Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What motorcycle replaces a Royal Enfield?

What motorcycle would you buy if you absolutely could not buy a Royal Enfield?

For Tom Jupille of Walnut Creek, Calif., the answer was a 1991 Honda Nighthawk CB250. He bought it to ride while his Royal Enfield was in the shop for an extended stay. Now that his Royal Enfield Bullet is "back in commission," the Honda is for sale on CraigsList for $1,000.

I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw his ad, because I had done exactly the same thing. I wrote about the 2006 Honda Nighthawk that carried me to work while my Bullet was laid up. Like Tom, I put my Nighthawk up for sale when the Bullet came home.

With its round headlight, drum brakes (no hydraulics to mess with) and no frills, the Nighthawk was a fine substitute. But it was no Royal Enfield. The vertical twin motor may summon up thoughts of British motorcycles of old, but it sings a high pitched, high-revving song. It sounds insubstantial, but it is, of course, faster than a speeding Bullet, at half the displacement. In 10,000 miles I had not a spot of trouble with it.

I wrote Tom to express my surprise that the two of us had done the same thing. His response was even more surprising:

"Actually, it's not a coincidence," he wrote.

"I read your blog (and love it, by the way!) and that had put the bug in my ear about the Nighthawk being a good temporary fill-in for the Bullet, and that was reinforced when I rode one during the Motorcycle Safety Foundation course.

"Your assessment turned out to be spot-on. The Nighthawk is a happy little beast, and is a fun ride in its own right, but it doesn't compare to the sh*t-eating grin I get riding the Bullet (not to mention the conversations with total strangers). I don't ride enough to justify keeping both, so the Honda's gotta go."

Small world, isn't it?

Tom says his 1991 Nighthawk has 6,200 miles, good tires, a new battery and recovered seat. For $1,000 he'll throw in the bags shown.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9/18/2010

    The Suzuki TU250 would be my choice as it comes nearest to the Bullet in terms of it being a no-frills machine providing everyday transport.

    Al in Philadelphia


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