Don’t even get me started on the macroeconomic aspects of “austerity”… The investment bank “masters or the universe” and their pals that run central banks and such are beyond hope. No, I’m talking “microeconomics” here- like our personal budgets and some of the strange vehicular spending decisions we gearheads have been making of late.

Surfing about the gearhead interwebs I’ve come across some amazing tales of austerity. I’ll keep the details short to protect the guilty. Well off retirees cutting three decade old sidecar bodies in half to get the same tilt nose feature they could get in a new one for not much more. Thousands spent rebuilding twenty year old pickups that get 10 MPG downhill with a tailwind. Spending over $2k on a near forty year old airhead with drum brakes that don’t even run. Or rebuilding (again) an old high hood KW or Pete that’s an aerodynamic disaster area because you don’t want one of them   ” ‘lectronic engines with all the ‘missions crap”. Or the guys that buy sidecar subframes and mounts from Motorvation so you can mount the beat up old or new 3rd world sidecar that cost them maybe all of a thousand dollars less than a new Motorvation sidecar to a three or four decade old bike.

Now if a quarter century or more old set of wheels are all you can afford now, no problem, and I’ll happily loan you any tools or supply any parts that’ll keep said wheels runnin’. But if you can afford better, quit abusing yourself and help the economic recovery a bit. Let’s start with the troglodite that’s spending his day off fixing his old truck so he can get 5 MPG when he tries to haul a paying load with it for the next week. 5 MPG over a typical over the road big rigs 100,000 miles a year will consume 20,000 gallons of fuel at a cost of $80,000. Buy a new truck with swoopy aerodynamics and a more efficent powertrain and you’ll get 7 MPG… that works out to around $56k a year, a $24k savings. That’ll darn near make the payments on a new truck. Then spec the truck for todays loads and roads with a smaller sleeper, lighter components, and a few mods to take advantage of today’s higher legal weight limits. Heck, that new truck’s gonna pay for itself and you’ll have your days off to spend with the family, fish, cheat on your spouse, whatever…

On to our hackers… Time to break open the piggybank. Yes, I know the countryside is littered with 4 cylinder “old wings” and the remains of sidecars of similar vintage. But when quality american small businesses like Texas Sidecars, Motorvation, etc. will supply you with a new sidecar that you won’t have to weld and “glass” back together for as little as $3-4K… Why do it the hard way? Bikes… You can buy  new bikes like the Guzzi V7, WeeStroms, KLRs, DRs, etc. and get change back from  $10k. Sure beats replacing thirty year old seals and wondering which will curl up and die next… I’ve had all too much personal experience in this area.

So if you’re really broke, run whatever old iron you got ’til you can afford better. But if you can afford better, help yourself and the economy. Besides, I’m gettin’ tired of the service and parts delays ’cause y’all overtaxin’ the shops and parts systems with your old clunkers!

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