|1993 Suzuki GS500E|
This was my first motorcycle, which quite ironically . . . I wrecked on the day I was picking it up. This bike served its purpose in every way; providing me a balanced bike to learn on, surviving through my first and only crash on, and gently easing me into the two wheeled world of motorcycle maintenance, as well. After that first day (and my subsequent recovery), I owned it for quite some time after that and became much more skilled and experienced at riding motorcycles. I set this page up to share my experience with this very first bike of mine. :-)
When picking my very first motorcycle - at this stage in my life, the main consideration was budget. I had just finished my freshman year of college, and the primary purpose (or excuse, depending on how you look at it) for getting a motorcycle was so I could ride to school and park on campus without having to take the bus, as I lived off campus in an apartment.
I chose a Suzuki GS500E because I had heard/read the handling of this bike was very balanced, and while most things in my price range (even the ones that were sportier like a Honda Nighthawk or Kawasaki Ninja 250R) were 250cc - this one had an engine that was big enough that I wouldn't get tired of it as my riding skill improved a little.
The asking price of this bike in 1999 was $2,200.00. Over the phone, I got him down to my budget of $2,000.00 - and, then another $50.00 because the choke cable was missing. So, I paid $1,950.00 for the bike - a sum that took some major scraping together at the time.
However, it was in San Antonio, TX (a brisk hour ride from Austin, TX). I decided to have a friend give me a ride down there, and I'd ride it back instead of pay for shipping a motorcycle. In retrospect, this wasn't the best idea for my "first ride."
Accident: Very shortly after leaving the house of the gentleman I purchased this bike from, I had my first and only motorcycle accident. They say that every motorcycle rider has one - it's just how bad and when. Mine was right away, and fortunately - could have been much worse. When I was leaving with my new bike, I was on a very hilly & gravel covered road. There was an ambulance stopped on the side (tending to a gentleman supposedly having a heart attack), and a Dodge Ram decided at the very last minute it couldn't get around this ambulance and slammed on the brakes. With my limited riding experience, my reflexes caused me to jam the front brake way too hard without applying even pressure to the back brake. The bike got light on the rear and went down, dragging me underneath it. I wasn't able to get out from underneath it until we came to a complete stop - which was the source of most of my injuries. I wasn't sure how bad I was hurt, so I stood up and kindly asked my friend, "Help me get my bike up," to which he responded: "Dude, look at your arm." It was clearly broken, and I had sustained significant road rash (that wore to the bone in several points on my body). People standing by, including the medics from the ambulance, started to help me . . . I passed out at some point, but I remember them cutting my clothes off of me and then telling each other not to take my helmet off because I possibly had severe neck/back injuries (they were just being safe). All I could think to myself then was that, "Man, I just became a statistic and threw my life away." I kept saying non-sensical things like, "Someone call my insurance co. and change my coverage to collision!" I was wearing a helmet (thankfully, and as I always did after this), and I saved my damaged helmet to this day. This was a dumb way to learn a few lessons: 1) Wear proper riding gear which includes a jacket with armor, proper gloves, etc. 2) Collision coverage is not a terrible buy. Etc. Lastly, I wish I had taken pictures of the bike before the accident; it had a really nice windshield on it and everything. :(
After a few months of wound care and rehabilitating myself (showering and getting to my 3rd floor apartment were a huge pain!), I got my bike reasonably repaired. It no longer had a big beautiful windshield like it had at one point, and it had some fresh scrapes. Also, adding to my $1,950.00 investment into the bike - I now had fresh towing and storage charges racked up, as well. I ended up replacing just a blinker, and it was enough for me to ride, again, although not quite as "pretty" as it was.
I then rode it around a bit, slowly and slowly more and more, and then I started riding it to school every day, as I first originally intended. Riding, and more specifically to classes, was as convenient and fun as I thought it would be.
Service: Later on, I ended up having to do one "major" service on the bike, and after asking around - I decided to go to Zabor's Motorcycle on Burnet Rd. in Austin, TX. My battery had died, so I had the bike towed to Zabor's with my motor club membership. It was suggested that I replace the two tires, the choke cable, the speedometer cable, the battery, the rear brake pads, teh air filter, the spark plugs, have teh valves adjusted, check teh compression, sync. the carbs., change the oil & filter, adjust & lubricate the chain, get a repair manual, and generally overlook the bike. He said a carb. cleaning would be helpful, although I could just ride it a lot and see if that helps. I got the bike out of service on 10/22/1999, and it ran great from then until the day I sold it. This service ended up costing me $606.67 at the time.
Vandalism: Later on, during a holiday visit to my parents' place in Plano, TX . . . the bike was vandalized in a very significant and aggressive fashion. Holes were poked in the fuel tank (on the sides and the top), holes were poked in the seat, holes were poked in the brand new tires, etc. This was terribly upsetting, and nobody was caught here. The bike ended up being "totalled out," but I bought it back as salvage from the insurance company, and I netted $540.00. I took the bike back to Zabor's Motorcycle, again, and they replaced/mounted two new tires, again, for $250.50. They didn't charge me any storage for the two weeks it was there (since I purchased tires there). However, they wouldn't install a used fuel tank, and I went to Austin CyclePlexx and got a used fuel tank (darker shade of red and without decals, but great shape). Together with the tires, these repairs totalled to around $470.00 . . . and, I just dealt with the holes in the seat by putting tape on there.
As any curious teenager does, I started to play with riding it at higher speeds, took it to the 1/4 mile racetrack (best I ever turned were mid to high 13 second times at around 90 mph with just slow launches off the line), did all I could to launch the heavy front end into the air for a wheelie (usually required throttle loading the front shock/spring and/or majorly ripping the clutch out when over-rev'd), etc. Good times. :)
I didn't want to sell this bike, especially because I didn't feel I could get what it was worth for a bike I had spent so much on and gone through so much for. But, a friend of mine expressed interest, so I sold it to him for $1,800.00 (which I loaned him - and never ended up getting paid for, yet another lesson the bike taught me, =P). This was on 2/1/2001, and it was freezing cold outside. But, this didn't keep my friend from putting in about 5 hours of riding time on that first day. It was nice to see my friend so happy and enjoying the new bike. It felt like we were little kids again playing with a Go-Kart.
I believe that under my friend's ownership, the bike took several falls and continued to go strong for a very long time. Since, I had lost touch with the bike, and I hope that wherever it is, someone else is learning on it, as well. :-)
I Learned On This Motorcycle From: 7/1999 - 2/2001.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 May 2012 21:29|