since the day after my Suzuki 850 was stolen in 1981, but things just have not come together to make it happen until this year. Why now? The Jeep has 275k miles on it and is getting close to the point where I will have to spend some money to keep it going or replace it. I would rather spend less to keep it going than spend more to replace it. Even when the Jeep is in top shape it does not get spectacular gas mileage. So getting a new ride in 2007 or 2008 is almost a certainty. Well, maybe not a new ride, but something else to ride that has less wear on it than the Jeep.

Last January, Nelson and I spent a Saturday at a big motorcycle show on a whim. I did not go to shop for bikes. It was just something to do on a cold Saturday to let the boy ogle the rides and watch the crazy riders do their little show. The wide variety of bikes and the relatively low prices on the bikes that sparked my interest really got my attention. Of course, Nelson had a blast.

A few days later I mentioned to Mary that the prices of some of the bikes that attracted me were a lot lower than I thought they would be. I kind of jokingly said that I could get a bike to ride it for half the days of the year given the weather around here and stretch the life of the jeep out by a couple of years. She surprised me by saying that was a great idea and that I should get a bike. So I started shopping after I did a little Happy Dance.

The Happy Dance faded out a bit. Getting a bike would be definitely fun. The weather here is good enough on enough days that I can commute on it and save a goodly amount on fuel over what the Jeep uses (and I will continue to use that justification, thank you very much). Mary says she would like it and she liked the 850 when I had that so she has some experience to back up that thinking. Caitlin, in her quiet way, has shown some enthusiasm for riding with me on it. The Boy is overdosing in excitement at the mere the thought of having one.

But even getting a modest bike would cost enough to get a decent used Box of some kind. It would also cost twice as much as repairing both the mechanical and cosmetic issues with the Jeep well enough to make it useful for at least another 5 years. Getting the bike would not make all of these costs go away. There would be fewer miles put on the Jeep, but it would still need some input beyond basic maintenance to keep it useful. The oily drip would need to be tended, the headliner is falling, and it is old so something is bound wear out in the next couple of years. Even if I do not make it top notch, I can expect to spend another $1k-$2k on the Jeep over the next 5 years to keep it worth driving.

Mary and I kicked these costs around pretty hard and decided that weighing it all in still tips the scale toward getting the bike. So we do the Happy Dance some more.


The big cruisers don't excite me much and the street racers don't do it for me at all. Some of the big scooters look cute and Mary really likes the idea of having one of these for herself, but they are not really what I want ride every day. The sport cruisers seem to fit the bill pretty well. The sitting posture is not face down on the tank or sprawled out with both feet and hands stuck out the front. The body is well balanced over the bike and the saddle is mostly flat so the passenger is not hoisted a foot over the driver. A cruiser would give the passenger more comfort with more possibilities for a couch on the back end, but the loss to the driver comfort, for what I need, is too much. I expect to do quite a bit of commuting with the bike so want a good bit of agility in traffic. The street bikes are the extreme on this, but they are out for both the rider posture and lack of passenger comfort. Cruisers might be good on the open road, but I want something a bit more nimble for working thicker traffic. The sport cruisers look to be the best mix.

If I had a bigger pile of cash, I would get a BMW R1200RT. The styling and ride suited both Mary and my fancy quite nicely. After looking around at a few others including the Honda ST1300 and Suzuki Bandit, we settled on the Suzuki V-Strom DL1000 as the right fit with a nice sporty look.

It's a Big Bike and It Only Has Two Seats

I love my kids. A lot. But I do not get very much private time with my wife when we are both awake. I don't get much even when we are asleep given our polar work schedules (Mary works several nights a week) and a certain 12-year-old's lingering habit of crawling into our bed in the middle of the night. It occurred to us both about two weeks before picking up the bike that this sweet vehicle can carry no more than two passengers. This is going to be great. "Sorry we're taking the bike and there is no room for you. Clean your room while we are gone."

The kids knew getting a motorcycle was in the plans and would likely happen within a few months, but did not know exactly when it would happen. We wanted to make it one of those surprises where we came home on it and then waited to see how long it took for them to notice it was in the garage (I expected microseconds). For the couple of weeks before collecting it from the shop sometimes when I hugged Mary I would whisper in her ear, "It's a Big Bike and It Only Has Two Seats" and she would whisper back, "I know" and then we would giggle. I think the kids thought we were being silly old married folk.

Got It

This evening Mary and I went to the dealer to wrap up the paperwork and pick up the bike.

Mary insists on having something against her back to ride. At first we were going with the hard trunk, but I found a decent looking back rest that fits instead and gets good reviews which should be here within a week. She says she is good to ride some until it gets here. We will get some Nelson-Rigg side cases later when we start to take more trips. Until then I will make due with a smaller bag or backpack strapped to the backrest for the commute. Helmets and jackets are the only other gear for now. We will add other goodies as we go along.

I rode it around the lot and the tside streets a bit to get used to it. The thing has a lot of power and I'm a little twitchy with the clutch and gas so was not comfortable throwing Mary on the back right away. I drove it home and Mary followed in the Jeep. I felt familiar enough by then to take her on a trip around the local neighborhoods. Then we hid it in the garage while we went to get Caitlin from a friends house across town. Once we got back, I called Nelson in from his friend's across the street and, after much effort, got him home. I sent them to the garage on some pretense and there they found it. I had time before it got too dark to give them both a trip around the neighborhood.

I will start riding it to work after I have ridden it enough to feel settled. I think that should take about two weeks or so. That should be about the time I need to get the 600 mile service so that is the marker I am using for adequate familiarization.

Getting new toys is exciting.


Fuel55 said...

Toys are nice.

KajaPoker said...

Congrats on the new DonorCycle. Be careful out there.

katitude said...