so, before we go on our trip i decide to put the bike in for it's regular maintenance. i thought it would be a good idea to get the shop guys to give Selene a thumbs up and get the 6500 Km maintenance out of the way. i knew they would give me a loaner, so it didn't matter how long it took. i figured i would get a Harley or a Buell. either would have been fine, i just needed something to ride. what follows is my account of yesterday and what has become my hatred of a certain motorcycle made by Honda.
i set up an appointment for friday, august the 11th. i had to do my usual 12 hour shift at work, so i would be dropping it off during a scheduled two hour break and grabbing a loaner. i was kind of excited to get to ride a different bike and also glad to be out of work on a gorgeous day.
so i drop the bike off and get the loaner. well, it wasn't a Harley or a Buell, but a Honda VTX1300. not bad, i thought. i had some regrets about buying the Sabre once i saw the VTX1300. it's a much bigger bike and has a very retro look. i take the key and hop out to showroom floor to wait for Joey. she had to come over to pick up her new bike jacket (review to follow).
she gets there, we get the jacket and hop on the bike to get some food.
well, let's just say it was different. it's obvious that the VTX hadn't been taken care of and that it was rode hard. i found it very awkward to control the bike due to it's swept back handle bars. it also had floorboards (i had been debating about getting floorboards for Selene) which i was definitely not used to.
it was interesting getting to KFC and i had my share of "oops, almost dropped it." we sat by the bike to eat and studied the bike. it was nice looking and had a good sound, but there was a lot i was already not liking. i didn't like the stance of the bike or the riding stance, or the handle bars. there was something about the bike overall that just didn't speak right to me. not to mention the fact that the bike would barely stay going and that every bump rattled something. i know that is because it wasn't taken care of, but it doesn't speak well for the dealership. especially if they use loaners to entice customers.
i drop joey back at the car and take a quick spin before i go back to work. i started appreciating the low stance of the bike. with such a low center of gravity i could come to a complete stop and not worry about having to put my foot down. the problem with the low stance was the floorboards. i was used to the Sabre, taking low sweeping turns with high foward controls. the VTX didn't like that. floorboards make a lot of noise when they strike pavement. not to mention that the floorboards made it feel like i was sitting in a chair and not on a bike. in that moment i vowed that Selene would never have floorboards.
off i went to work.
later, i get my call. Selene was ready and it was only going to cost about 40 bucks. excellent, i couldn't wait to get my baby back. off i went.
about five minutes from work, the bike shut off. great, reserve time. they should really fill these things up...wait, it's already on reserve. my spirits are high and i laugh at myself and the shop for there not being gas in the bike. i call them up and they couldn't believe there was no gas. they said they would send someone by to pick me up. they have a truck and trailer, so i know what to look for.
so i wait, and i wait.
keep in mind that i'm using one of my lunch times (30 minutes) to go get Selene.
45 minutes later, i'm still waiting. i call work and advise them as to what is going on and then call the dealership back. the guy is on his way, he just had to go pick up someone else as well.
no big deal. it's a beautiful day and i'm away from work. just as long as i get my bike back, i'm cool. see? i'm a pretty easy going guy.
30 minutes later, i'm still waiting. i'm hot, i'm thirsty and i just want to go back to work. this is starting to make me look bad. i call them again. apparently, the guy didn't see me. let me translate this for you. i have been sitting by the side of the road watching for a truck and trailer covered with H-D stickers to come pick me up. if couldn't see that, i'm blind. no such truck passed me by, which means that he didn't go to the right spot. the big problem is, they are closing and there is no one around to come get me. i now have to walk to a gas station. i'm very hot. very tired. very thirsty. i'm not happy.
off i go.
"did they come get you?"
"ok, i'll come get you.."
"um, joey. i gave you a ride to work."
"oh...yeah...you did. let me see what i can do."
ten minutes later an old friend (and supervisor) from where i work drives by and picks me up. he had already checked one station and they didn't have any spare jerry cans. off we go to another.
surprise, no jerry cans there either! i'm loving this day with a passion. i look at the guy and say, "listen, do you have anything? a two litre bottle, anything?"
he fishes an empty windshield washer bottle out of the garbage and fills it with five bucks worth of gas. he also fishes out half of another bottle to use as a funnel. i pay and we are on our way.
back at the bike, we dump the gas in. it's pouring over the gas tank and making a general mess. at this point, i didn't care if the bike actually caught on fire. i start it up and i'm off to work the last two hours of my shift.
i left work at 4:15pm and got back at 7:00pm. i was exhausted, sun burnt and dehydrated. i was not pleased. at this point, the VTX was not a machine to me, but something to be punished.
i rode home that night and found something else annoying. the speedometer is located on the gas tank. i'm not keen on taking my eyes off the road to look all the way down to see my speed. i was also not used to an arc shaped speedometer, so i had some difficulty checking my speed which meant more time not looking at the road. oh, and the high beam indicator light? that's on the tank with the speedometer. that bright blue light shines right in your eyes at night. who designed this damn thing?!
i parked the bike and left it in the ensuing rain storm. there is no way it deserved to be parked in Selene's cubby hole. i was pissed and didn't sleep well.
long winded hey? sorry about that, but i need to get all this out. therapy..ya know?
next morning (today) i go out to the VTX. it's covered in dew and water. off we go to get more gas...just in case.
got gas, off to work.
at 10:30am i run down to pick up joey and we both go to the shop. i gladly park the VTX and head in. at this point, i don't care about anything else, i just want my baby back. i want to ride a real bike again.
we pay and he asks if i like the VTX.
he looks at me wierd.
"man, i hate that thing. i'll never buy one now."
i promptly list off all my complaints about the bike. it's obvious that the Shadow is the last of the good bikes made by Honda. i will be sad to see them go.
he gives us extra punches on the discount card (i see chaps in my future) and we are on our way.
it took me a little while to get used to Selene again. the build of the Sabre compared to the VTX is vastly different. it was great to sweep those turns nice and low though and it was great to get back into a real riding position.
if nothing else, that day made me appreciate my purchase of a Sabre even more. i do not regret my purchase one little bit now and i will never NEVER buy a VTX. the next bike will most likely be a Roadstar or Harley.
oh, here are two things i did like about the VTX. the seat was comfortable for both driver and passenger and i like the shape of the headlight. Selene will have that headlight.
thank you for listening to my long long tirade and i apologize for yapping your ear off.
good journies to you and keep the wind at your back.