Wednesday, May 21, 2008


After a few years searching for the right predecessor of my last (running) bike, the search is finally over.

Jamie and I have been looking for a more “comfortable” bike, something with passenger accommodations that are more “accommodating” than the Monster’s. This lead us into the realm of touring and cruiser bikes, and since we both have an aversion to fairings, most of the contenders were from the cruiser category.

We had pretty much settled on a Honda Shadow Aero, and had checked out a few over the years. We both dig the retro styling, and it seemed to be perfectly comfortable 2-up, and the price was in the right range. I never formally evaluated the performance because with this kind of bike, what’s the point? If you have enough power to haul two people and some gear around at highway speed, then that’s enough, right?

For some reason I always hesitated to pull the trigger on the purchase though. I just have a hard time buying a bike that is deliberately de-tuned for stylistic purposes, essentially to be more like a Harley.

But regardless we found a nice used Shadow at our local Honda shop and it was even decked out with a nice seat and bags, so it looked like this was going to be the one. Just on a whim, I did a quick search of the inventory of the other shops in the area and happened across this:

A 1995 Honda Magna VF750C. I knew immediately that this was the bike. Cruiser proportions and a sportbike engine, and awesome 50’s-style paint to boot, how can you go wrong? Of course the windshield/fairing needs to go, but other than that it was perfect (not to mention the price was right as well).

We spun down to Johnson Creek to check it out and after a nice test drive we were sold. A few days of finagling with the insurance and what-not and we were on the way home with it.

I haven’t had a lot of riding time yet due to some dental work I’ve had done but at the end of this week we’ll be spending some quality time together.

…now what does this mean for the CL project? Probably not much. On one hand you could think that it might slow down my progress since having a working bike might reduce my motivation to get the CL running, but on the other hand, now that we have a bike built for 2-up riding I can take a much more aggressive approach to the modifications of the CL and turn it into a true cafĂ© racer. Of course some of the time I might have spent wrenching may be consumed by riding but I think there are worse things that can happen, and this way I can get my skills back up-to-speed before I try to take the “experimental” CL on the road.

…and this way I have SOMETHING to ride to the fall Crud Run, no matter how the CL project turns out.

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