I bought my first bike on the ANZAC Day long weekend. I had to drive 6 hours to pick it up, from NSW to VIC. Its a 1985 Honda VT250F Integra. I've learnt a lot about this bike over the past month. As I mentioned in my first post, I'm a complete novice when it comes to motorcycles, so there was a fair bit of ground to cover.
When I decided I was going to go through with my license, I started looking at bikes to ride. I started visiting motorcycle shops on weekends trying to educate myself. I thought I was going to end up riding a cruiser bike, and spent many nights reading up the Virago, Rebel, and Intruder models. By chance I responded to an add I saw for a 1987 Honda VT250F. It had been owned by the same owner since 1996, but had not been ridden in 6 years. I went to see it but ended up walking away. I really liked the 'retro' look of the bike, but the mileage was a bit high, and I listened to the advice of a friend who suggested I would be better off with something a bit more reliable. Unfortunately that bike went intio hibernation already needing some TLC, and came out with possible major surgery.
Still, I liked the bike and found myself reading up all I could about the 1980s Honda Interga bikes. Apparently they were very reliable, were good on fuel, looked pretty sporty, and were a great learner bike. Those things were pretty reassuring to me, being a first time rider. So I spent another few weeks looking up bikesales, It basically fuelled my obsession.
One evening I called a gentleman in Victoria who was selling his father's 1985 Honda VT 250F. He was very polite, and well spoken and I asked him all sorts of questions. The bike was in museum condition, with little over 6,000km on the clock. Unfortunately, it had not been ridden in 12 years , so would need some work to bring back to life. I spoke with him about 4-5 times over the next few weeks until we settled on a price I though was fair for both of us, and organised to drive down and pick up the bike.
I soon learnt, that when buying second hand its very difficult to "get everything you want". There has to be some compromise, either on price or expectations. In this case, it meant me having to do some work to the bike rather than buying one that was already registered and running. That didn't bother me too much, as part of the appeal of being a first time rider is learning about my bike (by working on it).
By this stage, I had agreed to buy the bike, and was getting very nervous. Of course, I could always back out of the deal on inspection, but I had to travel interstate to get to the bike (with a bike trailer). At this point, the only thing keeping me going was faith that I had done my research and asked all the right questions beforehand. Some friends told me to buy a newer bike, but I think part of the love of riding is being comfortable with your choice of bike. As far as I was concerned, I like the older bike. Others told me to find something closer to home - and I can agree with that. However, I justified the trip as something I had to do to find the type of buke I wanted, in the condition I was looking for (i.e. I had to make a personal sacrifice).
The drive to Melbourne was great. I shared the driving with a mate who has been pretty involved in helping me learn more about motorcycle riding. When I arrived to pick up the bike, I was pleased to see that it was in the exact condition the seller had promised. It came with a folder full of dealer recipts and service history, as well as some classic photos from 1986 when new. By all accounts, this bike had been well cared for. After a careful inspection of the bike which lasted about an hour, we shook hands - I just bought my very first bike.
That long 6 hour drive home was one of the best I can remember, as very time I looked in my rearview mirror I could see my new bike. I don't think I slept much that night. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a great partnership (more updates to come)