History of my bikes

I haven’t had a lot of bikes, but each one has a story.

  • 1986 Yamaha Seca 650
  • 2007 Yamaha Majesty
  • 2010 Honda VT1300 Interstate
  • 2015 Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited
  • 1999 Honda Nighthawk 250

1986 Yamaha Seca 650

This was the bike I broke my cherry on.  It was shortly after college.  I really wanted a motorcycle.  A fraternity brother of mine had one he didn’t ride.  I asked him how much he wanted for it.  He said $700 so he could buy a set of speakers.  I told him I’d get the speakers for him in trade.  Shortly thereafter, I was the proud owner of a bike that looked just like this one.

YamahaSeca650

I ended up getting rid of the bike.  I don’t recall why, but I regret selling it.  I sold it for $800 (after putting $300 into service for it).

2007 Yamaha Majesty

Many years after selling the Seca, I got the itch to ride again.  Gas prices were on the way up ($2.50/gallon!) so I wanted something practical, easy to ride and that would be really fuel efficient.  I went to the local dealer and found two scooters… a Suzuki Burgman 400 and a Yamaha Majesty 400.  The Majesty was $1,000 less expensive so we had a winner!

YamahaMajesty

But wait!  That’s a scooter!  Well… technically it’s a motorcycle because it’s got such a large displacement.  Beyond that, I have refined my definition of what a “real” motorcycle is.

  • Any bike you have to shift yourself
  • Any bike capable of cruising on the interstate

So see?  As evidenced by my videos, the Majesty is a real motorcycle.  I would classify it as a “step through motorcycle”, but a motorcycle never the less.

After owning that Majesty for several years, the I got tired of being jealous of guys with “real” traditional motorcycles.  Bikes that didn’t sound like a sewing machine… you know.

The Majesty needed it’s 8,000 mile service.  I took it to the dealer for the work.  They checked it out and said in addition to the normal stuff, I needed new tires.  When I looked at the expense of all that plus my desire to trade up, it made the decision easy.

2010 Honda VT1300 Interstate

The Honda was *not* my first choice!  I had actually settled on another Yamaha.  My criteria for what I wanted was pretty clear.

  • Saddlebags
  • Windshield
  • Floorboards
  • Fuel Injected
  • Water cooled engine

The Yamaha I selected was in my budget and looked good.  I worked with the salesman to negotiate a price.  We got everything worked out.  He took the paperwork to the manager to authorize.  While we were waiting for him, the salesman asked if I wanted to test ride it!  Derp… I never even rode the bike I was about to buy.

I took it for a ride and I’m glad I did!  I didn’t like it!  Yuck!  I was about to sink many thousands of dollars into something that didn’t fit me right.  So, it was back to the showroom floor to find a different bike.  That’s when I spotted the Interstate.

It had everything on my check list.  The only problem was that it was more expensive than my budget allowed.  Nevertheless, I took it for a ride.  Within two miles, I knew the bike would be coming home with me.  It was so comfortable and solid.  It was just perfect.

HondaInterstate2

I owned that bike for just over three years.  I put over 11,000 miles on it.  Not bad.  The bike wasn’t quite so perfect for me anymore though.  That Honda was everything I wanted in a bike before I knew what I wanted.  It turns out I wanted something better suited to longer distances.  I wanted better wind protection.  I wanted more storage.  Plus, I got really tired of the following exchange:

Friendly Stranger:  Oh… you ride a motorcycle?

Me:  Yep.  It’s awesome.

FS:  Is it a Harley?

Me:  …… It’s a Honda.

FS:  Oh.

Couple that with getting a new job and it was time to upgrade.

2015 Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited

This is the bike I got *after* I knew what I wanted.  I also checked out many bikes before settling on this one.  Ultimately, it came down to the Indian Roadmaster and this Harley.  The Indian was a nice bike, but the hot rear cylinder on it was no good.  Plus, the Harley just fit me better.

Harley_002I’m a total technology nerd too.  The Harley doesn’t disappoint.  It has a really nice stereo/gps unit built into it.  Compared to the Honda, it’s a whole new level of motorcycling.  It’s so smooth and so comfortable.  The power is intoxicating.  For nearly three times the price, it better be!

As I write this, I’ve had the bike for 5 months and have already put 5,000 miles on it.  At this pace, I’ll out run the mileage on the Honda next summer.  If I work at it, I could get it done before the one year birthday of me getting it.  :+1:

1999 Honda Nighthawk 250

I got this bike for one primary reason and several secondary reasons.  First and foremost, motorcycles are cool!  That is reason enough to get the bike!

More than that though, there are other reasons.  My son recently got his drivers license and has expressed an interest in riding.  He’s not going to ride my Harley so he’ll need something to ride.  Being a 250, it’s not powerful enough to really get him into trouble.  As a lightweight bike, when it tips or he dumps it, it should be easy enough to pick back up.  As a Honda, the bike should last until the Tuesday after eternity.  It has the same engine and driveline as the Rebel so parts and maintenance should be easy.  Plus, unlike the Rebel, it’s got more sporty styling.

IMG_3089

Another reason I wanted a small little bike like this was to further people’s curiosity and interest in motorcycles and motorcycling.

When you ask people how they first learned to ride, or about the first time they sat on a bike, many times they’ll get a twinkle in their eye and start telling you about an uncle they have that rides or about a neighborhood friend who’s older brother had a bike.  Nobody in my circle of friends and acquaintances has a bike they’d be willing to turn over to a novice rider to just try out.

This can serve that purpose.  When my nephew comes to visit, we can let him take it for a little ride if he wants.  When my friends daughter wants to see what the big deal is, he won’t have to put his bike at risk.  She can take this one for a little ride around the neighborhood.

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