Time for a change?

I’ve had the bike out for a couple of short spins. So far it’s started and ran perfectly. Yet I still don’t dare ride beyond my towing radius from home. No matter – it gets cold and dark so early these days I don’t have time to go very far anyway. I can still cruise around on the weekends for a bit longer, but those days are numbered. Soon I’ll be needing to figure out when I can put it away in my friend’s garage for the winter, really this time.

Another friend already has a bike in storage – a 2001 Suzuki Marauder. In fact it’s been in storage for three years, and she’s trying to sell it.  Since I’ve been losing faith in the PC800, I’ve been considering it. It has 12k original miles, has never been dropped, and has been in the family since new. It’s a cruiser, not a sport tourer, but it has saddlebags, so I could at least still take weekend trips on it – and these days, weekend trips are all I have time for. Elana is comfortable sitting on it, but would need a backrest of some kind for more than a short trip – an easy addition. It currently has a dead battery, and at least one carburetor stuck open when we tried to start it – both to be expected from a bike that’s been sitting for three years.

Because of that, it can continue to sit through the winter. I don’t need to decide what to do yet, but if we get it up and running without much trouble, I’m leaning toward selling the PC and buying the Marauder, both in the spring. If I play my cards right, I could come out of this deal with a working bike and some extra money in my pocket, since I’d be getting a good deal on the Marauder. That and knowing its full history are a large part of the appeal of this idea. If the PC keeps behaving, it might be a good time to sell it, with lots of recent work, new parts, and while it’s running well.

Another factor is that I’ve pondered trying a cruiser for years. When I got my Honda CB750 Custom, I’d actually gone to look at a Magna, only to find it was all smashed on the left side and had obviously been dropped hard. The Harley I rode in Florida last winter was quite comfortable, but kind of big and cumbersome for me. I’ve had the occasion to ride a few Suzuki Savages from time to time, and though I like them, they’re a bit small for me. But the Marauder feels like a good size for me. It won’t handle as well as the PC800, but I really don’t lean hard in the turns anyway. A cruiser might suit my relaxed riding style better than a sport tourer.

The Marauder likely wouldn’t be a cross country machine. It suffers from as short a range on a tank of gas as the PC800, so unless I can plan a route that would definitely have fuel available around every 100 miles or so, it wouldn’t work. But by the time I’m ready for that trip, maybe I can upgrade to a larger bike, or rent a larger one and keep this for cruising around. And I have the option to add hard bags, a trunk, a luggage rack, a windshield, or whatever I want later if I decide I want to increase its touring capabilities.

I have months to decide for sure. If nothing else, I can help get the Marauder running again so it can be easily sold in the spring if I don’t buy it. But I’m seriously pondering it.

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