Just to see what I was up against in the male-dominated world of motorcycles, I visited three shops by myself, checking out the initial reaction of the sales and parts staff. I was going to go with the shop that seemed the most open to helping me out. I had not ridden in many years and needed their opinion in which bike would work for me.
I need not have worried as they all
had people who were more than willing to help me out. (One of the shops even had young woman on their sales staff whose eyes lit up when she saw me.) All of the shops had
comparable gear inventories, and sold an array of used bikes along with their new brands. This was not going to be an easy decision...
The first place sold Honda and Suzuki - the young guy was more than happy to show
me around, let me try on some jackets, helmets, and sit on a few bikes. This was most useful to see how they "fit". The Honda CBR 125 (small but easily maneuverable); Suzuki V-Strom (I could not touch the ground on that one); Suzuki 500 GSX-R (too much leaning over the tank); and a brand new '09 Suzuki Gladius in a maroon/white combo (perfect fit but a little too pricey for my budget). I discovered that by August of the same year, they had not sold the "pink" bike yet, and had knocked the price down considerably to a something that I would have paid for, but it was too late by then.
The next shop
sold Yamaha and Kawasaki - where even though the power in the shop had gone out, the
guy hauled out a used Ninja 250 for me to sit on. Again, too much leaning
over/narrow handlebars. The rest of the bikes were either huge Yamaha cruisers (beautiful though), or gnarly off-road bikes (would be fun but there are no logging roads in Southern Saskatchewan and we don't live on a farm where you can ride around on your property).
last sold Ducati and Kawasaki. The Ducatis were quite expensive so they were off the list. They had a Ninja 250 and
and a KLR 650 (way too tall even for me).
After some more thinking and looking, I happened to see another Suzuki Gladius on one of these same dealers' websites. Since I had already sat on one and the price was more reasonable (had 2200 kilometres on it) I went back
and asked to see it. Again, it was the perfect fit. I could lean it over a ways in a stationary position and roll it forwards and backwards comfortably without too much straining even though it weighs 450 pounds. Since there was no way to test ride it - it was February 8 and you've already heard enough about the snow on the roads here - that had to suffice.
I just knew that was it, this was the one. I wrote out my cheque for the full amount and proceeded to decide on a jacket and helmet before I left the shop with a box of the stock tail section, muffler and turn signals. My bike had had a tail eliminator kit put on, different mirrors added which also housed the new turn signals, and an IXIL muffler. Someone had also peeled off the Gladius sticker on the side, and cut away some of frame covering to change the look of the bike.
(Have to say that I thought the tail eliminator kit was quite cool, but not until I got a rooster streak up the back of my jacket and helmet one wet, rainy day did I consider that maybe the original tail would have worked better.)
For the next three months, all I could do was watch videos of other people riding my brand of bike and listen to the engine noise while I waited for the day I started my motorcycle safety course.
I was smitten and just hoped that the ride in May would be everything I had hoped it was going to be - and it was!
Have a good one...