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

Monday, July 28, 2008

Oh Wretched Man That I Am

A truly rare and sad sight. No motorcycle in the garage.

I sold the Aprilia for two specific reasons: First because it was not getting ridden enough, scarcely at all. Second because I decided I needed to sock away a little extra cash for next Spring when I allegedly retire from the working world. The little bit of cash a used Aprilia brings, even one in near new condition, won't make a lot of difference in my plans for next year but entering into retirement is a bit like going off to college broke and uncertain of how things will work out except that at the end of the retirement you die instead of graduate. Selling the Aprilia was the sensible, responsible thing to do. I hate growing up.

As for selling the Gold Wing, that was sort of an impromptu thing but then again it wasn't. Someday some bike will be the last bike I buy but until then every bike is just the next bike with more sure to follow. The Mrs. does not, even after being married to me for two and a half years and four motorcycles, grasp why it is that bikes come and go in my life so quickly. One could say that I have short attention span for bikes but it would be closer to correct to say that there are so many varied and wonderful machines out there that I want to try them all. Sadly, that can't happen but I am willing to keep working at it until time and money run out. At the moment money is a larger issue than time as the good die young and any number of people will tell you I should therefore live to 150 years old.

I placed an ad in Craig's List for the Gold Wing and specifying a price that I thought was fair. I figured no one would buy the bike because no one ever wants to pay a fair price and then I'd just keep riding the Wing for another year or so. I got several calls right away. Drat. As the son of a car salesman I'm beholdin' to my heritage to make the sale if it can be made.

Just my luck that some wily fellow also named Doug way up in the Great Frozen North of Ontario, Canada saw the ad and decided my bike was the bike for him. I semi-tried to talk Doug out of it just because there are obstacles in moving sums of money over $10,000 across international borders unless it's a regular part of your business. As much as Americans tend to think of Canada as the 51st State it really is a different country. Just as well too because we don't need Quebec as a US State, it's bad enough being stuck with California in the Union.

With no real prompting Canada Doug hopped a plane with a pocket full of US dollars (none of that funny money with the Queen's picture on it, thank you very much) and flew southward to Phoenix. I got stuck at work so dear, sweet Wife picked Doug up at the airport, drove him around to take care of some paperwork issues (there's that foreign country thing again) and then down to our little town south of Phoenix.

I managed to get off work early enough to meet Doug and go over the bike with him, talk bikes, and I also installed one of the Gold Wing radio/intercom headsets into his helmet so he'd have tunes on the way home. I have to say that as bike selling goes, Doug was one of the nicest people I've dealt with. Must be the first name as nearly everyone named Doug is wonderful.

At left. Just your basic headset installation.

Now the coolest thing about this is not only was Doug willing to do a fly 'n ride to get the bike he wanted but he's a mere child of 30 years old, not your typical Dairy Queen bellied, gray haired Gold Wing rider. His chutzpah in doing what he wanted, when he wanted when it comes to motorcycles made me think of me when I was younger (last year). If you're going to be stubborn and obsessive about something then motorcycles are a good choice. I was glad to see the Wing go to a worthy owner.

After paperwork and greenbacks were exchanged Doug hopped on the Gold Wing, asked which way was North, and headed off. In the truest, real motorcycle guy fashion it was Friday night and he had to be back at work in Canada on Tuesday morning. He sort of made it too, might have gotten home a little quicker but he stopped at the Grand Canyon and a couple of other places on the way. 2000 miles in 3 1/2 days isn't Iron Butt territory but it's pretty good. Ye done yourself proud, Doug me lad!

Now, what comes next?

The garage is empty of bikes and as the twelve regular readers of 40on2 know there is some debate going on within the ivy covered walls of the 40on2 Estate for disposition of the money from the Gold Wing.  The Mrs. was quite upset at seeing the bike leave so I said "No problem, we'll go buy another one unless you'd rather go on a vacation trip of some sort." Oops. Money...motorcycle money spent on vacations? Oh fatal words!! Oh mouth how often doth thy hastiness bring sorrow upon mine head? Cursed lips hold thy peace and utter not such foolishness!
Too late.

I would be fine with another Gold Wing and yes, I've even looked closely at the Harley Crossbones because it's a very cool bike, but a mere vacation? The Triumph Scrambler has rambled through my thoughts as once again I ponder how much I might look like Steve McQueen on his Triumph or even Johnny from "The Wild One." A better reason for the Triumph though is that I've never owned a British bike so that would be a first except that the Scrambler is now built in Thailand or someplace, not England. Another conundrum is that the comfort and luxury of the Gold Wing has spoiled me forever and every bike I ride from now on will seem uncomfortable. Yes, I have grown weak and soft. I admit it.

Sadly, the Mrs. has been looking at websites for cruises to Alaska and is enamored of the pretty pictures of something called "the inland passage" hence the on-going struggle symbolically (but with total accuracy!) portrayed in "As The Wheels Turn." All I can say for sure at the moment is that I WILL be getting another bike. Just what it will be and when that will be is a bit unclear. Stay tuned.

In the mean time, a few pictures Doug sent me of his ride home on his new Gold Wing:

Friday, July 18, 2008

As The Wheels Turn - Part 3

"You really did it. You sold the Gold Wing and the Aprilia."

"I'm the son of a car salesman. I couldn't help it."

"What's next then?"

"Dunno. Have to think about that. You have any ideas?"

"I can't believe you sold our Gold Wing."

Friday, July 11, 2008

Opposites Attract

How ironic. Back in 2006 I pontificated on the sullying of the MV Agusta brand by car maker Proton and assorted Italian investment people. The title of the blog entry was Pearl Before Swine. Now comes news that Harley Davidson, the very representation of the term "hog", is purchasing MV Agusta from the Italians.

Out there on the other motorcycle sites and blogs some people are wringing their hands in anguish that the plodding, retro-fixated American company is buying the storied Italian marque. This is seen like some kind of sacrilege, like a hog farmer buying a kosher deli or a rider wearing full protective riding gear while riding a chopper. Inferred in many comments is "Does not Harley-Davidson know it's place in the lower cosmos?" or "Some things are too special to fall into the hands of mere mortals." Some cruel folks have made jokes about future MV Agusta bikes coming with leather fringe on the carbon fiber fairing or the new MV Agusta "Willie G" Edition. Ok, that last part was me writing to my friend Shane who owns an MV Agusta Agostini Edition.

To all the hand wringers I say piffle! First of all, the real MV Agusta company quit building motorcycles in the '70s when Count Agusta died. The current bikes are modern sport bikes badged with the Agusta name purchased for 30 pieces of silver from the MV Agusta helicopter company. I'll give the current MV Agusta bikes their due though. They are brilliantly engineered and as perfect a piece of motorcycle as you can buy these days.

I would truly love to own one.

Oddly enough, these days I'd like to have one of these too:

The proper way to look at the acquisition of MV Agusta by H-D is in the same vein as Volkswagen AG and Audi AG buying Bentley and Lamborghini back about 1999. Everyone in the car business thought VW was nuts; enthusiasts of the small brands, especially Bentley, howled at the horror of it all. The great, hulking, German people's car giant was sure to ruin what little was left of the aristocratic British car and wild eyed Italian sports car brands.

Funny thing though, under VW and Audi guidance and with deep German pockets to fund brilliant engineering teams in their home countries both brands have propered in sales numbers, quality, and profit. Sometimes a small premium brand does not need anything more than a serious minded overseer with some cash and discipline. Therefore, I hope Harley-Davidson, who is certainly a world champ at marketing, does as well by MV Agusta as VW and Audi have done by Bentley and Lambroghini. On the other hand, if H-D further sullies the MV Agusta name then a pox upon Harley-Davidson who, having a great sense of heritage themselves, should have respected the Agusta name also.

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