Hey there RT people! I hope you're all having a great week.
This recent week and a bit has been really heavy on me. The anxiety I feel in day-to-day life was further escalated by a handful of canceled or miscommunicated riding lessons. As I mentioned in my last post, the freedom of thought and flow I feel in the saddle has magnified consequences to my apparent sanity when that is kept from me. Unfortunately, for at least another week, I'm dependent on my lessons to be in that happy place.
Luckily however, my instructor at High Gear is awesome, and took me out for an extended ride today, and bought me a nice lunch to make up for some of our failed meets. It was seven days between rides, and it was driving me insane.
Oddly, in my lesson this morning, everything was clicking. My control was smooth. My inputs were accurate and timely. My confidence was high. During our great ride we stopped at an empty parking lot to run through some extremely amped up MST maneuver testing. Lots of u-turns on hills, a slalom, and some tight circles (not actually part of the MST). Video of the run-through and eventual success coming soon to the RideTale YouTube channel.
Saddle-up Tour '17
I took the time I had -- all of a sudden I had a few hours to spare -- to check out as many local dealerships as I could. Where I sat on absolutely everything I could. As I said in my first (horribly edited) RT MotoVlog, when I began this adventure I had assumed that due to my height and size, I would want a cruiser. Something that would let me stretch out a bit, and feel like I fit. However, after sitting on somewhere near fifty motorcycles, I don't think that's the case.
Here is my short take on some of the bikes I put my big ass on.
Honda CB500F - This was a forerunner from Carter Honda here in Vancouver. Their located just under the Granville street bridge near the entrance to Granville Island. Used, at 30,000 km's, they has it listed under $5k, and it included a full kit of hard luggage. I really liked this bike. Had I the brains to throw out all of my pre-conceived desires for a motorcycle, I would have sought this one at first sight. But fates didn't align, and though it's still for sale, I find myself wanting something different. The CB500F is light enough, tall enough, and the "sport-adventure" blend would make for a comfortable bike in either city, or highway.
Honda Shadow & Shadow Phantom - This bike hasn't changed much in the many years it has been around. That same dealership had both an older (2007) and a newer (2017) Shadow. This was my ideal, on paper, before I ever rode a motorcycle. Surprisingly, I don't fit very well. And the position at which I sit on my school's fleet is almost always a standard / upright arrangement, and the forward foot controls just don't feel right. "You look uncomfortable on that" my father said as I struggled to sit at ease. The mid-range engines, and large tanks of the Shadow line are ideal for beginners looking for lounging in a cruiser, coasting on the highway. But I need something a bit different.
Yamaha Bolt - It's a "poor man's Harley" but with a hefty price-tag ($9k), and yet still a bigger engine than nearly every bike on HD's sportster line -- the exact type of motorcycle that Yamaha is trying to compete with here. With a crazy large 950cc engine, this sporty cruiser is at bare-bones the ideal starter for someone looking to get that middle-ground motorcycle. Not quite cruiser. Not quite sports bike. Turns out I am that person, and though a near 1000cc motorcycle wasn't something I was originally looking for, the Bolt rested atop my interest list for a while. But alas, my resurrected idea that I shouldn't begin such an epic journey on a brand new bike crept back in, and I eventually had to write-off the idea of picking up one of these sweet little sporty beauties. A drawback to the design is that a lot of what makes up the Bolt looks plastic. It's almost like a power-wheels version of Harley's Iron 883.
Oh man ... who remembers power-wheels? I never had one, but they were the envy of any neighborhood, and I pined for them with no regards to the cost.
Honda Rebel - Another attempt to replicate some of the success that HD has had with their Sportster line, Honda has re-ignited the Rebel line with two fantastic motorcycles. I sat on the Rebel 500, but it's identical to the 300 baby brother. Obviously, with the size of the motor in the new Rebels -- a spark of 21st-century face lift on their much loved heritage model -- it's a pretty cost-effective jumping off point for any new (or returning) rider seeking a sportier cruiser. Though lots has been said for a corner-cutting manufacturing, Honda is a notoriously reliable motorsport company. In tandem -- much like that of Harley -- Honda has an immeasurably large after-market. Some of the shots from people's custom builds on these new Rebels would inspire even the wrench-impaired.
Don't even get me started on all of the Sport bikes, and Naked bikes I sat on. Those mentioned about were just the few that I had on my consideration list at one point during my shopping. Now, months after starting to study, and about a month straight of serious shopping for my first ever ride, I think I've finally found it. The motorcycle that I'll hopefully be taking the first few years of my two-wheeled adventure on.
My First Bike
The bike I'm going to buy is ....... GOING TO BE UNVEILED IN A FUTURE POST.
Sorry for the bait n switch. At this point in the process, the motorcycle I want is on hold for me, but it isn't mine just yet. Hopefully, it will have my name on the title real soon, and I'll make an unveiling video / post once it's in possession. Just a precaution as there's plenty of room for things to fall through, and for me to miss out on my dream ride. No pressure.
Coming soon to RT
- Bike Reveal
- Motorcycle Skills Test
- TheMotoSocialVancouver July'17
So while there's an argument for snatching up the first thing you feel comfortable on, I'd probably suggest going the route I did. Try a little bit of everything. Most of these motorcycles will be knocked off your list simply by just sitting on them. Through the process though, I've learned so much. I have put the time into the research and compared nearly everything available.
But I'm far from an expert. I focused on what they offered, and how they felt. The internals are still something I need to spend more time learning about. Here's to hoping that my bike will come with all the manuals and I'll be able to study those like textbooks.
I'd be happy to share some of my limited knowledge. If you're looking for a motorcycle, first or otherwise, I'd love to chat about some of the options out there. Especially if you're in the Lower Mainland and want to grab a coffee and talk a bit.
You can find me easily, and quickly on TWITTER AT @W_FOSSETT
Ride Safe RT Friends <3
I'd really appreciate a like or sub on the RideTale YouTube channel where I'll be uploading MotoVlogs periodically, as well as some other fun stuff!