The Pain of Upgrading your Motorcycles and Computers

When the wife and I first decided to get our bike licenses a couple years ago, once we had committed to the class, we went to the two convenient Harley-Davidson dealerships close to us.   We started at Maverick Harley-Davidson in Carrollton, Texas, our home town and just about 5 miles from the house.  We ended up buying (my) bike for a better deal at American Eagle Harley-Davidson, 20 miles away in Corinth, Texas.

That’s a bit of a ramble, perhaps, before getting (closer) to the point.  My original intention was to get a nice Wide Glide, or one of other the Harleys with hard bags, big fairings, and built-in stereos.    The wife had already expressed her dislike for them.  (Of course, neither of us had ridden one, nor have we yet, but I hear that when the old lady sits on the back of one, she won’t want to downgrade.)

You might wonder “why buy a Harley” if you haven’t ever ridden one?”  It might be a name brand thing, but there was never any question with us that when we got around to getting a bike, it would be a Harley.  We just knew.  After walking around a bit to see all the bikes, since we weren’t very familiar with the various HD models, I stopped in front of one.  The wife stopped next to me.  We looked at each other and knew we’d found my (our) bike.

2017-05-02 12.25.49
Our new bike!

We loved the supremely classic look of the Harley.  We immediately felt connected to the 100 plus years of history.  The leather bags, the studded trim, the long pipes… and the sound.  (We bought used, just 300 miles on it, with a Stage 1 upgrade already in place.)

I wrote down the VIN and the price and called the bank the following Monday.  And bought it.  Did I test ride it?  No.  What if I hated it?  What if I couldn’t handle it?  The last time I had ridden was some dirt bikes in my 20’s (in my 40’s now) and around the block on my brother-in-law’s Sportster.   I didn’t even have my license yet, so had to arrange for delivery.  (Though I ended up riding it home anyway… very nervous.)

Since then, of course, I’ve gotten my license and we have almost 20,000 miles on it.  I love it.  No question. The wife has her own bike now, too.

But now to the point of the post.  (I do tend to ramble.)  I love this bike.  But I know I won’t keep it forever.  At some point, I’ll desire a newer bike or a bigger bike.  Perhaps, even, one of those big baggers.

If you’ve read any of my other posts, you know I’m a gadget guy.  I’ve changed out taillights, installed LED’s, change headlights, arms for the backrest, crotch cooler, phone mount, power for the phone, handlebar switches for power to various things, quick-release docking hardware for the sissy bar, a trailer hitch and wiring, front/rear camera DVR system, passenger pegs, highway pegs, grips.  A cupholder! I’ve done work on this thing!  I’ve made it my own, to suit my needs and wants.  I know it’s not the same as building or modifying a bike; I’m not attempting to compare.

Getting a new bike is likely a lot of fun.  For me, a programmer, getting a new machine is a lot of fun!  It’s faster, it’s shinier, hell….it’s cleaner!  But that new machine means reinstalling all the software and utilities.  All the things that made your old machine useful and effective, until it wasn’t anymore and you decided to buy a new one.

I’m so fearful getting a new bike will be like that.  I’m sure I’ve spent a stupid amount of money on the upgrades.  Especially if you consider that some of those things involve multiple attempts.  I think I’m on my third or fourth phone mount.  We’ve tried at least three sets of passenger pegs. I’m on the second purchase (upgrade) of the camera system.

If I end up getting a new computer, I mean motorcycle, how much of what I have installed can I strip off and re-use on the new bike?  Sure, I kept the stock taillight, but I’m sure my new bike won’t take the one I upgraded to.  Will I try to recoup some of that money on Ebay or Craigslist?   Probably not.  Does that mean I’ll try to buy the same kind of bike, same year, but with lower miles or will I want a different bike and brand new?

With computers, they’re pretty much all USB for expansion.  But motorcycles, due to the customization factor, really aren’t that simple.  Rims, fenders, handlebars, you name it.  They’re all different.  Sure, some are interchangeable and maybe some of the stuff I have installed (like a phone mount) is certainly re-usable.  But it boils down to this:

Upgrading your computers or your motorcycles — it’s as much pain as pleasure.

This content was originally posted on Written by and copyrighted by Will Belden.  Copyright 2019, Will Belden.  All Rights Reserved.  Linking to this post is allowed, but re-posting the content is not.  (I’m looking at you:

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