I first had contact with Tim, who lives on a farm in Tasmania, when he was looking to buy his first road-bike. He was trying to decide between the Honda CB1300 and Suzuki GSX1400. He would be buying 2nd-hand and had a budget of $10,000, which was, hopefully, also going to cover new riding gear.
When he wrote to me he said he had a preference for the Suzuki, and had already found one that he was keen on, and asked my opinion of it. I knew of a couple of readers who owned those, so had no hesitation in recommending the Suzuki.
As it turned out, he missed out on that first one, but he ended up with one that I think was an even better buy.
I’ll let him tell you the story of the search and the purchase of the bike.
The search started nearly 16 months ago, with every magazine I could get and countless nights looking on the web. It’s a wonder I’m still married, but I have a wonderful wife!
I’ve had trail bikes all my life, from an MX80, TS125, YZ250, KDX200, XR500, KTM450. (That’s not bad – 6 bikes and 5 different makes! Elwyn). My son Josh has an Orion 70, which he's had since he was 5.
It was only 2 years ago when I decided to get my bike license; which meant 6 months on my learners and 12 months on my provisional before I received my full license. In that time I cut firewood most weekends and saved up enough money to buy the bike I wanted by the time I had my license. But, which bike?
Originally I had my mind set on a Honda CB1300, but then as time went on and on I started looking at the Suzuki GSX1400. The more looking I did the more I leaned towards the GSX, until eventually that was the one I wanted; even though I had never ridden either bike. But once I make my mind up I’ve got to have it! (Until I change my mind again!).
Now, where to find it? Well, I think from the start interstate was the way to go; more to choose from, and cheaper, plus a bit of a holiday. I had a few bikes picked out all over the place but Melbourne was my priority. The closer I got to being fully licensed the keener I got. And then I found one. It was a GSX1400; a 2001 model with 14,000ks, polished rims, Akrapovic exhaust, immaculate (so they said), and an asking-price of $8900. I booked a ticket for the boat to leave on Friday 14th November; although I didn’t receive my license until the 16th November. Who cares; I’m going!
It was only 4 days before I was leaving and the one I had my heart set on, which was a private sale, had been sold the day before. What! Right, don’t panic, there’ll be more. But not like that one! Quick, back on the net, but they’re all the same ones that have been there for the past 6 months. Then 3 days before I was set to leave, bingo, one pops up! Melbourne (yes!), right price (yes!), and all the extra goodies I was after. It was a 2006 blue/white Suzuki GSX1400 with 8000ks, Vortex sports exhaust, steering-damper, Power-Commander3 smart timing retard eliminator, braided lines, slim indicators, K&N filter, and fighter mirrors. So I get on the phone. “I'll be over in 3 days to have a look.” Those 3 days took forever to come, but finally I was there in the big smoke.
I met up with the guy selling it (who was a lovely bloke), had one look at it and that was that; I loved it! Right, now for the test drive! Nervous? Shit yeah! Crap, don’t get my full license until tomorrow! I told the guy, and he was cool with it, so away I went. Well, there goes the nerves! (And I still have the same smile when I jump on it now). Right I’ll take it. Easy as that! Should I have looked at other bikes and rode them? Probably, but I'm more than happy with the one I brought.
Now, getting it back home. It was out in the suburbs a bit so I was a bit nervous about riding it through Melbourne back to the boat. So Tim (the guy I brought it off) said he would ride it in for me. Great! All was well. I had already bought all my riding gear from Peter Stevens before I even looked at the bike, by the way. The young fella who served me was named Nick, and was more than helpful, and did me a great deal on it all. (Nice colour-match to the bike too, Elwyn).
Sunday night, the day before we head back, and a I get a call from Tim’s wife. Tim has crashed his race bike and is in hospital. “Is he okay?” “Yes, but he can’t ride the bike tomorrow.” “That’s fine” I reply. (Not!).
So Monday morning. Sort out all the money changing, do the change-over etc, and head for the boat. Crap! I don’t know were I’m going, never ridden a bike like this before, let alone in Melbourne; but once I got going it was like I’d been on it for years. (I knew I’d be right!). Still got lost though, but got there in the end. The wife took the plane back at lunch time and I was at the boat. I met a couple of nice blokes who had just traveled down from Canberra. Had a couple of beers at the local before we boarded the boat and they even offered me to stay in their 4 berth cabin, since I only had a recliner plus somewhere to leave my gear. Great! Few more beers and before you know it we’re in Tassie.
I think I was up fairly early, keen to get on the big girl. Said goodbye to my new mates and away I go. I met up with a friend on his bike at Campbelltown and away we went. I think we rode 500 kms that day; which felt like 5.
It was great to finally have the bike I wanted and to have it home in my shed.
Everything has gone smoothly, (apart from a couple of hiccups), and I’ve got the bike I wanted and still can’t wait to jump on it as soon as possible! (Who invented work?!).
I’ve already started tinkering with bits and pieces like straight handle bars, mirrors, and hi-risers. And I plan on polishing the wheels too.
The bike is very enjoyable to ride, and great for the missus. It’s got plenty of grunt, but you do get used to it and think you could want more – until you look at the speedo!
The bike is still going great and I’m loving it! I still clean and polish it nearly every day.
So there is Tim's story. It's great to see him get a bike that he loves! Even if it involved an interstate trip and battling with Melbourne traffic!
Tim sent me a couple of other photos which I've included below. How about that image on the tank? You'd need to be careful not to be distracted while you were riding it wouldn't you! ("Sorry, officer, I was just looking at the cutie on my tank and didn't see that stop-sign!").
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