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

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.





Saturday, 22 October 2016

The Week After New Years: Take 2

If it's a seven grand proposition to get over to California and rent a bike to ride the Pacific Coast Highway, how cheaply could I do something else?

As if by magic, this popped up across the road from work this week.  If they're asking between five and six grand, it would be a straight trade for the commuter car I drive to work in the winter. This type of motorcycle transportation system has a cargo carrying capacity of over 3000lbs, so it would comfortably carry a bike or two.  
Tiger to scale
in that van.

The Tiger, a fairly substantial adventure bike, is about 89 inches long, 34 inches wide at the handlebars and 55 inches tall.  The cargo area in this kind of van is 124 inches long, 53 inches wide at the narrowest point of the rear wheel arches and about 53 inches tall.  With the windshield removed, even two tall adventure bikes would fit in the back of this thing with only a bit of handlebar overlap.  Two six hundred pound bikes would barely dent half the load capacity of the van.  It would barely feel a single bike at all.

With the Tiger (and maybe a Super Tenere) loaded in the back, we could make the great escape south on the week after New Years.


It's an all day trip to Knoxville.

If we left on New Year's day we could be in Pigeon Forge on the edge of the Smokey mountains that night.

Monday morning we could hit one of a number of local motorcycle friendly routes.  There are so many choices that other than a freak snow storm, we'd be on excellent riding roads, making miles in January.




Best Western Toni has a sale!
Pigeon Forge is nestled right in the middle of it all and their winter temperatures feel downright spring-like compared to what we have up here - hovering around 9°C on average.  It's cool, but no cooler than riding in the mountains around Phoenix was last New Years.  On warm days we might get right up into the high teens Celsius.  It's a bit of a chance, but the reward would be getting some beautiful winter rides in while the north is under a blanket of snow.

Compared to the Californian coast, you can get fantastic hotel deals down Knoxville way.  The Best Western in Pigeon Forge has a $74 Canadian a night deal on, and it's a 4+ star reviewed place with indoor pools and hot tubs and included breakfast; the perfect launching point for a series of rides.

Lots of pretty roads around Pigeon Forge
Being a regular winter work week for most people, the roads would be empty.  The Tail of the Dragon is only 54 twisty miles down the 321 from Pigeon Forge, and at that time of the year it'll be anything but packed.  The Dragon is just one of many excellent motorcycling roads in the Great Smokey Mountains area.

After exploring the Smokey Mountains from Monday to Thursday, we'd get a good night's sleep and make the drive back back north into the frozen darkness on Friday (giving us a spare day or two in case of weather).  The costs aren't anything like trying to get out to California.  With no airfare or motorcycle rental, the most expensive bits aren't there.  On top of that I'd get to ride a bike I love instead of getting on a rental I'm ambivalent about.

Compared to the seven grand California week, this one comes out to about sixteen hundred bucks depending on how getting my hands on a cargo van goes.  There is more of a chance of weather getting in the way but if it holds out it's a dramatically cheaper way to ride some fantastic roads in the middle of winter.

Maybe I could get Enterprise Rent-a-van to sponsor the trip...

Cost breakdown:
- swapping out the Mazda2 for a van, I think I can about break even there.  I only use the Mazda for the 10 minute commute to work in the winter - the van could easily do the same thing for not much more in gas because the commute is so short.
- gas down and back (assuming 15mpg) ~1500 miles = 100 gallons of gas ~380 litres @ $1 a litre = ~$400Cdn in gas for the van (gas is cheaper in the States).
- Food & toll costs on the commute, say $100 each way: $200US ($250Cdn)
- Hotel for the week (Sunday night to Friday morning) in Pigeon Forge: $411Cdn
- Daily bike gas & food costs: say $100US ($150Cdn) per day, so for Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu it'd be about $600Cdn

All totalled up, that's 2 days of travel and four days on two wheels in Tennessee for about $1600 Canadian dollars.  That's $5400 cheaper than the same amount of time away in California, and with six less airports.

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...




Thursday, 15 December 2016

Daydreaming: Winter Road Trip to New Orleans & Key West

It's an 11 hour drive down to Knoxville, Tennessee from here.  If I took the bike that far south in a van to dodge the snowline, I could then do this!



With two weeks off over Christmas it'd break down like this:

Dec 24th: (van) Elora to Knoxville in the van 1147kms
Dec 25th: Knoxville to Talledega 271 miles the interesting way
Dec 26th: Talledega to New Orleans 420 miles
Dec 27th: New Orleans!
Dec 28th: New Orleans!
Dec 29th: New Orleans to Panama City 304 miles
Dec 30th: Panama City to Tampa  339 miles
Dec 31st: Tampa to Miami   252 miles
Jan 1st:   Miami!
Jan 2nd:  Miami to Key West to Miami   155 miles there and back
Jan 3rd:   Miami to Jacksonville via Daytona Beach 346 miles
Jan 5th:   Jacksonville to Greenville 388 miles
Jan 6th:  Greenville to Knoxville 212 miles via Deals Gap
Jan 6th:  (van) Knoxville to Dayton 304 miles 1/2 day
Jan 7th:  (van) Dayton to Elora 410 miles home mid-afternoon
Jan 8th:   chill out day before going back to work

Van mileage:  2300kms / 1440 miles
Bile mileage: 4500kms / 2812 miles

I could probably arrange with our Knoxville hotel to park the van somewhere safe and then head south on two wheels.  The Tiger could totally handle the job one or two up, but there would be more specialized tools I'd select if given a choice from the new 2017 bikes:

One Up 2017 Minimalist Bike Choice




Kawasaki's new Z900 looks like a lovely, light weight device to explore some corners with.  It's an upright bike that would be easy to sit on for long periods of time.  It's a minimal machine but that would be ideal for riding into the sub tropical climates down there.





It's a brand new machine but the Z650 it shares parts with already has some luggage bits that might work.  Keeping with the minimalist vibe, I'd try and do the whole 3000 mile / two week odyssey using only those two expandable panniers.  If I have to expand half way through I could always throw a tie down duffel bag on the back seat.



One Up 2017 not-remotely minimalist Bike Choice

The opposite of the tiny, lithe, naked Z900 is the absurd, over the top and abundantly present Moto Guzzi MGX-21 Flying Fortress.  It comes with its own panniers so that's not a worry.  It's also the kind of bike that would swallow many high mileage days in a row without batting an eyelash.  And it's so pretty.


Two Up Touring Preference

A large, comfortable bike that Max and I could ride the southern triangle on would be the goal here.  My default is always a Kawasaki Concours 14.  We rented a last gen model last year in Arizona and it was a rocket ship that was also big and comfortable for both of us.  The fact that it comes in candy imperial blue this year only encourages me to put it back at the top of the list again.




A more touring focused choice would be the Goldwing F6B which is a more stripped down version of the full on bells and whistles Goldwing.  It's a big, comfortable bike that is surprisingly nimble for what it is and comes with built in panniers.  It'd cover the miles with ease while keeping us both in excellent shape for when we arrived at each stop.

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!

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...

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Vanmageddon: It must be February

It's getting to be that time of year again - months of snow bound Ragnarok motorbike hibernation are making me twitchy.  I like winter generally, it offers a very different and sometimes beautiful view of the world, but when motorcycling has become your go-to stress reliever, being out of the saddle for months is a source of pressure.  If you look at the seasonal leanings of this blog, you'll see winter generally leads to yearning.


This time around the fixation is on the Mercedes Metris Van.  I've previously looked at Ford Transits from a Guy Martin point of view, and other small van options for moving bikes to where I can use them.  The Metris has the benefit of being as efficient as the little vans but can swallow the Tiger with room to spare.  The other little vans would required a tight squeeze if it'd fit at all.


Another benefit of the Metris is that you can customize it to your needs and it'll still go everywhere a normal vehicle will.  It's also surprisingly competitive in price to the Ford and Dodge/Fiat options.  So, what would I do with the only Mercedes I've ever been interested in buying?

Last year at pretty much this exact same time I was mapping out waterfalls in Virginia.  The drive down to Roanoke is about 11 hours.  With the Tiger in the back I'd have left right after work and been in Roanoke by midnight.  After a good sleep and breakfast and I'd be out all weekend making use of those lovely temperatures while chasing spring powered waterfalls across the Appalachians.  After a good ride Sunday I'd have a big dinner then head back into the frozen wastelands of the north getting in after mid-night, but I'd have the Monday of the long weekend to get back on it again.

All told that'd be about 2000kms in the van and another six hundred or so miles riding in the spring blooming mountains.  If I could convince the family to come along, they could crash in the hotel or jump on the back and come along.


I've been reading Guy Martin's autobiography and his van powered wandering to motorcycling events all over the UK and Europe seem entirely doable, if you only have that van.  He seems to be able to fit an improbably amount into a very limited amount of time simply by getting himself there and then getting himself home again.

It's a good read that trips right along.  I enjoyed the narrative flow of the follow up book When You Dead You Dead more (I read it first), but you quickly fall into Guy-speak and feel like you're sitting in a pub with him hearing the tale.  If you like motorcycles and racing it's brilliant.  If you just like a good story well told, it'll do that too.

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!

Saturday, 15 February 2020

If you had £70k to spend on a car, which would you choose? Much more than a car!


£70k?  Yikes, that's $121,026 Canadian!  If I can opt out of the dick swinging options above, here's how I'd spend my hundred-and-twenty-K on things with four wheels, and two:


Mazda 2019 MX-5 RF GT
$44,870 CAD
That's a GT model with bells and whistles.  Put me on a twisty mountain road in this and your typical knuckle dragger in one of Top Gear's choices and I bet I'm the first one to the end... and I won't be sending it in for service and repairs every five minutes - and it looks spectacular!


RAM ProMaster Van
$44,625 + $15,375 upfit = $60,000
If you've read this blog before you know I've got a Guy Martin/van obsession that often coincides with a mid-Canadian-winter psychotic episode (I'm getting close now) involving escaping south with a bike in the back for a chance to get on two wheels again.  The Ram's a funky van.  I'd keep back another $15,000 to upfit it into a long distance camper/bike hauler/multi-use vehicle.


That puts me at about $105,000 Canadian with two new, very different vehicles.  What to do with the other sixteen thousand?


Suzuki DR650SE
$6000 (!)
They're on sale at the moment and a rock solid piece of off the tarmac ready kit.  It'll keep up with traffic on the road (unlike the KLX250 didn't) and take me anywhere - including expanding the short Canadian riding season by tackling the odd bit of snow.  I might look into some enduro competition with it too.  It's be a rough and ready option in situations where I'd be worried about a more road ready bike.


I've still got ten grand to play with and I've already had more fun than any of the try-hard Top Gear choices.  Time for something really frivolous that'll be as fast or faster than any of Porsche/Renault/Lamborghini nonsense that kicked this off.


'08 Suzuki Hayabusa
$7000
The first thing I stumble across on Kijiji is a $7000 '08 Suzuki Hayabusa.  Odd that Suzuki is the only Japanese manufacturer I've never owned and I've got two on the list this afternoon.

I've got a thing for orange bikes, and this one looks a peach - older rider, low mileage for the year and well looked after.

I'd hold back the other three grand just to make sure this is faster than anything on Top Gear's list because I like to be Tom... Petty.


If I had £70k to spend on a car?  I'd buy a nice car, a useful van and two awesome and very different motorcycles!  Why be dull?