Paul tells the story of how a re-union with some former bankers inspired him to get back into motorcycling. Sound unlikely? I’ll let him explain. A few years ago it all started at a reunion of old bankers where the wife and I met. One bank manager was a member of the “old farts motorcycle club” (Ulysses? Elwyn) and returned to riding motorbikes after many years. So I joined the wonderful club and after a few months purchased a pre-loved low kilometerage Honda Deauville from down in the Nations Capital. A great little 650cc reliable bike to get back into riding but had a bit of a struggle keeping up with the others at speed limits, and I was constantly changing gears. So it was hard work all round. I sold it in March 2009 for the same price I purchased it; around $7,500. Then I read and researched lots of test bike stories to short-list a bigger and better machine for riding / touring / commuting; and one with more power and comfort. Great deals were going on the Triumph Sprint; and the Honda VTR has a great reputation. I did not really want a chain drive, did not want to bend over and ride racing style, not sure about these other tourer things, although I do look a bit like top gun Tom Cruise, says my wife, on occasions. Down to three choices, the Honda VT, Triumph Sprint or Yamaha FJR shaftie. Test-rode the Sprint and loved it. The Honda was a little too expensive. The budget. The wife says $10k and I say $15k. I looked around at dealer's prices and then looked for private sales which were within a days travel to get to. Then a mate called me and said that after talking to me about the old farts bike club and my Honda he decided to get a bike and I should come and check it out – his new gleaming shiny silver Yamaha FJR. After one test ride at a dealership he brought it home and left his wife to drive. So after listening to his bragging and glee I just had to get me one – he would not let me even test ride his! Checked a few private sales (my mate had more budget!). I test rode one in the inner city which the owner was prepared to throw in all the accessories (sat nav, two way, date with his new bride), (I’ve never seen that accessory thrown in! Elwyn), but a few odd noises (from the bike) put me off. Then I test rode an ocean-blue 2004 model FJR Yamaha with 13,000km on it; in the rain, at night and got lost around the Lane Cove (Sydney suburb. Elwyn) area. Second test ride ran out of petrol and almost got lost again; said the owner when he came looking for me. Compromised on price at $14,500. (The wife does not know, yet!). The FJR goes like a rocket to the moon, stops like a jet plane landing (three discs – and a car only has four!), handles like a train never running off the tracks and draws attention from the mob; or maybe that’s my Tom Cruise looks (I wish!). The FJR is a shaftie, with panniers that take less than a minute to attach, a big fuel tank which gets 500km or more on the long rides. It does not feel heavy when riding even though it’s 280kg says the book. (That's ready-to-ride weight, Elwyn). (This is a photo of the bike, parked proudly in his driveway. Elwyn).
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