I didn’t even take photos before sending the GSX-R off to the frame shop to have the right side motor mount re-made. The frame slider caught on something and snapped everything below the bolt clean off. Most people and all insurance adjusters would call that a total loss. Whatever. There’s an old man in Pasadena that knows how to work magic with a heli-arc.
For a little more than $300, I should have a fully functional, albeit ugly, GSX-R by next weekend. I really liked the classic Suzuki blue and white racing colors, but I hate the way they splinter into a million pieces, scratch easily, take two different tools and a million fasteners to come off and I really don’t want to pay $500+ for another set. I think it’s going to get some cheap race fairings, some black paint, and a hole for the factory headlight and passenger seat.
I learned that passenger pegs are actually stronger than rearsets and act as sliders in the event of a crash. I’d always wondered about how that would work, and now I know. My gear also performed admirably. The Alpinestars Kinetic jacket I’ve been wearing for the last year is amazingly unharmed. I think it had a lot to do with the fact that I’d waxed it. My Apex gloves are toast. They were already torn up from 20,000 or so miles of hard commuting and rain, but they took the hit and saved my hands. A lot of people questioned whether or not the Dethkillers jeans would actually be of any benefit in a crash. I wasn’t wearing them when I hit the ground at 50mph Friday night, but I’m pretty sure that had I been, the 1/4 by 3/8 inch patch of skin on my knee would still be there (a pseudo-injury; I can’t really complain about considering I slid 50 feet or more). I also wouldn’t have another hole in my favorite polar fleece pants. My favorite bottle opener might still open bottles too.
The thing about motorcycles is that sometimes you crash. It’s pretty much an inevitability. There will be times when, even though you’re cautious and you decide to take that corner at 50 instead of 60 (like you usually do), your front tire may run through some oily kitty litter left over from some previous accident. No amount of good body position and riding skill will get your front end grip back. When you hit the ground, it helps to accept that you are, in fact, crashing, and that there’s no saving it. Let go of the bike and do what you can to avoid smacking your head or breaking bones. All you can do with situations like this is wear gear that you have confidence in, buy good insurance if you can afford it and do your best to protect your bike with sliders.
After the sliding was over, I stood up and walked slowly to collect my bike, inspect the damage, and see if I could figure out just what caused my front end to lose grip so suddenly. This is when I noticed the aforementioned oily kitty litter all over my fairings and front tire. Things didn’t look that serious, plastics, rearset, radiator. I was immediately reminded of all those stories about frame sliders breaking off motor mounts when my eyes moved to the ground up slider sticking out at a funny angle. I found the little chunk of aluminum sitting in the street 40 feet away. I cursed the CHP officer that’d written me a bs 110 mph ticket on my old ninja 250. That two pointer is still on my record, and keeping full coverage insurance far out of range. This is what went through my head as I picked the bike up and wheeled it into a parking lot.
Once home, I spent a few hours worrying endlessly about getting my bike fixed, the damage to my helmet and how much it sucked to crash. But by 2 o’clock the next day, the logistics of repair had already been sorted, and I was done wallowing in post-crash what-ifs. Lesson learned — it doesn’t help to be angry, frustrated or sad. Do what you can, when you can, to fix your bike, heal up and keep riding.