Aug 1, 2010

The Bike Situation

So here's the deal-e-o. My motorcycle is broken.

I was reading late in the office on Wednesday evening. I decided to go home around midnight and went out to start the bike and nothing. Tried popping the clutch and nothing. So, I called Helen to come pick me up at 12:30am (she didn't even complain! She's such a trooper). We both finally got home around 1:40am.

My motorcycle is a 1995 Honda Magna. It's a great bike, but it's 15 years old and even if I were to fix whatever is wrong with it right now, there are lots of other things that are going to need fixing in the near future (front shocks, rear shocks, electrical, brakes, etc.).

I love riding. But more than that, the issue is that the roundtrip commute to church and home is about 45 miles.

On the Magna that costs me around $3. But since the bike's been down, I've been driving my Suburban. And that beast gets 14mpg. So a roundtrip to church costs about $9, and I go to church a lot! Like everyday, at least once a day.

Helen and I have been talking and dreaming about a bigger motorcycle for a while. The Magna is great for commutes and short rides, but it would be a nightmare on a long road trip. And one of the things that Helen and I want to do is to go on a road trip on the motorcycle.

So, we're very much considering getting a bigger bike for the two of us to tour on. Here are the choices we're thinking about.

Honda NT 700 - This is the smaller version of the classic ST 1300. This bike has been a huge hit with the Europeans and has been made available State side for about a year. There is a demo model selling for $10k. I think I can talk the dealer down since its a demo with a few hundred miles on it.

  • Great gas mileage. It gets 50-60mpg. (about $2 for RT to church)
  • Great commuter bike
  • Honda reliability
  • Small saddlebags
  • Not as comfortable as a true touring bike
  • Same size engine as my current bike
Honda ST 1300 - This bike is the big brother to the  NT 700. This bike is a classic sport touring motorcycle. I found a used model in the Seattle area with 6,000 miles for $8k.

  • Decent gas mileage - 40-45mpg ($3 for RT to church)
  • Honda reliability
  • One of the most comfortable and smoothest bikes around
  • It would be a used bike and I don't know the history of the bike's care
  • Older design. Hasn't been updated in about 8 years
Kawasaki Concours - This bike is a beast. It was completely redesigned in 2008. This is the consummate sport tourer. I found a 2008 bike on ebay from a dealership in Wisconsin selling for $9k.

  • One of the most powerful engines around
  • Extremely comfortable. Helen and I could tour the country with this one.
  • Huge saddlebags
  • Worst gas mileage out of the bunch - 35mpg (about $3.50 per RT)
  • Would have to have it transported to WA
Or the last option is for us to keep the 95 Magna and fix it. The Magna is a great bike. It's fun. It gets decent gas mileage (40mpg). And the best part is that it's paid for. 

But it's old. And it's beginning to show it's age. If I am going to keep this for the long haul, it will need some major work. Plus, it is the least comfortable bike. It's fine for commuting but any ride longer than an hour is a killer on the butt and back.

So, there you have it. 

For now, my bike sits in the church parking lot until Helen and I can figure out what to do with the bike situation. In the meantime, I am commuting in my Suburban and the gas mileage is eating my wallet up (I get about 14mpg on the Suburban).


Anonymous said...

For touring 2 up we think that the ST and the Concours are the way to go. A bigger bike is much nicer for 2 up. Having bigger bags for touring is important. Have you looked into the Yamaha FJ1300, Triumph Sprint ST, BMW? Eastside Motorsports does demo rides, which is nice to help you decide. Pray and see where God leads you. Rick & Cathy

James Kim said...

Thanks Rick and Cathy. We are still talking about how best to move forward. I want a new bike and it will happen, but issue is of timing. Will keep you posted.