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Sunday, May 11, 2014

falling in love-with the right motorcycle

Through some interesting twists and turns in my life, I have had a chance to ride a lot of motorcycles that are not mine. From grunt time at Motorcyclist, to the big Editor Chair at HOT BIKE and STREET CHOPPER, to being a part of the industry, I have poked around on some amazing bikes.
I have had the unique opportunity to ride:

**The very first V-Rod from LA to Sturgis and back--it will go 127.4 miles on a tank of gas. Exactly, then it is EMPTY

*The Harley Davidson Marlboro Man movie bike--all over LA for a month. Yes, people knew what it was and asked a lot of questions

*One of 50 street legal Vr1000 Harleys. A day spent cruising the backwoods of Milwaukee doing wheelies and dragging toes. In the heart of Milwaukee I was snubbed by every Harley rider I waved to

* The very, very first Buell S1 from La to Morgan Hill. 400 miles of giggles and torture.

*The first Ducati 916 when it came out.... Drool
* Yamaha GTS1000 with the cool, goofy front end. Amazing bike

*A Kawasaki ZX-9R...perhaps the best bike ever in the sporting category. Big, FAST and it handled

* The first FXR2. Lots of explaining that it was NEW FXR, not an old FXR

* A Sportster 1200 at Willow Springs where we were intent on making it faster by switching wheel sizes and combinations

*The first TC88 Softail Classic--which I rode 1018 miles in one day, Denver to Anaheim, an experience that would have been made a lot better with 30 more horsepower.

So, my point that I am blubbering about is I have had a lot of experience on all kinds of bikes, real experiences. When I bought my Kawasaki Concours, I bought it because I was mad at the Harley world. Living in Wisconsin at the time, I was meeting people who basically said, if it wasn't on a Harley they wouldn't ride. In my mind they were not motorcyclists, but hobbyists. Me? I didn't care what I rode as long as it was riding. So I looked at the Concours, 1400cc, shaft drive, radial tires, big brakes, easy detach saddlebags, electrical adjusting windshield and stupid fast. Seemed a perfect replacement for my very custom FXDXT, it would be faster, handle better and require almost no maintenance. So I bought one. And fell in love on the test ride.

Lately I have had a chance to ride a lot of really cool, really fast, really exciting bikes again. Which has kept me off the Concours for about a month. Yesterday I had reason to hop on it and BAM, just like that the love affair is rekindled. Fast, smooth, comfortable and deceivingly amazing handling, the Concours lets me ride fast enough in turns to be entertained, eat up freeway sections with ease and pick up some groceries on the way back.

I will always seek that next experience of being on a new, different motorcycle, but I am pretty sure this one will always be my go to love affair. Have you found yours yet?