|Is that an old BMW with sidehack? Or an old Russian copy of an old BMW, or a Chinese copy of a... you get the picture.|
YOU know I consider myself to be a typical motorcyclist, that is funny, good looking and smart. Well, okay lets agree on good looking and funny. How about just funny and leave it at that.
Personally I started out riding primarily for two reasons, back in 1968. The first was... I wanted the Independence and freedom of being motorized on wheels. Sometime after the last ice age, Alberta allowed 14 and 15 year olds to ride on the street by limiting engine size to 100cc. That wasn't a problem back then because my first two bikes were "little". Initially I had a Honda S 90 with it's 4 speed gearbox, then a Suzuki A 100 Scrambler, which was also a 4 speed but was powered by a rotary valve two cycle engine. Because the 'Zuke' had a high chrome exhaust, it was cooler because it could be ridden off road which I did a lot of on vacant lots, and out beyond St Albert and the confines of the city routinely. Look at the current popularity of street scramblers. Both bikes were very common and available given the licensing restrictions. With enough acceleration to at least stay with traffic on city streets, they were also abuse resistant given that my rides quickly advanced to highway jaunts to places like Lake Wabamum, Elk Island National park and Red Deer. It's a wonder that neither bike exploded held with the throttle pinned, speedometer showing 66.5 mph for miles on end.
The second reason I started riding, was named "Kelly"
Kelly was the teenaged girl who lived next door to me in NW Edmonton. Label me if you want, but I fantasied about the long red hair, flowing in the wind arms entwined around me as I rode to the beach at Pigeon Lake! Of course it was only a fantasy as I didn't yet have a bike, she was beautiful and had a boyfriend named 'Butch' which in them days was the moniker of a 'tough guy'. Butch would ride up on his CB 160 with the mufflers cut right off after the header pipe, clad in dirty blue jeans, a white T and boots. He could have been the prototype for Arthur Fonzerelli except the Fonz rode (?) a Triumph.
So between my fantasy of Kelly, aided by her sunbathing in the back yard in her bikini (it was the sixties) and the ability to escape parental control for hours at a time, I began riding motorcycles.
Anyway, as often happens, I wake up remembering some point of my riding career that's spanned 50 years.
A few weeks back, I popped out of bed... okay languished for an hour and then clumsily rolled out from between three cats, I had a different "what if" moment. Let's say I was returning from Phx and due to a mix up I was invited to sit in first class next to a guy that looked suspiciously like Bill Gates. Of course I turned the conversation to motorcycles and this passenger asked what I would ride if money were no object?
I decided to put it out there amongst some of my motorcycling pals.
What would you buy if money was no object?
I know this isn't an original idea but that morning I was curious enough that I circulated the question and sat down waiting for some feedback. It wasn't long in coming.
The guidelines were simple. Regardless of your experience level which varied from beginner to "old geezer," if you had to choose a single bike of any brand, type and had a barrel of cash stashed in your jeans, or you were wearing the jeans while inside the barrel.. which was full of green/blue/purple or orangebacks.
I didn't want a long obtuse dialogue, just send me a line or three to explain your choice.
Here's some of the answers I got... see how yours compare?
Scott said: (probably my favorite)
"A URAL Gear Up. He liked the 2WD (that's right, it has a 2WD option) modern? Russian copy of the BMW and ZUNDAPP machines used by the German Army in WW2. The sidecar equipped URAL has plenty of storage space and the ability to include his girlfriend on Adventure trips which otherwise are ridden solo on his KLR. (Frank's note; With a Ural's "cool" factor, he could carry more than one girlfriend at a time! Now there's an adventure!)
Kathy said: "she loves her Vulcan 800! It's well balanced, has lots of pep and she likes the Classic style typified by numerous Harleys."
I too like the mid sized Vulcans, which reminds me of a story... back in '88 when the first 1500's were imported, I was out with some friends riding. We stopped at a little café off route 19 here on the Island, frequented by riders and sports car enthusiasts. When we came out there was a guy sitting on my bike. Tsk tsk I said, or something like that, and he stared at it obviously liking it. He asked me what it was and I answered, a Vulcan 88 as in cubic inches. I told him it was the largest production MC engine in the world and it was built be Kawasaki. He disagreed and pointed at his own bike and said tartly that it was the biggest. I asked him if it had been bored or stroked although it looked brand new, which it turns out it was, and I could see my question went right over his head. I did point out to him that although large at 1340cc, the Vulcan at 1470cc was indeed bigger! He begged to disagree with me, and by this time my riding partners are nearly rolling around splitting a gut laughing at this exchange. I'm not certain where he learned his math, but we parted at that...
My often times KLR riding pal Trevor, didn't disappoint when I put this to him. Trev shot back a reply immediately informing me that his dream bike would be a Husqvarna Super Enduro 701. His reasons; lots of power (near 70hp) both road legal and off road capable, and as I mentioned to him, he had the giraffe legs for the 38 or so inches of seat height!
Zac's answer did not surprise me. He figures a Suzuki DR 650 with upgraded suspension, big bore kit, more fuel capacity and decent luggage would make an ideal bike for his riding style. I myself have a similar bike with my XT 600. He finished with the caveat that he wouldn't mind having a Triumph Scrambler too!
Chris #1 would pick a circa 2005-2012 Yamaha MT01. A bike that couldn't get traction here in North America but was briefly popular in Europe. Basically a factory modified V Star 1700 that played on the power cruiser looks but with lighter weight (aluminum frame) USD* forks, decent suspension and as Chris eloquently states it... "Quick, powerful and sports bike type handling." He liked the upright seating position as well.
Chris #2 on the other hand would take an All Black Triumph Tiger 800 if somebody handed him the cash. He liked its ability to do some casual trail riding, praising it's light weight as compared to the Mega ADV bikes, something that he could pick up off the ground if he were trailing somewhere in Baja or Chile or the Alaska highway. Besides... he added it looked "Bad Ass"
Melanie chose a Yamaha Bolt. She tells me it's comfortable to sit on, looks good, and has style and is easy enough to lift off the side stand. She'd sure like to ride one!
Ron likes bikes that are like him. Old, reliable, still dashingly good looking and devoid of frivolities that add nothing to the riding experience... but cost a barrel of dough if they need a visit to the shop. He likened that experience to the difference between adjusting the valves on his DOHC GS 1000 Suzuki himself, to taking the bike into Exotic Cycles where a tune up would involve a day and a half, with several hours of removing and replacing body work and end with taking out a 2nd mortgage!
THEN THERE's TOM!
He loves his Magna. A "cruiser" with a race bike engine. He doesn't need anything more. He tells me he's already cool, rich and handsome beyond belief and doesn't need any bike to enhance his many attributes.
*USD Upside down
|Cool 1981 XV 920 RH|