Every parent must have the same angst as I did when my son asked for a motorbike. In no time, when you start talking about it to your colleagues and friends, you'll hear all the horror stories of people they personally know who have had an injury from a motorbike accident. How does one say no to a young adult? They want to experience the world. I myself have gone through the same stage in life and I ought to know the feeling. The only reason I gave in is because I trust my son to do what is right to avoid getting into an accident. Having said that, there is still the element of risk. I can only put my faith in God.
With that philosophically worked out, I went to look at some motorbikes with my son. He had already narrowed down his choice to the Honda RVF (a 400cc bike, which is the maximum permitted for a new rider). As this is not imported new into Australia, we could only look for used ones which are imported from Japan and sold as reconditioned bikes. The first one we looked at was privately owned. Cost: $8500. That was the first time I had an actual look at a real life RVF. I thought the size was about right for him, but we thought it would be prudent to check out the ones in a shop. Going to a proper shop gives you added confidence of after-sales service plus a six-month warranty. We found a few RVF's, in the colour we wanted, and costs $9100 (just a bit more). Happy with what we saw, we decided that was what we will get. I left that place thinking I would buy a bank cheque and come back for the bike the next day. Well, before the day was over, we ended up buying a new bike, but not from this place.
Here is what happened. We decided that the previous shop that sells the used RVF does not have a good range of motorcycle outfit. Before we went to the bank we decided to look for the outfit. After all, you cannot pick up the motorbike if you don't have at least a crash helmet with you. We went to a place on the Maroondah Highway. It was immediately an eye opener for us. There were several big motorcycle dealers there. We went straight to the Honda dealer. It had a huge showroom with all the latest Honda and Ducati models. The bikes were all so very attractive. I couldn't help admiring them. I persuaded my son to get a new bike instead of a used RVF. Fortunately he was sensible enough to let go of his dream bike and listen to me, which made it easier for us to start some serious shopping. For just $2000 more than the RVF, we got him a Honda CB400, which is also a 400cc bike like the RVF, but has all the technological improvements of better brake system, fuel injection, and a water-cooled VTEC engine. Of course, all that on a spanking new body, as compared to the 15-year old RVF we almost bought. What a day! Of course, we also bought the complete motorcycle outfit from them, which was why we went there in the first place.
(Uploaded picture on 10th July 2009. Here is Sean on his bike. Just got it today. Came with a beautiful number plate: HW 008)