"My Bike". Two words that conjure up so many different images depending on who is saying these words and who is hearing them.
This is really where it all starts for us, isn't it?
Whatever reason we have for riding, whatever personal fulfillment we receive, whatever our dreams are, it's the bike that makes it all possible. The cool thing is that under the umbrella of "motorcycling" there is so much room for individual expression.
I have attached a picture of "My Bike". It is a 2001 Honda ST1100. This picture was taken on July 4th weekend this summer. I had always heard rumors that a certain forest service road went over the hills and connected with a main highway leading to Central Oregon. This was one of many breaks I just had to take to admire the view and enjoy the solitude. I climbed a hill and took a picture looking down on the bike. You can see my gear on the ground beside the bike. What a wonderful ride that was! But that's a story for another day.
We all look for just the right bike for us. I am just not "cool" enough for a cruiser, I guess. Finding myself standing beside some shiny cruising machine I have been asked to "step away from the bike because you are lowering the re-sale value". While being extremely glad for the skills garnered from riding dirt bikes, I am not pulled toward riding off road these days. There are plenty of paved roads to keep me entertained for a long time, thank you. If I bought a dual-sport I would probably be like the guy I saw an ad from recently: "For sale, dual sport in good condition, 13,000 miles, NEVER BEEN OFF ROAD." Yup, that would be me, all right. Even though I know they are getting more nimble all the time, I am just not ready for a 900 pound luxo-tourer.
My leanings are pretty much toward the sport and sport-tourer types. The ST1100 was always the bike I was working toward. The ST is not an only child, mind you. In fact, the year I bought the bike is the year my wife, Katie, declared that I had finally and irrevocably gone "off the deep end". I don't think it was the purchase of the ST that got to her so much, as it was the fact that I bought the ST in February and in May bought a new Honda CBR600F4i.
Katie was excited about the ST1100. Up to now she had been a passenger on the back of various bikes around the place. We had a 1981 CX500 ( which I can't really take total blame for because it eventually became her bike ), a 1981 CB900C Honda with the dual range transmission, a 1994 Honda VFR, a 1998 Honda Pacific Coast, and my son's 1990 Suzuki GS500. So suffice it to say that the ST1100 wasn't destined to be an only child since the plan was for the other bikes to stay. After all, you don't sell one of the older children when a new baby comes along, do you? Sheeesh!!
You gotta love a woman who goes into the dealer's showroom with you and sees the new Candy Dark Red ST1100 and says "That's our color, dear." Honda had a brief flirtation with this bike in a bright red but the traditional color had been black. I have a dear friend named Al who swears the only proper color for an ST is black. Curiously enough, Al just bought a slightly used ST1300 which looks suspiciously maroon colored. Al vigorously defends himself because Honda calls this color "Black Cherry". Ok, Al, whatever you say.
So we go in the showroom and Katie falls in love with this bike. The passenger seat has to look good after doing a two day 1200 mile trip with me and riding on the back of the Honda Pacific Coast. It's a nice bike but not like this one. I sure hope Katie never gets to try out the air cushioned seats on the big BMW bikes!
That's how I finally got my dream bike. I tell myself that I am not being unfaithful to the "Perfect Bike For Me" by having other bikes. Unlike in human relationships, where you find the "Perfect Person For Me" ( where you darn well better limit yourself to one ) it's okay to see other bikes once in a while.
Seriously, this bike suits me well and works perfectly for everything I am doing in my life right now. The only thing I changed from stock was the seat. Not being the tallest person in the world, I had a little trouble getting flat- footed on the ground. It was no big deal until we discovered that having Katie mount and dismount while having to throw her leg over the backrest became more of a thrill than we wanted. When the aftermarket seat was made I was able to have them streamline the foam at the front of the seat where it meets the tank. This, combined with more familiarity with the bike has made the balance problem go away.
This bike is the main commuter so unless I mention another bike specifically, this will be the noble hero of this blog!