Monday, October 10, 2011

I buy another motorcycle

I bought a motorcycle yesterday. It's an older Honda Phantom that the previous owner hardly rode. It is a 2005 model but has only 1000 km (600 miles) on the speedometer. Jeff is an English expat who lives with his Thai wife few miles south of Udon Thani. I was torn between buying a used Phantom for about $2,000 and plunking down twice that much for a new Honda CBR 250. The Phantom is a known quantity -- I've ridden rented ones several thousand miles over the past two years. They're very underpowered and a bit bulky for maneuvering in traffic but are fairly comfortable and almost any moto shop in Thailand can work on them. The biggest reason I caved and bought this bike is because I was afraid the newer Honda with its sportier riding position would prove uncomfortable for longer rides.

2005 Honda Phantom - the venerable Thai "Chopper"
Jeff added a bunch of customizations I don't like and that I'll probably remove: the windshield, the platform foot rests, the "whitewall" tires, the oversize handlebars. It is a nice looking bike however. Nut and I had planned to return to Bangkok today but postponed our return so we could do the paperwork for the transfer of the license and title. We're concerned about the flooding that seems destined to hit the big city within the next few days. If the rain doesn't stop soon the city will experience its worst flooding in 60 years. We will move our valuables to higher ground (exactly how we'll accomplish that I don't know) and then beat a quick retreat back to the north to wait for the dry season, or the waters to recede, whichever comes first.

As for riding, we'll have a few hours this afternoon to check out the bike more thoroughly but seeing as it's virtually new, I expect that will go pretty well. Then I'll store it at a local Honda dealer for a couple of weeks until we can get back up here for a longer road trip. This bike is a long step down from my V-Strom but I figure if I just hate riding it I can always resell it for what I paid. When we drove out yesterday to have a look I was sort of hoping I wouldn't like it and thus be forced into buying the 250 but it was in such pristine condition and priced so low I just had to buy it. At some point I'll get a chance to ride a 250 and if I find I simply love it and cannot live without it, I'll buy one and sell the Phantom.

A whole gang of friends from Homer and elsewhere are due to arrive in Bangkok next week. I'll try to evaluate the situation and shoot them emails if I think they would be better off postponing their arrivals or changing their destinations to some other city.