When my husband and I left San Francisco, not only did we leave behind my family and friends, but we also left our beloved motorcycles. I was a little more adamant about selling mine than my husband was. But after a good conversation with a friend, he told me that I should just sell it. Given that it wasn't a very expensive bike, it would be far too much trouble to maintain it in CA while living in PA. After all, it's just a motorcycle. It's not a person, and in the It was a little hard at first, but after I made the decision to sell it, I felt like it was the right decision all along. And I'm so glad I did.
When I finally made the decision to sell, it was definitely in my mind that I would find a new motorcycle to love. There are so many to choose from, after all. When I started the search, I had my heart set on something more upright along the lines of a Supermoto ("Sumo"). I was hoping for a used Suzuki DRZ 400SM, something fun for city living. I should preface that I am a whopping 5'1", with a 28.5" inseam. My inseam has allowed me to ride far more motorcycles than I could've ever imagined, including these. I also knew that that with a 35" stock seat height, I would have to look into lowering a little bit if necessary. However given how light they are, I really wasn't expecting it to be an issue.
If you've never ridden a Sumo, it's one of the most exhilarating experiences you'll have on a motorcycle. Completely upright, like a dirtbike but with street sensibilities (suspension, braking, tires, etc. optimized for street use). It handles like a giant bicycle! But with plenty of power. Certainly not designed for distance or long hauls, but I thought I would manage for a while without something that was touring worthy. Apparently, I was wrong.
After looking online for a few weeks, I realized that DRZs are just as @*(%*)! expensive in Philly as they were in the San Francisco Bay Area. Damn. So then I decided to alter my search a bit. I found some DR650's that were definitely less expensive. Dual Sporting is something I definitely want to get into. I still love street riding but have been inspired by many friends who have ridden all over the world on them and have had such great adventures. Having ridden a DR650, I knew exactly what to expect.
I started my search with a very low budget, ~$3,000. I actually found a few of DRs that were close but I waited too long and they were no longer for sale. After missing out on these, I decided to look at naked SV's. If you aren't familiar with the SV650, they were made in the full faired (very forward, low bars) and naked (very upright, single handlebar) versions. My last one was an S and I grew to hate the extreme riding position for long trips. As someone who enjoys long, 150+ mile rides, I knew that wouldn't work again.
So I figured why not search for Nakeds? They seem to be less popular here, and I couldn't resist the condition this one was in. Searching Craigslist, I found this beauty. And I couldn't stop thinking about her! Especially given what great shape it was in. Barely ridden, in practically perfect shape and well taken care of. A 2006, less than 7,000 miles on it and just a hair over my budget. I guess I love street riding too much to give it up just yet. As excited as I was about the idea of a DR, the idea of another SV excited me more! Especially a Naked version with a far more comfortable riding position. And funny enough, the riding position reminded me of a powerful supermoto (2009 KTM 690 SMR) that I had the opportunity to ride once before.
I'm familiar with the engine, maintenance and overall care. Parts are inexpensive and plentiful, it's easy to find a mechanic to work on them and I know I can ride a few hundred miles a day on it. I've already started my long list of farkles to upgrade, and can't wait to get it totally ready for my first long weekend trip.
When I went to look at the bike, here are the questions I had ready for the previous owner:
- Are you the first or second owner?
- Has it ever been crashed?
- What upgrades have you put on it, and do you still have the stock parts?
- Do you have any maintenance records for the life of the bike?
- Do you have the title?
I was very happy with the asking price, as I thought it was well below what others were going for so I didn't plan to negotiate on that point. Overall, I went with my instinct when I met the owner, Jerry. He was very nice, honest and truthful about the bike and why he was selling it. It just felt right, I didn't get the feeling he was trying to cover anything up or tell me something that wasn't true. When I asked him for his address to come see the bike, he was a little apprehensive about giving strangers his address. I told him that I totally understood. To make him feel better, I told him where I worked and he immediately responded positively, saying that he was familiar with the site. I also shared my blog with him which also added to my credibility.
The only rough part for me was understanding the way Pennsylvania handles title transfers and the way things work here. But Jerry was really nice and even found a late night notary that we could go to after I got off work. In this state, you have to go to a Notary together to sign off on the title and process the paperwork for the DMV. There are small businesses that specialize in this service so you don't have to go to the DMV. It was a fairly quick process, and 20 minutes later I was riding home.
I'm super excited about finding new roads and taking her new places. I even went on my first group ride with my new riding friends at Revzilla. In the end, I'm very happy with my decision, it ended up being the right one even though I never thought I would be back on an SV.