Sunday, April 15, 2012

Pulling the trigger

Royal Enfield's marketing stated that they were made like a gun. Today I pulled the trigger and went for my first long ride on the Bullet.

I followed a familiar route, up the Eastern Freeway and out to King Lake, then along Chum Creek Road to Healesville, lunch, and back into Melbourne via Yarra Glen.

At Toolangi I stopped for photos.

From King Lake onwards I was familiar enough with the bike in the country to get into a groove. I was able to conclude that I had made the right decision in buying it. It is a wonderful motorcycle!

When ascending hills I tried at times to maintain my speed as I would on a Japanese motorcycle by opening the throttle and revving harder, and the bike instantly fed back a sense of harshly being over-revved. This is a bike that I have to obey. It will ascend the hills in its own sweet time, and slow down while it does so, regardless of who is behind. If there were no historical and nostalgic connection then one might conclude this is a terrible bike. Indeed it has the performance of my old postie bike. But there is no escaping the feeling of being on a 1950s motorcycle. Thump, thump, thump! When the 'zone' of mechanical happiness is respected the engine is fantastic. It thumps in a way that no modern big single does. It lacks some of the nice aspects of a modern big single - that ability to roll up and down very dynamically and forcefully through a broad rev range - but it has the stereotypical 'one thump per lamp post' feeling. And my lack of speed seemed to concern nobody - this bike visibly brings a smile to everybody on foot whom I pass and to everybody in a car who passes me.

The Bullet has such a wonderful feel and look as I ride along that I have to be careful to focus on where I am going and not down at the tank and headlight nacelle. I cannot believe how fortunate I am to have two amazing motorcycles. The Enfield is a very slow bike so I will do the long distances on the W650, but I look forward to long days of back roads just thump, thump, thumping along at a different pace and in, as it were, a different time.

Songs, such as this one today, will continue silently to accompany my ride.

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