Retail Therapy – Snag goes shopping for a new bike, and you can help! By Greg Leech
Some readers may know, that my primary mode of motorcycle transport, is a 1972 Norton Commando. For latecomers, a little history. I restored it from a pretty rough old shitter that I found under all the dust and ill-temperedness that is the bowels of Mick Hone’s shop in local Box Hill. Mick is a mate, and I got him at a weak moment. He still whinges about it, but those who know Mick will tell you that he finds a good deal of joy in sounding miserable. That’s our Mick.
Anyway. The Norton. While I love every fibre of its being, the bloody thing is about as reliable as a Titan in a toilet. While it rarely just coughs and leaves me high and dry, things drop off, come loose, leave unexpectedly… that sort of thing. You can’t just head off and know, with any real certainty, you are gonna arrive, and, when people are trusting that you’ll be somewhere roughly when you said you would, well if you wanna stay employed, you’ll have a Plan B when it comes to transport.
Except, right now, I don’t have a Plan B. I’m flat knacker trying to come up with half a Plan A (just ask Mick Hone, he’ll happily inform you of my known incompetence).
Righto. All this means I am back in the market for a day-to day-bike. Something safe, economical, sensible, cheap. Ha! Who am I kidding…
This thing may do most of its work transporting my sagging clacker around the ’burbs on some pretty menial tasks, but it has to make me smile every time I ride it. You see, that’s what makes the menial worthwhile. That’s why car guys will never get bike guys — and believe me, I do a whole bunch of car journalism as well, and they do not get us – motorcyclists are different cattle.
So, I need something that will start reliably. Hmmm… That tosses out anything old and British, or old and Italian, or old and American. Okay. It needs to be well, just a little different, a bit off the wall… That’s the ubiquitous late model Japper outta the question. See what progress we are making here, Oh, and thanks for your input. Most helpful.
Now where were we? It needs to be sorta comfortable. I’m 54, haven’t exactly been a gym junkie and I like a pie and sauce. It has to be a reliable sauce. (A little journo joke there, not funny, but a joke nonetheless). You do better.
Yes, comfort. So, that rules out a sports bike. But it needs to be capable of a fat scratch on a Sunday morning on the Great Ocean/Gillies/Putty/Thunderbolt’s Road/Highway/Road/Way. I might be old and ferked, but I’m not dead and there is a small group of my mates that I am faster than. It’s getting smaller all the time, but that’s just the way it goes. Get used to that.
I like my bikes to have a bit of prick in them. I like them to have a surly attitude. I don’t like them all pretty and loaded with gadgets like GPS, Blue-bloody-tooth, stereo, cruise control, or a frappe machine. I like them minimal. So, a techo-thingamajig is out.
I’ve got around 12 large. So, a newie is out.
I want a brand that I have never owned before. I want a change. So a whole bunch of things that have resided in the Snagshed across the ages are struck off the list. Lots of them.
I have never owned a Harley-Davidson, always wanted one, but don’t want a cruiser. There’s a Road King in my future, but not now and it’s out of my price range. I like a normal sitting position, need clearance, and attitude remember. Doesn’t have to be the big engine… Hmmm…
What have they got that is becoming a little rare, that will mean there won’t be 10 of them parked up when I’m out posing?
I did like that… Yes, I really did like that XR1200. Looks great, can be tuned pretty warm, naked, clearance, scratching ability, in our price bracket, rare. Bingo.
That, right there is a decision, and I couldn’t have made it without you. Now, to scour Bikesales for a decent XR1200. Stay tuned, and I’ll let you know how I got on.
And, to my mates… How is it gonna feel getting chopped by an old bastard on a Harley. Hmmmm?
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