Harley Davidson, Triumph or None of the Above?
Almost one year ago, I wrote a hub titled Last Ride about selling my last motorcycle. I had taken a logical look at my age, my responsibilities and my waning interest in bikes and decided I was done. So why did I find myself one day last week at the closest Triumph dealership with my leg thrown over a new Triumph Thunderbird?
Well, just look at it!
It all started innocently enough a couple of months ago with my casual flirtation with a Harley-Davidson Nightster on eBay. I was drawn to the blacked out motor, de chromed look and bad boy attitude. Then I realized for a couple of thousand more I could get a Tbird. Conflicted, I went to the local Harley place, sat on the Nightster and even fired up a used one. Sweet.
A few days later I walked into the Triumph dealership in Charlotte, NC. The salesman asked me if he could help me and I told him I wanted the bathroom and to see a Thunderbird. I rode the elevator to the second floor to the bathroom. They have a framed picture of Steve McQueen from The Great Escape on the wall there so I knew I was in the right place.
Then I spotted the Pacific Blue and Fusion White striped Thunderbird from the landing above the showroom floor. Had there been a pole I would have slid down it to get my hands on that puppy! (There wasn't so I used the elevator.) This is a big bike but sitting on it in the showroom it didn't feel heavy or cumbersome. The guys offered me a test ride and I declined but did collect a brochure.
I headed down the interstate to the Harley place. Strangely enough I found that the Nightster had shrank. Must have gotten washed in hot water! Compared to the Thunderbird, it felt like a dirt bike - maybe even a moped. The Harley is a 1200 cc v-twin and the Triumph is only 400 cc's bigger but the Thunderbird is just so much ..... more. If I buy another bike it's the one I want.
All the above brings me face to face with the real question here. It's not which bike to get, it's do I get one at all? I remember well some of the last rides I took on the Triumph Speedmaster. My wife would ask me when I got home if I enjoyed it and I always answered honestly that I did. But I never rode out of the driveway without thinking about getting hurt. I'm still thinking about that. The days of showing my behind on a motorcycle have been gone for decades, but that is no guarantee that I won't make a mistake or won't be able to avoid someone else's.
A wise lady told me the other day that we don't really face our own mortality until both our parents are gone. My father died telling my Mom that he knew he could have done more for her. My Mom would have liked to have done a few more things before she passed away, I'm sure. I don't want to look back one day and think "I should have gotten another bike while I was only sixty."
But I don't want to be riding along one day and get smashed by a Joe Dirt clone who is texting his girlfriend while speeding through the neighborhood in a cement mixer either!