|The advertisement says 24k miles
with a broken frame, and that price is half what I paid for my older
working bike. Actually, older is the wrong word as they are both ‘98’s,
but I mean the one I had first. I express my interest via email, and
after a week or so I hear back that the owner has decided not to sell
it until he gets it running again. It has been parked for a while,
apparently, he says he’ll get back to me later. This is not great news
as his price is very good, and it is unlikely to be as attractive after
his work is accomplished. After another week, true to his word, he
writes that the bike has a new battery and an oil change, fired right
up, and is available if I am still interested. Heart in throat, I
inquire about the new price and he tells me that the battery and the
oil cost him $160 and so he will add that to the previous price. I jump
right into my pick up and head straight over to his house in the
Oakland hills, less than an hour away.
The seller did not put a picture in his ad, and this is probably a really good thing where my cause is concerned. This bike has curb appeal! It has been lavished with after market carbon fiber and other upscale add-ons. It has also been painted in an inspired 3 tone (Silver/black/burgundy) combination both conservative and stunning. It probably doesn’t hurt that it is parked next to the owner’s other bike, a newer Ducati 749R. The closer I get, the better it looks, and I have to remind myself that it is broken because it doesn’t look it, so I ask to see the damage. The seller removes the seat and points at the flange to which the back of the fuel tank is attached. It is bent! Technically, it is the frame as it is certainly welded in place, but there is no way there is going to be any effect on the handling or safety of the motorcycle. Perhaps this is not the only manifestation of whatever force bent it in the first place, I thought, so it’s time to ride the bike. I imagine I will be a good judge of it’s road manners as I have been riding it’s sister for some months. The bike proves to be stronger and tighter feeling than sis, and the money is exchanged and the bike loaded into my truck.
Driving home I create my rationalizations as I will present them to my wife. The increased coming and going of two wheelers has not escaped her attention, and is not her favorite aspect of my lifestyle choice. I count my blessings that I have just one motorcycle in the back of the truck. While first looking over my new ST, the owner told me he was also selling the 749 parked next to it. He said I’d be welcome to ride it. I had to politely laugh at that absurd offer, no one lets anyone ride a bike like his 749R. As nicely done up as my new ST was, the 749 had been taken twice as far. It had all the normal carbon fiber bits added to it, but it also had a full carbon fairing and carbon fiber wheels as well. Carbon fiber is used because it is incredibly stiff for it’s weight and because it really looks cool. The downsides are that it is several times the price of conventional fiberglass technology, and that despite it’s stiffness, it is very fragile under impact. That means that if any kind of misstep happens while riding the bike, money gets spent at an extraordinary rate. The wheels alone retail for about $4000, and hitting a serious pothole will destroy them.
After we got the ST loaded into my truck, he again offered to let me ride the 749R, and told me that he had over $30k in it, but would sell it for just $10k. I made him twist my arm, which he did, and I took a ride on it. It was the most transparent riding experience I have ever had, pretty much like flying in a dream, or skiing perfect powder, which I have also done just once in my life. The sort of thing a mortal needs some time to forget if he is to go on with his life. Or, I could buy the bike, which I did not. I later learned that the bike really was worth $15k in the current market, and assuming I did not knock it over on the way home, I couldn’t have come out poorly. But I knock over most of my bikes, and I know it.
The new ST2 proved reliable and so I sold off the first one along with most of my other machines. This left me with three bikes, the original Fireball 50, the KDX 200, and the up-scale Ducati Sport tourer. Simple math skills revealed that I had recovered all of my investment and also owned all three bikes free and clear, as well as having a few thousand dollars extra in the bank! Being a hobby, I cannot include my time, of course, but still it's something to feel good about.
(that's all, folks)
Ok, not really!