Sporty Bagger

What will I do if I can’t pick up that Rocket next month? Well, Obviously, I’ll just keep the Sportster. While I’d obviously like a bigger bike, what can’t be done, can’t be done.

But, on the other hand, what can be done…will be. I mean, at the end of the day, if this was 1973, a 1200cc bike would be about the biggest I could even buy, right? The 1200 only seems small in relation to today’s massive cruisers.

So, If I keep the Sportster, then, instead of spending that free cash on a new bike, I’m gonna spend it on the Sporty. I’m gonna ride over to the Harley dealer and order these, these, and this. Yes, I’m talking about the color matched hard bags, bag liners, and tour pak. Heck, I might even get the Fleetliner fairing for the thing, too.

I will then call my bike The Mini-Glide.

Unhappy Reader

Well, it seems my posts about the Rocket aren’t making some people happy. I got the following email from a reader.

HD knows their target market and guys like you and I are the bullseye.

Its not about riding a perfectly built bike, it never has been.

Its about riding something special that few people ever get to own. Riding a legend.

A Triumph has no cachet, no status. And for an extra 1400.00, I’d get the Harley.

Hmmm. Well, if we’re talking about bikes that few people get to own, I’d think the Triumph fits the bill a lot better than the Harley. I see a lot of Harley’s driving around. Triumphs…not so much. Indeed, I think there are less than 20 people in all of San Diego who own a Rocket.

But putting that aside, I’m not someone who’s really all that into riding something for the status. I don’t like the Japanese bikes because I think I’d look less cool riding one, I just don’t like the styling. Don’t like the sporty look of the BMW either, although they make great bikes. And I think the Victory bikes are…too much…over the top. Especially the Vision. it looks like an escape pod from the Starship Enterprise.

I want the bike to be reliable, which from all indications, the Triumph are, now. And I want to like the way the bike looks, which makes thr art-deco styling of the Rocket attractive to me. Whether anyone else approves of my choice is a matter of complete indifference to me.

Apparently, that answer didn’t satisfy the reader, though, who responded:

If you are not concerned about anyone’s opinion, why do you have a blog about your bike ? Why do you solicit other people’s thoughts and opinions?

I have a blog about my bike because I like to write, and past experience indicates that people enjoy my writing. I don’t actually solicit opinions, although I certainly allow their expression. But even if I did solicit opinions, I’m not sure what your point would be. The fact that I may be interested in other opinions doesn’t imply that I seek the approval of the commenters.

When you own a HD big twin, you are just perceived differently, that’s all. I was teased like crazy when I had my sporty, and I hated it. And I grew to dislike the bike. I made the same mistake you did, and bought too small a bike to start.

There’s nothing like a Harley. Anything else just isn’t one. You won’t be happy with a Triumph bud.

Hmmm. Two things.

First, this assumes I care how I’m perceived by others. Look, I’m 44 years old. It’s a little late to be concerned about peer pressure. If you’re my age, and you’re still concerned about how all the other kids in the playground respond to your choices, or you are one of the other kids in the playground making fun of somebody else’s ride choice, then you just need to grow up.

I’m not thinking about replacing the Sporty because I dislike it, or because the other kids think it’s stupid. I’m doing it because it just isn’t as well suited to the things I do with it regularly as other bikes would be. If I could keep it, and get another bike, I would. But, I can’t afford two bikes, so I gotta go with a bike that does more, if I can get it.

Second, If I’d bought a Road King to begin with, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion. I’d be pickled tink with it. But that’s not what I did, and now that I’m thinking about a switch, the RK just isn’t my first choice anymore, now that I know about other options.

I’m really drawn to the Rocket. It has the power to ride two-up effortlessly, it has much more power than any Harley–or any other cruiser, for that matter–and it’s signifigantly cheaper than the RK, especially the particular Rocket I’m looking at.

I think I’ll be very happy with it. But, if I’m wrong, you can tell me “I told you so,” to your heart’s content.

Will I become a RAT?

That’s the question. I’ve pretty much decided to buy that new 2006 Rocket Classic. But, I can’t buy it until next month, when I can put some cash into the deal.

Chris is talking about taking a two-up trip out to Yuma, and some other places over the winter, when it’s cool enough to ride in the desert during the day. If so, that’s a lot of highway driving, and I’d rather do it on a big cruiser, rather than the Sporty. It’d be both a lot more comfortable, and provide us with a lot more luggage space. Comparatively, that is.

As I figure it, the dealer is willing to clip $1,500 of the price of the Rocket, and toss out all the dealer prep charges. Then they’ll give me $7,000 for the Sporty. I’m willing to toss in $3,000 in cash. That would eat up $4,500 of the $7,000 in negative equity I have on the Sportster. So, I’d have to roll over the extra $2,500 hundred in negative equity onto the Rocket, which would give me a monthly payment of about $350, which is $50 per month more than I’m currently paying on the Sportster.

That’s what I’d like to do, at least. The thing is, I won’t have that $3,000 until the middle of October, so I can’t do the deal until then. The guys at the dealership told me that they’ll keep the paperwork ready if I come back next month.

It’s getting cooler, so the riding season for this year is coming to a close. So, will that 2006 still be there next month? After all it’s a 2006, and it’s been there for two years. On the other hand, the salespeople are trying to push it out the door. So, it’s an open question as to whether someone will buy the bike in the next three weeks.

I’m not gonna go back and look at it any more. But, next month, when I go in, ready to make the deal, if it’s there, I’m gonna do the deal. If it’s not…well, then I guess it wasn’t meant to be.

All I can do is keep my fingers crossed.

Rain, Rain, Go Away…

Every morning when I get up, I check weather.com to see the day’s forecast. If there’s no rain, I’m riding the Sporty to work. I’ve come to depend on them to give me the straight scoop about the weather, but, today, they let me down. The original forecast for today was partly to mostly cloudy, with a high of 71. Looked good to me, so I got on my bike and went off to work.

So, I’m about 15 minutes from work, when it began pouring rain.

Fortunately, it was cool, so I was dressed out, wearing chaps, an MA-1 flight jacket, my orange Icon Mil-Spec vest, and my full-face helmet. So, at least I stayed mostly dry. except for my crotch, of course, where the chaps don’t cover. When I got to work, it looked like I had peed my pants.

Traction for the bike was mostly good, except for one scary moment when I was turning on base. They have these concrete chicanes set up, on the road that leads to my office–an anti-terrorism measure I guess. So, when you turn on the road, you have to cross over to the other side of the road to go around the first chicane. When the rear tire hit the paint strip, it slipped. Gave me a scary second, there.

what wasn’t so good was the brakes. man, as soon as the rotors on the Sportster get wet, they lose about 50% of their grabbiness. I came up to a stop light,hit the front and rear brakes and…nothing happened. So I squeezed and stomped a bit more…and more…and more…and finally the bike slowed. Just in time, too, since I was getting concerned about the tailgate of the truck I was approaching.

Fortunately, the rain cleared off in the late morning, so everything was dry on the way home.

The thing is, as soon as I got to my office, I pulled up weather.com, to see the forecast again. Now, it told me there would be rain until about 10:00AM.

Would’ve been nice to have an accurate forecast 45 minutes earlier.