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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 can afford this month: BMW K75S

This thing of tracking my motorcycle savings by searching classified ads for bikes I can afford right now is my new favourite game, y'all. Each month I have a tiny bit more money, so each month I am (presumably) able to climb a little higher in terms of desirability and quality.

The bike this month comes from someone who doesn't know how to upload photos properly, and it is technically £25 more than what I have in savings (surely I could talk him/her down that much) but that doesn't really matter because the machine he/she is selling is so iconic. It's a 1988 BMW K75S.

Wait. Is a K75 an iconic bike? I don't actually know. I thought the old R-series bikes were the ones to salivate over. But I assume the old Ks are, too. Admittedly, I only assume that because John Nelson has one (a 1986 K75RT) that he swoons over, and he strikes me as a cool sort of dude who would only surround himself with cool, characterful, iconic things. He rides a Royal Enfield, after all.

Ah, I'm sure it's iconic. It's a BMW, after all! And as I've mentioned before, there's some part of me that really wants to be a "BMW guy." Dude, I would be the most BMW-est BMW guy of them all if I were rocking around on this thing. 

That is primarily because I would almost certainly first need to develop an encyclopaedic knowledge of not only how to maintain and repair old BMWs but also how to hunt down the necessary parts for them.

Taking a look at the pictures of this thing, although the owner says it is "in good working order" and "starts always first time," it is clear to me that some work would need to be done and I'm guessing that it would need to be done often. I'm guessing, too, that this would be one of those "delightful" old machines so imbued with "character" that it is inclined to do inexplicable things at incredibly inconvenient times -- like having the horn go off every time you shift into second gear, or discovering that it will only start if you lean it at a 30-degree angle.

To that end, uhm, I'm not really sure I want to be this sort of BMW guy. Indeed, I'm not entirely sure that the reason I want a BMW motorcycle isn't similar to the reason my father has always pined to own a 1960s Jaguar.

"Those things are finicky as all get out, Dad," I once told him. 

"Yes," he said. "That's partially the point. I'd like to own an old Jaguar because it implies that I would be rich enough to be able to pay someone to fix it all the time."

With that in mind, I guess it's best that I stick to my un-iconic Honda for the timebeing.

Comments

  1. Not particularly handsome bikes, but a good mile muncher. The engine seems more like it was intended for a car due to it's arrangements of flat cylinders, dry clutch and beefy starting system. The R's are most aesphetically pleasing, and sounding though.

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  2. After owning 14 Japanese motorcycles over the last 25 years I decided it was time for a change. It had to tick a few boxes, mainly different to before. Triple, Euro, shaft driven, stainless exhaust, fuel injected, centre stand, panniers to name a few. It ticks them all and after the 900km ride to bring it home I'm hooked. I love it. Smooth, reasonable power, comprehensive dash, nice underseat storage, cheapish tyres for once but no chain to lube and adjust. Its a keeper.

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