Friday, January 29, 2010

The Grass Usually Isn't Greener

Today I rode into work. A bit cold in the morning, and very windy along the I-90 corridor, but it was nice to commute into Seattle on the Triumph. Rain was forecast for the afternoon, but for the most part I was dry on the return trip.

On the way home, I decided to stop in at I-90 Motorsports. This is the place where I bought my Bonneville America. I like this shop - it's pretty low key there, the sales guys are helpful even if you are not buying a bike that day, and they have a nice stock of Triumphs, Hondas, and V-Stars/Yamahas in addition to selling ATV's and personal watercraft.

Why did I stop there? I think it's always cool to look at bikes, sit on them, see how they feel. Maybe there's a bike here that I will say to myself "I should have gotten this one" instead of my Bonneville America.

In one of the recesses of my mind, I think about having a full-fledged bagger; I like the idea of a long distance cruiser, with a lot of comfort, torque, low rpms, and storage to spare. How about rolling into Sturgis on one of these, the Triumph Rocket III?




This bike is the king of displacement - 2300 cc, and fully set up for long distance cruising. The Rocket III is a beautiful bike. Could it replace my Bonneville America? Well, I got on it, and found it to be massive! I am short of leg, and while the seat height is rather low, due to the width of the 3 cylinder engine on this bike I end up on the balls of my feet when I straddle it. Because of the sheer weight of this bike I think it needs a longer-legged rider than me to keep this one stable at stops and low-speed maneuvers.

Next up was the V-Star 1300 - another very nice bike, in a trim that is ready for some long excursions on the interstate:


Unlike the Rocket III, I had less of a problem straddling the V-Star. The bike certainly has ample power, and I have heard much about the quality of the Stars. Maybe I should trade in my Triumph for this bike? Actually, though, if anything I felt a little big on this bike. I seemed to be seated right over the tank, and positioned almost over the handlebars. Also, I had a problem catching my leg on the pillion back rest - I guess I should stretch more often. In any event, this was not as comfortable as I would have hoped.

How about I get some tattoos, some well-placed piercings, change my name to Spike and join the chopper set? It could happen on this Honda Fury:


Of the three, the Fury was the most comfortable. The bike is not as wide as the others, so it was very easy for me to throw a leg over this one. Once seated, the ergonomics of this bike proved to me that Honda really thought this one through, and I have experienced first hand the legendary quality of Honda. I could be the bad boy I have always dreamed of with the Fury, so should this bad boy in waiting trade his America in? Unfortunately, while the Honda looks like the real deal, it does have a lot of plastic on it. Also, even though it's powered by a 1300cc engine, some reports show it generates just 56hp stock. That's less than my America (due to the upgraded pipes and Stage 1 treatment).
I left the shop, got on my America, and basked in the comfort of this bike as I waited for the engine to warm up a bit. My feet reach the ground comfortably, the seat has formed nicely to me, I really like the forward controls, and the handlebars offer a natural reach. For me, this bike just fits right. As I merged back onto I-90, I was reminded once again of the incredible torque band of this bike; not break neck, but enough to make me smile. It's got more than enough power for me, and plenty to spare. While that Fury or a full-dress bagger may make its way into my garage someday, I really can't see them as replacing this bike.

23 comments:

Richard Machida said...

A brave soul stopping at a dealer to look at new bikes.

Lance said...

Thanks for dropping by Richard - yes, my checkbook is in peril when I go through the doors!

Mike said...

Nice post Lance! It's fun to read about someone stopping to look at bikes and considering the options. They're all nice but that Rocket III is a monster! Keep in mind though, test rides are dangerous for your brain. :)

Chuck Pefley said...

Isn't it nice to discover your original decision was right for you and that you're happy with what you have?

travelswithmymotorbike said...

Hey Spike,

Its human nature to second guess ourselves...I was thinking of trading in my Transalp for a Kawasaki VN 1500 last mont.

The bike was as new but only a third of the price.....but in a country where petrol (Gas) is 11.2 USD a gallon nobody wants a huffing great 1500cc motor.

İ like your new photo on the front Lance/Spike...soooo what tattoo are you getting then??


Cheers,

Dave.....

Baron's Life said...

Lancey Pancey...great post but what are you trying to do?

Do you wanna sell the Bonneville?

irondad said...

Dear Spike,

You can get away with that when it comes to motorcycles. However, I have had a hard time convincing my wife that I am checking out other women in order to confirm that I am with the right one!

Lance said...

Mike, you are so right - all it took was a test ride on the America, and that was all that was needed for my brain to say, sure, I can afford this!

Chuck, yes, it is a good feeling. With so many nice bikes out there, I am glad I found mine.

Dave, I think Spike fits for my outlaw biker name, although if I could ever grow a mohawk that would make it even more so! Maybe that's a tattoo idea????

Baron, no plans to sell the Bonneville. The more I look at others, the more this bike is right for me. But that long-distance bagger as an addition to the garage sounds nice (at least in my dreams, and not in my pocketbook).

Conchscooter said...

Time to buy actual saddlebags so you will spend the summer using the bike not finding yourself driving because you have nowhere to put stuff. My Bonneville is a bagger (horrid term) by virtue of the luggage I added not by virtue of it's perceived niche in the market.

Lance said...

Irondad - well put, and my wife concurs with yours!

Conch - yes, bags are in order. I actually got a nice set of Triumph leather bags as an incentive to buy Triumph. With some Easy Brackets that I got after Christmas, I will be installing these shortly.

Troubadour said...

You never walk into a shop thinking what to trade for, you walk into the shop thinking what could I ADD to the stable. However, this does not work with wives and the harem.
I've questioned whether or not the America was the right purchase on occasion, especially for wet winter riding, but then I take it for a ride and realize I could never get rid of it. It fits me well, it isn't just another Japanese v-twin and it is my first new bike off the showroom floor. Instead, I flog the wife's Ninja in the winter thinking it'd be nice to add a Tiger or Wee Strom as a stable mate, but the America will always have a place in my heart...um, I mean the garage.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Lance:

What the hell is this "Spike" bullshit? I will call you "Spike" if you call me "Stitches."

This blog was the most entertaining piece I read all day. I love reading about a friend's perspective on new bikes. I am amazed that the bike that gave you the best fit (among the new candidates) was the spindly Honda. I was also surprised that the Honda generates 56 horsepower on a 1300 engine. My K75 (750) cranks out 71hp, and my machine is 15-years-old. (The new BMW K1300GT, a nice touring motorcycle, develops 160 hp and 99 pounds of torque.)

You bike looks great in the sunshine , better than the other three (in fact), and I wish I could have been riding with you.

Fondest regards,
Stitches
Twisted Roads

Lance said...

Thanks Jack - 56hp does sound low, although I have been reading up on the Fury forums, and most feel the bike is more powerful than it seems. Stitches sounds like a great biker name. There are even websites that will generate your outlaw biker name if one doesn't come to mind.

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Lance said...

Bradley, you are right - any new bike should be additive, not a replacement - I wish my wife understood me better on this point LOL!

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