I’m still in this unfortunate cycle of finding myself too busy to plan or take any serious trips. I’d considered taking the bike out to upstate NY next weekend in conjunction with the Black River Stages rally – where, suddenly, I’m no longer a service crew member, but navigator and ham radio operator for the official course opening car! Very exciting. But I absolutely need to be there, can’t afford any delays, and after literally running the entire rally ourselves, I’ll likely be quite tired, and want an easy drive home rather than yet another motorcycle adventure at that point.
I’ve been rethinking what I may want for my next bike. If long trips and touring aren’t on my horizon, a Goldwing may not be the next logical step after all. So what is?
My problem is that I don’t really know what my options are. Pretty much all of the bikes I’ve owned, including my Silverwing, have been a good deal, taking what I can get at a good price, rather than me choosing a particular bike and going after it. I’ve done this because I haven’t had much money to spend on bikes. Now that I’m a little better off in that department I can afford to be choosy and get something newer than 30 years old – but what?
Frequently on the Grassroots Motorsports forum people ask “What car do I need for such-and-such a job?” They also have a “Sprockets” forum for bikes (even though the magazine doesn’t cover bikes at all), so I asked the question there. These were my wants/needs:
- Large enough for me and my girlfriend to ride together.
- 600 or more. Don’t need over 800 but wouldn’t rule it out.
- A bit newer than my 30 year old Silverwing.
- Able to carry my laptop bag in a hard saddlebag or trunk. (I can swap on the aftermarket trunk off my Silverwing.) This is a requirement for commuting.
- Roughly $3000 tops. Less is better.
- But not a project bike. I’ve had enough of those. I want something I can just hop on and ride.
- Style? Don’t know. I’m not a sport rider – I get my speed thrills on 4 wheels with metal around me. Sport touring, touring, standard, cruiser (except Harley), all of those could work.
I got some interesting suggestions. Many voted for the Honda VFR. This seems more sporty and less touristy than I want, and I’d have to add luggage. Others suggested the V-Strom. As luck would have it, one of my neighbors just bought a 650 version. I haven’t ridden it but I did check it out closely. Nice bike, but again, I’d have to tweak it a bit to turn it into what I want. Also, neither bike would likely be comfortable for my girlfriend on the back.
But one suggestion jumped out at me: the Honda Pacific Coast 800. After reading this article, it seems to be exactly what I’m looking for in a bike. With its cavernous trunk, plus the ability to add my own, I could use it for commuting as well as touring, much more easily than my Silverwing. It’s newer. It’s bigger. It can seat two. I can still tour with it. And it’s dead reliable, practically an appliance as far as maintenance is concerned. It’s not the most common bike, but it can fall into my price range. So I’m researching these. I’d love to see one in person sometime to get a real idea of its size and shape.
Of course, I’d welcome any other suggestions of bikes I should consider. I’d like to buy something during the winter while bikes are cheap, then sell my Silverwing in the spring when they’re not. We’ll see how it goes.