It was the middle 1970's and I was in college. Two wealthier roommates at the time had BMW's (750 and 900) that I got a chance to ride occasionally but that was all it took. After graduating and starting work my roommate and I bought two Honda drive shaft bikes (500 and 900) and enjoyed the heck out of riding until we parted ways for new jobs in different cities and got married.
Now, nearly 30 years later I've finished educating two sons and, at 62, am itching to return to riding. My wife and I enjoy camping in our 5th wheel RV and would like to sell the house and go fulltime when we retire in the next few years. A bike would make a great addition and I've already been looking at different mounting methods for carrying it with us when we go.
In the meantime I want to get back to riding as a pleasure pastime on the weekends and realize I'll need to get some seat time to brush up my defensive riding skills. Living in Sarasota, Florida there will be plenty of "blue hair" to watch out for!
For my initial ride I'm budgeting up to $10k for bike and gear. Less is OK, but I want to be sure to invest enough for reliability. This is where I would appreciate input from those who frequent here. I'm partial to airheads and for now envision a "naked" bike for ease of storage and handling. Most trips would be day trips or overnights here in Florida so perhaps 200 miles would be a "long" trip.
I am not mechanically inclined so anything beyond oil changes is probably not in the cards. With that in mind here are my questions:
1. Best bikes to consider, or avoid, from the airhead era. I'm 6'3", 220 lbs;
2. Most important mechanical factors to consider in purchasing, including mileage/maintenance "thresholds" to consider. I'm Ok with investing some maintenance dollars after purchase if buying prior to these maintenance "thresholds" means greater confidence and reliablity;
3. Airhead resources on Florida's west coast, both for purchase and maintenance. Although I readily admit to having no mechanical skills, I would thoroughly enjoy meeting a "master" in the art of airhead work to learn some basics from and to trust with maintenance and/or mods.
4. Finally, recognizing the matter of personal preference, I'd like suggestions/recommendations on basic protective gear.
Thanks in advance.
Randy in Florida