Progression, Peer Pressure and The Need For Speed ~ Part 2Posted: November 28, 2010
In my experience, the question gets posed by those who have (more or less) already made up their mind, but want someone they deem more experienced tell them they are not screwing up by going through with the purchase of aforementioned object of drooling desire. It seems to be a quest for acknowledgement rather than a fact finding mission. Some will also argue the point once given an answer they didn’t want to hear. I have never gotten into the middle of these “debates”. My philosophy is simple: Be truthful with yourself and buy what you want, not what you think you want due to outside factors. Don’t get it? Here’s an example: “All my friends ride Gixxer 1000’s, I really dig the CBR600RR, but everybody says this bike sucks due to [whatever the stated reason] and that they wouldn’t get anything but a GSX-R. You end up with a GSX-R1000. The bike you wanted? Could turn into it, who’s to know. More likely scenario? You’ll sell it and get what you really want, if you live long enough.”
Harsh, huh? Yes. It is. Motorcycle choices are something that should be extremely personal and the bike you end up riding should fit you, not a preconceived notion of what you are if you owned such and such bike. That’s advertising hype, that’s peer pressure, that’s not what you need. Hence, the question should be: What do I need in a bike? Not what do I want. I want a Ducati Desmosedici. Am I ever going to get one? No. Simple: I can’t afford one and I wouldn’t like it, even if it would make me famous around these parts: “That chick rides a fuggen Desmo. Holy hell!” Totally speaks to my ego, does not speak to my riding style (or rather skill) nor my wallet.
But since this question does not have a real answer, here are the factors, as I see them, that have to be considered. Of paramount importance, and I can’t stress this enough, is that you are honest with yourself. Forget what the media has told you, forget what your friends ride, forget all of that and look at yourself and what you need and what you want and find that compromise between those two poles.
- What kind of rider are you? If you are looking at your first motorcycle purchase, you won’t know this. Never mind all your literbike riding buddies. You maybe surprised what you find out after you’ve had some seat time and put some miles on the clock. If you give in to peer pressure and buy what everybody else is riding, you are setting yourself up for failure. The best advice I can give: Buy used. More often than not you’ll be looking at something else not too long into the distant future anyway. Why? A load of things that hadn’t factored into the original decision: Ergos too uncomfortable, throttle response too jerky, the damned thing has a cranky gearbox, the clutch is finicky, the handling is too quirky, and the list goes on. Some of these things can be tweaked, or fixed with aftermarket parts. Some of them you adjust to and cope with. Some will force you to go looking elsewhere.
What is your skill level? Be honest here. Be objective.Who am I kidding? Scratch that… take some formal training, it’ll save you skin and plastics later. And no matter how good you think you are, there’s always something left to learn.
- Ride it like you can fix it. Can you even afford your dream bike? Those $69 payments aren’t going to pay that sucker off in 60 months, and chances are the interest rate goes way up eventually. Squint and read the fine print. Can you afford the maintenance and upkeep? How long is the warranty? Does it void the warranty if you don’t come in for your scheduled maintenance? Can you do a lot of the stuff yourself? Again, it might just be better to buy used at this point, if you’re unsure.
- Ensure insurance. Can you even afford the insurance premium? If you buy new you’ll need full coverage in the overwhelming majority of the cases. Get the VIN from the dealer and call your insurance company. Get a quote. If you don’t, you might end up with a severe case of “sticker shock” and a new dedicated track bike. I called my agent with a Hayabusa VIN once, my husband had to stand by with the de-fib unit and at the time I did have a clean driving record and was completely claim-free.
And that’s just the beginning… these questions pretty much help you determine the type of machine, its power and handling characteristics, and its price range.
Think on that for a while… mull it over. And quit thinking “…yeah, but…”!