It was a damp day before Christmas, and all through the house, nothing was moving … except for the biker who, having been separated from his motorcycle for three months was going for a ride, no matter the weather.
It is perplexing how the urge to ride can get to us like that. Susan III (the Versys) had been deep cleaned and treated with ACF50 – thank you Trevor at AllYearBiker.co.uk – before my unavoidable sojourn to Texas. With only one weekend on a Harley to satisfy my need to ride a motorcycle while away, this ride was happening regardless of the road conditions and luckily for me Brother Andy was in a similar frame of mind.
His Crosstourer had been loitering in the garage due to day job commitments, and my invitation to ride was all the excuse he needed to escape the rigours of another deep dive into work-related paperwork for a few hours.
With urges duly acknowledged, I could have picked a better day for the ride. The roads were covered with a mixture of mud, dirt and that greasy damp sheen that comes with the British winter weather. Not the sort of conditions for a spirited ride, and my progress through the beautiful Bicthfield Bends was a little less than sparkling. I was definitely out of practice.
My lines between the curves needed work. Reading the traffic wasn’t too bad, but I felt as if I was reacting rather than quietly progressing without fuss or flourish, as the saying goes.
As testament to my slow progress, I arrived to meet Brother Andy a shameful 20 minutes late. Making my apologies and explaining how out of practice I was, we agreed that today would be one to “smell the roses” and enjoy the scenery, at which point Andy set off at an effortless warp factor three. Time for me to get over myself.
Living in Lincolnshire has the advantage of never needing to travel far before you find yourself on wonderful roads. Even the relatively boring A151 from Bourne to Melton Mowbray has its fair share of sweeping curves and 90-degree bends to play with. Chasing along behind Brother Andy was the perfect cure for my winter-blues. Nothing daft or crazy, just look, lean and roll the throttle and a few miles later the world was zipping past at a respectable pace.
First tea stop in Melton Mowbury involved a roaring wood burning fire and a lot of talking, before talking off along the A607 to Chris Walker’ Kawasaki dealership to pass judgement on the new Z900RS – very nice was the conclusion although opinion was divided over the exhaust.
Back in the day, we all put 4 into 1 exhausts on our bikes, yet somehow the factory fitted version doesn’t have the same presence. It looks way to Euro-5 and, for me, fails to make the bike look faster, even though it is sat in the showroom. That said if Santa would like to leave one in my garage, can I ask for one in Candytone Brown and Orange please – Thanks!
To reach the Z900RS from the café that is part of the Mr Walker’s dealership, requires walking through the showroom. In turn, this required that Brother Andy walked past a 1400 GTR (ZG1440 Tourer) resplendent in deep Kawasaki green and complete with all of the bells and whistles expected on a top of the line tourer.
Was that a slight pause in Brother Andy’s stride I detected, as we ambled past the GTR? Oh yes. The amble back across the showroom to consume the freshly brewed tea contained more than a slight pause, this was a definitive look. The drinking of tea then included several glances back towards the showroom and a discussion on the merits of the 1400 GTR, of which it seems there are many.
Not a bike that everyone can find the delights in, for Brother Andy, it is close to everything he wants in a motorcycle. Bucket loads of torque. Manoeuvrable despite its size. A European motorway muncher which cruises at 130KPH at 4,000 rpm, finished off with a splendidly crisp exhaust note; sharp without being offensive.
At this point, I did offer to hold his wallet for him, but I was too late. The seed of change had been truly sown, and we were now into the finer details of how to lower the rear foot pegs, to ensure a comfortable riding position for Mrs Andy.
Arriving back on my driveway, I was ashamed of myself for covering my beloved bike in a thick layer of road dirt. Which brings me full circle, back to the wonders of ACF-50.
Removing the majority of the dirt was accomplished with little more than a quick hosing down and little elbow grease applied to the downpipes, which were caked in muck despite an extender on the front mudguard. If you are wondering what ACF-50 is, take a look here – Soaping up Susan.
There is still some cleaning to do, but that is what days off are for. Having been good all year (honest!) perhaps Santa will be kind and include a few dry days in the next week or so. Assuming of course the Z900RS isn’t blocking the garage.