August 7, 2020 - Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Mo.
I'll make no bones about it, I want a bigger bike. Not bigger to be bigger per se, but bigger to be better. Better for comfort. Better for convenience. Better for riding long distance. Better for hauling stuff. Better for performance.
My want is for bigger, but my wallet isn't having any part of it. But, just for the sake of argument...
Three bikes comprising my drool-over-me trio are, in no particular order (drum roll please):
The Triumph Thunderbird Classic LT. The big dog (save the Rocket III, which I really don't consider a cruiser anyway) of the recent Triumph years, is dripping with class and with a two-color paint scheme and white wall tires is a real head-turner. It's an incredibly comfortable ride and packs enough power and torque to get the job done.
In my mind its pros are: 1) Ride comfort, 2) Styling, 3) ABS brakes 4) Low cost of acquisition ($5500-$7,000 range), 4) It's the lightest of my three, and 5) It's a Triumph. Who wouldn't want a Triumph?
It's negatives, again to me, are: 1) It's no longer in production. How hard will finding parts be and at what cost? 2) Limited US dealership network. How far away to get it worked on by someone who knows what they're doing? 3) Brand reliability in general.
Kawasaki's tour-packless bagger option, the Vaquero.
Its pros are: 1) Features - lots of them with ABS standard, 2) Bomb-proof Kawasaki reliability, particularly in the power-train department 3) Very well established, and plentiful, US dealer network, 4) Many affordable used options on the market and new models that won't require a second mortgage.
Its cons: 1) No true style or panache, 2) No true style or panache, and 3) No true style or panache. 4) Heaviest option of my three.
The 2018+ Harley Davidson Heritage Classic - the big daddy of Harley's softail line, or the pipsqueak of their touring line, depending on how you look at it.
Its pros: 1) Harley's first truly re-designed large bike with frame, feature and ride quality upgrades with less weight than the 2017 and prior year models, 2) Only option with standard LED lighting, 3) The social camaraderie network that comes with owning an HD product, 4) Dealerships and certified mechanics everywhere, 4) Most power of the three with Harley's new 114ci Milaukee 8 engine (almost 1900cc) 5) Lightest curb weight of the three (hard to believe, I know), 5) Style, panache and the quintessential Harley rumble. Who wouldn't want a Harley? 6) Highest resale value.
Its cons: 1) Exorbitant price, 2) Parts and HD accessories priced similarly, 3) Passenger backrest not standard, and 4) Air-cooled.