Saturday, October 10, 2009

New Bike!

No, I’ve not sold the SR500.

That one’s a sickness. Just like Tucker’s daughter that time, “She wanna build me up, just to tear me down."  When she’s running well she’s fantastic, the best bike to come out of Japan, and when she’s running badly she’s hell on wheels. And even when good, she's just plain uncomfortable on the highway and makes you feel guilty for it.

It's a big country and I need some touring power.

So this week I bought a second bike. I never would have chosen something like this, but with the SR in my life I need something reliable which can do many miles, at speed, for a good while to come. I thought I had that in the GR650, even though it's 25 years old, but then a mate decided to give up bikes. As a parting shot he offered his to me for the great price of $4k.  That did not tempt me, so I thanked him but declined, thinking that would be an end of it.  Then he said, “Seriously, just make an offer – I’d rather see a mate get a bargain!” So I said $3k, worried that I'd offend, but really I could only be persuaded if the price were really nice. He went quiet, then said “The rego’s due” and “so how about we make it $2750?”!

Here she is today on my first run.

Honda Hornet 600, excellent condition, just had $1000 major service, 40,000 km which is low to me, 1998 which to me is a new bike. I was around the day my mate bought it and know it better than anybody after him – so no risks. For RWC needed new fluid in front brake. Comprehensive insurance at market value is $195 per year.

It’s my first bike, in almost a decade of riding, which isn’t from the late 70s or early 80s, and which is made for highway miles. So I did my first ride today on it, taking back roads from Melbourne until I ended up Moama, then north to Barham and back down to Shepperton, Strathbogie etc. It ate the miles happily. My riding style is sedate and it proved it can suit that even if most owners buy it for other (sporty) reasons. I just cruised along and it is so chilled. I re-fueled frequently to gauge economy, which was consistently at 19 or 20km per Litre.

My SR500 produces 27hp.  The Hornet 98hp.

I’m not a inline-4 sports guy, but try finding me a good big cruiser for $2.7k! Anyway, I figure I can make an unusual cruiser out of this (they’re all the same these days, as though imitating some ‘one true’ Platonic form of the cruiser) inspired by the stuff done in that direction to big Jap inline 4s in the 70s: when I can get longer cables made I’ll put on the bars from the GR (see pic below), a tall windscreen,and Fee (who likes the pillion set-up otherwise) wants a generous sissy-bar, which I think will be unecessary for as soon as I’ve got more dosh, the sidecar chassis will be hooked up and a well-sprung Mad Max-style boat made for it, at which point this will be a go-anywhere touring bike, where ‘anywhere’ means especially dirt highways – I’ll see if indeed there is an inland sea on the continent.

Alas for the GR650, a good and faithful servant who I assumed would continue to serve, but will now be placed on eBay. Goodbye GR!


  1. As much as I think the GR isn't the best bike around, I'm sure you'll be sad to see her go. It's been interesting to read about someone doing so many kilometers on a bike many consider already past-it.

  2. Matthew congrats on the new bike, its awsome. PS There is always a place for old bikes and cars for that matter, such as the EH Holden to cruise the countryside on or in. Marlon's comments on "some" considering your other bike as being past it, is so true of so many people's beliefs, whether its bikes or cars. For those of us who appreciate machines with history and uniqueness that take you back in time to your teenage years, its an honour to experience these older machines that will someday be nothing more than a museum item for generations to come. PS Matt, yeh i know this bloggs about bikes not EH Holdens....Luv mum

  3. Great read Matt!

    Isn't it funny how the different threads of life twist and turn? I had many a great day out with that Hornet! :-)