Showing posts sorted by relevance for query transit van. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query transit van. Sort by date Show all posts

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Bike Van

I've been stuck on the Ford Transit Van probably due to my Guy Martin fixation, but there are other choices for a motorcycle carrying vehicle.  I'd been looking at the full sized, extended Transit that is lucky to break 20mpg, but the Transit Connnect is a smaller, more frugal van that will just fit the Tiger while getting more than 30mpg.  It's also on the road for thousands less than the big one.


The Dodge Ram Promaster City cargo van is another choice in the smaller van category.  It seems to beat the Transit in cargo size (the Tiger fits inside it and it's likely to be the largest bike I'd ever transport).  It also gets the best mileage.  Comes in yellow too!




Nissan makes the NV200.  It's the smallest in terms of dimensions and engine (a 2.0l 4 cylinder), and gets the best mileage.  The Tiger wouldn't fit height or length wise in it, but a smaller bike would.

Looking at the three, I think the Dodge gets the nod, though the Transit Connect is within a whisker of it in every category and it starts quite a bit cheaper than the Dodge:



Every one of these manufacturers build a next-size up industrial version of these models.  Nissan makes the NV Cargo, which comes with a big V6 or V8 and gets 20mpg.  The fully sized Ford Transit is similar.  Dodge makes the Ram Promaster which comes with an optional 3.0l eco-diesel that gets an impressive 21/29mpg in a big vehicle.  

If efficiency is the goal, that big Dodge is in a class of its own.  Similar mileage to the little guys but in a van that I could pretty much stand up in and would carry not one by two Tigers.





It too comes in stunning yellow.  A nice Mechanical Sympathy screen on there and I'd be off to winter motorcycling trips, track days and picking up old bikes!

I think I might be over my Ford Transit fixation, but the whole van thing ain't cheap.  Perhaps I can engineer a change to a cage that offers a lot of utility instead of just being what I drive when I can't ride.




This one's got 5k on it with the balance of warranty for $33k.  It still handily swallows the Tiger with inches to spare.  That'd do...




Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Six Wheels Across Canada

Crossing Canada (and we're not even going
coast to coast) isn't a little trip.
Next summer we're aiming for the family cross country trip.  If you live anywhere except one of the largest countries in the world that might not require too much forethought, but it takes over 2000kms and 3 days just to get out of the province we live in, then there are another four provinces to cross before getting to the family reunion in British Columbia.  The thought of doing this on a bike is both invigorating and a bit overwhelming, and besides, I'd like to spend some time in the car with everyone soaking up the views together.

What to do?

Is it possible to get a vehicle that would get us across Canada reasonably comfortably but would also allow me to drop two wheels down when the roads demand it?

I've had the van itch before, but is there a vehicle that could carry the three of us and a bike well?


Guy Martin's Transit Van fascination has long been an influence.  It turns out you can buy a special Guy Martin Proper edition these days in the UK.

Choices for North America aren't that special, but you can still put together a custom enough van that might be the Swiss-Army knife of a vehicle that I'm looking for.  What's interesting is that on the UK site they talk about using a Transit as your 24/7 vehicle like that could be a thing, but North Americans would find Transits impossible to live with (because North Americans are just too precious?)

The long wheelbase, medium roof Transit will handle four seats with room enough to comfortably swallow a Triumph Speed Triple as well.  With a finished interior it'd be a comfortable way of making the epic cross country trip and could handle all the luggage we could throw at it.

In cross country mode it'd have the four seats in and plenty of room to stretch out and cover big miles.  I'd be tempted to swipe some of the "Proper" Transit and sporty it up a bit, but the main idea would be to have a modern, efficient van that is able to do many things.

With the bike out we'd be able to stretch sleeping bags out in the back, and there are some other interesting options I think I'd explore.  The Aluminess Roof Rack turns the whole roof into a patio, which would be handy on trips for photography, as a base for drone filming operations or as a vantage point when the van is taken to events.  It has a cool LED spot light bar on the front too.


There are a number of interior finishing options available.  I'd take the van to a finished interior, but I don't know about a private jet on wheels, I'd want it to keep some of its utilitarian appeal.  Being able to rotate the front seats would have obvious benefits though.  A number of companies finish these vans, from use based needs to full on camper conversions.

The medium roof, long wheelbase version of the Transit will take in about 163 inches long in the cargo area - a Triumph Speed Triple is about half that, so it'd fit behind a second row of seats.  Maximum load width is almost 70 inches, the Speed Triple is less than half that wide at the handle bars and much less elsewhere, so it'd fit comfortably on one side of the rear cargo area.  Maximum load height is 72 inches, the Speed Triple is less than 50 inches tall.  Even a big bike like my Tiger (54 inches tall, 34 inches wide, 89 inches long) would still comfortably fit in the Transit.  Since a Transit will take close to 4000lbs in payload, the thing could easily handle a pair of big bikes without breaking a sweat.  One bike, 3 people and a pile of luggage wouldn't make it break a sweat.



The ten thousand kilometre odyssey across Canada would be a lot more fun with such a comfortable, spacious and capable vehicle... and being about to ride the Rockies and the West Coast west and then back east again would be spectacular.

Almost four thousand kilometres of Rocky Mountains and West Coast?  Magical!  Having a vehicle that can deliver it together AND on two wheels?  Bazinga!

Sunday, 18 April 2021

Motorcycle Pick Up on a Budget

I've been calling around trying to find a rental van to arrange a pick up of a Kawasaki Concours C14 in Toronto.  Every rental place in my county tells me they have no vans because they are being rented out by delivery companies during the pandemic.

Last week I took my wife down for a doctor visit and noticed a number of vans at the big U-Haul centre on Speedvale in Guelph.  Using U-Haul's online booking system, I was able to reserve a van for last week and arrange the pickup.

The Speedvale U-Haul centre is a full service depot with many vehicles on site as well as storage.  The staff was spectacularly helpful in making sure I had the right vehicle (the website said I'd be getting a Ford Transit van but they GMCs on site so the guy at the counter went out and measured the openings to make sure it would still fit the bike.  They were also excellent with mask, social distancing and ensuring we had a cleaned and ready to use rental during COVID.

If you default mileage on an 'in-town' van rental the extra mileage'll get you in the end, but if you pre-state your mileage they give you a discount.  All in at the end of the day including insurance and mileage, the bill came out to $138CAD, which is impressive.  I had to put $30 in gas back into it, so the rental piece ended up being just under $170 all in.  Check out was quick and efficient with minimal contact and the return was completely contact free and effortless.

I've been thinking about getting the gear to do pickups myself, but the initial cost is heavy and then the operating costs (poor mileage, heavy vehicle, etc) pile on the costs even more.  If I purchased a tow-capable vehicle and a trailer I'm looking at $40-50k - that would be over 200 bike pickups in the rental van.  I seem to find I need a bike pickup every 1-2 years at the moment.  If I keep doing that until I'm 80 years old, I'll ring up a rental van bill of about $3800, so the I-gotta-get-a-bike-tow-ready-vehicle thing isn't really on my radar any more after this positive U-Haul experience.

I do need a couple of things for next time though.  If you want a U-Haul with the built in ramp you're looking at doubling rental costs and you don't need that space or the headache of navigating traffic with a much bigger vehicle (the van was very easy to thread through Toronto traffic).  I brought the two plastic car ramps I had along with some wood planks to load the bike, but that's not ideal as the van's deck height is pretty up there.  So, here's the list of things-to-get so that a rental van does the trick without any headaches:

Parts For Making Rental Van Motorcycle Moves Easier:

A pair of fold-up ramps would make loading the bike much easier.  These fold up and would hang on the wall in the garage, not taking up any valuable space and are capable of holding even a big bike like the Concours without any issues.

I got lucky this time as the guy I purchased the Concours off had a ramp that did the trick, but next time I'll have my own ready to go.

Cost:  $140


Ratchet Tie Downs:  I tied down the Concours once we got it into the van with nylon rope but there are relatively inexpensive options that would make the tie-down process both more secure and less time consuming.  The Connie was rock solid the way we tied it down (there are ground hoops and wood bolted to the side of the van that you can tie off too, and didn't move a muscle in transport, but for relatively little outlay I could have a set of ratcheting tie-down straps that are both more secure and very easy to set up and break down.

The web of rope got cut when we got home (and we used the bike lift to get the bike out), but with ramps and ratcheting tie-downs the transport would be been a lot easier and secure.

Cost:  $29


A mobile wheel chock: This is a bit of a luxury. The bike stand in the garage has a home-made wooden one but it's heavy and awkward. A lightweight, ride in wheel chock would make tying the bike down secure and easy, and it's easy to transport.

With this one you ride into the chock and it see-saws into position, holding the bike steady while you tie it down.

Cost:  $70


For about $250 I can get the bits and pieces that would make a bike pickup in a rental van a quick, easy and secure process.  This was a good beta-test and I now know what I need to make the next one even smoother.

****

In the meantime, I'm once again a Kawasaki owner, pushing my Team-Green ownership count even higher:

Kawasakis Owned:  4 (Ninja 650, KLX250, Concours ZG1000, Concours14)
Yamahas Owned:  2 (PW80 mini-bike, Eleven Mid-Night Special)
Hondas Owned:  1 (CBR-900RR Fireblade)
Triumphs Owned: 1 (Triumph Tiger 955i)

I've been a fan of Suzuki for years yet never seem to find one that suits what I'm looking for.  Kawasakis always seem to pop out just when I need one that meets my needs, and I enjoy their engineering and working on them.  Their engines especially are something very special.





Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Bike Delivery System: escaping frozemagheddon!

It's supposed to drop into the -40°Cs in the next couple of days.  We're in the bowels of winter here and I'm getting cabin fever.  I've already day dreamed of the kit I'd need to go to track days, but that kit would serve another purpose, to get me clear of the never ending winter with my own bike.

Having a second vehicle that is utilitarian is never a bad idea, but I'm not much of a truck guy.  I am a Guy Martin fan though, and he happens to have a Transit Van!  You can pick up a well maintained, low miles Transit Van on autotrader.ca for about twenty grand, or about the price of a new hatchback.  It'll get over 32mpg,  and will happily carry a couple of bikes and kit (or other stuff) as needed.  With a carrying capcity of over 1600lbs, it would be more than up to the job of moving two bikes and riders out of the snow belt.

When it's about to hit -40°C, the Transit could get loaded up for a long weekend and aimed south.  A power drive could get me to The Tail of the Dragon, where the two bikes in back could be unloaded, ridden hard, put away wet and driven back into the inhuman wintry darkness after a couple of days of two wheeled therapy.


Tail of the Dragon, eating its own tail!
The Tail of the Dragon is only 11 hours away, but while it's minus forty here, it's in the low teens in Tennessee.  A banzai ride in the van into ride-able territory would make the vehicle much more than just a track day tool.

Based out of Marysville, Tennesee, I'd do a 210 mile loop one way and then do it backwards the next day...  Friday: leave noon, arrive in Marysville about 11pm.  Saturday: all day clock wise.  Sunday: all day counter clockwise. Monday: leave after breakfast, be home by 8pm.

Stage one would be getting the van.  At that point I'm in for about $20k.  It'll also come in handy for track days and picking up bikes.  I'd be able to throw my Ninja and a buddy's bike in there for the drive down and get to it.


The Triumph Daytona took out bikes twice its
displacement in Performance Bike's Track test.
Stage two would be getting a bike that doesn't have to compromise to get me there.  A sport focused machine that will arrive ready to take on the twisties would do the trick.  My first choice would be the Triumph Daytona 675R.  At only 189kgs (416lbs) ready to ride, it's a light weight machine that punches well above its displacement.

You can pick up a new, last year's Daytona for about twelve thousand bucks.  For the ten grand under the price of the cheapest Volvo SUV, I'd have a a bike delivery system of epic proportions, with an epic bike in the back of it.  When it isn't taking me out of the snow belt it could be picking up used bikes or taking me to track days.

I've almost talked myself into this!

Sunday, 23 August 2015

A McLaren P1 or Motorcycle Nirvana?

I recently ruminated on super cars vs. super bikes.  The McLaren P1 (if you can find one) costs about $1.5 million Canadian... or about what I'll make in my entire career as a high school teacher.  It obviously isn't designed for the rest of us.  Were someone to give me a P1 I'd immediately sell it, probably for more than $1.5 million (rich people find ways to have the things they own constantly increase in value).  What would I do with the million and a half?  Here's the motorcycle themed version of one super car:

Turn a horse farm into an iron horse farm:  $950,000

 

Headwaters Horse Farm Mins From Mono Cliffs Park, Fine Dining & Shops. Easy Access From Airport Rd & Hwy 9 Off Paved Road, Custom 4 Bedroom Home, Updated Bank Barn 4 Stalls, Run In, 64'X32 Shop (2014) & Paddocks Situated On 45.6 Acres Perfect Setting For Equestrians Or Working Farm. Huge Open Concept Kitchen, 2 Sided Fireplace, Great Room With Fireplace, Master Suite, 4 Piece Ensuite, Walk In Closet & Walk Out To Enjoy Beautiful Views Over Class A Farmland. ** EXTRAS ** Steel Roof, Electrical In Barn, Shop & Garage Done In 2014, Detached 1 Car Garage, Heated Tack Room, Auto Water Outside, Hardwood Floors, Slate In Foyer, Mud Room & 3 Pce Bath, InsideEntry From Garage.

A lovely country house with a HUGE 2000 square foot workshop (the new home of Mechanical Sympathy), and a barn to store all the old bikes I'd be picking up... all on almost 50 acres of rolling Niagara Escarpment. Some of the nicest roads in southern Ontario run through here.

I've still got over half a million left!
$950,000

Bike Delivery System


The dreaded Guy Martin-Transit Van dream resurfaces!  A new, diesel, nicely spec-ed out Transit Van costs about $45k.  It's trailer ready, so I'd throw in a bike trailer too for bigger loads - the ultimate bike delivery system could deliver 4 bikes to the track (or the Tail of the Dragon in the middle of the winter), and provide an instant pit area.
$51,000


Racing & Race Bikes


The money-to-burn-wishlist has some sure-things on it.  A modern track bike and a vintage racer would both be in the workshop (along with track days and training, that's about $30k).

$30,000




Road Bikes


I'd keep the Connie and the KLX.  The Connie would get the fancy seat I couldn't justify ($500), but otherwise I'd let it ride.  With almost fifty acres I'd have my own trail system to ride the KLX on.  A race track with a mile long straight would let me test all manner of motorbike madness.

I'd do the Ninja H2 with upgrades ($40,000) to scratch that McLaren beating itch, and then I'd go into my huge workshop with a vintage VFR750 Interceptor, a Triumph Daytona and both my current bikes and wonder what I'll do with the $429,000 still left over from unloading that McLaren.
$40,500

TOTAL
$1,071,000 (gets me a massive property with a huge shop, many bikes, a super bike that'll go faster than the McLaren anyway and a new van - and I've still got over four hundred grand to play with!)

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Track Day Planning

I'm pretty keen to go do a track day, and I have a buddy who is the same.  The Grand Bend Motorplex does motorcycle open lapping on its track.   I found GBM through motorcycletrackdays.ca.  The upcoming SOAR racing event at Grand Bend offers open motorcycle lapping prior to their weekend events.  That might be a good time for two nØØbs to go as there will be experienced track day people on hand to help us fumble through the technical inspection.

I figured it would be a show up on what you rode here on and go on the track, as you would with a car, but bikes seem a bit more involved.  Here is the list of motorcycle specific technical requirements:
  • Is your kickstand secured? Your spring return isn’t enough on a racetrack. Use a plastic strap tie or duct tape to secure your kickstand in the up and locked position before you come to tech. 
  • Tape over your speedometer. It’s the rule.
  • Make sure your throttle returns quickly and positively. We want to see it snap back when you release the grip. 
  • Change your antifreeze for straight water. If your bike puts antifreeze on the surface, it shuts the entire track down and may result in suspension. Antifreeze is 100 times worse than water on asphalt (It’s like wet ice). Swap it out for water before you proceed to tech. 
  • Tape over or remove lights, signal and mirrors. They all shatter and they all puncture tires. 
  • Brakes: Make sure they’re properly functioning, front and back, with no leaks, because we’ll check. 
  • Chain: Check your drivechain adjustment. Too tight or too loose means breakage. Refer to manufacturer’s specification. Also, check your master link. A rivet style link is preferred, but a standard ‘slip on’ while suffice if you put a dab of silicone on the key to secure it. 
  • Now that you’ve ensured your brake lines don’t leak, check the rest of the bike. Your engine and suspension components must also be leak free. 
  • Overall track worthiness: These are the small things that can lead to disaster. Loose lines can snag. If it can flop around, it can be snagged and lead to a crash. 
  • Body: All body parts must be secured or removed. 
  • Mechanical: Check your fasteners and ensure they’re secured at recommended torque. 
  • Tires: Properly inflated, with structural integrity intact (sidewall, tread, steel-belts, bulges).
Most of that is common sense/maintenance, but there are a couple of bits that will require some thought.  Tying up the kickstand is all well and good, but that means you're bringing a rear stand to keep the bike upright.  Swapping out the antifreeze also means you need to bring some distilled water.  Some tools, disposable gloves and fluids would probably be a good idea too.  Suddenly the back of the bike I want to ride to the track day is looking like a hardware store.  You wouldn't want to ride an hour and a half to a track to find out you don't have what you need to go around it.  Short of asking for a pit crew to accompany you in a four wheeler, riding solo to a track day seems difficult if not impossible.

Of course, this leads you down the road to a trailer, which then begs the question, why use your road bike for track days when you can pick up an older sport bike for not much, not have to pay for road insurance on it and spec it out specifically for track days.  Stripped of lights and needless accessories like rear foot pegs and indicators, you'd be ready to ride as soon as you roll it off the trailer, and the machine would be tailored for the track.

I've been to several racing schools, but the one time I really got into it was while living in Akita, Japan.  Kyowa Race track was a small carting track deep in the mountains south east of the city.  Kazutoyo, a student of mine, was an avid racer (he came to Canada for a summer to participate in a Mosport racing mechanics program).  We'd go up there half a dozen times in the summer and spend the day hauling the carts around that bendy circuit as quickly as we could.

The vehicle of choice for the carts and the paraphernalia that went with them was a cargo van.  We'd be able to fit three people, the tools, the disassembled cart and spare tires and other odds and ends all in the van and head to the track.  Riding around at break neck speeds was awesome, but I have fond memories of all the fettling that when on in the pits too; it's all part of the race experience.

Ford Canada's handy Transit Van Builder got me all
set with a customized utility van that could carry two
bikes and gear with ease... things I'd do if I were rich!
Now that I'm thinking about doing a track day on two wheels I'm tempted to imitate those Japanese carting guys and get what I need to make a track day possible.  I've been wishing for a trailer several times this summer to haul lumber.  Having one on hand and a vehicle to haul it would be handy for more than just track days.  

Or just win the lottery and get the full on racing support van.

If Mechanical Sympathy were to go full on into racing, I'd grab that 1000cc VFR from Angus (in my Transit race van) and prep it for racing.  Stripping off all the lights and extras and minimizing it down to a race bike.  I'd be a dangerous man if I had more money.

In the meantime I'm still trying to look for ways to ride my Ninja to the track and do some laps without dragging along someone in a cage to support the activity.

Links:
Motorcycle track day primer: a good explanation of track days.
Beginner's Guide to Track Days in Ontario: a great checklist on how to approach track days - renting a bike is what I'm now looking into...

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

March Break

The dream March Break trip? Load the Tiger into the back of the trusty Ford Transit Van and head south to a place where the weather won't suck all week; it will here. While snow is flying during the most pointless school break in Ontario, I'd be driving one thousand kilometres south to Virginia to chase the waterfalls my cousin suggested in January. 

The drive down has us doing an eleven hour slog to Roanoke, Virginia on some back roads through the Allegheny Forest and down through the Adirondacks into the Appalachian Mountains before finally landing at the Hampton Inn off Interstate 81 just outside of Roanoke.

Once in Roanoke we'd put our feet up for the night and then take one of three routes over the next three days.







The weather is lovely: mid-high teens all week, rather than the zero degree snow we've got going on here all week.

Yeah, it'd be cool, but it wouldn't be painful, and the roads would be salt free and winding through the mountains.  To top it all off those waterfalls would be plump from all the run off.  It'd be a photography and media making dream.  The mountains would be blooming in early spring and I'd have the cameras on hand to catch that moment on two wheels.

Each day we'd loop back to Roanoke before heading out in a different direction the next day.  Thanks to all the mountain roads there would be virtually no overlap between loops with each offering unique sites.  Having the same base camp also means the bike will be light on gear and ready to explore the mountains.

Leaving on a Monday morning, we'd be in Roanoke Monday night and ready for a Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday of motorcycle riding from waterfall to waterfall before making the ride back north into the snow and darkness on Friday.

It's not a crazy expensive week.  Under five hundred bucks for hotel then gas and food money.  Two long distance highway days would be all about gas and quick food stops. $200 would feed the van, another $60 would cover the bike.  Five days of food on the road could probably be done for $250.  All in that's a thousand dollar holiday.   The three days in Virginia would be all about slow lunches and dinners and riding between photogenic waterfalls.

Of course, the ongoing issue is not having the bike delivery system.  Mid-winter isn't the worst time to be a motorcyclist in Canada.  The worst time is the end of the off season when the snow is fading but the winter weather hangs on week after week, prolonging the caged life.

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

2020 Moto Wishlist

Next season is a long, cold winter away, but I'm already daydreaming about what might be...



TomTom Rider 550 Moto-GPS:  I've always made do with my phone, but Google Maps is kinda crap when it comes to navigating on a bike.  Whenever you reach a way point it wants input, which isn't easy when you're flying through the air at 60mph with gloves on.  The TomTom not only is glove friendly, but the software is moto-specific, so no pointless inputs.  It even has a twisty-roads function!  $370CAN

A New Roof: I'm partial to Roof Helmets. To date I've owned a first generation Desmo and a Boxxer. The Boxxer is a simple thing and I miss the plush, quieter and more substantial Desmo I had before. Roof has actually come out with a new Desmo, the RO32, and I'm partial to the new flat dark blue lid they've just done. Roofs are hard to find in North America, but Chromeburner has the new lid on for about $500CAN.                          









Racing Kit!  A one piece racing suit for the other thing below.  Now that I'm with sports bike, perhaps I could take it out to track days.  To do that I'd need the proper racing kit.  To get the right spec helmet, boots, gloves and racing suit, I'm at about $2200.  Fortnine has the bits I'd need.








A long time ago I did a car performance driving school at Shannonville Race Track and really enjoyed it.  Taking the Fireblade out on track would be a brilliant way to get to know this athletic machine.  Riderschoice.ca has track days.  I just need to get the bike sorted and have the kit necessary to do the business.
Starting at about $170.





Of course, if you're doing track days and need to prep a bike for the track, you need to drain coolant and all sorts of other stuff.  What you really need is a way to get it there.  The new Transit Connect is super fuel efficient for a van and would carry my stuff and people when needed.  About $37k.




Van's got a tow hitch, so trailer, obviously...  $1600 at Canadian tire for this one.  Maybe trailers don't matter, but I'd like to colour match this one to the van.  With that and a fitted cover, it could take one or two bikes to wherever the snow ends in the winter and trackdays in the summer.




BIKE WISHLIST:

A next level off-roader.  I've done a few rounds of off-road training and dig the experience.  I'd like to race enduro and need something dependable and big enough to carry me.  There was a Suzuki DR650 I looked at in the summer for a very reasonable $4000.  It was five years old but basically brand new due to some back luck by its owner.  I wish I could go back in time, get that bike, sort it out for enduro racing and then do it!



Track-day bike:  I've already got this one underway with the Fireblade project.  Sorting out the CBR900rr in the garage and then making it track-day ready would be brilliant.  The real block to entry is the cost of racing kit and the ability to transport the bike to the track.  I think I'm some finishing up and detail work away from putting the Honda back on the road in the spring.




Top Speed Machine:  I've always been partial to the Suzuki Hayabusa, and it would let me do a bucket list thing (200mph on a motorcycle) with only a few modifications.  To stretch the bucket list wish, I'd take it out to speed week in Bonneville and do 200mph on the salt.  If I wanted a leg up on this, someone has a modified turbo Hayabusa in Windsor.





A 2-up Touring specialist:  The Tiger will do 2-up work, but it isn't ideal for it.  A bike that's a 2-up specialist would be the ideal tool for the job.  Out of all the big cruiser/touring bikes out there, I think the Goldwing is the best.  I've ridden a friend's.  It's surprisingly athletic, even with 2 people on it.  Touring bikes don't come cheap - the 'Wing is a $30k thing.




Anime Dream Machine:  The Kawasaki Z1000 has long been a favourite and its Sugomi designed look is pure anime awesomeness.  I've got to admit that the Fireblade project sitting in my garage scratches many of the same itches though.  There's an orange Z1000 in Quebec going for about $10k.  I think the Fireblade might have scratched this itch...