Riding Bikes Keeps Me Young

Al's Heathens Motorcycle Club
Al’s Heathens Motorcycle Club by Shaun Dewberry

Well, all of a sudden there’s a little bit of a scientific study that I must admit, I quite like the results of:

“Riding motorcycles helps keep riders young by invigorating their brains, the scientist behind popular “Brain Training” computer software said on Wednesday, citing a new scientific study.”

In truth, any biker probably knew that inherently all along…

“The group that rode motorbikes posted higher marks in cognitive function tests”

Yes indeed, the perfect excuse to head out on the ‘blade tomorrow. Rockstar, Hacker, Biker. My identity fits like a glove.

Biking Sports

Time for Something New [Crazy Biker Dept.]

2008 Fireblade alongside 2006 Fireblade

Yep, in that little picture above the bike on the left is my new baby. Beautiful, sexy and powerful she is…
A 2008 Honda Fireblade will put a smile on any biker’s face – so long as they can sit on it. For those who don’t get to ride it, it’s an exercise in jealousy.

The real amazing thing is that everything they say in the magazine reviews of this bike is true. It is more agile, it is lighter, and it probably is faster. And the upside (and downside) is that you feel cheekier, slightly more arrogant, and confident on the bike. I love it.


The Fuckers Stole My Bike

Sorry folks, no apologies for that headline. On Friday 4 April at around noon, some criminal fuckheads loaded my bike into a van or a truck and drove off with it. This occurred inside the “secure” complex where our offices are in Centurion. I happened to look out the window at 2pm and my bike was no longer where I had parked it, and it turned out that this was no prank.

There’s a couple things that make this event such a shock:

  1. I can’t believe nobody saw this happening. There’s always someone smoking out there.
  2. I can’t believe the security guards at the entrance saw nothing.
  3. I can’t believe they’d do it in the middle of the day.
  4. I can’t believe criminals think that seeing something means you can take it.
  5. I can’t believe someone would buy that stolen bike from the thieves, but I can’t believe they’ll make any money selling it for parts either.
  6. I can’t believe I only take the bike to work very rarely, based on a whim and on the weather, and the criminals “just happened to see it”.
  7. I can’t believe it was my bike that was taken, and not one of the other two parked two spaces away.
  8. I can’t believe I have to go hunting for a bike again, when I’d found the perfect deal on the perfect bike for me.
  9. I can’t believe I’ve managed to control my burning anger and not punch holes through walls, but then again, I suppose that control is one of the reasons I’ve been such a successful biker thus far.

And in case you happen to see something, here are the bike details:

Black 2007 model CBR 1000 Fireblade
Standard exhaust, standard windshield
Immaculate condition
Right hand side crash bobbin is missing.
Stolen in Central Park, Esdoring Street, Highveld Techno Park, Centurion

Technorati Tags: bike, theft, stolen, fireblade, cbr1000, anger


Buying the Bike

With all my previous hints and tips in place, I will now go through my (at times painful) process of buying my first motorbike.

Variety is certainly king when it comes to bike choice. There’s a lot out there, and it all depends on what you want to do. The first choice is between off-road, on-road, and on-off-road. I figured the on-road was for me, and more specifically something that either is or looks like a superbike. With bike choice you once again have to go with your fancy and instinct. Find the bike that takes your breath away. You’re going to form a bond with this machine, and you don’t want that based on regret.

A number of people suggested a small off-roader to learn how to mess around and fall. Others recommended a small, light on-road bike to develop those skills. Still others suggested top of the range 1000cc beasts.

Now I know you’re saying in your head that going for a 1000 is insane and the bike is uncontrollable etc. The argument put forward here was that you would use the smaller bike for a year or less and then want something bigger and more powerful as soon as possible. i.e. There are financial benefits to getting a bigger bike sooner.

Always bear in mind that bikes (especially new ones) lose value faster than Eskom shares in winter.

I very quickly set my sights on a Honda CBR600RR. It is a beautiful bike, and is the best quality you can find. All the bikes in this class, Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha and Kawasaki are incredible pieces of engineering that should never fail you.

Somewhere along the line though I’d developed a preference for Honda. In fact, My first pillion ride, first actual ride and learning were all done on a Honda. (Yes I learned to ride a bike on a Fireblade!) This probably biased me towards them. That, and Brad’s endless preaching about the virtues of Honda.

A curveball hit when I rode a GSX-R750 for the first time. Man, what a comfortable bike! And extremely good looking too.

I roughly ironed out the choices between a CBR600, a GSXR-750 and a wildcard which I called a “good deal”. I honestly had no clue what to get and many hours were spent, whole Friday and Saturday nights, pondering the choice over a good whisky.

With the help of the Tomster (my mentor throughout the process), I started calling around and finding out price, availabilty and more. Intereseting lesson: Bike retail is nothing like the car retail business. Prices vary significantly across dealerships, areas, mileage, demo models, and even time of day. I saw 13000km GSX-R750’s going for close to R100k, I saw CBR600s for just under R75k(demo 800km) and going up to R87k(brand new). That’s twelve grand difference for 800 kilometres worth of riding!!! I saw pretty bikes, sexy bikes, fast bikes, well-used bikes all with very different parameters and pricing.
Autotrader and other websites such as were also invaluable in the hunt.

So my criteria boiled down to this:
– Low mileage (preferably less than 3000km, hopefully less than 6000km).
– A year old at most.
– Sexy as all hell.
– Excellent condition.
– No mods. I believe that a sign of a bike that’s been driven hard is a custom pipe, or indicators that have been removed or any other non-standard deviation.
– Fair price. I was willing to take it to R100k if necessary, and if the bank smiled at me!
– Must have the “instinctive yes” feeling attached.

And yes, despite all the above I did manage to find the perfect bike for me – turns out, lead me to a private sale of a black, 2007 Honda CBR1000 in absolutely spotless condition. So at last, (a month and nineteen days after that first bike ride) I took this pic of my gorgeous Fireblade:

Honda CBR1000R

So I’ve chosen the bike I want, made an offer that was accepted. Next time I’ll tell you about the hell that is financing a private deal…

Technorati Tags: Honda, CBR1000, bike, motorcycle, superbike, choice, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yamaha


Biking Gear

As Reinhardt commented on my previous post, adopting a policy of ATGATT (All The Gear All The Time) is the most successful way to protect yourself when riding a bike. And so the day dawned where I had to start my own spending spree in search of the gear that would suit me most.

I drew on the experience of two mentors here. In fact if you’re looking to start biking GET YOURSELF A MENTOR. Bikers are actually friendly people, and they’re often happiest promoting the lifestyle to new bikers, so there’s loads of advice for you to draw from. I also saved big money by having someone with me who’d made the mistakes before me and could advise against poor purchases.

Full Throttle in Edenvale was the first stop, where I browsed through helmets, jackets, boots and gloves. Nothing quite caught my fancy, and I’d yet to crack open the credit card. Unfortunately the only way to shop for gear is to browse everything, trying it on, feeling it, testing it. It’s monotonous and off-putting and disappointing when you see something almost acceptable, but not quite there. Whatever you do don’t give in and buy something that’s good but not quite what you want – wait and keep browsing – you will find what you want. The very last thing I looked at in the shop was a pair of Berik gloves. Finding those gloves triggered the sensation you feel when you see something you know you want immediately, and once I’d found that sensation and swiped my first transaction I used that newly-honed instinct to guide the rest of my purchases.

Berik Motorcycle Glove
We headed off to Mosskays in Randburg to see if I could improve my browse/purchase ratio. I was in luck there. I immediately saw the Shoei XR-1000 Joust in black and white and knew I wanted it. I also found a Frank Thomas “Blade” leather jacket and a transparent tank-pad (I secretly knew which bike I was going to get by this stage, which also helps a hell of a lot.) Unfortunately they didn’t have my size for the helmet, so I took the jacket and tank pad. Things were looking up – I was halfway geared.

Shoei XR-1000 Joust

A quick call to full Throttle in Randburg confirmed that they didn’t have any stock of the Joust helmet, so my mentor called Brian at Biking Accessories and he arranged for it to be ordered in the next few days.

The last thing I picked up later in the week was a good pair of Berik ankle boots, perfect fit at Centurion Yamaha.

Gear Done. Next mission? Bike choice…

Technorati Tags: bike, ride, gear, shoei, accessories, Fullthrottle, Mosskays, jacket, helmet, gloves, berik, boots