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The Sweet Aroma Of Desire

Blog Date 15 December 2023

I am not one for quick decisions when it comes to purchases.

I usually research, painstakingly looking for pros and cons of a product and the very best possible deal price wise. This obsession (what other word is there for such behaviour) was born out of necessity. When you have little spare cash any decisions have to be the right ones, you can't afford to make a mistake and you can't afford not to find the chosen product at the very cheapest price out there.

There are times when my meticulous research has served me well and I have purchased a good product at the best price, there are times when my own worry and indecision has driven myself mad and any good deals have passed by the time I decided that was in fact the best deal to be had.
So I am self aware enough to realise that there is a line between healthy research and obsession and previously I had definitely entered obsession territory. Ok more than entered, I was deep within the obsession wilderness. Add to this my daughter's illness where I had to research to save her life. It really was a matter of life and death in this situation, so this just fed into my obsession for research.

The necessity of this obsession has abated. Don't get me wrong I have not won the lottery, but as I now have a more highly paid job than I had previously, the financial squeeze is no longer so acute. My daughter remains poorly but my research got me to the surgeon who saved her life. There will always be a need for research with her complex conditions but the desperation is not now as acute. As such I have had time to reflect and I have been trying to reign in the research obsession and to find my way out of this swamp and to more healthy firmer ground.

As anyone who has had a habit will know this is easier said than done. But the first step in any recovery is the acknowledgement that a problem exists in the first place. I know you are probably thinking - isn't this a blog about bikes not some 5 step recovery programme? You are quite right, it is, so bear with me. 

I have recently been churning vaguely in my mind that maybe now Zen the Keeway RKS 125cc is gone, and the shed feels a bit empty with only one bike in it, maybe it is time to upgrade. I have had the Kawasaki Z250 SL now for 7 years. Envy (the Z250SL) is still going strong with over 35k miles on her. She is getting rust spots here and there and bears the scars of our slide down the road. But she is still a joy to ride so do I need another bike? Need? Definitely not. Want? Well that is a whole other matter is it not. 

Sharon with a big smile next to Zen all loaded up ready to ride to The Netherlands
Many happy memories were made with Zen.

I have in my biking career to date only owned 2 bikes. I see people change bikes more often than I change the cat's litter tray. However, I am aware I am getting on, you know, age wise and I might not have endless summers ahead to experience other motorbikes. I am curious about other options, bikes that is.
Quite some time ago I took a Ninja 400 for a test ride and really enjoyed that experience. Being more a naked girl (bikes that is) I have always looked at the Z400 whenever one has graced a showroom floor. Being small, being not very strong and not in possession of a full spine my options have always remained limited. The Z400 was always going to be on the cards if ever I were to decide on an upgrade because it is not that much heavier than Envy. Just another 20kg but believe me when you weigh around 50kg then even 20kg becomes obvious when manhandling the bike. I would look but never really seriously. There never has been much choice of motorcycles for me anyhow.

Sharon about to test ride the Ninja 400
I... I can reach the floor! Now get outta my way there's rubber to burn.

Browsing the internet I spy a motorbike advert, a new kid on the block. Another 400cc by none other than Triumph. Well that certainly sparked my interest! Ohhh they do a scrambler version ohhh that is gorgeous, the brown seat with that green colourway and those chunky tyres and and oh dear and that tall seat height and oh that heavier weight. Darn it.

The Triumph scrambler 400 in green and brown

All is not lost however, Triumph also do a street version called the Speed 400 and with a retail price of £5k this was looking very interesting indeed.

I always used to love the more sporty looking bikes. Maybe this is an age thing or a lack of luggage options thing or just I want a change thing but my preferences have changed. I adore the look of scrambler bikes and although not a scrambler itself the speed has the street look that I now prefer. I am definitely now a fan of the "one height" seat after all the issues with having to resort to Tour-A-Plank for Envy.

I do a little research, not too much, enough to be informed while remaining mindful of my obsessive nature. The reviews are good, build quality and specs are high. But there is one review that sticks in my mind. The Triumph Speed is described as "such a well behaved bike". Now the sensible person inside of me says this is a very good thing. The "I think I am racer(but I really am not)" side of me thinks oh that sounds a bit boring. Do I want a well behaved bike? Well yes... but no. 

The Triumph Speed 400
Lovely, not *quite* as lovely as the Scrembler.

Envy may only have 27 horsepower but every one of those horses wants to go. Weight and seat height is almost the same as the Z400and and price wise it is cheaper, so for whenever I may be ready for another bike this may be a serious contender indeed. The first of the Triumph Speeds will not hit the UK until January 2024 and no doubt there will be quite a wait as the presales in other countries has been high. So yeah maybe next year I will sit on one and consider my options. 

That was that, thoughts of a new bike put to bed until next year. Or so I thought. Riding to the Lakes for a few days away and half way round a roundabout Envy dies. A good few years ago no doubt I would have just come to a stop. Now I simply flick her starter button to spark her quickly back into life. 

But it was still a bit disconcerting. This is the second time this has happened recently. The first was in stop start traffic a few weeks back. Although I did not think I had stalled the bike I wasn't completely sure so I just blamed myself for possibly stalling. However this time I knew for sure I hadn't stalled and therefore probably never actually had stalled last time either. To a mind that already has tendrils emerging in the quest for something new, then any imperfection in the already owned immediately filters through to feed and grow the sapling thoughts. By the time we reached our holiday destination the sapling was growing into a thought tree. 

The thought tree was not complex - it consisted of a simple "I will get a new bike". I kept the thought to myself for a few hours while I looked at bikes for sale on the net, whilst Ren was resting. Later on that evening I declared to Ren that on the way home from our current holiday we were to look at a couple of new (ex demo Z400's) at Millenium Motorcycles. Err what about the Triumph I was so enamoured with was Ren's question. Well no Triumph's were ready to see in the flesh as yet, the Z400 was, so that was what we would look at, simples. Ren is perturbed that yet another alien life form has invaded the body of his girlfriend. One capable of somewhat spontaneous decisions. Yes I hardly recognise myself too.

Another cut out from Envy during our time away just added more bark to the thought tree. Once those branches grow leaves - all whispering the same tune of "buy a new bike, buy a new bike" it is a hard noise to ignore. I fully expected to call into Millenium Motorcycles on the way home and seal a good deal by trading Envy in for a new bike. 

You can imagine my disappointment on arrival to Millenium to find they have no demos on site to view. After much questioning it appears one might have been sold and the other well er yeah it might be somewhere at one of the other shops but it's definitely not here. No they don't know where else it may be but if I put £100 down they will find out and get it here for me to sit on. Was this false advertising to lure the buyer in? Well yes and no but that's another tale that may or may not ever get told, but for now I was walking out of the shop and back to Envy for the ride home. Was I a little miffed? Yes but hey ho. Failed sale number 1.

At home the thought tree had not withered from failure but instead it was now transformed, heavy with blossom. The scented blossoms of desire creates a heady aroma of want.

Like a police dog tracking down the criminal I cannot help but now follow the new bike trail... wherever it may lead. As such the following weekend saw Ren and I riding through some pretty deep flood waters and along some very interesting back lanes due to some closed roads because of the floods. The quest that required such forbearance and a come hell or high water attitude, was of course the possibility of another Kawasaki Z400 ex demo for sale.

The Kawasaki z400
Mean n moody

The Z400 was at A&D motorcycles in Denbigh. On arrival I was happy to see the advertised ex demo was indeed actually there. I talk to the salesman, a loose term in this case. Although I dislike the high pressure overly slick type of salesman neither do I like the ones who just seem to not really be bothered if they sell anything.  

Firstly, the salesman's initial insistence at only looking at Ren and replying to my questions not to me but directing his response to Ren began to grate. So much so Ren tried to help by saying look she is considering buying the bike not me and he walked out - thus leaving the uncomfortable salesman having to look my way. 

I asked for a valuation on Envy, explaining she is however absolutely filthy after riding through flood water and down cowpat ally to get here. Oh he declares don't worry about that I took in a dirty bike only this morning. He takes me to the dirty bike, the bike is white, the bike looks like someone dipped a small paintbrush into a cup of mud and very artistically spattered a smattering of mud splats on the bike's arse. Ok so clearly this guy has as much clue as to what actual dirt looks like as he does about talking to a woman about buying a bike. His head is going to fall of when he sees Envy. 

Well give the guy some due his head did stay on. The eyes however grew wide, a sneer appeared on the lips and his whole face transformed into a look of absolute horror. By the look on his face I thought he had just stood in a cowpat himself rather than just observing them stuck to Envy. With the voice of utter distain he declared, "Well that bike has certainly been well used, your not going to get much for that." Well I for one would much rather get on my poopy bike then engage any further with "no-sale-man". Failed sale number 2

Both ex demos were being advertised at around the £5200 mark which would have been a saving of about £600 on brand new. But it was not to be. I wasn't out of options yet but that's a tale for another blog. 

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Reader's Comments

nab301 said :-
Sharon , you've lined up some nice potential bike choices there! I always reckon that researching , sitting on and road testing new choices is more fun than actually buying bikes and doesn't cost anything either! Often I've done that and realised how good the current bike(s) I have are.
As for the salesman ignoring you and talking to Ren , I thought that behaviour had long since disappeared but can empathise to a certain extent . A while back I was getting my 50's house upgraded in terms of insulation and out of necessity was replacing some furniture and fabrics , while browsing around one warehouse I was advised by the male sales person to come back with my wife before purchasing anything.......

20/12/2023 11:06:55 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
I know I'm strange but I prefer the Speed to the Scrambler.
I know there's a shed load of new smaller cc bikes out there and that's a jolly good thing. If I wasn't in a rush I'd wait for the new models to hit the showrooms. Buy in haste, repent in leisure etc.
Are there any bike shows coming up where the models will be on display? At least you could size them up and maybe rule some out.
Good luck, as an aside I went with my sister when she bought er last car, the female sales operative facilitator thingymabob spoke to me throughout and ignored my sister completely.

20/12/2023 16:19:17 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
Sad that salesmen (well most are aren't they) are still living in the 1960s or earlier. You'd think someone would tell them that women not only ride bikes, they actually know what they want and don't need ignorant blokes to tell them.

As a (mostly) irrelevant aside I think much of the manufactured culture war about trans people is also based on a whole plethora of assumptions and stereotypes. I was disappointed to read an article this morning where a 16 year old born as a girl had decided to transition because she liked football and didn't like wearing dresses. As long as kids grow up having these stereotypes thrust upon them they're going to be unhappy....
20/12/2023 17:06:09 UTC
ROD¹ said :-
Sharon, I have spent the last year sitting on bikes in showrooms.
I think the two bikes mentioned are very capable bikes, but as Upt' said there are shed loads of new smaller capacity bikes out there, so keep your options open. I was impressed with the new 300cc cruiser from Keeway, but in the end I went for the better fuel economy of the Royal Enfield.
I wish you the best of luck in your search for an Envy replacement.
20/12/2023 17:15:06 UTC
Snod said :-
Very interesting to read about Envy cutting out, with 30K under its wheels mine is doing the same. A few years ago it cut out while waiting at some traffic lights and refused to restart, so I had to get recovered home after I flattened the battery. Recently it has been cutting out at idle though would restart, and it has also become reluctant to start on cold days. It also became very slow, struggling to put 70 on the clock.

This year it has spent a lot of time sat still, first about 2 months because the Koso speedo stopped working (turned out to be the sensor) and 3 months right now as I've had to replace a salt damaged stanchion and I spent ages waiting for a part. After the first lay up it was very difficult to start, but it did so after a couple of weeks (!). This time it runs for about a minute and then stops, and refuses to restart until it's stone cold again. It'll be a sensor but I don't know which one yet.

Have you ever cleaned the air filter? I'm yet to see mine let alone clean it, I'm wondering if it might run better after that..
23/12/2023 08:21:49 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Interesting comment about the air filter. The filter on my old Pan sat in the centre of the v with an appearance similar to that of a 60's V4 Ford. The air inlet was at the rear and the filter was always spotless. Some dust would come out when blown out with an airline but next to nowt.
On the VSTrom I thought I'd have a look when I bought it with very few miles on the clock, 4500 miles maybe? It was full of crap....dust, wasps, flies, unidentified fur, it was horrible. I blew it out and the garage filled with crap. Thankfully it was my mates garage so mine was still clean.
It might be worth a look.
23/12/2023 10:26:16 UTC
Sharon said :-
Nab301, Upt,North and Ian Soady - isms of all flavours abound. I am hopeful that they get less as times goes on. My daughters generation is far better than mine and therein lies our hope for the future. We always have much to learn.
As for bike shows, I have been to quite a few in the past. Do not really have any desire to repeat. I prefer to sit on any bikes in the shops these days. Plus you don't pay.

ROD - cruisers would probably be the natural choice for someone as small as me. But I just don't like them. Me and forward pegs were just never meant to be, as the Grinch would say, hate, hate, hate.

Snod, funny you should mention the air filter. After doing some research I have already considered this as a possible cause. As such I purchased a air filter a few weeks back. However, a very nasty chest infection, that had me in bed for 9 days, has prevented any fitting as yet. It is on my list and I will let you know how I get on.
23/12/2023 14:52:11 UTC
John Scotcher said :-
I have just bought an ex demo BMW G310R from a BMW main dealer. The new list price is about £5200 but I got it for the advertised price of £3195 with only 470 miles on the clock. It has a low seat height - 785mm, so I can reach the floor as I am vertically challenged. The bike is as new. Worth a look maybe.
05/01/2024 09:47:11 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Good price John, you know we want, nay, need photo's. I'm guessing they're not selling.
It's that time of year.
05/01/2024 10:48:11 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
You're not wrong John and this with £500.00 of OEM top box.
05/01/2024 11:00:21 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
You'll have to await further posts from Her Worshipful Ladyship Madam Parker to see which way she's going regarding what bike she owns next. I can say though that the G310R hasn't really been much on our radar - and that's a shame because it appears to be a good offering from Beemer.

I suspect the problem for Sharon is the similarity with her current Z250SL. Yes the Beemer is 34hp compared to the Kwakker's 27hp. The G310R is not much heavier at 164kg against 149kg. The seat height is acceptable IF there's a lowering kit available. Their styling is quite similar too with sharp angles and exposed trellis frame. And that's the problem - the numbers are all good in as much as they're remarkably similar.

Oh - and can you get touring kit for the G310R? I suspect you can actually. This has been a source of frustration with the Z250SL.

And I agree with Upt', we need some lovely images of your shiny new steed.
05/01/2024 12:55:20 UTC
David Barwick said :-
The G310R Upt' refers to is currently available @ £3449. direct from dealer in

I like the SW Motech "Pro-Blaze" panniers, (semi-rigid bags mounted on quickly-detacable side-rails;

SW Motech do loads of other luggage/accessories too.

I have recently purchased an ex-demo G310R (less than 50 miles!)from my local Lind-Motorad, Norwich @ £3800, seems alot of bike for the money.
Haven't ridden it yet (too cold) but have recently ridden a used G310GS.
The newer versions with the LED headlight have been much-improved/refined vs the original G310GS/R, the suspen sion is much better and the engine and gear-box much smoother too.
Posted Image
08/01/2024 12:50:50 UTC
David Barwick said :-
Yes, BMW do a lower seat option here; (@ 240 euros)
08/01/2024 13:00:42 UTC
Sharon said :-
A long time ago I went to a BMW dealers to look at the 310. I had heard about the low seat option so I thought the bike may be an option for me.
I got ignored by the salesmen while looking at the bike, nothing new in that from some dealers.
I decided to approach a salesman myself to politely enquire about the low seat option.
However the salesman actually sneered at me. A full disgusted lip curl to fully show his level of distain.
He proclaimed there was no such thing as a low seat option. I stated I had read there was a low seat, to which he replied, in an even more disgusted tone, that I was completely wrong.
Of course we all know who the idiot was here. This particular idiot had taken the disdainful salesman to a whole new level of negative.
I don't do deals with idiots so I turned on my heal and I left the shop never to return to a BMW dealership again.
I think Ren has probably forgotten this incident. It probably had far more impact on me but it is the reason I never considered this bike again. I don't have anything against the bike it's a lovely looking machine and I hope John and David you have some fabulous fun and adventures on yours. It is just BMW wasn't having my money.
On the flip side to this the sales persons at MCO Motorcycles Orrell have always been fantastic with me. Polite, interested in me and never demeaning. That is why I bought both the Keeway and the Kawasaki from them. It is not rocket science to be nice to your potential customers, what is surprising is how many fail at it.

28/01/2024 23:12:21 UTC

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