Tuesday, April 08, 2014


I finally bought a new Bonneville

I've been threatening to do this since 2010 or so, as many readers of this blog are aware. A few weeks ago, the deal and the bike I wanted finally fell into line, and I took the plunge. Here she be:

It was a 2013 holdover with one mile on the odie. It hadn't even been serviced. For $7099, I simply couldn't say no.

The first thing I realized upon test riding an identical demo bike before I made the purchase was that all the nonsense talk about the 865cc twin being underpowered and sluggish was just that; nonsense. The Bonneville is crisp, responsive, and rolled up to 85 miles an hour without the least bit of protest. Between the excellent comfort and fit, surprisingly quick handling, and peppy, smooth engine, I was sold.

Being patient got me a killer deal, but I can't believe I waited so long. I couldn't be happier.

Now for the shocker. My 1978 KZ1000 and 2003 ZX-7R are gone. The dealership wanted both bikes, and gave me well above retail value for them. In the end, the Bonneville only cost me about two grand, which I cut a check for on the spot.

So why did I let the Green MachineĀ® and KZ go after so many years, you ask? Well, it came down to practicality.

The ZX-7R had always hated ethanol-laced fuels, and keeping it running right meant constant jet cleaning and replacement, as well as the replacing of other bits. Frankly, I was weary of dealing with it. Also, the 7R was much more fun to ride when I was 32 years old than at 44.

The KZ was always a pain. It fouled plugs constantly, leaked oil, leaked fuel. It was just a very typical 36-year-old UJM. And as soon as you'd fix one leak, another would pop up. This, too, I grew weary of dealing with. In addition, the KZ, too, wasn't particularly fond of ethanol. I'm touring as a full-time musician so often now that I don't have the time to deal with three motorcycles, especially when two had become temperamental. So I shed a tear, got it all out of my system, then put on my Big Boy PantsĀ® and made the trade.

So far, no remorse. Ride reports to come. I replaced the stock pipes pictured above with a nice-sounding set of baffled Emgo bell-ends, which really brought out the deep trademark exhaust note that only a Bonneville can produce. If I've done my mod and tuning calculations correctly, the bike is making about 70bhp on the big end.

Oh, and one last thing: Yes, I still have the Z-Rex and will continue to for the foreseeable future. Some bikes you just don't part with. Peace.