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Sunday, November 29, 2009

I'm not supposed to want this bike.

I don't think I fall into Honda's target demographic for the VFR1200.

The guy that they imagine will buy this bike is (paraphrasing here) an older experienced (probably European) rider who maybe used to ride sportbikes on a race track but has mellowed out a bit. He still likes to have some fun in the canyons but doesn't want to ride a race replica anymore. Honda say that the VFR1200 is for riders who will "ride far, ride hard, and ride often."

Well I suppose they've got me flagged on most accounts... everything except the "older" part. And though Honda won't publicly admit that they had Europeans in mind for the VFR1200, they did design it in Europe and will certainly sell a lot more of them on that side of the Atlantic. They're expecting to sell so few here that they've only allocated 200 units for the entire Canadian market.

At 27 I think I'm still supposed to be hooning around on a CBR or GSXR looking for trouble and showing off. But I haven't followed the natural progression of a sports motorcycle rider, at least not the way I observe it here in Canada.

I've written and closed the "squid" chapter of my motorcycle diary... It wasn't a very long chapter either. I wrecked my new 2003 CBR954, then got right back to riding irresponsibly on a new '04 CBR1000RR, crashed that, fixed it, rode like an idiot for a little while longer, then discovered the race track. I converted my 1000RR to a track bike and completely stopped riding on the street. With newfound skills, I learned to ride a sportbike the way it was meant to be ridden in a controlled and safe environment; assing around in the city no longer had any appeal to me. After a couple seasons of trackdays I sold the 1000RR, built a racebike out of a crashed 600RR and took the next step into roadracing with the local club. My racing career lasted 1 season... I had a lot of fun, made some great friends and further developed my skills. Then I got married.

My wife didn't push me to get rid of the racebike. In fact, she was very supportive of my racing, and watched every event. The problem was that with my career taking off, I just didn't have time for it. Roadracing requires quite a commitment, with a measure of planning and preparation for each event. Dirtbiking, on the other hand, can be much more spontaneous. I have a couple of good friends who ride their dirtbikes in the mountains all the time, and it's easier to sneak off for an off-road ride on a rare day off. So I sold the CBR600RR racebike and bought a 2008 CRF250X off-road bike.

I miss riding motorcycles on the road. I don't miss the squid stuff, I miss the trips into the mountains. Somewhat out of order, I did quite a bit of sport-touring before I hid my "squid" phase. In fact I had a 2000 VFR800 which I bought used and put a bunch of miles on over a season or 2. I miss that bike. It was plenty fast, but comfortable for longer rides, and that V4 engine had a "character" that you don't get with your typical inline 4 sportbike motor. V4s have their own sound, their own feel, and their own power delivery. I've had a weakness for V4 motorcycles (particularly fast Honda V4 motorcycles) since my dad used to take me for rides on his 1984 V65 Sabre. Dad bought a 2001 VFR800, at the time (and to this day) considered one of the finest all-round sports motorcycles ever made. I rode it quite a bit, loved it, and bought my own.

I miss those long rides.... I cherish the memories and I'm ready to make new ones. I want to get back into riding motorcycles on the road but with a newer more experienced approach. I want to bring my wife with me, and I want her to experience the same sense of adventure and freedom.

I want a bike with lots of power, that's comfortable for 1 or 2 people. I want a bike that looks good with or without the luggage attached. I want a bike that I can enjoy on a simple Sunday blast out west, or on a 5 day trip. I want high performance and high technology. I like the idea of a shaft drive which eliminates all the hassles of a chain without compromising performance. There are a couple of bikes that meet all of the requirements. In my next entry I'll discuss them, and explain why the VFR is still at the top of my list.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

First Entry November 26th 2009

Welcome to my site. I've opened this weblog to share my experience with my new motorcycle, the 2010 Honda VFR1200FA.

At this point, I don't have the motorcycle yet... In fact its availability has only recently been announced and all of the details are not yet available... particularly the pricing.

When it became clear that the rumours about this bike were true, I made my way to my local Honda Powerhouse and placed a deposit, reserving my first right of refusal on the first VFR1200 to come to Calgary. It isn't expected to be here until at least February of 2010. In the meantime I will explain why I am so eagerly anticipating this motorcycle, and I will justify my reasons for wanting one.

When the bike arrives, I will share all of the data and thoughts I have available based on my ownership experience.