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Planning For The Future – Freedom On Two Wheels

Gas prices in Las Vegas on 16 March 2011

Gas prices in Las Vegas on 16 March 2011

Folks, it’s starting to look really grim when it comes to being able to afford to go just about anywhere.  My HHR gets decent mileage, but even at 35 miles per gallon it still costs me about $10.00 to go down to where I go shooting in the desert, about $7.00 to get to the dentist and back, call it $60.00 to get down to Prescott, AZ and about $120 round trip to get to Cindy & back.  That’s all just the cost of the gas.

I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately – just kind of down and trying to save money again.  I can’t afford to go play around the state – just the round trip to Rachel, NV would be $50 or so.  This getting ridiculous.  I got to thinking that there had to be a better way.  And I came up with the idea of going with something simpler, more fuel efficient, and (at the risk of jinxing myself) offers bit more adventure :)

Yep, I started thinking motorcycle :thumb:

My idea was to get something small, used, and very inexpensive.  Something like an older Honda or Yamaha.  I checked Cycle Trader, but there was really nothing there – at least not anywhere near me.  I checked Ebay motors.  I checked quite a few other places.  Sadly, there were very few if any good options.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to afford anything for a couple of years after my initial search, but that just meant I wouldn’t be buying a cheap used bike – I’d be saving up for a down payment so I could finance a new one :wink:

Something did catch my eye on Cycle Trader – a Royal Enfield that was brand new for somewhere around $6,000 that was just down the road at Arlen Ness’ shop here in Vegas.  I dropped by and they only had a couple of the other bikes by that manufacturer.  Still, I got a look at that one and quite a few nice Victory and custom bikes.

Royal Enfield Bullet 500

Royal Enfield Bullet 500

Royal Enfield Bullet 500

Royal Enfield Bullet 500

Royal Enfield Bullet 500

Royal Enfield Bullet 500

Royal Enfield Bullet 500

Royal Enfield Bullet 500

A customer's bike at Arlen Ness Las Vegas

A customer's bike at Arlen Ness Las Vegas

OLD SCHOOL :thumb: !!!
Custom parts at Arlen Ness Las Vegas

Custom parts at Arlen Ness Las Vegas

Custom parts at Arlen Ness Las Vegas

Custom parts at Arlen Ness Las Vegas

Custom parts at Arlen Ness Las Vegas

Custom parts at Arlen Ness Las Vegas

Arlen Ness knows golf carts, too :cool:

Arlen Ness knows golf carts, too :cool:

Another customer's bike at Arlen Ness Las Vegas

Another customer's bike at Arlen Ness Las Vegas

For sale at Arlen Ness Las Vegas - 1953 Hudson Hornet - $65,000

For sale at Arlen Ness Las Vegas - 1953 Hudson Hornet - $65,000

The Royal Enfield above is a private import from India where the bikes have been made since the mid 1950′s and the owner is having trouble getting it on the road legally here in Nevada.  Import problems aside (it’s easy enough to get a U.S. model), I did quite a bit of research and realized the Royal Enfield isn’t quite what I’m looking for.  The new fuel injected models make just under 30 horsepower and aren’t really suited to long distances.  I love the idea of Royal Enfield’s bikes, but I want something that will do the trips I like to take – up to Rachel, NV or maybe Price, UT and not have problems maintaining 70 to 80 miles per hour.

I also looked at all the really cool street bikes and the shop had a lightly used Victory Vegas 8 Ball for about $8,000.  It’s a good deal, but I just can’t get all that excited about them.  I didn’t know quite why at the time, but I realized later what my problem was.  The problem was that I would be restricted to roads.  You may think the HHR or my previous vehicle – my 2002 Cavalier – are restricted to pavement, but I proved that wrong.  Still, I wouldn’t dare try to take a big, heavy road bike some of the places I’ve been in my cars.

Thinking back to my roots in bicycles (and I’ve got thousands of miles on my old mountain bike), I remembered that I’d really wanted a mountain bike instead of a road bike because of the versatility.  I may not have gone across the Rockies on my Raleigh Heat, but I sure took it off the pavement!  I can’t imagine that I’d never look up a rough old desert dirt road, mountain path, or old trail and not want to find out where it goes.  Hell, there’s plenty of places like ghost towns here in Nevada that I’d love to visit but can’t due to the expense of fuel and the fact that my car may be OK on most dirt roads, but it won’t go on those dirt roads.

After that trip to Arlen Ness, I realized that what I really want is known as an Enduro or Dual sport bike.  It needs to be street legal, fast enough and with long enough legs to get to distant lands without a problem, and and it shouldn’t have problems with the odd fire trail, dirt road, or what passes for a pathway to a dry lake bed.  It should be something that could tackle a bit of a challenge as my skills and confidence grow over time.  You never know – I might just want to go somewhere the Long Way Round :wink:

I’m going to do something here that I normally don’t do – I’m going to leave y’all hanging and guessing at which dealership I’m heading off to in the next few minutes :mrgreen:  OK – I’ll give you a hint.  Riders have finished the Dakar Rally on their bikes, they’re known for a fanatical following, and they’re not made in America.  Figured it out yet?  If not, stay tuned and I’ll catch up with everyone in a few hours :cool:

Have fun everyone :mrgreen:

P.S. – While it doesn’t look like I’ll be doing business with Arlen Ness in the next few years, I really have to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone at the shop for being so welcoming, helpful, and engaging :)  They had no problem with my camera and said the entire store and back shop were open to the public – help myself!  Guys, you may not have the type of bike I’m looking for right now, but you were certainly the type of people I enjoy meeting and I would highly recommend you :thumb:

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8 comments to Planning For The Future – Freedom On Two Wheels

  • ORPO1 Glenn

    Forgot about the Royal Enfield. The newest one is really cool. Not really fast but fast enough. And there is the Ural Sidecar ones but they are five figures. Not a low cost one by any stretch.
    Yamaha Star still has what used to be the 250 Virago!
    And as I messaged last week, Honda and Kawasaki have nifty 250 sport bikes!

    • Glenn, as cool as the Royal Enfield is (and I really do like it!), it’s just not enough bike for the kind of riding I can see in my future. I took a look at the Yamaha 250 and it’s a good looking bike, but it doesn’t have the off road capability to get to where I need to go sometimes. Aside from the road only nature of the sport bikes, I don’t think they’d take the luggage I’m going to need when my bike becomes my primary means of transport.

      I’m putting my next post together right now though, so you can see what I’m all enthused about :wink:

  • Kath

    I do like the look of those. And how fabulous of the people at the shop to show you everything, too. I know most motorcycle people are known for hospitality, but their enthusiasm just makes you want a bike even more!

  • Kath

    On second thought — a cool golf cart might not be a bad idea! ;) (I’m kidding, I’m kidding!!)

  • ORPO1 Glenn

    I still miss my Honda CB360T from 1975-1977. I used it as a down payment on a ’74 Datsun Lil Hustler Pickup for when me and Mrs. ORPO got married in ’77.
    It could run for quite awhile on about 3.75 gallons of gas. Light, responsive and able to do medium duty touring. It had a windshield and rack.
    Why does no one make a motorcycle like that anymore?

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