Buy the “right bike”

Earlier today I read Gabe Ets-Hokin’s article “It Ain’t the Tool: Revisited” on I dropped him a note telling him I thought it was a good article. He replied, “Of course – because your bike won.”

I got thinking about it, because in a way he was right, I liked that these expert moto-journalists picked the bike that I happen to have in my garage as the one they’d own – if push came to shove. But then I got to thinking, that really wasn’t why I liked the article. I liked the article because Gabe gave a lot of ink to what really matters in choosing one bike over another – what is the best fit for the type of riding that you like to do the most. And most bike magazines today are very short on this important part of picking a new bike.

If you get your biggest kick on track days and occasionally transfer those skills to some empty backroad twisties, ultimately you won’t be happy with the V-Strom. If you happen to live in Phoenix and riding four hours to the grand canyon to explore some dirt roads with the best views before heading home is your idea of a good time, you may not find the Honda 599 all that comfortable. And there are many points in between, and even more on the other edges, e.g. those getting their thrills by how much air they get on each jump, or what their pals say when they drive up to the bar with the latest custom chopper.

One point of the article might have been “don’t buy a bike that some group of moto-journalists like best, buy a bike right for you.”

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One Response to Buy the “right bike”


    Just when through this process Steve and I think I bought the bike that’s right for me. But it wasn’t easy. The people who sell motorcycles are pretty much brain dead order takers as far as I can see.

    The best information I got about the bikes I was considering was from reviews online. I was in touch with at least 6 dealerships and not one sales guy who answered the phone even bothered to take contact information from me. One dealer wouldn’t let me test ride the bike. Neither he nor the next one had any sales lit for the bike. The best help came from a guy who’s ad in BMW Owners news that I’d answered. We emailed. He sent pictures and a phone number.

    If you know exactly what you want, getting someone to take your order isn’t hard. But if you’re on the fence between two brands as I was you need someone to talk with – friends like you helped out there, but not the sales guys.

    If the guy in the dealership doesn’t engage you, help you out with a point of view, provide information and a sense of security, you might as well buy your bike on eBay. Which I almost did.