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Moto Guzzi Daytona 1000

Heart and Head

(Travels with Guido series #366, by Guy ‘Guido’ Allen, August 2021)

Harley-Davidson Pan America

Lining up the next toy is as much about stupidity as reason

It’s a dilemma we all face at one time or another: should I buy a (for example) 916 Ducati because I love the looks or a litre-plus Suzuki V-Strom because it’s far better suited to the sort of riding I actually do.

I have until recenly owned a 916 (since replaced with another Ducati), but a V-Strom has so far failed to materialise – as much as I admire their abilities.

Now this might seem like a ridiculous proposition, but things like this are going through my head the whole time. And I’m not alone. You see I have in mind a motorcycle purchase in about a year or so that I know will be at a substantial cost. Two of the leading candidates are a Moto Guzzi Daytona circa 1993 and a late-model Harley-Davidson Pan America. Both used and in prime condition, they’re likely to be not far off each other in price.

The Guzzi is a bit of a no-brainer. I like the brutish looks and the whole Dr John development story behind the machine. (See our feature.) They were far from perfect when new and today require some careful upkeep. That they are showing signs of becoming a slowly appreciating classic makes the whole purchase more defensible.

Of course mentioning the ‘i’ word (investment) in regard to motorcycles gets you into all sorts of trouble. Nevertheless there are investors out there, some by accident and many by design, and it’s a simple fact of life.

Mostly, people who object to the idea point out that motorcycles are designed to be ridden, not as an investment tool, and to treat them as the latter is somewhat soul-destroying. Naïve as that may sound, I have some sympathy for the view.

There is however a third way, which is to treat it as an enjoyable toy that happens to be somewhere safe to park your money. As you’re riding along on a sunny Sunday with a silly grin on your face, it’s potentially the best of both worlds.

Now for the Harley. This is something I would use a lot, basically as a tourer. It’s a ground-breaking model for the brand with all sorts of interesting technology on board. Something in our culture says adventure tourers have to be as ugly as the proverbial hat full of rectums, and this one succeeds admirably. And it’s fast. All of which has enormous appeal.

Of course it would be a sink-hole for money, particularly by the time you took depreciation into account. It's too new and too readily-available to attract investor interest. But if you know that going in, there’s nothing to cry over. I have a few ‘disposable’ bikes in the existing fleet, so it’s a familiar concept that has its own rewards, such as not sweating over what happens if the machine gets knocked around a bit. The upside is I know I’d get a whole lot of fun out of it, once the Covid-driven state border shut-downs ease up in Oz.

So, which way – Moto Guzzi or Harley? The obvious solution is to rejig the finances and get both…

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