Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Harley Guy I Ain't. Not Yet Anyway.

I've put over 60,000 miles on my beloved Goldwing over the last 5 years or so and I must say, she'll be a tough old gal to replace. I am accustomed to hugging the road tightly as we lean hard into the curves, the surge of power just a slight twist of the grip away. Never a maintenance problem and as reliable as rain at a picnic.

Tonight, I put a good solid 40 miles on the conformists machine. The one that advertises "real good". My initial twist of the throttle gave me only two thirds of the horsies I am accustomed to but the power was still adequate to get me moving down the road and I must admit, the throaty growl was quite satisfying especially when I was getting on it pretty good. When I stopped for gas, I quickly found out you want to leave this puppy in gear when pointing even the slightest bit downhill because they have this unnerving propensity to roll forward off the side stand.

When I climbed back on, I found myself again slouched back in the "cool guy" stance and after just a few miles, realized I'd need a backrest if I were ever to own one of these scoots that everyone who doesn't ride thinks is the epitome of motorcycles. I also smelled oil several times. I have been assured that they don't mark territory like they used to, but my confidence level isn't all that high, cuz this old rider has a pretty loyal and accurate sniffer.

Cutting the windshield down a good three inches would also be a must on this Ultra bike I rode tonight because having the top of the windshield right in my line of site just won't cut it.

Now as for her handling, I was impressed. Of course it doesn't have nearly the lean angle of a Wing, so slower cornering is mandatory, but overall it was a much smoother ride than I had remembered. Riding hot into a corner is a little more thrilling on the Ultra than on the Wing when you hit a bumpy patch. The Wing confidently glides through such curves with a little laugh, but the Ultra got pretty twitchy. I really felt like I had to hang on to the front end to keep it from steering wherever the heck it wanted to.

Overall I finished my ride totally relaxed, as I am supposed to be after a nice peaceful night ride by myself. The thing that keeps nagging at me though, is that oil smell. And, that if someone I know sees me on one of these things they will know I've sold myself out. No friends, I haven't. But I will be test riding this one for a few more days to see if someday I want one as an amusing backup to my daily ride.

Oh! And why the heck would they put the horn button right where the high beam switch is supposed to be? I have no idea how many people I honked at tonight because I had my high beams on. That'll teach 'em. Oy yoy yoy. As I tucked this little gem in for the night, I was reminded of the pleasures of an air cooled engine, as my legs were quickly cooked to medium well by the oddly placed and searing hot pipes. Good night my conforming friend. Until tomorrow...

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