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Buying a Motorcycle is only the Beginning

By Walter F. Kern

Get ready to lay out a lot of cash to support your motorcycle habit

In the beginning there was the idea. Pretty innocuous at first: "I want to learn to ride a motorcycle." Just a simple goal, perhaps one that you've been thinking about a long time and finally have the family situation and money to accomplish. You encounter all the typical resistance from your family and friends but decide to go ahead anyway. You do it right. You buy a starter motorcycle and sign-up for a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) class. You find out after finishing the course that you really like to ride motorcycles so you continue your training with a good friend who has a lot of years of experience and has taken several MSF courses. Somewhere along the line you wake up one morning and realize that you have been bitten by the motorcycle bug and there is no cure.

Over the course of a year, you outgrow your first motorcycle and buy a bigger one.

Then after about six more months you decide you want to do some serious touring and want to cross several states. You end up needing to part with some serious cash to buy a new motorcycle. Now, when you just had the idea you wanted to ride back two years ago, you didn't realize that this need to ride would impact such a large part of your personal balance sheet. You find that a new touring bike is going to set you back as much as $18,000. Logic seems to have flown out the window by now so you find all kinds of ways to rationalize this purchase.

Also, you have had to upgrade your wardrobe by purchasing a helmet, boots, summer gloves, winter gloves, balaclava, wind triangle, denim jacket, leather motorcycle jacket with liner and vents, long winter riding suit, long underwear, electric vest, gloves, and socks, leather chaps, and numerous turtleneck pullovers. And, your buddy has a full leather riding suit that you've been eyeing and that's probably next.

As soon as you get the new motorcycle, you notice that they left something off. That piece of plastic on the side where the air from the engine comes out looks terrible. You run down to your dealer to buy a chrome replacement. On the way out the door, you see another customer's bike just like yours except it has a rack on the back trunk and what are those lights that go all the way around the bike? You don't have those. You run back in and inquire how you can get these features too. No problem. All it takes is cash. Are you beginning to get the picture? Your bike is fast becoming a money pit.

But this is only the beginning. As you travel around on your bike you see that other motorcyclists have customized their bikes in many beautiful and expensive ways. You find yourself drawn like a magnet to vendors who promise to add better performance to your bike's engine and suspension by buying their products. You find your backside is not dealing well with the stock seat and you have to decide among six different brands of custom seats. You're outgrowing your carrying capacity so you start investigating adding a trailer. The money is really flowing now.

Then one day your significant other comes up to you and says: "Honey, I want to get my own bike."

Well, double trouble is not what you expected when you set out on this journey to follow your dream. But, the die has been cast. Your life is over as you used to know it. All your children's inheritance is slipping fast.

The funny thing is you know your life has changed for the better. You've been places you never would have gone. You've met people you never would've met and had the best time of your life on your motorcycle.

In a way, you've been blessed in that now both of you are hooked into a new life of motorcycling. Yes, buying a bike is only the beginning and you will never be the same again.

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