So in the past month, I’ve ridden three other bikes. A 2000ish Suzuki Katana, a 2000+ish Ducati 750SS and a 2008 Suzuki GSXR600. My sister in law’s Ducati, I swear, has imbued a little piece of Hunter S Thompson’s eternal soul. It felt scary and dangerous the whole time. That bike was trouble looking to happen. Plus it’s been 6 years since I owned a Ducati, and damn if I’m not too old and arthritic to deal with that ridiculous clutch. It felt exciting and certainly impressed the boys.
Whereas the Katana I was lucky enough to borrow for Laguna was so sad and hideous. Why Suzuki would let the blind design motorcycles is beyond me. It’s also gutless and innocent, the perfect starter bike for the 16 yo boy who’s gonna do his best to get himself killed. It’d be much harder for him to do it on this lil’ beastie. But hey, it kept me from having to take a cage to a motorcycle event!
The GSXR600, however, was a different story… Ridiculously easy to ride and more forgiving of bad riding habits than any other bike I’ve ridden. This bad boy got me from SF to LA via Big Sur and even let me stab the brakes mid-corner a few times without getting upset and trying to sit upright. I don’t know how they do it. The brakes did feel softer than my R1, but not in a bad way. Just in a “I’ll scrub as much speed as you want, even more, as unobtrusively as possible” kinda way. I felt completely unworthy, as I couldn’t bring myself to charge through the corners as fast as the bike wanted to go.
I used up one of my nine lives when some yahoo in an economy car set out to pass a large camper, with me right behind him, as there was a plenty long passing zone for both of us. Then some oncoming cars appeared over the horizon. Now, I’m sure the car itself was gutless too, but what kind of moron slows way down MID-PASS to get BACK behind the camper? Insane. Anyone with a brain would’ve either known the limits of their car and postponed passing until they knew they could make it even if Michael Schumacher was about to come around the bend! So to avoid plowing into this fool and then being hit head on, I had to lane split between the car and the camper.
Jeesh. This is why I never take highway 1, it’s nothing but morons. Why anyone would travel with an entire house, and clog up one of the twistiest roads in the world, especially when it’s too foggy to even see the ocean, is beyond me. So the GSXR and I made it to LA unscathed, and it even survived a night in Echo Park without being stolen. Of course it helps that it was behind a locked gate, but that didn’t help my 1st R1.
Tonight I am returning the GSXR to Sportbike Rentals (.com) and picking up a Monster from a friend who actually has my old Monster, although it’s not running. I just got the estimate for the work my R1 will need, and it’s steep, but it’ll be so nice to ride it in top condition!