Monday, 8 February 2010

On Choosing Motorcycles and, further, on Character.

So having sold the CB1300, and been sitting on a wodge (note for our non-UK readers: "wodge" = a sizeable chunk of cash, folding, wonga, bread, squids, etc) for a while, I finally found the right Firestorm with some help from my mate Barry who took me to look at one and is a 'storm owner himself. Pictures may follow but suffice to say it is like a cross between a banana and an A10 tankbuster. This because it is yellow, very noisy and aggressive sounding and to some, ugly. What is it with practical but sporting v-twins? It's not like the more road orientated offerings from Ducati and  Aprilia are much better - the ST series and the Falco all being  fairly lacking in the chiseled good looks department. In fact in this case I probably prefer the Falco and the 'storm to the  ducati ST's looks.
Anyway my one has some very nice high-level Quill pipes that are incredibly loud and fruity with the baffles out and merely very loud and fruity with them in. They are legal with the baffles in and I don't know how they managed it, they still sound thunderous and luvverly.
So any doubts I had about ditching the CB have been well and truly quelled - it was extremely capable but had zero character - I see that now. Probably the least character of any bike I have owned in 30 years. The storm is not ideal for my back, and I am still a bit worried it's going to blow up any minute, and it's hard on the wrists on traffic-jam town trips of more than half an hour. However, I came back from work tonight in the dark and with the snow falling, and also desperate for a piss, and I was still loving that bike - such is the power of Character.

A V-twin is shaping up to be my favourite configuration. The effortless rushing forward at low revs  is a magical sensation found on big singles too - magical because of the paradoxical feeling of a primitive powerplant's slow big bangs pushing you forward on a airy carpet of torque. But a v-twin has the top end to give you the best of both worlds, quick in the twisties and in town, confident and unstressed on the motorway. The 90 degree balanced vibes, the committed but not extreme riding position of the 'storm, even the very basic analogue clocks, the fact that apart from the budget suspension and the looks, the 'storm has similiar weight and performace to a  916, all combine to make you feel like you are on a mission but on a mission with a friend. Every good bike should make you feel like you are on a mission...basic requirement.

Anyhow, the storm cost a lot less than I got for the CB1300 as it's an older higher mileage bike which left lots of money to go shopping for big money project essentials....

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