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European motorcycle ownership

1874 Views 65 Replies 31 Participants Last post by  DreamingThruLife
You'll have to forgive me. I've just come from the garage. My Daytona sits on stands near the fridge which holds my beer. I've made quite a few trips, but the last one stopped me. The Daytona is gorgeous. Dormant, but gorgeous. Powerful, taut, solid... but only in memory, unfortunately. Riding season is NOT upon me. I can imagine the bark of the triple, I just haven't heard it in a while. As I studied the Daytona and imagined the sound of the triple, fully ensconced in my ale cocoon, I got to thinking about European motorcycle ownership. Again. :D

Ok, here's the thing. European motorcycle ownership is like a state of mind. Either you get it, or you don't. If you do get it, then you're either lucky enough to be part of it, or you're scheming some way in which to crash the party.

I know, I know. The mags. We all read them and they all say the GSXR this, the R1 that, the CBR and ZX other thing... whatever. Ask an Aprilia Mille/Falco/Tuono rider when they're planning to sell their mount for an R1. Talk to a Triumph Daytona/Sp3/Tiger/Sprint rider and find out when they're going to give up their community for a Japanese ride. Assault a Ducati SS/ST/Monster rider and demand that they step back from their desmo lust and consider the sheer numbers put up by the Japanese supersports for just a MINUTE! What do you get from this? For the most part, one raised eyebrow and a whole lot of confused faced riders.

No one else feels the Ducati twin fire early in the morning. No one is there when the Triumph triple is bouncing it's exhaust note off of the trees en-route to the Sunday morning meeting spot. It's just the rider and the bike when the Aprilia leans through the 3rd and 4th corner in the morning, reassuring the owner that everything is still in working order and ready to go much deeper and hotter.

Do the Japanese bike riders feel that kind of connection? The deep down, in your gut, connection? Maybe, but I tend to doubt it. Do they imagine the artisan lost in his/her work as they assemble the motorcycle? Can they feel the pulse of the engine? Do they sense the timelessness of the design? Are the intangibles, the just-beyond-the-tip-of-your-tongue, the almost-there thought, present when they roll on the throttle at the exit of the corner?

Do they stare at their motorcycle well after the ride because it is a representation of their being in a form that suggests both beauty and strength? The feeling that all is good with life and the good fortune for what lays at your fingertip? Or do they revel in the efficiency of yet another competent vehicle owned by thousands upon thousands of others riders who lay claim to the mantle of the lap time?

One rider feels. One rider sees. Which is the preferred experience?
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I've yet to ride a Japanese bike that has any "soul". They are profecient as hell, but they command no loyalty from me. My wifes' FZ1 is a hellacious MC, completely kicking the shit out of my Triumph Sprint RS in every performance catagory, but I hate riding that bike. I even appreciate it's neo-industrial design qualities, but it's sooooooooooo not fun. when I test rode a Honda VFR before I bought my RS, I just wanted to get off the thing ASAP. Now I thank GOD that Aprilla has aquired Moto Guzzi, and designed the Griso. I now know exactly what my next bike shall be. I have looked at all the Japanese MC's that remotely appeal to me, and have found that when face to face with them, they are just not insipring. The old adage that japanese MC's are superior in build quality to Euro bikes is a thing of the past. I just don't care about going fast anymore, I care about having my spirit invigorated by the ride, and the Japanese bikes just don't work for me. But, I'm not putting down any rider or their rides. whatever makes you smile.
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I enjoy most motorcycles... Japanese, European, American etc etc... doesn't matter to me.

My true love is my beautiful Isabella but I have a little yeller 600RR on the side when I want a bit of a roll in the hay with no romance.

I sit and stare at the Ducati a LOT more than is healthy.

Isabella, a beautiful ballerina on the curving tarmac and an angry goddess who roars.
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And, yet, BamBam, you concur. :D
:D Nice write up, Sean.
It's amazing how every time I go out to the garage for something, I have to just stop and look, if only for a second, at the Daytona. I still can't believe i've owned it for over four years now and still have no deep desire for another primary ride. Brilliant, really.;) .
I am well aware of the fact that there are dozens of other machines out there which would allow me to be faster, weather on the street or at the track, but that just doesn't matter to me. Nothing gives me the experience of living, riding, existing like a journey on the old Trumpy does and that's the bottom line. The way I feel when i'm out there on it. I did break down and buy a track-only UJS (Universal Japanese Sportbike) just because I really didn't want anything to happen to the Daytona. We have a lot of time and adventures still ahead of us. Will it be more track capable than the Daytona? Probably. Will it be as much fun? Probably not but, if I toss it down the road, who cares?
Why is it that Asian motorcycles fail to instill this feeling into people. Why are they viewed as merely accessories to be owned, thrashed, and thrown away? Why is it that a Triumph, BMW, Ducati, etc, that comes off a modern assembly line has the intangible "character" that we all speak of, while a Honda or Yamaha that comes of the line has all the charisma of cold oatmeal?
Damned if I know. Could it be in the design and implementation policies of the respective companies, different goals (ie, not trying for ULTIMATE outright performance at the expense of everything else) allowing different engineering approaches to come forward?
I don't think we will ever know. How do you quantify a "feeling"? I think that's why god invented demo rides:D ;) .
Cheers, Lee S.
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Let's look at the japanese design, specifically the Honda Rune/Ruined. The engineers were ignored, sent home early, dismissed with scorn by the design team. They had almost no limitations, except to stick the fug ugly GL motor into a cruiser. What did they come up with? A piece of shit.....the delaers can't shove the Rune out the showroom with a forklift. One month after it's introduction, the dealers have to discount that monstrousity just to get people to come into the showrooms to look at it. I've seen it, it sucks, and I can't understand how someone could get something as simple as a cruiser sooooooooo wrong. Arlen Ness is so last century. Yet that's what they came up with. Which states something about japanese design that I've known forever. They are followers, not leaders. Italians rule and everyone else sucks ass. Oh well such is life. If you're going to rip off something, rip off something GOOD!

The mechanics and engineering of a motorcycle can be done with competence by anyone with enough money to build the proper facility that accomadates modern machinery. The MC has been around for over a century, there is plenty of data to base a real world MC on. The missing and illusive ingredient???? So far only the Euros have identified and implemented it into their design and build. they aren't telling anyone, especially the Japanese. Harley has been producing the same bike for the past 75 years, how they get away with it is anyones guess. Nostalgia is like crack to some folks.

Soon the Koreans and Chinese will be sending over their version of the UJM and UJS, when that happens, the big four better have something to answer with, or they'll be the Norton's, BSA's, and yes, the Triumphs of the new century. The chinese are going to be HUGE in the MC industry within the next 10 years....Maybe a Mao Meteor is in my future? Or a gang-of-four GoFast? ;)

I will be saving for that day when I can lay down the cash on a Griso, or something Italian. It will have to be something special to get me to drop money on a japanese bike anytime in my lifetime.
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well said sean. i'm feeling you on this. i've had, ummm, 7 japanese bikes and two italian bikes and i agree with you wholeheartedly. japanese bikes with soul and personality are rare and far between. the older ones i felt were much more soulful. i have a '70 cb750 which has a lot of personality to me. the zrx for me does too as well as my old v65 magna. but there is definitely something special about the prillers that i've owned. can't quite put my finger on it or express it as well as you just have.
I have to concur as well, even though I have only owned a euro bike for 8 months it does have a ton of character, whereas most japanes bikes dont. I will say that my TL does have alot of character which is why I will prolly neverpart ways with it but there is just something about my priller. May be why i want to add another one to my stable.

Holy Mother. I really need to install a breathylizer on my keyboard. :laughing
SilverSurfer said:
And, yet, BamBam, you concur. :D
Yes, there is something special about the Ducati.
I'd still be happy though if all I had was the RR... Just love bikes I suppose.

PS: I think the Rune is an incredible looking machine - not personally my cup of tea but fabulous nonetheless.
Great post Sean, I agree whole heartedly But You forget the sound of a Big Triumph 4 Cyl is unique unto Itself also.
tommymac said:
I have to concur as well, even though I have only owned a euro bike for 8 months it does have a ton of character, whereas most japanes bikes dont. I will say that my TL does have alot of character which is why I will prolly neverpart ways with it but there is just something about my priller. May be why i want to add another one to my stable.

My sentiments EXACTLY!!!:D
SilverSurfer said:
Holy Mother. I really need to install a breathylizer on my keyboard. :laughing
I had lots of family stuff to do today, and it was warm so not being on the bike was tough. As I was caging home I saw a yellow Duc approaching from the other way as I was sitting at a light. Just had to turn off the tunes and roll the window down to hear that gorgeous, D&D-piped V-twin. I HAD to go home and get the RS out for (alas only) about an hour. I used to be bored with my rice rockets within a year or two. I've had the RS for almost four years and it's just as wonderful as the first time I rode it. Don't tell me there's no such thing as character. :nanana

That being said, my keyboard could use one of those breathalyzers too!
BamBam said:

PS: I think the Rune is an incredible looking machine - not personally my cup of tea but fabulous nonetheless.
You know, I'm at a complete loss here. Please point to one thing on this hedious POS that looks good. As a motorcycle, this thing is a complete joke.
well coming from an R6 to the RSVR I can say I don't care if I ever get back on the R6 even though I have it still. Debating on wether to sell or to keep it for a track bike. I just don't see myself getting on anything else than my RSVR. I love bikes and all, but I just spoiled myself. The Rune IMHO is a cool looking bike. At least there's a massive company is producing some custom bikes. Perhaps this will spur some better designs beyond the Harley look.
Ahhh Sean consuming adult beverages again are we?

I own a triumph tiger and it's cool and all that and when it's finished getting all the body work back it's really going to look like a steaming pile of shite and is going to be totally tasteless , but I could give a rats ass where the fucker comes from as I long as I like it thats all that matters.

I have built a bunch of old choppers using mostly trumpet 650 motors and bsa's (which are and always will be complete buckets of shite) but my favorite old chopper is my trusty old cb750/4 honda which I just renogiated back into my possesion.
That old chop never let me down unlike the brit stuff and still exuldes 70's cool.

I think the only reason I have held onto my triumph tiger for so long is I get to hang with my mates in NTSR and the look on seans face when the tiger just stalks that daytona is priceless, but I gotta tell ya after our last trip up north Sean is a force to be reckoned with on his daytona...

I just got back from my shed while looking at my tiger and I couldn't help it but that can of flat black paint just sort of fell into my hands and now various bits are flat black and a good washing with simple green got the whole motor the requisite shade of flat black:nanana
By the way I went for a spin on my trusty old Suzuki rf900r today and that was way cool ,love the bike and great to be riding this late in the year.

Yeah I thionk I'll keep el tigre a little while longer just to annoy you euro snobs:redflip
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I have to say, I understand the feeling. I reply now because of something you posted, about looking at your dormant ride after putting it away.

Im the proud new owner of a '00 Ducati M900. I've ridden it once, for about 30 seconds, short shifting it (in my 'hood, gotta take it easy) becaues it was 40* and i don't even have the title yet :) Its incredible. I think about it before i fall asleep, and as soon as i wake up.

Earlier tonight, i shot out to the garage for something or other. The instant i caught sight of the bike, I froze. And just stared at it. I managed to tear my eyes off it to leave. Closing the man-door behind me, i turned and saw it again. I froze a second time, door half closed with one foot outside, one foot inside.

Don't get me wrong, I love my ex250. But i never was hypnotized like i was tonight by it.

I could stare at the 749 for hours and be satisfied, of course then i think about taking it apart and painting it. I had a gsxr before the duc and i have to say, there is something abou the duc, it just makes me feel alive. I usually can't just look at mine, some touching tends to be involved
My Sp3 went into the shop on October 2 for the umpteenth time. Almost 2 and a half months later, I picked it up on December 12. Soul or no soul, character or no character, I'm getting pretty friggin' tired of my Problem Child's maladies and the lengthy times it spends in the shop.

So apparently, there must be something about Triumphs that are beyond explanation, cuz I still love the damned POS! :rant :laughing
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