Have you ever been fortunate enough to win the lottery? Or maybe you’ve been the lucky draw winner at a fundraiser, or just even found the toy motorcycle at the bottom of a box of Cracker Jacks? What I’m getting at is the feeling that is brought about by random occurrences of good fortune. It’s that extraordinary feeling of euphoria, that unmistakable elation that fills your soul. It was this jubilation that I personally experienced back in November of last year.
For those of us completely enamoured with going fast on race replicas, the first time you get your knee down is a big moment. Having used up many a slider and viciously attacked my poor BWM’s heads on various racetracks (see Canadian Thunder Diaries), my fantasy was now directed at trying something completely different.
Learn about motorcycles as art …
Back in the summer of 2002 we had the good fortune of taking Honda’s ST1300, Kawasaki’s ZZR1200 and Yamaha’s FJR1300 down to Pennsylvania for an extended weekend’s blast. Apart from having one hell of a good time, we got to know all three bikes pretty well and produced what has become the most popular article of CMG’s history.
Sometimes things seem like they are going to turn out just right. In this case, we found ourselves on a perfect Fall day in Ontario’s Ganaraska Forest, with a brand new ’04 KTM 450EXC and our ’03 Yamaha WR450F long-termer.
Scanning over the spec sheets reveals that the Speed Four is identical to the TT600 except for an ominous lack of top-end power.
With the temperature hovering in the mid-thirties, I slide the V-Strom to a halt on the delicious gravel road, somewhere deep in Quebec’s Laurentian Mountains. I’d just crossed one of the many small winding rivers in the area and decided that it was just too hot to keep riding, especially when a cool fresh river beckoned for a refreshing dip.
The first time I saw the new Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Mean Streak I thought that it was one of the coolest cruisers I’d ever seen. Low slung, drag style handlebars, lots of eye catching chrome bits…and 6-piston front brakes off the ZX9R! Hey, are those Dunlop D207 Sportmax tires as well? What the … ?
We’re starting to run out of things to say about this bike.
“Man, what is that thing?” comes an incredulous query.
“A Honda Ruckus,” is my reply.