Well, you can imagine my excitement...
I had narrowed down an extensive and exhausting search for my new bike from many makes and models to the Honda ST1300, and then from all the advertisements to 3 possible candidates for my new STeed....
“2005 ST, 34,000kms, Candy, top box;
2004 ST, 39,000kms, Blue, metic. maintained;
2004 ST, 38,800kms, Candy - every extra known to man (inc tow bar, bra, radio, UHF CB, etc etc etc).”
Well - the 3rd option won. (See pics below). It also meant I had to retrieve it from 1200kms away! (Hmmm... let the conundrums begin!) There was no end of logistical nightmares that could have unfolded after the many phone calls to the current owner about it being in “perfect condition” and “starting first time - every time” and “no rattles or squeaks!”
Anyway, he convinced me to make all the flight, rail and accommodation plans by assuring me this unit was in “mint” condition.
I became good mates with Neil (owner) over our many phone calls and ended up inviting him to ride around 200km (120miles) back with me if I was to purchase his machine. (Just quietly, I didn't make any other return journey plans that didn't involve riding the ST because I was fairly sure that, if it was in the condition Neil said, then there would be no question of me being the new owner, and riding it home as per the plan!
Anyway, after an airport, 14 train stations, 2 beers and a Jim Beam, Neil picked me up and took me to the Club for dinner where we made our acquaintance. He was a great bloke. He is the Secretary of the Western Sydney Chapter of Ulysses and well admired in the Club - good enough for me!
After the meal we went back to his place and he said “Come on! Out here!”
He fumbled a handful of keys, unlocked the garage door, and revealed...... a bloody great Gold Wing!! Lucky for everyone present, there was a most beautiful, ST1300 next to it in full touring outfit. She was gorgeous! A 2004 Candy Red ST1300A that was up for grabs, and I was in the box seat!
|My new Candy ST1300 - pictured at Wamuran - just north of Brisbane Qld
I knew from his advert that she had an incredible list of extras, but I was quite surprised at the ACTUAL amount - many others he hadn't bothered to mention.
Here is a complete list of extras/spares/farkles:
- cruise control
- heated hand grips
- am/fm tuner radio
- vhf CB radio
- uhf CB radio (yes, that's right!)
- Autocomm rider/pillion intercom system
- Ipod connection for helmets
- PTT button for CB's
- radiator guard
- Honda top box
- power outlet in rhs glove compartment
- extra helmet locks (with keys) at rear
- tow bar with fully isolated, wired plug for powered trailer
- bike cover
- TWO Shoei helmets with comms equipment fitted ($US650 ea)
- ALL paperwork incl. full service history and farkle installation receipts/user guides
- panier liners
- leather tank bra embroidered with “Pan European”
- bagster tank bag
- wind deflectors around mirrors
- 2 x spare helmet visors
- workshop manual
- waterproof tank bag cover
- 24hr phone support for the question “what does this thing do?”
Another bonus was that I was going to replace the tyres eventually with Michelin Road Pilot 2's. Well bugger me if he didn't have them on already with only 4 miles on them! Seems he got the last service done (where tyres were replaced), rode it home, then bought the Wing!
If I was George Costanza, I'd think God was about to kill me because things have never gone my way like this before!
Next morning (after a mind racing, seemingly sleepless night), it was off for the “official” test ride to see finally (and mechanically) what sort of nick she was in, and whether or not we would return to do business, or he would drop me back at the train station.
If Neil was worried at all, he needn't have been. In fact, he was supremely confident that his ST1300 would back up everything he purported about it.
Like most of you know, all her weight disappears the instant she becomes mobile, and her smooth gearbox and apparent lack of draft shaft lash, made even my first ride on her beautifully eloquent and forgiving. It was a no-brainer now. We went down to Western Motorcycles to get me my touring gear for the trip home and went back to Neil's place to complete the financial and ownership transfer transactions.
Then we were on our way up to the NSW Central Coast along the old (and winding) Pacific Highway. There was something nice about riding the old “loose goose” formation with Neil on his Wing and me on MY ST. I felt like we had more road presence than a long-haul Aerodyne Kenworth!
No dramas on the way other than bloody heat and bloody roadworks. But the twists let me explore the pristine condition Michelins and the transition from straight to leaning was perfectly smooth.
Other than being a fantastic experience, discovering the power, prowess, nimbleness, and all the other superlatives that you fellow motorcyclists can identify with, the rest of the trip went perfectly.
We were expecting Cyclone Ului to cross the Qld coast here (and it did), but I got home without any weather dramas. I stopped at Forster/Tuncurry for the night, and then Ballina for the next before doing the last 180 miles home early on the final morning. I took a few detours just to 'have a gander' at some of the lovely coastal and hinterland towns on the way home. They included Port Macquarie (5 stars - going back there, Yamba 5 stars again, and Murwillimbah - another 5 star valley ride).
|The beach at Forster-Tuncurry
|Early morning Day 2 - Forster-Tuncurry
|The Lighthouse at Yamba NSW
|Yamba NSW - view from the pub down to the main beach and rock pool
|The lighthouse carpark at Port Macquarie
|Port Macquarie - looking South
|Lighthouse at Port Macquarie
Got home with 1244kms showing on Trip meter “B” (from where I purchased it) and a very sore arse...err bum. Luckily, it only seemed to take a coffee break (standing up) to give me another couple of hours ride, but I think I'll look into an “all dayer” for future trips. Also, being 6'4”, I needed to frequently: stand up on pegs; sit on pillion seat, use cruise control to rest wrists, stretch legs to straighten knees; stop for beer when none of the above brought relief.
But I made it home and we're all as happy as a pig in mud!
Got 2 compliments on what a beautiful bike she was on the way home. Got 520kms before refuelling (320 miles) no probs. Great!