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Old 12-31-2002, 10:50 AM   #81
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Default Re: Pirelli Diablo Tire Test

I enjoyed THM's imbroglio for its attempt at reader hypnosis, an attribute I admire in good escapist fiction. But I was left with the same feeling I got at my local Harley dealer while checking out the "Motorclothes" a while back. (since they take up about 3/4s of the store, ya gotta look)

There was this beat up looking leather jacket I started to like, but when I looked at the label and read: "Harley Davidson - an American Legend" with the little tag immediately below it that said "MADE IN CHINA", I was left with one cogent conclusion: the Motor Company (while they are to be admired for staying alive for 100 years and making lots of people happy, even if they only love us for giving them heaps of cash) considers us fools, puppets in an endless dance of blind loyalty, teary eyed nostalgia and unquestioning respect. I'm left with that same feeling every time I'm riding one of my other bikes and someone on a new Harley that just bought into the brotherhood scorns me with that universal look of superiority that never fails to warm my heart.

Still, the depth of my addiction is clearly evident, because even with all the image baggage and poseur-pukes out there giving them a bad name, I still love them. I still love the sound, the look, and the feel. I still love the dream of rolling up mirror-fuls of two-lane blacktop, wandering a big free country on a throwback bike that meets you halfway, but asks the same of you. As long as I can afford more than one bike, one of them will be a Harley.

I've owned Kawasaki, Suzuki, many Hondas, a BMW and two fat, slow, "antiques with warranties" as I like to think of them. Peter Egan once wrote something like "you don't really know if a bike is right for you till you put about 5000 miles on it" and I couldn't agree more. From the little (but quick)73 Suzuki 500T I started on, to the Kawi 650 on/off, through the ATC250Rs and the sinister green, light, short and narrow KX250A with that sweet sudden rush of the KIPS power band to my metric cruisers, to my first Harley, to my R1150RT and last years 1800 Gold Wing (all now gone) to my current two bike start on a dreamed-of garage full of keepers, I've learned that every bike has something to offer, and you don't have a clue what you're talking about unless you've spent some serious (and not so serious) hours and miles on them.

My garage is currently home to two bikes that I may actually keep till senility and feebleness force me back into the car or the wheelchair (same thing?). To me, these two bikes make perfect sense and compliment one another beautifully. I own one of the 50-bike US allotment of the Aprilia Tuono R. This bike lights my heart on fire with it's insane left field looks, mind warping acceleration, tractor-beam brakes, mom scaring Italian thunder and amazing ability to do everything extremely well. Want to smile? Ride one if you can find one. (I was amazed to find one inbound and unspoken for last September. Broke my heart when it showed up only a week before the accursed salt spooge of WisconsinÂ’s roads in November, just enough time to fall in love and then park it )

Nose to nose with this crazed joy, is it's polar opposite: my 100th anniversary Road King, a bike that's a markedly better machine than my 97 hog – it actually shifts better than the GL1800 I sold in September – no false neutrals, no skipping back to the previous gear mid-corner. It’s fairly big, reasonably powerful for casual tooling, and plenty comfortable. With the solo seat on it reminds me of the old FLs that chuffed up and down the roads of my misspent youth, leaving a puddle of oil wherever they sat. (and you thought only animals marked their territory) I think it looks and sounds beautiful, and to me, with all its faults, it’s still a blast to ride.

I love both these bikes. Equally. For entirely different reasons. Those who are forced off their bikes only by snow, ice and the dreaded salt-spooge will know why I love one or the other, I hope I'm not the only one who understands why I love both.

I still haven't owned a Ducati, a Triumph, or a Guzi, there's talk of a rebirth of the Vincent Black Shadow with an RC51 V-twin in its belly, and how about that Conferderate Hellcat G2? Eh? Eh?! Life is a motorcycle smorgasbord, and I'll be going back for clean plates till the day I die. Anybody else?

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Old 01-17-2003, 07:07 AM   #82
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Default Re: Pirelli Diablo Tire Test

Funny, he writes just like Gary Jaehne...
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