What have I done?

Four weeks on and I have learnt a lot. I have had some breathing space and time in the garage to contemplate my current situation. I wrote last time about the joy of owning a used Japanese motorcycle and the trill of completing your own maintenance on these machines.

Personally, I have not been disappointed. My new (to me) Honda Deauville is fantastic; it is everything I hoped it would be. The one surprise was that it needed a new radiator as it leaked coolant when I bled the system. It is better that this happened on my driveway as opposed to on the M6 so was not fazed that it needed to be replaced. For now all the jobs I needed to do have been completed and the machine is fighting fit. I would like to get the swingarm off to give it a once over and maybe some new bearings but apart from that I can ride!

Speaking generally, this machine is the one I am most pleased I have bought. To say it is an underdog is an understatement. Labelled as being boring and ‘wollowy’ it does not shout ‘motorcycle’ for many who have ridden it. I have learnt very quickly that ‘motorcycling’ or more accurately ‘owning a motorcycle’ is a different concept from person to person. How you engage with your hobby can be worlds away from that of another person.

What I enjoy about the Deauville are practically focused attributes and not performance orientated. Personally for me I do not want an adrenaline boost from road riding. I want to enjoy and travel. I was initially put off buying this motorcycle from watching and reading reviews. They could be explained as negative or categorised for a more civilised rider that can be off putting.

I struggle to see the context of the reviews or what angle reviewers are coming from when I read motorcycle reviews. Many reviewers write within the borders of their own experiences and concepts of what a motorcycle or type of motorcycle should be. When these two ideas conflict then the motorcycle will get a bad review. As an individuals expectation are not met it is rare that a reviewer can look plainly without bias at what a machine has to offer over and above what they expect.

For instance, having read the reviews of the 2016 Yamaha R1 I am under the understanding that it has a ‘snatchy throttle’. In this instance the expectation of the rider is that of a smoother throttle and as this has not been met it is labelled as a negative attribute. Reading the reviews it has not been made clear that within the context of the whole package of the motorcycle or what the engineers were building that the throttle might be suitable. It could be harsh for the road but perfect for the track. It is a machine that demands respect and an engaged competent rider – that is a positive attribute but is not explored.

I have now learnt to read motorcycle reviews very critically because of this. I would wager that if you asked any motorcycle journalists about the Honda Deauville they would dismiss it as boring. Which is a fair comment but it is important to remember that it is boring for them. Their expectation of a motorcycle might be that they need to be exciting. I like boring in my motorcycles. I do not need any drama or ‘war stories’ to tell. I want my journeys to be uneventful and smooth. I am surprised as to how capable the machine is for running errands, long legged motorway trips and fast A road riding. It is a capable machine for sure and is a shame that they are often overlooked. Despite this prices remain steady however in reality I do not think they sell for the higher premium.

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