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What it's Like to Crash a Motorcycle

“Damn it. John Burns thinks I’m a dick.”
That was one of the predominant thoughts going through my head as I slid down a Florida highway at 60 mph back in March.
It’s weird how the mind works. Time slows in a crash. Every tiny image burns into memory, so your brain can replay it over and over and over at night for the next who knows how many weeks.
In the moments before I crashed, I was riding the Harley-Davidson Street Rod along County Road 34 in central Florida. I’m not sure which county. The accident report simply records it as “County Code 61,” but the internet can’t agree on which county that is. Maybe I was in Indian River County; maybe I was in Suwannee County; maybe I was in Flagler County; I don’t know. I guess it doesn’t matter; I was somewhere. The road passing through that somewhere was long and straight – not the sort of place where one usually crashes – and the weather was perfect.

“My God, I am so happy,” I was thinking. “I am so incredibly lucky to be here – to live t…

What I want: Arch KRGT-1

I'll admit: first time I saw the motorcycle set to be produced by Keanu Reeves' new venture, Arch Motorcycle Company, I wasn't all that impressed. Something about it struck me as being the motorcycle equivalent to Dogstar. But the more I look at it, the more I take in every feature, the more it appeals to me. 

That is a crazy-looking bit of machinery, y'all. And its look speaks especially to that beautiful-crazy truth of motorcycling, which is: really, you are just sitting on top of a big engine and hurling yourself at the world. Nothing is covered up with fairing; everything is exposed. It looks like a terrible health and safety violation, the sort of thing that a bureaucrat would insist you should wear eye protection just to see a picture of. Honestly, just look at that thing; imagine all the terrible things it could do to fingers and hands just by sitting still.

I imagine the reason there is no room for a passenger is to try to prevent the eventual heartbreak that would otherwise take place. If there were space for one more on that thing, a fella might end up giving a lady a ride on it. Needless to say, she'd fall in love and the two might have a child. Then the KRGT-1 would eat the baby.

As I say, the more I look at it, the more I love it. But, in truth, I'd probably never buy one. 

Partially that is because the motorcycle is set to have limited production and the odds are quite good that purchase of one of these beasts will require at least two years' worth of my current salary. Even if I were ridiculously wealthy I would struggle to spend the cost of several motorcycles on just one. Also, I'll admit that it's just a teensy bit too "raw" for my liking. When tastefully done, I don't mind if something has a bit of paint.

But the thing that really appeals to me about this bike, and why I would do a super-happy dance if Keanu were to give me one, is the fact that it exists. I love the idea of this bike as much as I like the bike itself. I love the fact that people are building something new, that they are adding to the American motorcycle lexicon.

In my previous post, I mentioned the negativity that is rife on the British motorcycle website VisorDown. Its commenters took a great big stinky poop all over the idea of the KRGT-1, complaining that it is an ugly "Harley-Davidson clone" that is "a lot of good parts wasted." In reading this, one thought came to my head over and over: "What are you building? Name the British people and companies who are building and creating new motorcycles."

Triumph, of course. And... uhm... maybe Norton (but maybe not). To my knowledge, that's it. If you know of any British company that is actually making new motorcycles (i.e., not people like Kevil's who are making awesome bikes out of old parts), let me know. Whereas on the other side of the water I can think of several motorcycle companies big and small. You have Harley-Davidson, of course (1), and Victory, Indian, Cleveland CycleWerks (2), and now Arch. I'll bet there are a few others.

So, as I say, what I like most about the KRGT-1 is that it exists. I like what it represents. I like that people are investing their time and energy and money into developing new things, that they are doing. To me, that's a lot of what motorcycling is about: actually doing. Being an active participant in your environment.

–––––

(1) We'll save the "Are Harleys American?" debate for another day. As far as I know, they're at least assembled in the United States, which is more than can be said of many "American" cars, and their headquarters are in the United States.

(2) Same issue as with Harley-Davidson, I know. If not more so.

Comments

  1. Oh, wow, that's... that's so...

    That's just frickin' hot, yo. I want to take that bike and do naughty, naughty things with it.

    The amount of negativity out there is overwhelming. I think it's because it's easy to be negative. It's much harder to be positive. Positivity requires vulnerability. Negativity is safe, in its way. It's also appealing to the lowest common denominator. Any moron can be a hater.

    I'm not a huge fan of Keanu Reeves the actor (At least, not since he stopped playing goofballs.), but I suspect he's a pretty cool guy. He's out there trying stuff. He's willing to take a risk. I admire that.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Chris:

    I am not sure I would want a limited edition, limited production anything. I want a large dealer network with parts availability, and a place convenient for me to bring for service. A good dealer nearby is more convenient. I like to blend in and just ride something mainstream. A bike like this is not meant to be used daily but rather on nice Sunday afternoons to show it off, close to home. IMHO, of course

    bob
    Riding the Wet Coast

    ReplyDelete

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