~Since 2004~
A site about memories, thoughts, photos, and unrepentant opinions about motorcycles and motorcycling after four decades of twisting the throttle.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

And The Winner Is...


2005 Honda ST1300. I love red bikes.

In the end the final decision came down to typing a line in an e-mail to the BMW dealer: "John, about the R1200RT, I've decided to..." And I literally paused there and thought... "take the RT" or "pass on the RT". Believe me, I was that conflicted. A little Bavarian gnome sat on one shoulder whispering "You vant der ahRT, take der ahRT!" and a little soulless banker sat on my other shoulder whispering "Are you insane? It's FIVE THOUSAND freaking dollars more!!" As also noted by my occasional riding buddy, Tommy G: "What good is the BMW if you can't afford to ride it anywhere?" Make no mistake about it, I wanted the BMW R1200RT but in the end I had to balance moto-lust versus wringing another $5000 out of my emaciated wallet.

The Honda ST1300 is a fabulous machine, fast, smooth, excellent low speed handling, the fit and finish is equal to the BMW and in some areas like paint exceeds the BMW. The BMW had more goodies than I needed like the ABS, electronic suspension and cruise control. Perhaps all those add up to $5k but for me they didn't. Also, my son started his first year at Northern Arizona University this fall and there are limits to finances, even for famous international moto bloggers. The vast profits from Forty Years on Two Wheels could not be counted on to cover the extra five grand or even a quart of oil.

The ST1300 enjoys a long and well deserved reputation for speed, comfort, and reliability; those were a big factor in choosing the bike. I have a friend that has rolled up over 100,000 miles on her ST with scarcely and incident. Reading through the various Honda ST forums it seems clear that most issues with the bike are high mileage issues that occur with any machine. I don't know that the ST1300 is a bike that makes people wild with moto-lust but it does whoosh down the road like some sort of Japanese magic carpet and that's pretty darned appealing. The sleekness of the styling of the ST1300 is impressive to, it's a much prettier bike than the BMW. The only time the Germans have ever gotten styling right is when they hired an Italian or Spaniard to do it for them. I don't know who's resonsible for styling the ST, my guess is that it's an American, but the bike sits there with a presence that says "Go. No limits. Just go."

I plan to keep the ST a while (for me that's longer than one year) and run up some serious mileage trips or at least I hope so, as there are too many places to go that I've wanted to go for 40 years and have not gone. It's been too easy to let the years roll by and not do what I wanted to do although I've done more than I ever dreamed of as a skinny 16 year old kid bombing around on his first 60cc Yamaha. Often times we settle for a lesser goal and put off the greater one in deference to assorted work and family obligations. I think that's ok but should not become such a habit that they chisel on our tombstone "I wish I had done more."

I seem to have arrived at that point in life where I have the bikes, the means, and the vacation days to do some great rides back east or wherever I choose. Between the Aprilia Caponord and the Honda ST1300 I should be able to get wherever I wish to go in fine style. My immediate goal now is to find someone to go with me. After 38 years of mostly solo riding a comely passenger is needed.

Thanks to you guys who wrote and commented, made suggestions, and urged me to be true to my history of buying the to the extreme limit of my budget. I'm sorry I let you down and acted as sensible as one can be spending $14k on a new motorcycle.

My apologies if I didn't write back directly to all of you. Some commented anonymously so I have no e-mail address for you and I've just been a little behind on my e-mails also.

More pictures and comments to follow on the ST.

8 comments:

subcontinental said...

Congratulations! I've noticed that decisions such as the one you made are often not just about the bike or any single factor (be it a Deutsche Gnome or otherwise.) Its usually a combination of them and in the end you have to live with the decision (not someone else.) You don't need to prove anything, the riding will speak for itself. Good luck with the ST.

Seeing your bike motivated me to go riding today. In the East, as you may know, the seasons and the work week are more critical for riding times.

Rob said...

I’d be fascinated to hear about your experience with Honda dealers. I’ve been thinking (at year end when my divorce is over) I really want a new bike. For a long time, it was the Aprilia Futura, but seeing that it may or may not be discontinued, I’m looking at the Honda Interceptor now. The way I’m looking at it, it’s not a sexy Italian V-Twin, but there are 3 Honda dealers in town, so sales should be competitive and service should be easier to figure out.

You mentioned Iron Horse while you were shopping, where did you end up getting the Honda?

Doug K. said...

Dear Arteesta the Red,

You win for the most interesting comment I've ever recieved on my blog. >GULP<

I have reviewed your resume. You are strong on enthusiasm but need some practical experience. I'm sure I could help you out with improving that area. I am hopeful and will be in touch.

Doug

bryan said...

Finally! Gosh, you got one fine bike, there! Well, I seriously hope you've got new bike riding plans up your sleeve with that sleek, red bike!With regards to the Beemer, sorry that you have to let it go...but who knows? In the nearest future???

But since you know the ST will also help you go around new biking adventures and misadventures...Then, good luck with the new legacy.

j0hn said...

Great choice if you ask me...though I have not been able to keep track of your tough decisionmaking during the past few weeks. The Honda ST1300 will assure you of both riding power and comfort.

Chris said...

Nice choice! I just sold my 2000 ST1100 with 70k miles and bought a new (to me) 2003 ST1300 with 3660 miles, and I love it. Of course, I loved the '1100 too.

Ride well,
Chrish

Dylan said...

Hey Doug, congrats on the new bike! Looks fantastic. As my old man says, you need the 'right tool for the right job' and if you're planning long distance trips my bet is that you're in good hands with the ST!

Enjoy the ride... I can't wait to hear about your new 'long distance' adventures...

Dylan

Anonymous said...

Beautiful bike! After ten years of riding a BMW R1100RS I am considering buying another motorcycle. I am thinking about a used ST1300 or R1200RT, or maybe a new VFR800. Any advice would be appreciated. Enjoy your new bike!

Tony

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