Saturday, January 3, 2009

One bike had to go, so he sold the Honda

I sold my Honda motorcycle. It was newer, shinier, faster and far more dependable than my Royal Enfield Bullet, but there never was any question which bike I would sell.

The new owner got a good deal: many hundreds less than I had paid for a motorcycle that still looked new, had new tires and zero mechanical issues. But we both noted, as he looked it over, that he could buy a brand new version for not that much more. The seller of a used Honda has a serious competitor. For what you get, Honda's new motorcycles are still bargains.

To me, all motorcycles seem under priced. I am biased, I suppose, since I live in Florida, where a motorcycle is year-'round transportation. Honda motorcycles are as dependable as Honda's legendary cars.

And that is part of the reason I chose to sell mine.

My Honda motorcycle demanded no affection from me: it ran, perfectly, and gave every indication that it always will. I changed the oil regularly. But that is all I did. As closely as I watched it, the clutch didn't need adjusting in all 11,000 miles I rode. For the owner of a Royal Enfield, this was amazing and a little bit boring.

Thus, the Honda, by being care free, left me caring less about it. My Bullet, on the other hand, actually responds to my constant fiddling. It may not run at all without it!

But it's not just a matter of how motorcycles are wired; my involvement with one motorcycle and not the other says something about how people are wired.

My friend, screenwriter and wit Douglas Kalajian, says "I never get attached to material things." Yet he buys exciting new cars regularly. If they disappoint him, he sells them.

I'm not like that. The last thing I want to do is learn how to use some new "nav" system or paddle shift. And unless a vehicle has marked its spot in my life with a massive oil slick, or stranded me in some imaginative wilderness in the rain, I don't find it interesting.

I suppose that makes me a demanding customer: I demand imperfection.


  1. Anonymous1/03/2009

    What an ugly yoghurt cup on wheels.
    How can one stand that thing on a Royal Enfield blog?

  2. I agree lack of perfection makes the journey more interesting. I had an 86 Alfa Romeo GTV6 which was a ball to drive and work on but left me in a few predicaments.

    One time going north on the Westside Highway heading north out of Manhattan the accelerator linkage decided to take a vacation. I thought the engine had stalled at first but the tach was still at about 800 RPM. I had my little sis in the car and we were heading uphill up to the elevated section of the highway near 57st in heavy traffic. I quickly pulled over to an inch of the mirror on the right and pooped the hood to take a look. After about 15 seconds I found the linkage problem and had to ask my sister for a barrette that I quickly fashioned in to a lever and C-clip. In under 2 min I was back in the car and we were rocketing up to 90 mph again. Pure bliss.

    Another time I was at almost the same place heading south into the city and lost the engine, this time the distro cap cracked. Super glue got me home.

    And yet again lost the headlights on a long night drive... ate up 2 fuses fiddling with it and found a short because of missing insulation. Fixed that with a piece of chewing gum and used the foil wrapper for the fuse. Good stuff. I learned that 95% of things could be fixed with a rock, screwdriver, duct tape, zip tie, gum and a Gerber.

    This is exactly why I want to pick up a Bullet, lots of character, lots of bugs and is a rolling engineering challenge.

    Keep Buggering On


    Peter E Raymond


  3. Peter, that is a great story. Thank you.

  4. Anonymous1/06/2009

    Great minds think alike I suppose... I sold my '94 Honda Pacific Coast to purchase my 1st Enfield!


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