17 October 2010

eBay, Wings of Gold, Moto Guzzis, and Billy Joel.

Sometimes ya just need a bigger 2X4, that's all.
I understood her disappointment, but figured she'd get over it once we started riding. Her brother owns a Harley. Two of her nephews own Harleys. She's talked of riding behind friends who had Harleys. So I initially considered buying a Harley-Davidson...
Thought maybe I'd even buy an 883 Sportster to relive my old High School days. But others quickly pointed out Sara Jean wouldn't be comfortable on trips longer than a few minutes on one. When I started thinking about Fat Bobs or Street Glides, a couple of guys I respect a great deal who know more about bikes these days than I ever knew dissuaded me...
"They break down more than other machines, and when they do you'll pay lots of $$$$$ for the Harley name for parts to fix the problem."
So I was detoured. I started thinking about the Guzzi...
Buying one would keep me in the V-Twin world, and Guzzis are known for their reliability (once they're over their terrible break-in period). My ride in Hurricane Agnes convinced me of the utility of belt or shaft final drives, and the Guzzi has a shaft drive. When I saw the SPIII for sale on eBay I excitedly showed it to her. She seemed interested and was excited because I was excited. When I brought it home and wanted her to ride behind me she expressed reservations...
"Have I never told you about my cousin?"
Turns out she has a female cousin who, as a passenger, fell off a bike after hitting a big pothole in Chicago. She's a paraplegic because of the accident. Sara Jean wants me to get a Sissy bar for the Guzzi so she won't fear slipping off the back of the bike.
I understand.
But it's more than that.
She really IS a Harley fan. When we're out driving in the car she'll Oohh and Ahhh each time she sees a big bagger or dresser Harley.
"Isn't that beautiful?!!"
And there's another bike that she ALWAYS comments on whenever we see one-
The Honda "Gold Wing".
She obviously likes BIG, substantial bikes, and the lightbulb in my head finally came on!

For those of you who don't know motorcycles, the Honda Gold Wing is, for all intents, a two-wheeled automobile. Take a look here to get an idea of the size of the behemoth.
They come with cupholders! AM/FM stereo systems. Intercoms. CB radios. Adjustable gas shocks. Floorboards for driver and passenger. Adjustable windscreens. Some even have a reverse gear! (Which could definitely come in handy 'cause the thing weighs close to 800 pounds!)

The engine on the Gold Wing is a work of art... a four-cylinder opposed, water-cooled powerplant that is quiet and virtually vibration free.
Having never ridden one I asked a friend about them. "They're a HUGE slug of metal" was his response. (He's currently riding an Aprilia V-Twin and loves it.)

But I want her to WANT to ride along with me. So when I told her I was considering parking a Gold Wing next to the Guzzi in the garage I was amazed at her reaction...
And she wanted to see photos of the bikes I had looked at on eBay.

I'm ecstatic. She's by FAR more excited about this purchase than I am!

I found a PERFECT '85 Aspencade 1200cc bike in Menominee Michigan, still with a low bid.
I'm familiar with Menominee Wisconsin... where the deuce is Menominee Michigan?
Ouch. It's up in CJ territory... far southern Upper Peninsula, and would be a pain in the butt to retrieve. Still, this gorgeous bike would be worth the trouble if I could buy it at the right price. It has EVERY option you can get on a Gold Wing, and that's saying a LOT.

The current bid was $2750 and bidding was ending in 5 days. I bid $2800 on it and my bid was immediately overshadowed by another's $2850 bid. Okay, let's see if I can be foxy here...
I decided I'd wait until the last minute of the auction and put a bid in to cover the highest price I wanted to pay for the bike... $3500.
And that happened yesterday at 4:30 P.M...
The bike sold to someone else who also knew its value, and the winning bid was $50 more than mine. RATZ!

But I've found several more nice Gold Wings, one of which Sara Jean is REALLY excited about... an '83 1100cc machine that has been immaculately maintained, complete with rear-seat armrests... she'll be the Queen of Sheba back there!
I'll keep ya posted on our Gold Wing hunt.

After we had lost the auction on the bike in Menominee Michigan I turned on HDTheater and watched a program called "Cafe Racer". The last ten minutes of the program were devoted to Billy Joel, and covered his love of motorcycles. He talked about his first bike...
A Moto Guzzi V50!
Sara Jean said, "Two months ago I had never heard of Moto Guzzi. Now that we own one suddenly everyone is raving about them."
Yeah, that's right.
And that's as it should be, too!


cj said...

Oh, man, GB.

*shakes head sadly*

Menominee, Michigan is on the Michigan/Wisconsin border and there is no plain Menominee, WI that I'm aware of. Menominee Creek, River, and some others, yes.

Oh, and btw - that's 230 southwest of CJ country...

But that's okay. The UP is hard to understand on a lot of levels.


Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Gold Wing. Wow. The new wings are 6-cylinder. With skads of torque. See: http://powersports.honda.com/street/touring.aspx

I describe a Gold Wing thusly:

It's like riding your sofa down the freeway in front of the TV.

However, it DOES provide one of if not THE finest riding experience for a passenger that I'm aware of.

Just beware: due to its size you must do much more pre-planning for low-speed and parking maneuvers. It's easy to find yourself, absent that "REVERSE", in a predicament from which it is difficult to extricate yourself.

And if you ever drop it, you'll pay a hefty price with your back and checkbook. Been there, done that.


The Old Man said...

If you want to sell Pizza Bike, call me. I won't let you take too much of a loss (grin).

Timothy Frazier said...

Okay, you leave me no choice. I've had to pull out all the stops and write an entire article, "For Greybeard and Sara Jean" over at http://4fraziers.com/wp/?p=1723 to ensure that you consider the British war ship prior to making any rash decisions.

You don't have to buy one, just go test ride one and then buy the Goldwing. I'm sure someone, somewhere, has ridden a R3 Touring and then bought a Goldwing instead...ahem...

I'm just counselling you as a friend.

I know what's good for you.