I might have found a bike — an ’89 Suzuki GS500E, with 35k km, new tires, new chain and sprocket, red, for $2200. That’s a bit higher than I was thinking of buying (I’d planned to top out around $1800), but it’s also five to eight years newer than I thought I’d end up with, and parts will be easy to find since it was still made in ’03 (and ’04 in some countries).
More importantly, it’s a lot more exciting than an early-80s bike would be. I figured I’d want to trade up to something more current in a year or two, but I suspect this guy would serve me quite a bit longer than that. It also shows up on pretty much everyone’s good-first-bikes list, which is a good sign, and there’s a big Internet community of GS twin enthusiasts out there with advice and HOWTOs.
But this means buying a bike before I take the course. I’m more and more doubtful that I would take the course and then decide not to ride, and even if I did I could probably turn around and sell it for what I paid for it. I’ve got the cash on hand, and I wouldn’t have to get it plated and insured until the course (as long as I can get the current owner to deliver it), although I’d definitely call for insurance quotes first.
I think I’ll be kicking myself later if I don’t check it out. Might just call tomorrow to see if I can see it Thursday or Friday night. Hopefully I can find an experienced rider to drag with me when I go.