Readers’ Bikes: Tim’s Trio

A nicely kept triplet of Honda scoots (a mint C90, an NES 125 and a sensibly modded SH300) are next up in Readers’ Bikes which, thanks to owner Tim, has now officially become a series – of two. If you want to make it three and show your bike – whatever it is – and share your thoughts with a growing band of biking connoisseurs, click here to find out how!

Now read on for some owner-rider wisdom….


Makes, models and years: Main bike – Honda SH300 (2009), Honda NES @125 (2001), Honda C90 (2003).

Where did you buy them from? SH300 – Someone I’d bought off previously. Honda @125 – Privately on AutoTrader. Honda C90 – Local dealer, a straight swap for my K75.

Do you own any other motorcycles? Yes.

How long have you owned these particular motorcycles? All for around three years.

What made you choose these model bikes in particular? I was getting fed up with my BMW R850, especially in winter – poor gearbox and a heavy lump in traffic (although well balanced).  On my first test ride I was sold in the first mile, as the SH300 shot off surprisingly quickly and scraped the stand on the first roundabout.  This is my third SH300.  First was stolen in London, still got the second one, which is shared with my wife.

You have a few smaller bikes now – did you downgrade from something bigger and if so from what – and why? I’ve had many bikes over the years – Memorably CX500s, a Suzuki GS850, a Honda Revere and some oilhead boxers.  I got tired of the weight and agricultural gearbox of my R850R and was starting to suffer with my hands and knees.  I’d already bought a 125 Dylan scoot for commuting.  When I tried the SH300 it was a revelation – fast, light, handled well, excellent brakes and very comfy for my pillion; I used it for everything, so sold the BMW. I’ve had a Honda 90 most of my life, especially in times of poverty – always brings a smile to my face.

Which is the cheapest to run – can you give any examples of maintenance/running costs? I log my costs, including depreciation.  The C90 is the cheapest (just 2p/mile), as it just gets oil changes and it’s going up in value.  Surprisingly, the SH300 costs about the same as the BMW did per mile overall – around 16p.In terms of mpg, the SH300 ranges from high 80s down to 60 mpg pinning the throttle down the A1.

What do you use your bikes for and how often do you ride? I used the bikes for everything until I finally bought my first car four years ago.  Mileage has dropped from around 16K down to less than 9K, partly because riding is less pleasurable due to congestion, cameras, etc.  Apart from commuting, I do the Round Britain Rally every year, which takes me on as many jaunts as I have time for

How much upkeep and maintenance are you able to do on your bikes yourself? Apart from oil changes and basic fiddling, I take all my bikes to a small local garage. I know my limitations!

Will you keep them or sell them on – and if you sell, what’s next? Thinking of trading one of the SH300s in for something new, maybe a Beverly 350 if I can get a test ride.

What’s the worst thing about keeping a ‘fleet’ of bikes? Keeping track of MoTs + insurance is tricky for two riders; I can only find a policy covering four bikes but my wife and I have six bikes between us.

Do your bikes have any modifications or upgrades? Are they any good? The two part Givi screen is excellent in summer, but reflects light back too much in the dark, so I swap back to a normal screen.  I use an AirHawk on all my bikes and couldn’t ride any distance without one. Likewise, moulded earplugs. Givi boxes on most of the bikes get swapped around as needed. Otherwise, bikes are pretty standard.

Did you do them or was it the previous owner? Mixture of both.

How did you learn to work on your own bike? I’ve made enough cock-ups over the years not to try anything too ambitious.

Do you have any advice for budding home mechanics? Give it a try, but not all of us have a feel for it.

Worst home maintenance disaster: Greasing the bolts when putting the rear wheel back on my BMW R850. After a blast down the motorway, it felt like a puncture, but was, in fact, all the bolts come loose, with the back wheel only held on by plastic cover – gulp!

Best home maintenance moment: Managing to actually get the battery out of a K75 – I had to watch a YouTube video of it in the end. I think BMW started with the battery and built the bike around it!

Knowing what you know now, would you buy the same bikes again? Yes!

Rider Profile

Rider: Tim

Occupation: I work in an office.  Enough said.

How long have you been riding? 44 years

First ever biking experience: Raleigh Runabout at sixteen.

First bike you ever owned: Raleigh Runabout

The bike you regret selling the most: Honda Revere, I should have bought it off the insurers when It was written off (with light damage).

Best and worst biking experiences: Best – Touring Scotland on the Honda 90. Worst – A van went straight into me in Austria – broken leg.

Any biking money-saving tips you’d care to share? Bubblewrap has great insulating properties.

How you would change motorcycling in your country for the better in one sentence? Better motorcycle parking (free) and access to all bus lanes.

Anything else? In the UK we have this strange division between bikes and scoots.  The press endlessly repeating Mods ‘n’ Rockers angles, but when I’m riding I’m thinking about the next corner, not where the machine has its petrol tank.

With many thanks to Tim – safe scooting Sir.

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