The best new bike for you might be parked outside already

The last part of my route home from work is I-95 North (from exit 15 to exit 33). Around Bridgeport (exit 26/27) the highway goes to 4 lanes – even 5 lanes in spots.  I think I learned how to survive on a motorcycle here – it goes from high speed to stopped, lane changes from any direction, a few aggressive drivers – on a motorcycle you need to be a really wide-awake driver, or your name shows up in the newspaper.

When the wind blows the bike around, I like feeling the power of mother nature – it reminds you who is in charge.  It’s fun, and only maybe once out of a 100 times, I feel like I am in danger.  Around exit 29, you can get the bad wind – the kind that goes from side to side. After I go over the bridge in Bridgeport, I always instinctively brace myself – I even do it when I am in my car.

On my commute home (I-95 N), after the bridge in Bridgeport, the speed finally picks up – 70 to 75 mph or more.  Now that I have 17/38 sprockets, I have been running faster through there than I normally do. From exit 30 to 32, the highway has lines of ruts that are not good for small motorcycles.  Going home Thursday, I think I hit every one of them.  I love my Virago 250, but my logical side immediately started with the “Why are you putting yourself through this?”

When I got home I found myself looking online at used bikes that I thought would ride better than mine. I want my next bike to have at least some of these: ABS, fuel injection, shaft drive, easy to work on, less than $4,000, and be interesting and sound good (so I’m excluding singles and most vertical twins for now). In order, my list was:  1) later model Moto Guzzi 750 Stone in white,  2) K75,   3) Triumph T100.

Moto Guzi V7 Stone - 2013 - white--   1987 BMW K-75T


By the end of the weekend, I had come to my senses and realized I already had a great bike.

The Virago 250 has a weak rear brake – I call it “poor man’s ABS” .  I recently put on new rear brake shoes, and last Thursday I heard a chirp on a hard stop on a bridge.  It is the  first time I ever locked the rear wheel, and it was just a quick chirp – the kind that cars with ABS sometimes make on sudden stops.  Cars with ABS do that.

[fuel injection]
The Virago 250 has one fairly simple carburetor – mine has always started easily and has had no issues with performance when cold (or hot).  For me the single carburetor has been more trouble-free than twin carb bikes I have owned.

[shaft drive] 
The Virago 250 has chain drive – I have a cheap o-ring chain – it has been problem free and seldom requires adjustment.

[easy to work on]
It would be very hard to find a motorcycle easier to work on than a Virago 250.

[be interesting and sound good]
The sound a Virago 250 makes is hypnotic/unbelievably cool.

[comfortable ride]
For the bumps and ruts near I-95 exits 30 to 32, I need to slow down and try harder to avoid hitting them. I can make my bike ride better by not hitting the bumps.

The grass is not always greener on the other side.

Les S.'s 2002 Virago 250

Les S.’s 2002 Virago 250

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1 Response to The best new bike for you might be parked outside already

  1. Have you seen “Chasing Mavericks”. Its great movie about a kid and a mission to ride these mystery mountain waves. Anyway my life is always focused on finding that perfect bike but I not once have I ever disliked a looked at. The conclusion is that I am happy with the bike I have but I just love to look at other bikes in hopes of finding one that is better. The problem is that you can always find a better bike but you can always go broke and be living on the Street. Oh well there are worst addictions then consistently craving motorcycles.

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