So, I’m now prepping for motorcycle purchase. I’m getting a bike instead of the car we had planned to buy, and Annette will be using my old car for her occasional trips to the local post office. Eventually, further down the road, we’ll replace it with a better car.

My reasons for getting a bike instead of a new car are:

1) Bike is cheaper to buy, register and run than the cars we’ve been looking at.
2) Bike is cool, I miss having one, and I wants one.
3) See item (2), seriously.

So, my choice is now either a modern(ish) sports tourer, most likely a mid-to-late 90’s Suzuki RF900R, or an older Harley Davidson.

The RF900 is a very robust bike – the engine is the bottom end from the Suzuki GSXR1100R, and with a 900cc top end, is very very un-stressed. The GSXR1100R engines are themselves notoriously bulletproof, and when you down-stress the engine by reducing the displacement, they last even longer. It’s also a very pretty bike design, I’ve liked them since I saw a new one in the shop in the mid-90s. And there are many Suzuki service agents, and parts are easy to get, etc.

The Harley Davidson is likely to be an older sportster, probably quite a ratty one for my budget. But they’re about as classic a bike style as you could want, and hey, very cool. Plus, uncomplicated enough to actually be a project bike. I wouldn’t hesitate to rewire a Harley, but I sure as hell WOULD hesitate to touch the inscrutable japanese mystery of the Suzuki wiring looms.

At the moment, I’m leaning more towards the Suzuki, simply because this would be a daily driver of a bike, and I’d therefore be less tolerant to the “character” of the older Harley. Where “character” is defined as “Won’t actually start” or “Doesn’t run if it’s raining” or “Wheel falls off sometimes”.

You all know what a Harley looks like. This is the alternative:

..although I’d probably prefer one in black, rather than red. Red’s still OK, though.

Your input, gentle readers, is welcome.


  1. BMW?

    My hips don’t like the crouching riding position of sports-tourers – so that’s a count against them for me. I found BMW tourers very comfortable for extended periods of time. Really nice riding positions for me.

  2. If you’re buying a bike for reasons 2 and 3 – which one are you going to enjoy riding the most on a day to day basis?

    (And I totally understand. I’m trying to buy another MX5 because I realised that, on a day to day basis, it would just make me happier.)

  3. Clearly you need a weekday bike _and_ a weekend bike 🙂

    Seriously if you want a bike for actual transportational purposes then not spending half your life broken down by the roadside probably outweighs all kinds of cool.

  4. I’d go with the RF900. You know you want to… how many times did we take a detour on a ride to stop outside the store on Riccarton road to mist up the window of the Suzuki dealership as we pressed our noses against the glass and muttered: “It will be mine, oh yes, it will be mine.”

    It’s bomb proof and a good day to day bike.

    Plus the Suzuki would looks totally boss with a complete LED kit inside those engine rents. 😉

  5. I lean towards a Royal Enfield Bullet Military or a Triumph Scrambler. The Harley or the ‘Zuki is fine. Be sure to test ride two-up if you’re likely to do any touring together. I do warn you, though, after many years of car driving you may find yourself unaccustomed to rapid acceleration. I was.

  6. You need a black one 😉