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  • Writer's pictureBrian Jablon

New Year, New Motorcycle?

On my Honda CB250R off of road 90 with the Dead Sea in the background
Israel - Road 90 with the Dead Sea in the Background

JANUARY 2020 - I've had my current motorcycle, a 2013 Honda CBR250R for over two years. I purchased it used in October 2017 with 26,000 kilometers and it now has over 57,000, a very respectable mileage of 31K. While the Honda salesman encouraged me to purchase a bigger bike as I have an "A" license (any bike any size), I wanted to start with a smaller engine size since it was 25 years since I've last ridden. And yes, I'm glad I did as the Honda was extremely "forgiving" even when I made foolish mistakes on the road. All in all, the perfect beginning motorcycle. It was a good friend - I treated it well and it took care of me. Now it's time to move up to a middleweight bike but - oh, what to purchase?

The choices, even here in such a small country as Israel, are overwhelming. Should I get an adventure bike that can be easily ridden off road? Used or New? A touring bike for those long trips? A cruiser where I can sit nice and low? A café racer that looks retro? Ruling out the Chinese and South Korean models with poor resale value and even worse reliability reputations still leaves a host of choices....Yamaha, BMW, KTM, Suzuki, Ducati, Benelli, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, Royal Enfield, and more. I need to choose wisely.

Convincing my spouse of my need/desire for a new bike is the more vexing problem. She is supportive WITHOUT being understanding. You have a perfectly good motorcycle, why spend the money - and yes, it is a lot of shekels - on a new bike? There is no logical answer I can provide. I try and convince her that she'll be more comfortable on a bigger bike but my attempt falls on deaf ears. I look to my fellow motorcyclists to!

As Israel is so small, I've eliminated touring models as one cannot ride more than a few hours in this country before hitting a border that cannot be crossed. Travelling from Israel into Syria or Lebanon is impossible and Jordan and Egypt - although technically possible - is not recommended with my Israeli plates. Although I have heard rumours of those taking their bike via ferry from Ashdod to Europe....a future possibility to look forward to with my next purchase! An adventure bike could be fun - even "adventurous" - but I didn't find any middleweights that "fit." Harleys? They look great but are too expensive to purchase, even more to maintain, and I don't have the rest of the Harley gear nor image to match. With my height of 5'6" (167 cm), it's not easy to find a bike where I can put both feet down flat when stopped which eliminates several...actually most...promising models. Ducati, great bike but I don't speak Italian. Café racers, nice looking but I'm still too hunched over on most and the models I love are out of my price range.

Deciding which bike to buy involves visiting motorcycle dealers and scanning the advertisements trying to find that perfect motorcycle that was taken care of like a baby. Never scratched, never damaged, maintained as per the manufacturer specifications, and used only on weekends. Trust nobody and have it checked by a mechanic is the advice everyone provides. I've narrowed it down to a few middleweight sport bikes where the riding position is upright such as the Honda CB650F or Suzuki SV650A. Age works against the rider in the motorcycle market. The acronyms are bewildering since Honda makes the CBR650F, CB650R, and the CBR650R among other models with Suzuki offering a similar dizzying array of choices. A friend tells me his son almost killed himself, twice, on a similar model to the Honda I'm considering making me reconsider this possible choice but would any other choice be LESS dangerous? Stay tuned!

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