Saturday, July 30, 2011

n + 1

What is the ideal number of motorcycles to own? I believe it can be stated as a mathematical equation: n + 1, where n = (current number of bikes I already own).

Seriously, though. The “Perfect Garage”. We've all thought about it. Sure, most of Us Who Ride would love to have any number of motorcycles, of various makes, styles and vintages. There's a little bit of Jay Leno style hoarder in each of us.

I've definitely given it a lot of thought over my two decades of riding. When I daydream about winning the lottery, I don't think about mansions, yachts and jetsetting to Europe. Yawn. I think about roads and what bikes I'll use to ride them. Bear in mind that this list is in a constant state of flux, both in quantity and content.

Currently, I'm thinking my perfect bike stable would contain one for performance, one for style, one for long range comfort, and maybe even a sidecar rig – what I like to call a “biker's station wagon”.

Right now, I have a naked sport bike: a 2003 Suzuki SV1000 named “Suzi”. I love this bike so much it's the only one I've named. I've tried to name other bikes, but it never stuck. I don't know if that's significant or not; I'm just rambling. Of the ten I've owned, she's the one who's traveled the second most miles with me. Barring some horrible misadventure, she'll pass up the other one (a 1985 Honda Shadow 700) fairly soon. She's got great performance, but is easily held in check, too. Reasonably comfortable; though I really need an aftermarket seat for trips.

The cruiser. Ahhh, the quintessential American motorcycle experience. Barhopping, cruising the boulevard, looking for a date or showing off the one you have. Stepped seat, big front wheel, teardrop gas tank. The style I like best has a low seat, high-ish neck, drag bars on risers, mid controls with highway pegs. I'm not brand loyal, but imagine the bike Mickey Rourke rode in Harley Davidson and The Marlboro Man. Suzuki and Yamaha are both making some bikes with the right profile. See the Boulevard series and the Star Stryker and Star Raider. Of course, I wouldn't be averse to an old 70s or 80s 4 cylinder riceburner being modified to have that same profile.

I've never really been into touring bikes. Too much windshield and fairing between me and the wind. Too much bodywork. I prefer a bike to look like a bike. In recent years, however, I've warmed up to the idea of a bagger. Maybe I'm getting old? It's not a full dress tourer, more like “half-dressed”. Hard saddlebags, a small fairing, minimal bodywork and a cut-down windshield. It's the perfect compromise between a relaxed cruiser and a gaudy, overloaded dresser. You get a little wind protection to help your back survive 800 mile days, secure, locking, waterproof saddlebags to keep your stuff safe and dry, but no annoying bodywork covering up the focal points of its “motorcycleness”. I'm really liking the looks of the Kawasaki Vaquero, the Yamaha Star Stratoliner Deluxe, and the Harley Davidson Road Glide and Street Glide.

Of course, with a twelve year old son, an ol' lady and a baby girl, that sidecar combo is kind of appealing, too. Older BMWs just look right with a sidecar attached, don't they? Fun for the whole family, with lots of room to stash camping gear and stuff for a week on the road. You know, assuming I could convince the family to spend a week on the road with me...

I seriously doubt I'll ever have all these bikes – it's a daydream. But, it's fun to dream, ain't it? Sometimes maybe it's even more fun to dream about having it all than it would be to actually have it all. Besides, none of us will ever have the perfect garage, because as soon as that last bike gets put in its stall, the algebra kicks in again.

n + 1

1 comment:

  1. I have 3. 2 that are ridable, one that's...well..not so much, needs work, but runs damn good. It's a Suzuki and although I'm a devout Harley fan, I'd like to have this old GN1100 on the road again. It's a bagger of of the first Suz made. Hard saddle bags, 4 cylinders, 4 Carbs and 110 HP, Runs like a spotted ass ape when it runs. But anyway, I see your point. There's always that +1 that factors in. I have my streetbob, stage 2, a purely mean beast that will stand up to almost any bike..but oh what I'd give to have a dual sport. Something I can jump off of the highway with, and just tear up some mud or sand, then get back on the road..and go home. Yeah, I'm definitely suffering from that n+1 equation too, ET. Then there's my Sportster. Rides good, runs good, but just doesn't feel good anymore since I got my Streetbob. I think it's on the chopping block and something else will inevitably take it's place, maybe a sport bike, possibly a Buell or a V-Rod. I strongly doubt it will be of the imported persuasion. I've thought about all of this often and I sum it up to never being satisfied. I'll probably never have the perfect garage with all of the bikes I'd like to have in it, but the thought of it gives me something to look forward to trying to attain. It gives me a purpose. I don't spend money on cars, trucks, camping, etc. I may fish and hunt a little, but my thing is bikes. As of right now, I don't have an ol lady or a family. So it's ok to think about all of the scooters I want. Maybe in time, that will change, but I doubt it.