It feels like a long time. I've had the bike for nearly 14 months, and it has been nothing short of the best thing I've ever ridden. Maybe one of the best things that's happened to me.
I bought in the heat of a sport bike fever that I couldn't break last spring. I had just bought my thruxton and had some serious cash going to Mule Motorcycles for upgrades.. but the Thrux was dead in the water with ignition problems, and being away for two weeks at a time meant I could only buy a part, install it, see if that worked, then order a new part. 10-12 days turn around meant 4 months of replacing shit before I got it on the road.
In the mean time, I bought the bike from Aaron. He was good enough to fully refund the deposit I made on a brand new bonnie black, so I went back to him. Good people should get chances to do good things. So I bought it. It snowed while I was straightening out financing. Like, blizzard snowed. The next morning, crisp and clear and 2 degrees at 9 am, I showed up. Aaron showed me the usual delivery things. These are the controls. This is where you check fluid levels. Start it. Warm it. I did. I rode home in 2 degrees. The thrill of that moment was part elation, part what-the-fuck-am-I-doing? I ran over my balls the first time I decelerated. Ceci N'est pas un sportster. A few lights and some wobbly squid-style light exits and I was on the ring road. First, second, third. Gently, gently.. jeesh. This is fast, I thought, launching off a yield sign leading to my house. Jeesh. I parked it and took my friend Justin out for breakfast for driving my truck back to my house.
I had the bike broken in within 3 days. The first time I got home from a real ride, I was buzzing for probably 2 hours after. THIS. THIS was the motorcycle. Aaron got a hold of me, we went for a ride. He rode a sportbike like someone that knows what he's doing. I started to imitate his body positioning on the bike. There we go. Into the corners on the brakes, body forward, scoot the butt over, dip the knee out a little, maintain throttle, apex, wooooooooooomp.
The funnest thing about a triple is that it sounds like it's yelling at you when it's sucking air. It burbled on hard deceleration. It always sounded like it was UP to something. And the chassis.. it was like riding a goddamn scalpel. Too hot into a corner and just lean farther. Knee out farther. Inside elbow coils, outside straightens, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaam.
Nelson was the next step. We got into BC, I rode into the Kootenay RAT Raid early with my friend Liane and got to go out with some sprint ST dudes. I got to ride the bike where it was meant to be ridden. Tight twisting canyon roads in BC. Colin was 65 years old. It will still be a few years before I catch him. We took a rain day, and I was glad for it, there was dime sized hail all over, and Nelson properly flooded that day. The next, I got out with my twins crew. Mike Yak and I took point and got to do some smooth corners out to New Denver. On the way back to Kaslo, I led. Sort of. I rode at my own pace and had about 2 minutes on everyone else. Stopped next to an RCMP and stood out on the edge of the road to make sure nobody got a ticket.
The rest of the summer was all prairie highways and a few fast laps around town. Everything after Nelson felt bland and unchallenging. I knew what I could do, and I knew what my bike would do (more than I could handle!) and just felt like i could never use it to it's limit.
This spring was an absolute maelstrom of bike activity. I bought a brand new KTM 690 enduro R. Then, with 3 uncheap bikes in the garage, I began to panic. This is too much money. These are too many bikes. I will not sell the street triple. I will not sell the thruxton without painting and riding it (and who wants a 15000 dollar unfinished bike, anyways?). The Katoom went. I picked up an XR650L shortly after. A fine bike, no doubt, but nowhere near the KTM in.. well any aspect, really. But they're cheap to run! The street hadn't been getting the love I wanted to give it. And I've still been having that minimalist's panic. Too much stuff! TOO MUCH STUFF. Spending 3 days of my short time at home every month wrenching on bikes started to look a bit stupid to me. There was a lot of money going out, but without much to show for it but holes in my bank account, and a lot of trips to registries.
I've decided to sell my bae. Trade her in more precisely. The Streetie and the XR will go like lambs to the slaughter as I reconfigure the garage. Good street bike meets OK dirt bike? Looks like a KTM 1190 Adventure to me. And so it goes. Full ADV tour rig in the garage, 2 bikes out.
I've been OK'd to start up a side job with work- I'll start wrenching on and selling bikes through my contracting company. Buying bikes, making them better, selling them in my off-time. New opportunities, and a fond farewell to a lovely motorcycle.