Oh, I must not forget - I can blame my wife for this whole motorcycle thing. I tried to get her to learn to ride half a dozen years ago - I bought a mid 80's Kawasaki 305CSR for like $400 in nice shape. Small, light, and low. Only problem is she hates cruisers and just had no interest, even though she's always wanted to learn. So, I rode it for a summer or two, but not much. Not enough power and too small, it was always giving me a wedgie.
I really don't like cruisers, either, for that matter.
So, this summer she comes out one day and says she wants to learn to ride, and seriously. OK, let's do it. She got a nice bonus and raise this year at work, so that's what she wanted to do. We looked around and she kept coming back to one bike - Ninja 250. I wanted her to get a Blast, but she liked the Ninja. The '08 models were sold out, so we had to wait for an '09. She wanted the redesigned model from '08 and up, and even older 250's weren't any deal when we were looking during the $4/gal gas days.
Just before Christmas, I called the dealer and they had a Ninja in stock. The deal was done:
The cool thing about Illinois (of which there are very few, IMO), is the state offers motorcycle classes at local community colleges over weekends, they provide a motorcycle, and if you pass the class, it waives the road test requirement at the DMV, which in this state, is a joke - it's administered in the parking lot of the DMV with cones in a space the size of the average bedroom - and very difficult to pass unless you're riding a moped. At least when I picked back up my MC endorsement while living in Wisconsin, it was a "real" road test where the examiner followed in a car. Piece of cake.
Anyway, the classes offered by the state are FREE! So, they fill up fast, and she is watching for the signup and calendar to be posted on the website every day to get first dibs.
The other cool thing about this state is I only have to pay a flat $25 tax on a used bike purchase, not based on model year or value.
The only downside to all of this??? We now have two blue motorcycles, and I have a blue 2002 Jetta TDI wagon and she has a blue 2005 Liberty CRD. Seriously, they are all almost the SAME blue....
We joked after we bought her bike that the next vehicle couldn't be blue, and she almost wouldn't let me buy my Buell because of the color....I told her at least it had orange wheels!