I think it is safe to say that I am approaching the point in life where I can see a mid-life crisis in the not-so-distant future.
You see, I’ve been wanting some sort of sports car for the past several years. Given that I’ve always driven a modest four-cylinder sedan for both the low payments and reasonably priced insurance premiums – it’s understandable why I might want something with a little more power.
In the back of my mind, I’ve been telling myself “one day that’ll be you roaring through the neighborhood!”
The truth of the matter is that it just isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Between living expenses, student load debt, and raising three kids – a $30,000 Mustang GT or Camaro just isn’t in the cards. I realize that I could buy something older that needs some work but I just don’t have the time. Between the number of hours I work and the responsibilities I have as a parent – a fixer-upper isn’t realistic.
A couple of weeks ago I was sitting out on my deck. With a cigar in one hand a glass of bourbon in the other – I was deep in thought. I came to the conclusion that the chances of me buying a sports car in the next ten years was slim.
Given that we have a few years of student loan payments to make, my current vehicle is still financed (albeit I’m way ahead of schedule), and that my wife is going to need a replacement mommy-mobile in the next two years – maybe I need to look at my wants from a different perspective.
I came to the sudden realization that, quite honestly, the sports car wasn’t all that important to me. Sure, it would be cool to have one but the thought of owning one doesn’t make my mind race when my head touches the pillow at night. Something else has, however…
More Than a Decade Ago
More than a decade ago, I was leaving work when I got a phone call from my brother. He was at a motorcycle dealership and wanted to know if I would be willing to co-sign a loan on a brand new Yahama R6.
I drove to the dealership, signed the paperwork, and was out the door a couple of minutes later. Over the next few weeks I watched how much fun my brother was having and thought riding a motorcycle was something I might want to get into.
At the same time, my now father in-law was in the process of talking his wife into taking a Motorcycle Safety Foundation Course. The timing was perfect so I volunteered to take the course with her.
We spent the weekend learning how to ride small 250cc motorcycles and I had a lot of fun. Shortly after the course, I began scouring the local newspaper for used bikes. I wanted something old and cheap that I could learn on.
Not long after I started searching, I found an 1980-something Suzuki GS 450. It was a cruiser that had some minor modifications (they took the original bars off and replaced them with shorter, sportier bars). I putted around town on that bike and absolutely loved it.
The problem was that it was old and temperamental. It seemed like I was always tinkering with something and I reached the point where I was spending more time working on the bike than I was riding it.
The worst was when I my wife and we bought our first house together. I didn’t have any place to keep my bike, so my parents offered to let me keep it at their house. There were times when I’d drive a half hour, hop on the bike to go for a ride, and it wouldn’t start. After one too many of those trips, I got frustrated and the Suzuki just sat.
After a couple years of sitting, I got a random phone call from my Dad. Someone saw the bike and was interested in buying it. With a wife, child, and my interests elsewhere – I sold the bike.
Thinking About Another Bike
With the idea of buying a sports car pushed from my mind, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to getting another motorcycle.
I think what I’m looking for is something that gives me a bit of freedom – something I can do to get away from the stress of work and raising children (I love my kids but lets be honest – they can be a real handful at times). I think that is what the sports car used to represent to me. Something that I could hop in and take a little drive to escape stress for a moment.
What I want is something new-ish that will be reliable. I also want something that I can re-learn on but not something so small that I’ll outgrow it in a season or two. Speaking of re-learning, I may even take the Motorcycle Safety Course again since its been so many years.
The short list of bikes that have caught my eye (in no particular order) are…
As you can see, I’m looking primarily at Naked Bikes. The more upright seating position of this style bike is something I’m comfortable with (I wasn’t a fan of the 250 Honda Rebel I learned on in the MSF Course).
I’m also a bit hesitant to go as big as a 650 but the Suzuki comes highLy recommended as a good beginner / intermediate bike and I just love the way the Honda CB 650 looks. I think the 500 is most practical but I also think it is the one I would be likely to outgrown in a short period of time.
It’s also worth noting that I don’t care for highways. I never liked being surrounded by traffic on a motorcycle and I get far more enjoyment riding down a less-traveled back road. For this reason, I’m not concerned about a 500 being underpowered.
Worst Time to Buy a Bike
It’s a little funny that I’m considering getting a motorcycle right now. The country is in the midst of a pandemic with COVID-19 and I have very little money coming in as a result.
We’re making the best of it and we aren’t struggling financially but, realistically, now isn’t the time for me to buy a motorcycle. It doesn’t mean that I can’t plan though.
I’m excited about the idea of starting to set money aside. Hopefully things will return to normal soon and I can save dollars instead of pennies.
Right now the most expensive bike on my short list is the Honda CB 650 – which comes in at just under $10,000 brand new (I won’t be buying new). My goal at the moment is to get a bike and all off the necessary riding gear for less than $8,000.
I may not be able to come up with the cash by the end of the season but I’m determined to make it happen without having to finance the purchase. I’m also goal driven so setting a number and working towards it is a big motivator.
Question to the Readers
What would you recommend as a motorcycle for someone who hasn’t ridden in more than a decade? Share you opinion in the comment section below – I’d love to hear it!
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