Credit crunch biking part 3

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Three months ago I bought an old CBR 1000F to keep me on the road after selling my Pan European – there are 2 previous little reports in MCN readers news archives if anyone is interested.

I’ve now done over 3000 miles with no drama, that’s about the same as the mileage it covered in the previous 2 years. Nothing has gone wrong or fallen off and the only consumable has been the rear pads.

The first three objectives of having this bike were achieved beyond my expectations - economy, reliability and a bit of bonus fun.

Now for the fourth and most challenging task - a 2 up run with my very particular wife: The first run was a partial success with suspension, brakes and power all coping no problem, in fact it seems to make little difference 1 or 2 up and I don’t alter the settings at all.

A comfy seat and footrests were reported and, most importantly, no buffeting (buffeting was the worse problem with the Pan).

However the aftermarket grab rail seems to be a little further back than the standard one so she couldn’t reach it properly and was in danger of falling off the back – I told you she was fussy!

This was cured in 15 mins at a cost of 40p with four large unbreakable cable ties and a bit of old blue plastic hose pipe to create a bit of extra grip and security (see pictures, and remember looks are not really a priority!).

On the next ride out the ultimate compliment was given - ‘most comfortable bike since the BMW’ (’94 R1100RS) So it would appear that it is possible to cover all bases with very little cash.

Looking at the economics simply it obviously costs a fraction of the running costs of the Pan or, God forbid, that shiny boxy thing we tow the caravan with (sorry – it’s a diesel as well but there is a ‘think bike’ sticker in the back window!).

I estimate the total cost for a 12,000 mile year to be about £2000, that’s all consumables and my own servicing, tax and insurance, a bit for emergencies and a bit for depreciation.

The only real alternative for me would be the train which would cost £2300 for 46 weeks, 4 trains and 3.5 hours per day, so 1.5 hours of enjoyment per day has replaced 3.5 hours of potential purgatory at no cost, along with some fun 1 and 2 up as a free bonus.

The obvious moral is if anyone is feeling the pinch and thinking of giving up, or wants to get started with a big bike, it really can be done for little cost as a stepping stone to, or back to, a better situation.

Let’s see what a busy summer and a busy and salty winter bring….

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By peterhenthorne