Cue the Duckboats | Championship Collection for Banner 18SHOP NOW

Advertisement

It's Better to Beg for Forgiveness than Ask for Permission

One motorcycle that always caught my eye was the Harley-Davidson V-Rod. It was designed in part by Porsche, is liquid-cooled and has very little in common with its air-cooled brethren in the Harley line. In fact, most dyed-in-the-wool Harley types have had nothing but contempt for the V-Rod since it was first introduced in 2002. The main objection was that it didn't sound or look like a Harley. But, no one could deny its performance. It was in a category all its own.

The early models were 1130cc, put out 115 ponies and went for $17,000. Because of the price, a lot were purchased as trophy bikes by those new to riding and as a result, there's an abundance of used ones out there with low mileage that can be had for as little as 6-$8,000. I searched for two years looking for "a deal I could not refuse".

In June of 2015 I found an '04 with low miles for sale at a Honda dealership. The online pics looked great and I emailed the dealership to find out how negotiable the price was ($7,000). The salesman replied "In June? Not very. It's bike season and the V-Rod is already priced well below market value." He was right, but I had a great bike already (2008 Sportster) and I was looking for "a deal I could not refuse". 

It was easy to walk away, besides, I knew my wife would not be happy if I bought another bike before I sold the one I had. Happy wife, happy life? I was well aware of the risk-reward factor when you're married and decide to buy a new motorcycle for yourself. Even before turning the key the whole thing could go sideways, and by "thing" I mean marriage.

Flash forward to October. I was getting bored and I started searching again. I went back to the pre-owned bike link on the Honda dealer's website and the '04 V-Rod was still available. I sent another email asking the salesman what his October price was and he dropped his original price by a grand. Now that was a deal I may not be able to refuse.

I drove an hour to see it and it was all that and more. I circled the bike, and circled it again. I wanted a reason to walk away and not look back, but other than my wife's happiness, or lack thereof, I couldn't find one. So I shook the salesman's hand knowing the price was right and the bike was too, and told him... I'd have to think about it.

Half way home I knew I wanted the bike. I'd been stalking V-Rods for a couple of years and it was time. I called the salesman and gave him a $100 deposit over the phone, started looking for financing, and immediately listed my Sportster on Craigslist.

Long story short, "it's better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission". It's all about having a plan. For me, it was installing the gas log set in our fireplace my wife had been yearning for. I completed the installation and had it fired up just hours before I rolled the V-Rod into my shed, next to the Sportster. She was initially pissed, but this wasn't our first rodeo. She understands my obsession with motorcycles and I knew in time she would forgive me. At least that was my hope... 

Down low, under 4,000 RPM, the V-Rod is Clarke Kent, but rip some throttle and start to approach its 9,000 RPM redline and it busts out of the phone booth and becomes Superman! It's quiet with a distinctive growl on hard accelerations, smooth as silk through the gears, and the perfect bike for me.

I eventually sold the Sportster, my wife loves the gas log set, I've been forgiven and we're still married (40 years). In 2018 Harley-Davidson discontinued the V-Rod. (Don't tell my wife!)