Sung to the tune of Bruce Springsteen’s “Livin’ in the USA”…

Back in November of 2001 after the 9/11 tragedy had sunk new bikes sales I bought a new Buell Cyclone. Part of the attraction, besides the deeply discounted price, was Harley’s offer of a warranty extension to 7 years, UNLIMITED MILEAGE!

My plan was simple- ride all over our great country and put a hundred thousand miles on the Buell before the warranty expired. The $900 extended warranty turned out to be a good deal- They took their sweet time about it, but Harley paid for $2000 in repairs to that Buell. Taking a hint, as soon as the Buell was out of warranty I bought a new BMW F800S… Which at 45,000 has required only a fork seal replacement in the way of repairs.

As it worked out, I ended up putting a lot more miles on my hack’d airheads instead of the Buell, so when the extended warranty ran out it’d covered only about 55k miles. Given it’s unrealiability I rode it to Florida to leave at my shack by the big swamp, and true to form it broke a tranny detent spring on the ride down.

But the concept works… Say you’ve lots of time and good weather to ride, but you’re on a tight budget… Like this retiree! The Japanese manufacturers offer some pretty decent bikes for well under $10k, and for a few hundred bucks extra they’ll extend the one year warranty to 2,3, even 4 years. HOG(NYSE) still offers extended warranties up to 7 years, assuming you can stand to ride a Harley that long. So buy a KLR or WeeStrom or whatever suits your needs and fancy, ride the hell out of it, just make sure to keep up on all the required maintainence. When the extended warranty’s expired, sell it, hack it, keep it for a spare, whatever… Heck, if it’s been a faithful servant ride it another hundred thousand miles!

So buy a new bike, bum around, maybe take in a rally every weekend… What’s not to like?

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