Thursday, October 29, 2009

I Don't Want A Pickle

Getting the helmet I wanted wasn’t easy, so this part should be even more fun: choosing my first bike. Actually, since I rode before this technically isn’t the first bike, but it will be the first I choose. By nature I am very analytical and as a result I want all the facts before I choose. So, I made some decisions upfront to narrow things down:

1.  Must only cost about $1K, don’t want to blow a lot of money on something I might drop. I am a beginner and I need something cheap to learn on not something expensive to worry about.

2.  I want a standard cruiser or a mid-sized touring. Don’t need/want a dual use or sport bike at all. Just not a crotch rocket kind of guy.

3.  I want it light (under 500lbs) and of reasonable power (500cc-750cc or so). I didn’t start driving by buying a Corvette, I started with a ‘62 Ford Fairlane. Some rules are universal. Also, I want to work on and improve technique not worry about wrestling a gorilla.

4.  No more than 30,000 miles on it and no older than 1982. Don’t want to deal with major over hauls or problems getting parts.

5.  Red if possible with no weird mural on the tank. I discussed the need for red before. I gotta look at the
tank, so it needs to be something I like. Too bad Van Gogh didn’t do tank art.

6.  The first bike I rode was a Honda, it was my Dad’s and he got it because of their reliability. I picked it for the same reason.

Based on those decisions, I came up with a short list that included the Silverwing, Nighthawk and Shadow. Nighthawk has faded out because there are just not that many showing up on eBay or Craig’s List within my price range. Now, I am down to two: Silverwing and Shadow. Basic specs on the two are as follows:

                        Silverwing       Shadow

Weight              478.5Lbs         465Lbs.

Wheel Base       58.9”                60”

Seat Height        30.5”               25.7”

Gears                   5                      6

Engine              674cc               749cc

Both have V Twin engines, are liquid cooled and shaft driven, all pluses in my mind.


  • The ability to be able to carry things, lots of things
  • Wind/weather protection courtesy of the front fairings
  • Radio, cruise control and other comforts
  • Comfortable seat with seat back
  • Looks huge
  • Has older radio system, so no CD or iPod
  • All the extra stuff could make a minor fall really bad


  • Looks like a solid classic cruiser
  • Can dress it up how I want to
  • Seat is lower, could affect visibility
  • Will need saddle bags, windshield and radio , so more $$$
Weather permitting,  this weekend I will be test riding two Silverwings.  Should give me lots more data to crunch.


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