Second Thoughts Posted by: Dale Franks
on Monday, June 18, 2007
Last week, I wrote up the drive test I took on the new Can Am Spyder. I really liked it.
The trouble is, it costs $15,000, which is pretty pricey. And, apparently, the first year's production run has already been more or less sold out. That kinda makes it hard to get one, even if I had the 15k.
But, I've still been thinking. A lot. And what I've been thinking is that, for half the price, and with no wait at all, I could get one of these.
2007 Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200R
And it gets about 50mpg, compared to 35mpg for the Spyder. Naturally, the increased fuel efficiency for my commute is my only interest in it.
The drawback, of course, is that to get one, I'd have to get a motorcycle license, which is a pain. I've got to get my temp permit, which requires that I take the two written tests. Then, I've got to take the MSF safety course, since it's been so long since I've ridden, and that costs $238. That's a hassle.
I just don't want to have to jump through all those hoops.
Which is not to say I won't jump through them, since I got my California motorcycle 1-year temp permit today, and I registered to start the MSF course on the 29th.
But I'm not happy about it at all. In fact, I almost didn't even fill out the credit application at San Diego Harley this morning.
I had two Japanese bikes when I stumbled on a deal on a 1987 883 Sportster.
It wasn’t very long before I sold one of those bikes for nearly nothing and gave the other one away. That ’87 was wonderful. The Evo engine redeemed all the nonsense of the AMF years; it never gave me a moment’s trouble and never dropped a single spot of oil. I rode it all over the metro Atlanta area all the time (no car) and as far away as Nashville and St. Augustine, Florida.
It’s twenty years later than my bike, now, and I don’t know about the the new ones. However, I think that if I could go back and live those years over again exactly as they happened — to include how it ended, with that drunk wiping me out on I-20 — I’d do it. Just because of the Sportster, which really is a splendid design.
If I recall, Dale, you’re in CA. So, when you do the driving test look up on the Internet for people who will meet you at the testing facility and let you use their small bike (Honda 125, or whatever) for a fee. I don’t recall what I paid; I only wished I’d listened to people who told me there was no way I was going to get my 2000 Indian Chief (with the 1300 cc S&S) through that course.
Dammed if I almost didn’t do it, and it’s a completely tiresome and silly thing in the first place, but save the hassle and bring a small bike — though I’d say that of all the V-twins, the Sportster (along with Buell) would be amongst the tightest turn radius (which was the issue with CA’s test).