The only reason I’m not buying a new motorcycle right now is because I currently have a new BMW S1000R on loan, and a KTM SMC 690R – and an old R1 sitting in my garage. Otherwise, I’d be down there toot sweet, bending all the bored salesmen at my local dealer over backwards on a killer deal on something new. It is my sacred duty on some level, as a licensed motojournalist, to sell motorcycles to people. But this time I think my heart is truly in it. No, really… Here’s why. (lead image courtesy of Bert’s Mega Mall)
10. We owe it to the people who create them
As I sat there yet again on my couch Sunday morning, cursing Marc Marquez and quaffing a beverage, it occurred to me that without Honda and Yamaha and Suzuki and Ducati and Kawasaki and KTM, I don’t know what I would’ve done on all these summer Sundays stretching back into antiquity. Through all the hard times the market’s experienced over the last decade (maybe especially the US one), those guys have continued to step up to the plate, delivering not only racing excitement and heroes to worship, but also continuing to trickle that high-tech all the way down into motorcycles you can actually buy. You owe it to Soichiro, Mr. Baba, and Dr. Taglioni to do so now and then, whether you need a new bike or not.
9. Because you can
If you’ve got the disposable income during this time when many others do not, you owe it to the rest of us to stimulate the economy and keep the manufacturers in business until the wealth trickles all the way down; you especially owe it to us motojournalists, who rely upon a press fleet to draw from in perpetuity in order to bring you this kind of hard-hitting coverage. If you’re a President Trump supporter, you owe it to him to keep the economy humming in order to avoid losing re-election, lest the ex-POTUS face serious legal issues. But MO is a no-politics zone, so enough about that.
8. Bike sharing; make your old bike pay
The very www that brings you MO and Tinder now makes it possible for you to share your old bike to pay for your new one. Online services like Riders Share and Twisted Road mean you can rent your old bike out for probably more than you might think. I was just talking to a progressive youth the other day who rents his new KTM out four or five days a month, which means it effectively pays for itself. The sharing economy definitely has some upsides for the chattel holder, especially if you live in or near a big city.
7. New things are Awesome
As a lifelong bottomfeeder and buyer of used vehicles, I have to say there really is something to be said for that new-motorcycle smell. Even the most anally-maintained used motorcycle doesn’t have the tautness of cable, the texture of seat foam, the suppleness of suspension action of a bike that’s known no other butt than yours. Not to mention the lack of grunge in every crevice. Not to mention that new-bike warranty… not to mention it’s nice to deal with a grovelling dealer instead of an entitled owner. I only ever bought a new bike once – a left-over 1986 Honda VF500F I bought in `87 for $2,749 – but I still remember that day. Sniff…
6. The Price is Right
Not only are there great deals to be had on some of our favorite bikes, many of the OEMs are offering free-money financing or close to it – if you have good credit anyway. If you don’t, how hard could it be to hack into Equifax and give yourself about a 900 credit score? Not very, apparently. According to the Consumer Price Index, the $2,749 I paid for my Interceptor is equal today to $6,198. That’s more than enough for a new KTM Duke 390 or Kawasaki Z400, both of which would run rings around the old VF.
If I decided to buy the $16,000 BMW S1000R in my garage, BMW now has Easy Ride financing, with low payments and a big balloon payment due at the end. Heck, I could be dead by then. Harley’s offering 3.49% financing if you graduate from its Riding Academy, and is now offering 84-month financing on many of its bikes.
One is reminded of the personal finance philosophy of our former fellow MOron Sean Alexander, who believes in going out with guns blazing and credit cards maxed. Not a bad philosophy given the current economic climate. He’s always driving a new Corvette or Porsche. In fact he gave the Corvette back when he left MO and moved to Hawaii. Now he’s got a new Tesla Model 3 Performance.
Internal combustion engines aren’t getting any younger, and the world isn’t getting any more welcoming of things that run on petroleum. We’ve already seen the backlash in the form of Euro 5 emissions standards, a few automobile manufacturers going all-electric, and Harley-Davidson – of all manufacturers – committed to leading the way in electric motorcycles. If current trends continue, well, ICE bikes still have a few years to run. If not, you’ll be glad you bought yours now, while you can still ride it to follow the Union Pacific’s #4014 around on tour. Choo-choo!
4. Apex predator is now
We’ve been reading since about 1984 that motorcycles don’t have much room left to grow faster and better. Now we’re beginning to believe it’s true. Not just MotoGP bikes, but now street-going models like 200-horsepower V4 Panigales, Aprilia RSV4s and BMW S1000RRs are nearly unrideable, we’re told, without their electronic rider aids. We think that has to mean enough horsepower is enough horsepower, and we’ve reached that point; the only up from here is refining the rest of the package, or possibly neutering it? It’s all eerily reminiscent of that day in December, 1970, when Richard M. Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency, effectively killing the American muscle car as we knew it. Of course the thing needed doing, and muscle cars are now back cleaner and faster than ever. But still. Do we need to point out what a 1970 Hemi `Cuda is worth today compared to a modern copy?
3. The IMU, etc.
There are a lot of things you never know are indispensable until you acquire them. Motorcycle-wise, those things include electronic cruise control, electric-adjustable suspension, lean-sensitive anti-lock brakes and traction control, Bluetooth-compatible TFT displays. Some of that stuff is just for fun, but the increasingly ubiquitous Inertial Measurement Unit that makes modern ABS and TC possible really does broaden the safety envelope, especially when you’re caught out in the rain or snow. Electric suspension also plays a big part in keeping your bike in trim and your tires in maximum contact with the road. And cruise control just keeps your body and mind more comfortable and relaxed for a longer time – all good things for increased enjoyment and safety that older bikes simply lack.
2. You’re not getting any younger
If not now, when? All kinds of studies tell us there’s a high correlation between riding motorcycles and maintaining a sharp mind, and that makes all kinds of sense. Motorcycles keep your survival instincts honed and synapses firing in a way that civilians will never understand. So does getting out in the fresh air and socializing. Think of a new bike that lets you ride farther and safer in comfort as an investment in your health, that you may as well go ahead and claim as a tax deduction. I believe that falls under Unreimbursed healthcare expenses…
1. Do it for the children
These kids touring the Suzuki Museum in Hamamatsu need you to keep their parents employed. And now more than ever, kids here in the US need good role models: If all they’ve been exposed to is “Sons of Anarchy” and urban pirates with open pipes, it can be an eye-opening, positive influence when you roll up on your nice, quiet new NC750X in your hi-viz ATGATT and give them a smile and a wave. Why not fill the NC’s storage compartment with a chunk of dry ice and some Popsicles, and pass them out as school lets out? Talk about striking a blow for the nicest people and the American way.
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