Photos: Rob Harris
Our student worker, Adam-San, had a bit of a history on dirt bikes in his diaper days but came to CMG without a motorcycle licence which we promptly fixed in the spring courtesy of Safety Services Nova Scotia.
Since then the lad has been living the life of the moto hack, riding other people’s bikes like you may have taken them without the owner’s permission. But this life has an order and at CMG that means one thing – the Konker! Yes, the 200 cc Chinese supermoto/dual-sport/hunk-o-junk that despite it’s looks has so far never failed to leave a smile on the rider’s face and a new appreciation of the smaller things in life.
This is Adam’s account of that rite of passage …
It was time, the chance to experience the freedom of the open road and wind blowing through my hair…. and a roaring motorcycle. It was my first chance to arrive home on a new motorcycle and show everyone just how awesome my workplace is.
The beloved (at CMG) Konker was my ride back to my hometown – a bike capable of reaching speeds sufficient to maybe ruffle my hair, and with less of a roar and more of an high pitched drone. But most importantly, it was a motorcycle.
Aware of my youth and green gills, Editor ‘Arris wired up an old GPS to let me know what breakneck speeds I was traveling on this 200 cc banshee — the original speedometer had long lost it’s mind, going from zero to bouncing of the stop the moment the front wheel turns.
Then ‘Arris ‘anded over the bike’s key with one requirement: Don’t wreck it like Zac…
A maiden voyage on a 200 cc motorcycle should be a requirement for every new rider. It taught me a lot in all areas of motorcycling on that first few hundred kilometers, especially regarding aerodynamics. Body position was key as I tried to get every extra few km/h out of the Konker, and I quickly found out that sitting upright before a tight turn will slow the bike down enough to make that turn, helping me avoid using the positively oak-like brakes that China does so well.
With very limited power, the Konker teaches the rider to use the top three gears constantly… but it’s also a very forgiving bike – all the required gear changes and timing, fumbling around and making poor gear change decisions won’t have you testing the durability of the seat of your pants. If you time everything correctly, you get a real sense of accomplishment after a successful and challenging overtake on the highway.
That ride also provided a first-hand experience of why motorcycles can actually be safer than cars. As I was zipping along in my full tuck, I reached the apex of a sharp corner only to see an old man in his big boat of a Caddie passing a row of cars and coming right at me. If I had been in a car, I would have gone in the ditch or been in a head-on collision. Luckily, I was able to safely veer to the side of the road and “kindly” gesture my displeasure to the idiot in the oncoming Cadillac.
Due to some shipping problems with my motorcycle pants. I also got to experience what five degrees Celsius in jeans on a motorcycle feels like. It’s debatable whether the numbness was due to the cold or the vibrations of the abusively redlined Konker, but on the bright side, you don’t feel anything at all after about 20 minutes when numbness is finally complete.
Something you aren’t told about in motorcycle training is cross winds. Since everything in the course is at low speed you don’t experience the wind trying to blow you all over the road. But on a light bike like the Konker, countering a cross wind is a crucial skill and for the first while, I felt as though the bike was just going to slide out from under me, but eventually I got used to it and the Konker never let up.
All in all my first experiences on the road (and Konker) have been quite exhilarating and a great way to explore this new world – I could get used to this motorcycle life!
Check out all the pics that go with this story! Click on the main sized pic to transition to the next or just press play to show in a slideshow.
I had so much fun on the 80’s XR250L that Rob helped my buy back in the OMG/CMG days. I had some great fun with folks from the Ontario Dual Sport club. I remember one ride back where due to a slight miscalculation (what the heck was that marsh doing where the trail was supposed to connect back to the highway) we went in a mini convoy of 3 bikes. The one with the working headlight in front, the one with no lights in the middle, and the one with the tail light (mine) at the end,
Have fun, ride safe.
You’re riding, thousands aren’t – even if it is a P.O.S. it sure beats walking !
A fun bike indeed Adam. Some of my best teenage memories of riding around Sackville, as you are doing, is exploring the Tantramar Marshes and the solitude that it brings. I don’t know if you have been there but if you were to ride straight past the Stop sign seen in the top picture and out the marsh road then turn a left when you get to the Tantramar River you can go cross country and come out on the Anderson Marsh Road which is just a couple of houses away from Don Ells motorcycle shop. (Ask Rob or check Google Maps) Happy Trails to you!!
Excellent article!! I started on a XL350. It was a great bike to learn on and you are right, learning the fundamentals of riding. Too many start on a bike that is way beyond their experience level! It is great to see the small displacement segment return with good looking bikes. Check your ego, ride a small bike when you first start out.