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Changing expectations

When I bought my small bike I told myself it's all I'd ever need. 

Rick Gill at Rick Gill Motorcycles said "trust me, after twelve months you'll be dying to get off it."

Pfft, I thought, what would Rick know. And I was right. He didn't. BECAUSE IT'S ONLY TAKEN SIX MONTHS!!!!  Man, am I sick of that bike already. The lack of power is one thing - I can almost live with that - but the cramped ergonomics is something else. I'm tired of feeling like a grasshopper on a gerkhin. I get on my BIG bike and spread out and feel like I'm on a bike tailor-made for me.

Oh well, patience grasshopper, patience...
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Would I buy it again?

This is The White Knight arriving on the back of a truck in January. 












I've learned quite a bit over the last six months. So would I buy it again?

I've learned for example that there are better bikes from a riding point of view - faster bikes with superior handling but just as much comfort.

BUT LOOK AT THAT THING!

Seriously, 'aint it just good enough to eat? Especially now that it doesn't have that dinky pillion seat on the rear fender ;)

Some will say performance is more important than looks. For me, it's just as important, but not more important. I've decided I would never be happy on a bike that performs well but looks (to me) like a dog.

Besides, this bike 'aint no mule. It's got some decent go even though it's a big bike with only an 800cc engine.

Why? Because it's also relatively light.

They achieved that by making a lot of parts out of plastic - namely the fenders and some of the chrome / white engine covers.

Does that it make it less of …

Oops!

I was enjoying attacking some small roundabouts today - coming in hot, trail braking to the apex and hitting the throttle on the way out.

You have to be careful about cars of course. For example, someone who's coming around the roundabout when you thought they were going straight through.

Particularly dangerous are old cars with indicators that are dim and hard to see.

You might find yourself suddenly braking, locking the back tyre, fish-tailing, releasing the back brake to stop the fishtail and suddenly remembering that this can result in a high-side ;)

It didn't fortunately - I wasn't going fast enough - but I certainly felt the beginnings of one.

Lesson learned:

ALWAYS HAVE TWO FINGERS ON THE FRONT BRAKE WHEN YOU GO IN HOT.

Oh, and if your back tyre locks, ease off the pedal gently.

Love this thing :)

"Smart" helmets are coming

They'll have Heads Up Display (HUD), Bluetooth, GPS, cameras, blahdy, blahdy, blahdy. It's not something I'll be going after. I ride to get away from all that stuff.

I also have no interest in electronic suspension, traction control, "ride modes" and most of the other technology finding its way into bikes now. Honda are even toying with a self-balancing bike. Why ride? May as well just play an arcade game.

I think this is why we're seeing a resurgence in retro bikes right now. Simple, relatively low-powered machines that give people the seat-of-the-pants experience that got them excited about riding in the first place.

Customization

I've been day dreaming about changing the bulky rear fender on The White Knight. And upgrading the seat.  And adding some highway bars. And driving lights. And…

Or I could just ride the friggin' thing as the engineers designed it! I think customization is probably more about ego than anything else anyway. Wanting to look cool. But who cares about you and your bike? No-one. Only you.

When I get too precious about my bike I pay a visit to Mark at "Biker Bits" who has a C50 as well.  He calls it "Harry" and treats it like a mate but also rides the living suitcase out of it. I think he's got it right. Check him out here.

Motorcycling as art

Riding a motorcycle is an aesthetic pursuit for me.  I remember watching "Torque" when I was about fourteen and hearing Peter Wherret say that he never got bored with driving because he was always trying to drive more beautifully. Even if he was just driving to the shop to get milk, he wanted to do it as smoothly and efficiently - as perfectly - as possible. I've never forgotten that and have always applied it to my own driving. Now I'm trying to do it on a motorcycle. I want my riding to be effortless and seamless because then it becomes beautiful. It becomes art.

Actions speak louder than words

So when I shut down all my other blogs (8 or 9 of them) but keep this one, it's telling me something about where my interests really lie :)


But wait, there's more. In order to scrape together enough to buy The White Knight, I flogged off everything that wasn't nailed down.


Even my beloved drum kit. If you'd have asked me a few years ago if that would ever happen, I would have said there's a greater chance of the Pope joining the Orange People. But there it is. I did it. And I haven't regretted it for a second.

This bike has its weaknesses, but comfort is definitely not one of them. Its ergonomics are so perfect for me it's ridiculous. It's as if it was custom-made for me. And the suspension is so sweet you just glide over the bumps as if they're not there.

Now that the odometer has finally clicked over the first 1,000km (and that all-important first service has been done), I'm looking forward to cracking open the throttle a bit more and seeing w…