Big Girl’s Bike

The time came that I was able to go from my P’s to my Open unrestricted license and eventually the lack of power of the CB250 just got too much to be able to bear.  It was time. 

The search was on, not just on my behalf, but it was occupying the minds of quite few of my rider friends too.    Usually it involved throwing around of many, many names, brands and models of bikes that seemed like a low and good idea.  Followed by many trips to the bike shops to see said models, and discount every one of them due to a long list of short-limbed & vertically-challenged rider problems.  Time seemed to pass and nothing was jumping out.  Every bike I looked at all seemed ‘ok’, with many modifications needed to lower it and adapt it to me, but none felt like it had the ‘it’ factor.  I wasn’t jelling with it.

Eventually one friend found a bike that was being sold be an acquaintance that had previously been lowered – a Suzuki SV650 2006 model.  We went to see it, and I had a sit on it.  It looked ok, again the same feeling like the other bikes, except this one was just a little more than ok.  It was fair.  I didn’t even dare test ride it on the day, but the friends I went with did and they were all for it.  They loved it, had fun on it, and put the pressure on me to also like it and take it.

I assume that I did buy it in the end for a whole myriad of reasons; in hindsight, none that were true or authentic to me.  Personally I think many a bike have been purchased this way. All because of pre-conceived ideas.

Now don’t get me wrong; Once I took the time and more money to get the SV650 as close to what I was able to fit me for my size, it turned out to be a great ‘first timer’ and learner sports tourer.   At the beginning the thrill of finding out the difference of throttle between a 250 and a 650 was just magical and the more I twisted the throttle, the wider my smile got. 😀

This bike provided me with more freedom to chew up miles in trips around, and faster of course.  But I came upon stumbling blocks.  The geometry of it was massively changed due to having to lower it so much.  My inner legs became quite tired from having shaved off so much seat padding, and worked out that the installation of bar risers combined with twisting the handlebar sweep closer to my trunk, was putting pressure on the cables to the console.  It was, but it just wasn’t quite it.  Had a couple of scares riding it as the side stand would scrape too much on the ground.  Not ideal.  The change in geometry too meant that I had to shorted the side stand and eventually was giving me grief whenever having to stop at lights etc.  My poor calf would end up with so much bruising from this.

Someone suggested that I attend California Super Bike training to polish my skills in being able to handle such a bike.  The training isn’t cheap but it’s certainly worth its weight in gold.  As the trainers saw my predicament and tailor made some tips for me to try on the track.  By the completion of the training I was much happier having learnt a couple more tips for my tool bag of short-arse rider tricks to make the bike (at least while in motion), more rideable without scraping.

(As you can see the clearance of the bike isn’t it’s strong point…)

I would highly recommend for any rider to spend some money on training courses as the amount that you pick up in skills in a short couple of days is the equivalent of 6-12 months on the road! It most certainly helped me get fresh perspective as well as getting a little bit of experience to see what the bike was able to do around as track as there wasn’t any popo or cagers spoiling your mojo.  Much safer on a track to open up the throttle than the roads :-/

After about a year of having this blue beastie, and still not really ‘feeling it’, I was almost glad that I had the bike written off.  On a day ride, I had to do an emergency stop coming into a one lane bridge with guardrail.  The car coming onto the bridge, never gave way as supposed to. I realized this and just managed to stop between the guardrail and the entrance to the bridge decking, rather than wearing the car’s bonnet.   However, at that time I didn’t realize there was a rider behind me at the time, and my first inkling that they were there is when I heard a god-all-mighty *CRASH*.  I only had enough time to look in my rear vision mirror to see this black bike hurtling towards me on its side, and seeing the rider rolling off the road’s embankment.  There was not much else I was able to do at this point, since I wasn’t able to gun it forward (into the car), gun it to the side (stopped by guardrail) so all I remember next is the huge *BANG* and I was flying up in the air and crashing back down on my butt, while my bike got mushed between the other bike and the guardrail.

The result was a cracked tailbone, not being able to sit down for at least 6 weeks without having sharp nerve pain up my backbone, and of course…. The end of the SV650. L  Not the best ending.  But looking on the positive side – I got an insurance pay out and I was free again to look for my new steed.

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