We all have them, your childhood heroes. People or (in my case) things that you’ve looked up to ever since you were little. For me it was the summer of ’94 when I met my childhood hero, a motorcycle. That summer every single day a red Honda VFR750F with white wheels drove through my neighborhood.
Fast forward 24 years later to february 2018. I barely driven a motorcycle in the past 5 years and the only motorcycle I actually had wasn’t in a drivable state. And so I stated to consider a 2nd bike. A bike I could use to drive daily and to start touring again. It might have been pure chance or it might as well have been the smart facebook algorithms, but one of the first bikes I came a cross was a red ’91 Honda VFR750F. I was sold immediately and I just had to have it. The next day I went too see the bike and bought it on the spot.
Buying with your feelings
I had nostalgia feelings take over from common sense for only a second. And now here I was with this beautiful bike. Now don’t get me wrong, the bike is amazing. It looks and drives beautifully and is an absolute mechanical marvel from Honda. It was all the bike I ever thought it was. But soon I was to discover that it wouldn’t be the bike for me. Because the thing is, when you meet your heroes you only tend to see the things that you like. Not the things that you dislike.
That’s how I failed to see that the seating position wouldn’t be comfortable for a 2+ hour drive. Neither did I notice that the engine is tuned for high speeds instead of torques. Which meant I had to shift a lot during touring. Only time I didn’t need to work overtime to shift was on the highway. But at those speeds I had different problems. Mainly to do with the windscreen being so small that I catched all the turbulence with my helmet. I could go on and on, but I guess you get the point. And besides that it wouldn’t be fair to the bike either. Because the bike was brilliant at what it was design to do in the first place. The part in this story that failed was me. And instead of making me wanting to drive more, it caused me to drive less.
Buying with common sense
And now, 2 years later I learned my lessons. Because last month I went to buy another bike, but not before I figured out what I was actually looking for. This time I was buying with common sense. I knew I wanted a long distance touring bike, a bike with an upright seating position. And preferably a large displacement engine that would generate a lot of torque. I started looking for the big tourers like the Honda Pan-European and Yamaha FJR1300. But the Honda Pan-European 2nd generation model and the Yamaha FJR1300 where just outside my budget. So that only left the Honda Pan-European 1st generation which, to be honest, looks a bit outdated in 2020.
After some further searching around I eventually discovered (and bought) the ’05 Yamaha Fazer 1000, an underrated motorcycle that doesn’t even look like a real tourer. And with its 998cc’s it barely qualifies as a large displacement engine. I hear you thinking, oh no here we go again… But no, this time it was different. Not only does the bike have an upright seating position, it’s 998cc’s engine is enough for a top speed of 260km/h with 143hp and 106Nm of torque. Not only is that 42hp more than the Honda Pan-European, it also accelerates quicker since it weighs 89kg less than the Honda. And while the bike only has half a fairing it still gives more than enough protection against the wind to still drive comfortable for long distances.
But prepare to compromise
So moral of the story? Unless your buying a bike as a decoration piece, prepare yourself before buying. Make a list of things that are important to you and what you are looking for in a bike. Chances are you wont be able to make all the things on your list, so try to figure out which things are really important to you and which things your willing to compromise on. Don’t buy a bike only on its good looks or the way you feel about the bike. This way you will enjoy the bike even more.
P.S. for anyone interested, the Honda VFR750F is still for sale