We had such a fabulous weekend together that it pains me to think it almost didn’t happen. You see, I need to start this love letter with an admission: Before I met you, I had no idea you were so special. I’d even called you the C word, lumping you in with bikes like the Harley V-Rod. But, now that I’ve ridden you hard and long, I know that’s not true. You’re a truly beautiful, truly unique, special motorcycle. I love you.
Photos: Sean Smith
You’re smoking hot.
Now please don’t misunderstand me. I never thought you were anything but attractive. Those lithe, long and low proportions, the minimal panels that expose the black engine underneath. The bronzed colors. You have a body to die for.
No, it was because you look so different that I didn’t know what to make of you. At 61 inches, your wheelbase is a full seven inches longer than that of an R6. That’s just an inch and a half shorter than the Ducati Diavel’s. The low, long, single tubes that make up your frame emphasize that, stretching the distance between swingarm pivot and head stock and making it look like you’re laying down over that huge engine.
You have real character.
It wasn’t your looks that made me reluctant about spending a weekend with you, it was a concern that you’d be boring. I don’t know what was wrong with me, thinking that. Looking at your list of attributes, it really should have been obvious. You’re an exotic Italian. The product of 90 years of selective breeding. Quirky in a world of sameness. Classy at a party where everyone else wears track suits. Taut, athletic and natural where others hide beneath plastic.
But, as soon as I’d put a leg over you, I knew how wrong I’d been. Sliding my hand across your sensuous tank to insert my key was just a tease. Then you began bucking and writhing, twisting underneath me as I thumbed your starter button. Grasping a handful of throttle, your urgency was shocking. Thrilling, even. I’d forgotten that riding a motorcycle could be so emotional.
Sharing is caring.
One of the best things about you is that you do for others what you do for me. Willingly and without reservation. I didn’t need to tell Sean all about your dirty deeds, I just threw him the keys, waited 20 minutes and he came back smiling. Won’t stop talking about it.
You fit in anywhere.
I’ve ridden you next to an R1, next to an FJR, next to vintage BMWs and a modern Bonneville. I rode you to a chopper show and everyone stared. I took you to a party and you were the classiest bike there. I took you to the mountains and you were athletic. I took you downtown and you stayed ahead of all the BMWs and Mercedes. No matter the setting, you made me look good. I never wished for a different partner.
You make other men jealous.
One of my friend’s has a sultry, high-speed, ebony stunner. But she had trouble keeping up with you in the canyons. That’s despite your 72bhp deficit. My roommate spent the weekend pining after you. People on the highway couldn’t stop staring. Everytime we stopped, men jealously complemented you.
You’re all the more appealing for your flaws.
You don’t like turning your signals off. You don’t like being cold. You have a nervous tic, to the right. Your front end is a bit flighty. Your pegs are too low. All of that just endears you to me further.
You have great fashion sense.
Wire wheels. Radial Brembos. Restrained logos. Understated beige pin stripes. LED taillights. Steel brake lines. You’re nothing but a classy lady.
I can change you.
Unlike most other naked bikes, I can bend you to my will completely. Both your USD forks and remote-reservoir shock are fully adjustable. If we were together longer, I would have gotten dirty and tried dropping your forks through your yokes to make you more responsive to my inputs.
You’ll do anything I ask you to.
Typically, I just want my motorcycles to willingly take a spanking. You’ll do that, of course. But you’re there when I just need an easy ride too. Nice and slow? You love it. Quick and hard? You love that too. Between cars? Flat out? On a gravel road? You never ask me to stop. The only problem is, you like doing it in front of cops too.
Griso, I miss you.