16 October 2013
I Call It Research
Yeah. I'm out of control.
I just bought one.
It's a Honda "Valkyrie"...
A "GoldWing without the Tupperware".
Here's the deal:
I truly am sorta doing research.
I bought "Pizza Bike" thinking the engine would be smooth and it would be a great touring bike.
I was wrong.
It isn't all that smooth. Sara Jean won't ride pillion because it doesn't have a backrest.
I should have sold it a year ago.
But I LOVE the thing. When I show up at some motorcycle rally, I'm the only guy on a Guzzi. That leads to conversation with interesting people.
"I've NEVER seen one!"
"I used to own an Ambassador."
That sort of thing.
(One of the things non-motorcyclists will never understand is the feeling of brotherhood among bikers. What a pity. Oh well, on with the blog.)
I love my wife, (like her too, MOST of the time.)
I want her to want to ride with me.
She wanted a BIG motorcycle. She wanted a backrest. She wanted comfort.
I bought a GoldWing. It was a four-cylinder, 1200cc beauty.
Then I bought another... a six-cylinder 1500cc behemoth with AM/FM stereo, CB radio, reverse gear, and electronic cruise control.
I refer to it as our "two wheeled automobile", because it weighs over one thousand pounds with both of us aboard.
IT. IS. HUGE.
(I then sold the four cylinder 'Wing.)
GoldWings are covered in plastic. Some like the look. I don't.
If you want to adjust the carburetors on the thing, you must first do over an hour's work just to expose them so you can touch 'em.
It's a wonderful, smooth, comfortable means of conveyance.
But you cannot see what makes it work. And that has troubled me from the moment we started riding 'Wings.
I've done more "research".
I bought a couple old BMW "Airheads"... a 1000cc, which I rode a few months then sold to a friend for what I paid, then an "R80RT" 800cc which still resides in my garage, (but is now for sale. Interested?)
I love the simplicity and relatively vibration-free engineering of the old Bimmers.
I bought a 90-degree V-Twin Suzuki 650.
For a twin, the bike is so smooth it's scary.
But it's a chain-drive, and my ride in Hurricane Agnes convinced me I don't want a chain-drive bike for long-term use.
My son is now riding it in Arizona. He loves it.
Two months ago I bought a 650cc Yamaha VStar Classic.
It looks like a mini Harley-Davidson.
Sounds a little like one too. We LOVE the looks of the thing.
For a V-Twin it is relatively smooth.
It gets great gas mileage.
Its final drive is a shaft, not a chain.
But it's not great for two-up riding for long.
We're taking it to friend Cary in Arizona next month, where it will hopefully live happily for quite some time.
On the way home from that trip we'll pick up the latest acquisition...
The bike you see pictured above...
It's a '99 Honda Valkyrie. It has been living in a little town outside Dallas, Texas.
It has the same engine as the GoldWing we're presently riding, so I fully expect Sara Jean will also be able to snuggle into that pillion seat and nap just as she does with the 'Wing.
And with the "Valk" I can see what makes the thing motivate...
It's not covered in plastic!
We'll bring it back to Destin for more research, and I'll try desperately to keep the moisture and salt air from attacking all that chrome.
(Wax. Wax. Wax. Wax. Wax. Elbow grease.)
The 650 Yamaha will be with Cary in a couple weeks.
The 800cc BMW is for sale.
The GL1500 GoldWing is for sale.
Pizza Bike will stay, for solo riding (and attracting attention).
We're already talking about more "research" however...
We'd like to bring Lucy riding along with us.
To that end we think a sidehack outfit (sidecar/bike) would be neat.
I'm watching for another BMW Airhead, or maybe a new/used Ural would fill the bill.
Research is fun.
How can I work out being paid for this study?