Sunday, February 13, 2011

I Bought a Motorcycle!

Dear Readers, meet Molly! My DH and I have been checking out Craigslist to try to find a small bike that would fit me and be a good choice for someone who is new to riding a motorcycle.  He found this one for sale in western North Carolina, and after seeing the pictures and researching it online, I was in love! She is a 2002 Suzuki SV650 (naked).  I was pretty worried that a 650 would be way too big of an engine for a newbie like me.  I could imagine myself accidentally giving it too much throttle and it taking off like a rocket and leaving me behind! But the many, many reviews I found for it all praised it highly, and the website Best Beginner Motorcycles even recommended it for beginners.  Normally much smaller bikes like the 250s are recommended as safest for beginner riders. 

Luckily for me, this bike is nice and lightweight, much like a sport bike, but has a lot of the styling and comfort like a cruiser.  I'm not a fan of the "crotch rockets" where you lean forward on your arms and have your rear end up in the air.  The SV650 does have the foot pegs farther back than a cruiser so your knees remain bent, but it's still a fairly upright seating position.  Being lightweight (less than 400 pounds) makes it much easier to maneuver and control, but the bigger engine will ensure that I don't outgrow it immediately after learning how to ride.  The top speed on most 250 machines is about 65mph.  The SV650 is about 125mph. I have no plans to EVER go that fast, even in my car, so I don't need it to go that fast.  But if I ever need to get on the interstate and keep up with traffic in a 70mph zone, I'll be able to do so without blowing the engine.

Getting Molly home was quite an ordeal.  The location was about 5 1/2 hours from where I live, and the weather was very cold (low 30s with wind chills much lower) and it rained the entire time.  DH and my dad and I drove up there in my car to check it out and see if I liked it.  Of course I can't actually RIDE it, so I just sat on it to test the fit and see if I liked the way it felt.  We looked it over and checked out the mechanics, and then my husband took it for a spin to see if it felt like it ran okay.  It did, and I still loved it, so I bought it!  At that point we had to get it home.  My husband rode it home, in the freezing rain, on a ride that in a car would have taken about 3 1/2 hours.  We were stopping at my parents' house for the night before coming back home the next morning.  Since the weather was so bad, we had to make a LOT of stops so DH could thaw out and the parts of his riding gear that weren't waterproof.  We also couldn't go as fast as we normally might have because the bike hadn't been ridden in a year, so it wasn't quite up to par.  Turns out the spark plugs needed to be replaced, and DH spent most of the ride with the bike only firing on one piston, which meant it had maybe half the power that it should have.  Not fun for riding on the interstate, at night, in the freezing rain! That 3 1/2 hour trip ended up taking 8 grueling hours. 

Not being very mechanically inclined, I didn't really know what might be wrong with Molly, and I was worried that I'd bought a lemon and that it was going to cost a fortune to fix her.  Thankfully all it took was two little spark plugs and she was good to go!  Chris and my dad changed them the next morning and then DH even changed the oil and oil filter too, just for good measure.  Needless to say, the ride home from my parents' house was much more enjoyable!  Warmer, little to no rain, and a fun bike with a good engine.  He had a great time getting it back to our house, and I'm glad to know he enjoys the bike so much.  It means it was a good buy and that once I learn to ride and can feel comfortable and confident on it, I'll be able to have some fun too!

I love her bright yellow paint! She looks like a bumble bee, which is sort of how she came to be named Molly.  I thought I'd name her something that referred to her marvelous and snazzy coloring, but couldn't think of anything about bees that didn't sound entirely stupid.  Some people will think it's silly enough to name her at all.  But as I was thinking, the phrase "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" passed through my mind.  I thought, "Aha!  Muhammad Ali! M. Ali...Mali...Molly!"  And there you go.  A beautiful, fun bike that I still need to learn how to ride.  I guess I have no choice but to learn how to work a manual transmission now.  It's going to be a long, bumpy ride!


  1. Note to self - take a trailer next time, or borrow a pickup. ;-) You owe DH big time for that ride home. Hopefully he won't get pneumonia.

    I like the yellow color! Now you can get matching yellow helmet and kevlar to go with. And I'm glad you remembered the rule, "Never drive a bike that's too big to pick up when it falls over." Now it's time to remember the rule, "It doesn't matter how careful you are on a bike, only how careless the other guy is."

    Manuals are easy, just like breathing, you don't think about it after awhile.

    Molly's a good name. I hope she takes care of you.

  2. Yes, a trailer would have been a good idea, but if we took the truck and a trailer we wouldn't have had room for me, DH, and my dad on the way up. And since I can't drive the bike OR hubby's manual transmission truck, we'd have been out of luck once we got there. :)

    Hopefully it will be a while before I have to find out if I can pick mine up! I'm hoping not to drop it too soon, but I'm sure it will happen eventually. And I will be assuming I am invisible when on my bike!

  3. Congratulations on your new bike! The timing is perfect with spring around the corner.

  4. Spleeness - Thanks! Today is a gorgeous day and feels like spring already. I actually just came in from a practice ride, and it is so beautiful outside!