It is with mixed feelings that I'm moving on to another commuter bike. I've owned the NX for just over a year and it was an absolute blast to ride (almost) every week day, when the weather cooperated. However, my commute is going to change as my company's office will move. The lease is up on this office space after the first week of May, 2012. The new location will be on the perimeter of O'Hare Airport in the town of Des Plaines, Illinois. I'm sure you're aware that traffic around a major airport, like O'Hare, is heavy and moves pretty quickly. I expect the average speed, of my commute, to increase 5-10 mph. While that doesn't seem like a lot, it will put a bit of strain on the NX and increase my anxiety level. I would really prefer not to get run over by someone who's late for their flight. What's needed is something that is capable of quick acceleration, cruising at speeds up to 60 mph and averaging 70+ mpg. Unfortunately, the NX is not (fully) capable of the first two items on that list.
I was really hoping to find a 200-250cc dual sport (DR200, XR250L, XL250, XT225, DR250SE, TW200, etc.) but they aren't really popular in this area of Illinois. And, when they do come up for sale, they sell very quickly. Either that or they're beaten to death and the owner thinks they're worth a mint. So, I broadened my search to include bikes that were in the same displacement range but were street oriented. Honda's CB250 Nighthawk and CMX250C Rebel were options as were the Suzuki GZ250 Marauder and Yamaha 250 Virago. However, those bikes are not really my riding style (cruiser) and aren't about the "point & shoot" type of riding for which I will need to be prepared. That narrows it down to a couple of bikes with a sport bike appearance but are really more "standard" bikes than anything, The Honda VTR250 Interceptor and the Kawasaki 250 Ninja. The ubiquitous "Ninjette" is very popular and holds its value very, very well. Additionally, there seems to be a lot of available parts and after-market support. They either sell very quickly or the owner thinks they're worth more than they really are. The VTR is more rare (similar to the NX series, sold in the US only for three years, 1988-90), has a V-Twin and comes in some crazy 80s inspired paint schemes. I've seen them referred to as "Barbie-ceptors" thanks to the pastel color palette. The 1988-89 models come with a unique in-board front rotor that's actually part of the front wheel's hub. This must have freaked out some potential buyers because it was switched to a more conventional, external rotor in 1990. I have never owned a Kawasaki, all my bikes have been Hondas or Suzukis. However, that's not a choice, it just seems to be the way things have worked out. After giving it a lot of thought, I decided to stay in my comfort zone and have negotiated the purchase of a 1989 Honda VTR250 Interceptor. One of the previous owners decided the 80s paint scheme was too much. He repainted it and did a really nice job, if you ask me:
So, I'm looking forward to my new "road rocket" but am slightly sad to see the NX go (I can't afford to keep both). I'm hoping to sell it to someone that is interested in teaching their teenager or wife/girlfriend how to ride (not trying to be sexist here but it seems that guys "beginner" bikes are 250+cc) or want a neat commuter on tame roads.
It makes no sense to keep this blog and write about the VTR, it is CommuterNX after all. So, maybe I'll create a new blog (CommuterVTR anyone?) and go from there. A big thanks to all of you who have visited (I review the statistics Google provides =D ) and commented. I appreciate your interest and hope I can contribute some knowledge to the VTR250 riders out there. Be Safe - Dave.