Sunday, April 24, 2011

ADVentures in Motorcycle Shopping

For a year or more I’ve been giving thought to adding a dual sport to my garage. It seems every summer I find myself on roads, or avoiding roads, that no self respecting K bike should be on.
Sandwich Notch Rd

And I’ve been hanging out with those ADV type people and their dual sport bikes.
ADV Maine 066

For a variety of reasons I decided to make it happen this year. I had a budget in mind, I lined up the finances, I started learning about the market, pinpointing the year, model, and mileage for my budget, elicited friends opinions, even put down some money.
The deal for this R1100GS did not feel right, and I moved on.
Seattle R11

I poured over hundreds of ads on Craig’s List, BMW MOA Flea Market, ADVenture Rider’s Flea Market, my BMW dealer's inventory, and eBay. I made a spreadsheet, I assessed priorities…I found some more money for the budget, and I just about started over. Over the course of 6 weeks, I moved my search from an R1100GS, to R1150GS and landed at R1200GS. Sometimes you just have to decide to spend your money.

In between all this, I was buying a car for Lisa! Ok two cars. I shopped for 3 weeks before finding her a 2000 Audi A4; a nice little starter car, under 4K.

It lasted 10 days. Lisa was caught driving while inexperienced…and made a mistaken left turn into a Saab. Leaving the Saab hurt, and the Audi, technically totaled.

Totaled Audi A4
So after a 2 week respite from car shopping, I was back at it; the bike shopping on hold. My insurance company, Amica, had a check in my hand in 4 days!
What a pile of crap I was seeing in the 4K car range. I reluctantly considered moving some of the bike budget to the car budget. My willingness to do this caused me to look at an eBay auction for an Audi A6. A crazy nice car for the kid. I put a watch on the car and had pretty much forgotten about it when I got a “4 hours until this auction is over” notice on it. The car was sitting at $4,200. Examining the completed auctions for this model/mileage, I could not find anything under 6K. I decided to go for it. I put in a bid near 5K. The car was a trade in at a BMW dealer, I felt there was a better chance that it had come from a loving home, and the dealer was not going to be pawning off a lemon. The 118,000 miles was low for a 2000. The 6 speed manual, was attractive to me, because I think the kid needs to learn a stick, but probably helped keep more bidders away.
Lisa and I sat in front of the screen and watched the auction tick down until I was the proud owner of a $4,400, 250hp Audi A6. My bike budget intact

Back to bike shopping. Somewhere in all of this I had thought a lot about taking a road trip to pick up the bike. This all started when my friend in the Seattle area turned me on to an R1100GS. My road trip gene kicked in. But that all fizzled when the A4 was totaled. Still a road trip was in the back of my mind, but due to timing, a West coast epic journey was out. Maybe something less epic? The wider you’re willing to cast your shopping net, the better your chances of landing just the bike you want and a bargain price. I made an offer on a beautiful 1150GS, it was rejected. I started watching an ’05 R12GS, I asked the seller lots of questions. I was ready to pull the trigger on this one. It was navy blue, as my friends pointed out, I needed a blue bike. The day before the auction was to end, I made one more pass through the flea market circuit.
And what before my eyes should appear but an Ocean Blue R12..the color I really want. And it’s located in Birmingham, AL, just 4 hours south of the Navy bike in Knoxville.
It’s stunning and well geared up, a good 25K miles on it.
2005 R1200GS
The owner has had plenty of inquiries but no one ready to pull the trigger. It’s completely in my price range. I don’t have to’s the bike I want. I make him an offer, if he’s willing to accept it, I will send him a deposit ASAP.
I shoot. I score. He accepts the offer.
2005 R1200GS

Next up, road trip to Birmingham.

Lessons learned: Know what you want, know what the market is for what you want, and be ready to pull the trigger.

My last bike buying road trip - Picking up the K12GT in Cleveland, Aug. 2005.
I Won it on Ebay

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Four Senses of Motorcycling

Ever have trouble focusing while riding? You hop on your bike, a million things on your mind, and before you know it, you are an hour away but don’t recall much about the trip. New Hampshire Coast
A motorcycle ride is the perfect time to practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness: bringing one’s complete attention to the present experience. A useful component of mindfulness is careful attention to the senses. This is excellent practice early in the season when your thoughts might easily drift from the ride at hand.
Road Shots

Here are my mental notes from this weekend’s ride to the seacoast; the ride out to the coast is rather dull. I decided to practice my skills, taking mental inventory of the four senses used while riding.

    Brakes burning
    Wood stoves
    Exhaust fumes
    Steak grilling
    Salt air

Rte 1B
    Clear skies
    Tires breaching my lane
    Tach stead
    Tree buds revealing
    Tolls ahead

New Hampshire Tolls
    Gears shifting
    Wheels on the road
    Wind in the helmet
    Engine drone
    Far off horn

Rte 1-B Portsmouth
Touch - Feel
    Jacket scratching my arm as the wind hits
    Wind buffeting my head, the cheek pads pressing my face
    The wind on my face as I notched up the face shield.
    Faint vibration of the hand grips in my palm
    The subtle drop in temps as I approached the coast.

New Hampshire Coast