I finally went out and got my own motorcycle. The wife and I had been talking about buying another car, mostly because she was driving the older paid in full car that we already own that takes upwards of 20 minutes to heat up. The bright idea to swap cars with her and buy a bike instead popped into my head and I set out to convince her. Turns out, it didn’t take much convincing. So I started shopping around.
I started out looking at Harleys and discovered after crunching the numbers a bit that the best I could probably do at the time would be a Sportster. I liked the look of the Nightster, but I wasn’t really sold at the price point. I decided to take a look into what Honda has to offer and I found the 2011 Shadow Phantom. After seeing pictures of the Phantom and reading up on it a bit, I decided to see what the local Honda dealer here had in stock. According to their website they just happened to have a Phantom waiting for me to swing by and check it out. At this point I was ready to swing by and take a look, but I decided that I better slow it down a bit as I usually tend to get screwed whenever I am buying a new vehicle.
I started talking with some people I know who have owned bikes and got some general tips for haggling and looking into financing. About two weeks ago I tried refinancing my car loan and after shopping it around the best offer I could find would extend the loan by about 20 months @ 14.49%, which is a higher rate than what I bought it for. When I started looking for financing to buy a bike, I had pretty low expectations on the deals I would find. I decided I should come up with a backup plan before checking out the dealership. They had a used bike in stock at just under $5000 that looked like a pretty good deal, so I decided that if I couldn’t make the financing work on the Phantom, I would go with the 2009 Shadow Aero. I decided to go ahead and check with Honda on the internet to see if they would approve me for financing directly. I wasn’t too surprised to see that I was “pre-approved”, but the best information I could get without going in to see a dealer was just a dollar amount, no APR.
My daughter had a half day of school on Thursday and since my wife is in school now as well, I would have to take half a day off work and pick her up from school and hang with her for the afternoon. It was a decent enough day for Colorado in February, the sun was out and it at least felt warm. I decided before I even got to work that I wanted to swing by the dealership and take a look at these bikes. I sent the wife a text message asking if she would be okay with being excluded and she gave me a call right as I was picking up my daughter from school. She was having sort of a boring day, and didn’t really want me to make a purchase without her being present. It didn’t take much convincing to get her to take the rest of the day off and come to the dealership with me.
We got to the dealership and I started talking with the sales guy and I was trying to keep my poker face about how bad I wanted to buy. He offered to let me test drive whatever and was very nice about giving us space and letting us look around. I let him know that I was interested in the Phantom and the Aero and that I would like to test drive each. He said it would be no problem but that I would have to wear a helmet and he had one I could use. It was a three quarter helmet and I had my eye wear from riding the ’68 over the summer with me so I was all set to go. I have never rode in cold weather before and I didn’t really know what to expect. The three quarter helmet with motorcycle sunglasses wasn’t enough! It was so cold when I got going out on the road. I test drove both bikes and really didn’t have much of a preference either way other than looks and the Phantom being fuel injected and brand new. When I hopped on the Phantom for the test drive, it had 14 miles on it.
I got back from the test drives and told the sales guy that I was interested in the Phantom and that we should talk about financing. I let him know that I was pre-approved but wanted to know more details. We sat down and he pulled up my application. MSRP on the Phantom was $7,999. I asked what he’d do for me on the price and he said that he’d take $600 right off the top. After licensing and taxes and such we ended up right around $7500. I asked him what I had been approved for and to my surprise I was approved at 6.7%. I couldn’t believe I was going to be able to walk out of there with the bike I wanted and it would be affordable for us! I decided that without a windshield on the bike it might be a smart idea to go with a full face helmet so I got one of those while I was there. The staff were all very friendly and helped me size and select a helmet to match my new bike. If you are in the market for a bike in the Fort Collins area, I highly recommend Rick Mitts at Interstate Honda. I should probably look into some winter gear, but at the moment I think I will be going with boots, gloves, long johns, my snowboarding jacket, and the full face helmet.
We got the bike home and there was still a bit of daylight left so I decided that there was no time like the present. I threw my gear on and off I went. The only thing I have found about this bike that I don’t like is the stickers that came on the gas tank. After doing a bit of research I found the most often suggested method for removal is to hit them with some WD-40 and a blow drier and to patiently work them off, I will be giving that a shot later today. My daughter is totally excited about riding, because she can reach the pegs on this bike so we went and got her a helmet last night. We’re going to wait until after lunch, then we’re hitting the road!