Taking Advice

Commenter “Road Captain” writes:

Dale, I read alot. I subscribe to Motorcycle Consumer News and Road Runner among other magazines. I am obviously on the Internet quite a bit. My reading confirms Steve’s reccomendation on the Honda ST1300. You already dumped a heap into your sporty which you are not going to get back. Try not to make another mistake. How about your previous infatuation with the Triumph Rocket III. Now they have a touring model!

Well, Captain (Are you more the equivalent of an army captain, or a naval captain? Just curious.), I’m a bit more philosophical about the money. I expect a bike’s value to evaporate as soon as I take it off the lot. And as far as the aftermarket money, well, I’m gonna do that no matter what I buy. I KNOW that buying aftermarket stuff is just throwing money down a hole. Bikes aren’t really cost effective, unless you’re gonna buy them outright, and keep them for several years.

I am actually quite interested in the ST1300. At the end of the day, though, the weight is a consideration, because it’s a pretty hefty bike. I think it sure is pretty though. and it certainly has the range to take long trips, with that big ol’ 8-gallon gas tank. As it happens, I’ve been doing a lot of research, too, going to MCN, Cycle World, MD, etc. It’s funny that nearly everyone’s objection to the St1300 is that is too smooth and polished. No character…whatever that is.

When I go back to my original decision to get back into motorcycling last year, there was never any doubt I would buy a Sportster. I really didn’t even look at any other bike. I guess you’d have to say I didn’t really think into the decision about the bike itself very much. The Sporty was the smallest, nimblest Harley, I was just gonna use it as a commuter bike, and I thought a cruiser would be just the ticket for me.

And let’s be honest, getting a higher-performance bike at the time probably wouldn’t have been a good idea. I’d probably have killed myself pulling an unintentional wheelie at a stoplight. A cruiser like the Sporty was probably the best choice for me. So I don’t consider the Sporty a mistake. At the time, it was a good choice.

If I had it to do over again, I’d probably have bought a Dyna model, rather than a Sportster, but I didn’t really know enough about the differences at the time to make an informed choice. Most other things would have been equal, but the Dyna would have been a better highway bike. But, other than that, the choice was a wash.

The Rocket was an infatuation. I liked it, but, you’ll notice, that even though they tried everything possible to get me to buy it, I didn’t pull the trigger on that bike, either.

As I’ve ridden throughout the last year, I think I’ve refined what I’m looking for in a motorcycle. First, I now now where and how I ride, so I have a much better idea of the motorcycle that would be suited to what I do. I’ve ridden other motorcycles, so I’ve gotten a feel for some of the differences.

Now, as far as the touring thing goes, in the real world, 2-up riding will be a small minority of the riding I do. I need the capability, but only for relatively short rides and occasional day trips. So, it’s not the most important factor.

The bike that’s really best suited for me, in terms of all the things I want, is really the BMW R1200RT. It’s got much better performance than the Sporty, especially over 5,000RPM, where it just screams. It’s lightweight. The Boxer motor is quite smooth for a twin. And it has all the gadgets I could possibly want. it’s supposed to comfy for the passenger. I honestly don’t think it’s a bike I would outgrow. But, the big trouble with the RT is:

MSRP: $16,800
Destination Fee: $495
Safety package: $595
Comfort Package: $525
Equipment Package: $1890
Radio Prep Kit: $405
Radio/CD: $1,490

That brings us up to $22,200. Plus 7.75% sales tax of $1720.50, and registration fees of $230. that gives us an out-the-door price of $24,150,50.

That’s just too steep. It’s not affordable for me.

And BMW’s maintenance costs for the RT are outrageous as well.

I’d love it. Can’t do it.

So, I’m looking for a compromise bike. It’s not a purchase I expect to make immediately, and probably not even this year. But I’m much more informed about what I’m looking for.

Who knows, maybe I’ll even find it.