All the Gear, No Idea

I’ve been acquiring gear for my latest obsession at a fair rate of knots and the pile of trammel in the hall is now reaching embarrassing proportions.

I’ve sourced fat bikers trousers, extortionately priced yet rather swanky bad ass biker jackets, helmets, special socks, neckerchiefs, outdoor bike covers and locks. Quite frankly I’m the best kitted out biker in town apart from one startling omission……

The bike.

It keeps evading me.

I’ve come mighty close on a couple of occasions.

My first bike of choice was an ebay listed 10 year old BMW F650 GS. A single cylinder version, factory lowered and with a whopping 55k on the clock.

I think I might have had a lucky escape with that one.

I lost the bid in the final millisecond and shifted my glances in the direction of this beauty. Still a BMW F 650 GS but completely revamped for 2008 with an 800cc engine and a twin cylinder. Again factory lowered but with only 5k on the clock this time.

The snow did it’s best to deter my biker dreams. Police actually closed the roads around the dealership on the day of my first planned test ride due to the treacherous conditions.

I stuck a deposit on it to hold it for another week and then two days before the rearranged test ride, more snow fell. Fortunately heavy rain followed and cleared the roads sufficiently for me to take it out to play in the downpour.

My new biker trousers must hang a teensy bit low because I struggled to get into the saddle and then I could barely reach the floor to provide enough leverage to take the bike of the side stand. I’m surprised the dealer didn’t rush out and whip the keys out of the ignition as he saw me teetering from side to side trying to reach the ground on my tip toes.

Having got the thing upright I managed to stall it on the way out of the forecourt but then I was off and flying.

It was the fun machine I remembered from my direct access course more than 12 years ago. Nippy and seriously easy to handle, at least until I needed to stop and put my foot down again. Stopping on even the slightest of inclines was a little bit hairy and left me in no doubt that this bike was going to sit on me one day.

The final straw came after I’d pulled into the petrol station to load up. I’d filled up and paid and with a fair queue of cars pulling in behind me all I had to do was hop on and speed off gracefully.

I leveraged my leg up in a passable fashion but couldn’t even come close to throwing the bike upright. The big GS bikes have one heck of a tilt on to the side stand and you need at least one firm foot on the ground to handle them. I came so close to having to ask the guy in the station to push me up that I had to face facts. This bike was just too darn big for me.

I tried not to get too dejected and enjoyed a bit of a blast along the A22 before taking it back to Vines and asking for my money back.

Now I need to find myself another dream bike or risk looking like a complete narna on my Brompton.

I’m currently toying with a Triumph Bonneville, on paper they seem lower than the BMW and are probably considerably narrower. They can hold their own in the charm stakes as well.

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