Ask most motorcycle riders out there and you’ll soon discover a bike never ticks all the boxes for riding experiences. A bike can come close to cover all the bases but there is always another bike that can do a particular thing, just that little bit better.
So, you buy a bike that satisfies most of your criteria or fulfils a certain need you have at the time. If you want to go insanely fast and take in a few tracks days…then a sports bike is the way to go. If you’re looking for the cruiser and American dream ride with a decent social scene added on, then a Harley would be your best bet.
However if you’re looking for a bike that does everything pretty well but not necessarily all brilliantly, then what would be the right option to go for?
This has been and continues to be a dilemma of mine. I have ridden all sorts of bikes over the years…fixed more than a few, built and fashioned my own…even leaping into a dealership to see if I could be convinced by the sales pitch that their machine was the must have ride.
I’ve never been one that would follow a trend, yes Mr Unfashionable here…although I’d like to think I have a classic quality and charm too. I’ve always believed that you could use any bike to do any task…and you’d only be limited by your imagination or fear of breaking the thing whilst under your control…or lack of!
I’ve ridden bikes at hyper speeds but that doesn’t necessarily interest me at the moment. I’ve toured around with panniers and tents strapped to the saddle. I’ve even turned one of my bikes into a van that carried a gazebo, folding table and chairs, display items and advertising boards too…
However, I’ve never once thought that I must buy a particular bike to achieve a specific goal. I don’t need the grand tourer to go on a tour around the world…I could do just as well with a Honda C90. I don’t need a ‘Long Way Round’ bike to go have adventures…and I don’t need a show pony ride to go to any bike rally or custom bike show either.
I’ve always thought that you should be able to do anything or go anywhere on any kind of bike…within reason and you don’t need to be pigeonholed to be able to do so either.
I adopt the same approach to my riding gear too. I don’t buy into head to toe in leather or going for the off road safari look when all I need to do is go for a ride to the shops or commute to work.
Of course I wear safety gear but I invest more time and effort in how I’m riding and being aware of any hazards, rather than thinking I’ll be protected if I fall off after riding like an twonk!
The last bike I bought was based around the decision to change my riding position to be more upright, to be able to carry items around with me easily, and to be able to tour or go off road as part of its design.
I looked at various bikes of all makes but decided to opt for the Triumph Explorer…and it has served me well, but it isn’t brilliant off road or on great endurance rides…it is good enough though.
The choice of my next bike might be something completely different again, but it won’t stop me doing what I loved to do…getting out on the back road and dirt trails, although I’m already thinking that a lightweight 250cc Trail bike for the dirt and a Harley for the road might be the way I go next.
But in the meantime, I’ve got a lot more riding to do and field testing this Triumph to see what it can or can’t do well. The next item to change are the tyres to cope with the mud better and will go up a wet hill with ease.
So far it has coped quite well with what I’ve thrown at it, albeit with a lot of help from me along the way, check out the videos On YouTube/RevelatorAlf
Like most people who ride, I think I’m making the right decision when I decide to get a new bike but I never really know until I’ve been on it for a year or so and have challenged it to the odd duel or two, and see which of us comes out on top. Some are an instant love affair, whilst others are a nightmare…but no matter what bike I have, I know the ride is always the same and it should be fun too.