Illuminate the Darkness
There's a small handful of people that have been following me along this journey since I first began speaking publicly about it. Those that aren't close enough to me to share words on a daily basis are still in the dark as to what motorcycle I've purchased to take me at least part of the way into the experience this adventure will serve up.
So what did I choose?
Let me first explain the mindset I was in.
After days, weeks, and months of studying and reading motorcycle descriptions, I began dreaming of spec sheets. So, in trying to whittle down my choices, I first needed to break the many options into categories. Or in this particular case, roads to travel.
Financing - There are a handful of amazing motorcycle dealers in the lower mainland, and nearly all of them had very real, and acceptable deals or offers. Further deals were spoken of once talks began with sales-people. This option would take a bit less upfront, and require me--a human being whom very proudly holds no debts--to go into debt. It would also turn a one-and-done deal into a multi-year contract, and I would be forced (unless paid down early, which could also accrue penalties) to eat a bunch of interest. Which ultimately, closed the door on Road 1.
I couldn't wrap my head around purchasing my first motor vehicle putting me into a negative. It would also be a truth that this route would grant me access / ownership to a nearly new motorcycle. Which goes against (or it doesn't facilitate) a core value of this project, learning by necessity, and learning by doing. Though no motorized thing is perfect, a newer motorcycle will provide far fewer troubles. Less issue, less problem solving, and ultimately a slowly learning pace.
In the end, I strongly considered financing something as the appeal of a high resale value when I was ready to step up to something more permanent kept it in the races for a route to choose. Something that stayed near the top of my list was the *pictured* Honda CB500F which my local dealer is currently listing them (with Honda discounts) for $5799. A tantalizing deal, which could see me sell the bike with a few thousand kilometers on it in a year or two for nearly the same price.
Sporty Returns - Now if you're a motorcycle enthusiast in the North West, you'll notice a very obvious trend; for ever 10 bikes you see floating between the lane-lines, 8 of them are sport bikes. GSXRs, CBRs, and Ninjas are everywhere here. Much like the demand, the market is booming. Craigslist (after you've decided not to finance) being your best best, there was a lot of inventory in my price range.
Two things made this choice less relevant to my search. One, I don't desire a sport bike. It's plain. I've done a lot of my practice and coarse-work on standard motorcycles, but I've spent enough time in a tuck to know that for a first motorcycle, the sports market isn't for me. Two, the main draw of purchasing a sport bike would be a very solid resale. Much like the finance route, the bike I bought this year, I could easily sell one or two seasons from now for nearly the same price I purchased it for. The market prices don't shift too much year to year, making for a high turnover.
Being my first, I wanted to ensure that whatever I went with would be something that I would keep in my garage for decades to come. Running or not, it's similar to my first guitar. It's a beater, but I will never leave my not-American Fender Stratocaster, regardless of how fussy and difficult to play it is. It was my first, and the place it holds in my heart is timeless.
Classically Problematic - My final avenue was something old. There's no shortage of beat-up 80's or even 70's motorcycles out there looking for a home that will pay even a fraction of attention to them. Sometimes considered "barn finds" (which refer to the less functional conditions), and often times just called "classics".
Maxims, Shadows, CM400s, Goldwings, the list is nearly endless. Those 70s-90s bikes (especially the Japanese made) are gems in hiding. Millennials, such as myself, have re-birthed the culture of Cafe Racers. Taking older classic bikes and making them minimal, with a meaner tuck thanks to negative bar angles, flat seats, and big identical tires. It's a sub-culture in the moto world that was born generations ago, and has recently caught fire once again.
The biggest draw down this road is the minimal buy-in. Throughout the offers for sale, most of the worth-while stuff doesn't exceed $3000 all in. Note, that in the long term, this route would cost far more than that of Rd 2. It could even rival the complete costs of Rd 1. But Cafe Racers are life-long projects, when in a personal context. It's such a popular style of motorcycle today that there are world-renowned garages specializing in Cafe Racer builds, or "Frankenstein Classics". There's also the added benefits of *cough* a ton of problems *cough* ... and truthfully, this is why I decided to take Road 3. I wanted issues. I wanted a motorcycle that would show me it's face, as well as it's guts. Something that took my time, and passion in order to grow it.
A Witcher's Steed
"You have the most important trait that a Roach needs: you don't talk much." - Geralt of Rivia
There's something about walking out the door to my apartment and seeing this bright, and beautiful older horse just awaiting me.
I saw a ton of older motorcycles. Taking a few dozen test rides in the span of a few weeks. Luckily, my awesome instructors at High Gear School were still open to lending me a ride whenever I had made appointments with sellers.
Finally, I saw the ad that would throw me into a frenzy. Frantically putting together a final string of moves, dotting some "i"s and crossing some "t"s. Which is french for; I needed to secure my sh*t.
After arriving, and inspecting the motorcycle physically, I took it for a small ride around a few blocks. Immediately, I was in love.
A stunning picturesque model for work, relationship building, and a future together.
1980 Kawasaki KZ750 LTDt
A rare find, the 750 Parralel twin isn't a normal 80's Kawasaki's. I can attest to the wandering eyes of motorcycle enthusiasts, as in the few weeks that I've owned it, nearly everyone that passes exclaims adoration for it. Making me a very bashful, and still mostly ignorant rider.
Specs *courtesy CycleChaos*
- 750 cc
- Four-stroke, 2 Cylinder
- Dual Over Head Camshaft
- 5-Speed, Return Shift
- Max. Horsepower: 55 HP @ 7,000 rpm
I've got a lot planned for the lifetime relationship between Roach and myself. But there are a few things that the seller neglected to mention (and even dishonestly distracted from) that I need to work on before the motorcycle even runs properly on a day-to-day basis.
ThiNGs that NEED to happen
- Chain & Sprockets
Above those, comes general maintenance, and a carb cleaning to help him hustle along the pavement. But considered an ignorant and neglected past, I am slightly blown away that only a few essential pieces need to be fixed/replaced.
Aside - A huge thanks to the fine folks at Essential Motorcycle Services in Vancouver for the post-purchase inspection, and allowing me to hover over their shoulder and ask a million questions during said inspection. Ignore their 90's website, and know that they are crazy awesome people, with humor and a great garage.
Things that I want to happen
- Rear Fender Removal
- Air Filter Box Removal
- Dash Gears Replacement
- Small Windscreen
At the end of the day, there are a million things that Roach and I are going to experience together. Endless amounts of changes, and adaption for comfort.
I truly feel like, once running optimally, Roach and I can go very far together. Long trips, and tours. Seeing the sights from the saddle of my mighty and moody steed.
By far the prime example of why I went classic, the extensive opportunity to both learn, and change, both myself and my motorcycle, is a joyously perfect situation to live in. The best chance I ever took, is making my first bike experience the best it could be.
Coming Soon to RT
- Gear List
- MotoSocial September
- Road Trip #1
Follow the RIDETALE YouTube Channel for lackluster MOTOVLOGS, and a bike reveal video (coming soon).