The Right Bike - by Andrew Kennedy

 THE RIGHT CHOICE 

          After years having fun on sports bikes and trying to hang onto my license the body had cried enough and it was time to change. What to buy for a sensible bike. I needed a do anything bike. Parameters were: Reliability, comfort, touring ability, servicing, price and it had to be something that you would want to be out at any time whether around the city or having fun in the hills. Top speed was not a factor particularly in this Nanny country. In fact you gain satisfaction from having to work to achieve speed instead of a machine that goes ballistic so easily there is no real input from you. So I chose the NT700V, a Honda, with a great price being old stock. I like riding large tourers, having sped around Australia on an ST1100, but they are not an all the time bike to me. Most of the time they are too big, too heavy, too expensive always and have the associated costs of such a weighty machine. A capacity of 680cc is not large these days, yet back in the 1960s this would be large and the top speed of almost 200kph would be considered fast. Then we had a derestricted speed limit, now a very limited one.

            Running a motorcycle for many people is not cheap. Some of today’s machines demand you take them back to their dealer for very simple servicing as there are computers to be reset. Some need the engine dropped in the frame just to change the spark plugs or adjust the valves. At $120 dollars per hour this is not nice, and I would soon fall out of love with such a machine, but that is me. After purchasing the next largest regular cost for most people is tyres. Good mileage means money saved. Fuel also falls into this, particularly on large trips.

             The NT700V fulfills these requirements for me even if the engine sounds like a well tuned lawn mower, happy whether touring or having a load of fruit and veg put in at Vic market. The statistics are interesting. Average fuel consumption is 22k/litre. The tyre life is 20,000kms+ for rears, and 25,000kms+ for fronts. At over 80,000km I am still on the original front pads. Rears were replaced at 60,000km. The NT700V has not been back to the workshop since purchase for servicing. All that has been done is plugs, oil, oil filters, air filters and tyres. I only take my wheels when I want tyre changing as then I can insure that the bike is put back together correctly.

              If we take 100,000km for comparison of the NT700V and a typical larger, more complex machine we get some interesting figures.

Tyres: NT700V, 4fronts, 5 rears, average cost $2,500.

           Machine X, 8fronts, 12 rears, average cost $5,600.

Fuel: NT700V, 22kpl, 91 octane at $1.40/l equals $6,363.

          Machine X, 16kpl, 98 octane at $1.50/l equals $9375.

Brakes: NT700V, say 1.5 sets at $200 equals $300.

             Machine X, say 3sets at $200 equals $600.

               The difference in cost we are looking at here is $6412. This is without factoring in the great costs of dealership servicing and the greater depreciation cost of machines costing double the NT700V. So am I happy with what I chose as a sensible choice motorcycle without even sitting on it first. Yes I am. The only thing is, when viewed from behind, due to the Deauville’s styling, does the Deauville’s bum look big on me.

                                             ANDREW. [With apologies to other lesser machines.]    

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