I've had the most profound thought percolating in my brain in the last few weeks. I've been riding motorcycles for over fifty years and been around them longer than that. It's always been enjoyable and I've bonded with many of my bikes and enjoyed their way of doing business. Lately though I've found that I really have connected with the Chinese scooters and the 50cc bike more than I ever did my European or Japanese bikes. Now understand that I'm one of the people who scoffed at the notion of the "Mystique" surrounding Harley Davidsons. "Nothing feels like a Harley" and "If I have to explain it to you, you just don't understand" to me were just the excuse for riding something that cost a lot more than comparable models from Japan that performed better. I hate to say it but I'm beginning to understand.
It's based on two things. First. As much as I liked the 250cc Honda Big Ruckus, it was nothing special. It handled well, was comfortable but was so competent it was invisible. It attracted attention because of its odd look but was just a scooter. Second. The same could be said for my last Kawasaki. Nice, competent, but didn't connect with my inner adventure. There was one bike in my past that did plug into me, my 1974 Kawasaki 500. Three cylinders of raging horses and snappy handling but with one, big flaw. It was a hand grenade.
The H-1 was a bike of its era. Fast. It was a lot faster than I was and if you pulled the pin on it the bike would reward you by blowing up. I always respected that characteristic and rode it moderately. I knew that as long as I treated it well it would reward me with years of enjoyment. I sold it with a heavy heart and I heard that the next owner only had it a month before it broke down on him, terminally. I had it for five years and 30,000 miles, trouble free, and he blew it up in a month.
I feel the same way about the Chinese bikes as I did about the Kawasaki. If I treat them well, don't abuse them and ride moderately they'll give me their best for years to come. It enhances the ride to know you're an active participant and the bikes convey that message every time I ride them. It causes me to be aware, calm and concerned. "You're being nice to me, I'll be nice to you. Isn't it a lovely day?" they seem to say.
I know this is probably out there, but it's been a great Summer and the bikes and I have enjoyed every minute. I'll be really sorry to put them away this winter. In the meantime I still have a few weeks left to travel with my friends.