Bikes we love The Journey

Guess What Bike I Bought

I've let emotion take the lead in deciding my latest motorcycle purchase

Chris Cope needs to start a ‘Guess What Bike I Got’ post,” wrote reader SWOhioBiker recently, in response to the news I had finally relieved myself of the 2017 Triumph Tiger Explorer XRX I’d been riding for almost two years.

Uhm. Yeah, why not do that? It’s a slow news day…

Show Your Love for Pointless Stuff Like This

To bring you up to speed, earlier this year my wife and I decided to move back to our old digs in the Victorian seaside resort town of Penarth, Wales – a short 10-minute train ride from Cardiff city center and accessible by steamer ship during the summers. Please feel free to visit but do not move here, because house prices are already too high. So high, in fact, that my wife and I haven’t been able to afford a home any larger than the one-bedroom flat she bought roughly a decade ago.

She gone

It’s a nice enough flat – in a town nice enough that we decided to abandon a (rented) three-bedroom home with a garage and back yard in a different town to be able to return – but space for motorcycle parking is limited and tricky. We have a little courtyard in which I built a shed a few years ago, so I’m able to keep a bike out of the rain. However, getting said bike into said shed is a challenge.

There is a 6.5-foot-high brick wall separating the courtyard from the pavement (aka, ‘sidewalk,’ for those of you playing along in Trumpistan). The gateway through that brick wall is 83 cm wide (32.6 inches). The pavement/sidewalk, meanwhile, is 211 cm wide (83 inches), with cars parking in the street alongside it. In order to line a bike up to be ridden through the 83cm gap it is often the case that you need to spin the bike on its sidestand within that 211cm pavement space. Like I said: tricky. Too tricky, as it happens, for the too wide, too long, too heavy Tiger Explorer to ever make it through.

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With the impending move forcing a change in motorcycle, I asked you guys for help in deciding which bike that should be, identifying six motos I was seriously considering. There was a week or two there where I thought I was going to be able to rent a nearby garage, thereby avoiding the need to get a new bike, but that fell through and the search was on once again.

Something it’s not

Some Clues

The six bikes I was considering were the BMW R nineT, Honda CBR650F, Indian FTR 1200 S, Kawasaki Z1000SX, Triumph Tiger Sport, and Yamaha Tracer900GT. I’ve already given away the fact the new bike isn’t a Z1000SX, and I’ll also go so far as to offer that it may, in fact, not be any of the motos on that list.

Based on that suggestion, you might immediately assume I am now the proud owner of a Harley-Davidson Street Bob, having swooned for the bike after spending the summer with one on long-term loan. Sadly, no. I spent a lot of time considering it, trying to lie to myself about the logistics, but ultimately accepted the infeasibility of such a tack. However, my choice of bike was informed by the glorious Summer of Street Bob in a number of ways.

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The Street Bob has less horsepower than you might expect from a bike of its engine capacity. It is heavier than it needs to be. It costs more than it should. It is, on the surface, impractical for long-haul or everyday use. But none of that matters when you ride it. The look and sound and feel of the bike override all intelligent and practical concerns. You sit on it and think: “Hee-hee, this is so stupid. I love it!”

Much of the same can be said of the bike I ended up getting. So, uh, you can probably guess it’s not a Honda. The bike isn’t wholly impractical (so, it’s not an MV Agusta), but after years of consistently buying all-rounder machines that I grew tired of in a space of a few months I’ve finally gone with my heart on this one.

It’s not this (unfortunately)

And with my wife’s heart. There’s another clue for you. With every other bike I was debating, my wife’s advice was always, “Do what you want.” But when I first suggested this one she suggested I head to the dealership the next day.

I did. And exactly a week later I was riding home on my new bike, giggling and feeling more connected to this machine than I had ever managed to be with the Tiger Explorer. I’ll let you know which bike it is on Monday, but I’m interested to know what you think I got and what you think I should have got.