Monthly Archives: August 2010
Went on a little poker run today, but bailed after the 3rd card. These things are often all day (and sometimes all night) affairs. I got stuff to do.
Pretty light day, 242 mi. Rode with Cindy, Neil, Neil’s father in law, his friend and spouse. Good group. Jelled pretty well. Cindy wanted to bail after the third stop since her old man was getting off work about that time, so we jetted back to Helena early. Just as well. Opened the three envelopes when I got home and had a crap poker hand.
It was indeed an awesome day yesterday, Saturday, August 14th. Started out cold and rainy. My buddy/coworker Neil and I decided to ride about 100 miles up to Seeley Lake, stopping in Avon for breakfast, of course. After breakfast the sun was shiny and the clouds were breaking up. It was gorgeous and only got better as the day wore on. Well, then Seeley Lake turned into Swan Lake for the Huckleberry Harvest Festival, then into Kalispell, then around Flathead lake (west side this time) to Polson for an awesome lunch and then Missoula and before you know it, we trod 430 miles over some of the prettiest scenery in the country.
And because 430 wasn’t enough I put on another 20 miles running out to Gene and Nancy’s house for bacon, bleu cheese and avocado burgers and blueberry pie.
The only downer was I couldn’t fit a fresh huckleberry pie in my new saddlebags.
You can where Seeley Lake is and how far things got out of hand…
I rode this Rocket III Roadster, a Rocket III Tourer, a Thunderbird 1600, a Thunderbird 1700 big bore, and a Scrambler.
The R3T is a HUGE bike. It’s brilliant, though. Super comfortable and you can’t hardly tell it’s “detuned” from the standard Rocket III. With all the same torque it pulls hard in every gear. It’s just too big and looks too much like a Harley Road King for my tastes. The Thunderbird 1600 is a pig. Oh sure it’s plenty fast if you don’t have carpel tunnel and can crank on the throttle and the brakes absolutely sucked compared to the Rockets and my bike with the dual discs (and it does have dual discs). The Thunderbird 1700 is a completely different bike. It goes like stink and stops much better, though I suspect it has ABS (but I didn’t check). It’s also a much better looking bike than the Rockets. But the numbers just don’t add up. I’ll explain later.
The Scrambler (their “dual-sport” Bonneville) was fun as hell, a virtual “bag of giggles,” helped in part by the 2-into-1 Arrow exhaust option which sounds almost as good as my bike with the Specialty Spares mufflers. But the Scrambler had one major drawback for me: the seat was horrible. The demo was configured with all kinds of accessories and truly looked the business, starting with a matte khaki paint and the aforementioned Arrow exhaust, and adding the solo seat with rear rack, engine guards, headlight grill, and handlebar crossbar with Triumph embossed pad. About the only thing missing for me was a left-side aluminum pannier and a center stand. Some day I’ll add one of these to my stable but it will probably be an older used model that I’ll customize as time and money allows to look something like what I rode yesterday.
(Update: Forgot to finish this before I published it.)
So the gist of this is I want a Rocket III more than ever, and the new Roadster is “the one.” I really want the matte black version but they’re discontinuing it next year. The corporate guy didn’t say what they were replacing that color with if anything. It was tempting to just say F it and sign the papers, but I really need to get some big ticket items fixed on my house before I take on anymore debt (which, of course, I shouldn’t do at all). Hopefully by Spring ’11 I can be in a position to handle it. I won’t need to do anything to the bike except possibly move my Windvest windshield and Tsukayu hard saddlebags from the Bonneville America to the Rocket. Then ride the piss out of it.
(Update: Damn, I still didn’t finish…)
So about the numbers:
Rocket III Roadster: $14k
Thunderbird 1600: $12.5k
Thunderbird 1700: $13.5k
Thunderbird 1700 ABS: 14.5k
Why the hell would I buy the Thunderbird? The only differences between the top of the line Thunderbird and the Roadster, beside aesthetics (which is everything to some people)…
Thunderbird has a 6th gear
Thunderbird is belt drive
Roadster is shaft drive
Both have EFI, water cooling, dual front discs, lots of power (though the R3 is way ahead), both have ABS if you fully load out the Thunderbird. And I believe the Thunderbird is almost as heavy, within 100 lbs. of the Roadster.
Really, those are the major differences. Admittedly the Thunderbird looks a bit better than the Roadster, but there are those who favor function over form. On the other hand, the Thunderbird looks like the twin of my bike, the Bonneville America, but all pumped up and ‘roided out.
Picture hot twin sisters, Bonnie and Birdy. But Birdy decides to dedicate herself to weightlifting and goes to the gym 4 hours per day, and becomes a mid-level weight lifter. She has to get implants because her boobs disappear from all the exercise and steroids, she starts to get that horsey/manly face, you get the idea. She’s still somewhat attractive, and can well out perform her twin sister Bonnie, but she can’t come close to the physical achievements of their brother, Roady. Even with all the changes and the loss of some of her femininity Birdy is prettier than Roady, of course. But Roady can still kick her butt in head to head competition and he doesn’t spend any time in the gym. Meanwhile, Bonnie has all the boys fawning over her because she’s still just as pretty as ever. It doesn’t matter that she can’t benchpress her own weight or run with the big boys. Out of the three siblings, guess which one doesn’t get as much action as the other two? The feminine Bonnie and the masculine Roady both have a place in this world. Birdy is a bit of an outcast still trying to find her place.