Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Advice column.

Sometimes the life of an advice columnist can be rough. No, not in the way you might think. Dealing with people's problems all the time isn't that bad. After all, it's not us having the problems, right?

No, this is much more serious. I'm going to give you an inside peek.

You might think that folks like me are driven to help others. Sure, there's a great satisfaction in helping riders get new skills. Yes, I feel good knowing that, due to my efforts, fewer riders will suffer accidents. However, I am not an overly altruistic person. Us so-called "gurus" actually like the chance to show off what we think we know. There you have it. Things are out on the table in plain sight as ugly as it might be.

Take the advice column. When a reader writes in with a problem, I start rubbing my hands with glee. Oh boy, here's another chance to dazzle everyone with my "wisdom". Somewhere I'll throw in a couple of witty jabs, something that comes across as slightly smug, and offer some counsel in the process. Most of the time, life's good. My ego grows bigger each day.

Just about the time my ego won't fit through a standard doorway, something like this happens.

Dear Maniac,

So I have a problem for the advice column. I recently purchased a 2007 Suzuki Bandit 1250 for a bargain price on Craigslist.

I rode the Bandit the last 10 days and am just getting to know it. It thrills me and scares me at the same time - part of that fear is that I cannot corner as easily as I can on my S50 - in the low speed around town stuff. I rode my S50 tonight and it was like an extension of me. It turns in easily and goes exactly where I want it to go.

Is it a mental thing that stops me from being able to perform the low speed maneuvers on the Bandit? Surely this bike should be easier to turn?

I have 9000 miles on the S50 and less than 300 on the Bandit.

Do I just need to give it more time?


The Unsure Bandit.

( photo from Suzuki's motorcycle website )

I waited a few days just to enjoy thinking about the possibilities. What would I write? How could I get a laugh or two without actually insulting the reader? How much of what I think I know should I reveal here as opposed to holding something back? In other words, do I tell everything or end up still looking wise and mysterious?

Oh yeah, I was so ready to publish the column. And then, aaargh! I get a second message. I was deflated faster than a hot air balloon in an archery contest. The reader had solved their own problem. Curses, curses, curses! I mean, er, uh, good for them!

Here's the second message.

Dear Maniac,

Well I found the remedy to the problem.

A ride from Eugene to Florence, to Reedsport then back to Eugene via the Smith River Road. ( links to Google map of route )

Problem solved!!


Bolder Bandit!

Oh well, there's plenty more where this one came from. Keep those cards and letters coming, folks!

Miles and smiles,

Dan aka The Maniac


Lucky said...

You know, you'd think there'd be some kind of unspoken rule that once you ask an advice columnist for advice, you'd have to stop trying to solve your own problem...

Some people just have no class.


Anonymous said...

sorry to burst the bubble.

I really was quite concerned though. I thought I'd made a grave mistake.

I'm glad I figured out a solution, but would still like to read what your input would have been!
Would it have been a technical approach to the different geometry of the bike and rake and trail angles etc.

or would it have been more of a philosophical approach?

Please share as if I'd never posted the response!

oh and here's a picture of the actual bike...

bobskoot said...


i believe this is the same problem that you had when you replaced Sophie, the decision of which to use. I have a more complex problem scooter or bike as i have both. I was trying to delete one from my fleet and it is impossible. (I wanted to decrease my insurance expense). I have a 500cc maxi-scoot and a Suzuki SV650. they are machines for different purposes. I think in Steve's case he should use the Bandit for out of town touring, and the Cruiser for city/urban use. Sometimes I think that the scooter can do it all, but when I ride the SV650 it feels like a sports car that I cannot bear to let go of

Anonymous said...

I think my problem wasn't so much a "which bike to use", but more of a "what happened to my ability to ride!"

Ideally I'd keep both bikes and do exactly as you stated - around town or riding with my wife on the S50, and use the Bandit for longer solo rides or times when I'm riding with others but they don't mind me leading and riding my own ride and letting them play catchup.

When I ride with my father-in-law on my S50 I may ride ahead for 10-15 minutes then stop for 2-5 minutes (depending on how twisty the road is :)

I may have to take up bird spotting or some other activity if we ride together and I take the Bandit! Or maybe I'll bring a book to read :)

Speaking of books, a great resource that many of proabably already have is David L Hough's Proficient Motorcycling.

bobskoot said...


interestingly, I attended the Maxi-scoot rally down in Stevenson, WA late August and met David Hough. He was a guest speaker and was giving a talk on cornering dynamics and traction. We sat down with him for a while and chatted. He is very "down to earth" and approachable . I am a very cautious rider (read: as don't take chances), so if we happen to ride together make sure you take a book or binoculars along for the ride, or else I'll just keep your father-in-law company (LOL)

irondad said...

I know. God forbid people would be empowered to find their own answers!

Steve L,
I will do a post the first of the week. Your second guess is more correct. Something did happen to your ability to ride. Stay tuned!

Exactly. I haven't found a worthy buyer for Sophie, yet, so I'm still kind of where I was! I can readily identify with not being able to let go.