The things we do for love

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Here at Canada Moto Guide, we have mixed emotions about the international day of love. Most of us are guys, and most of us screw it up every year.  Frankly, it can be tough to get our priorities straight.

Fortunately, we all have stories about romance that include our motorcycle, but we usually found out the hard way. Here are some of the lessons we learned along the way.

DEAN: Falling for love

It came in a beautiful box: intricate, laser engraved, polished and expensive. It was for my baby, and I delicately slipped it into place with care. In a way, it completed her, and I would lovingly brush my fingers against it when we were out together. My friends complimented it once or twice — where did you get it? Was it expensive? Very nice!

The engraved script was what most people noticed first.  “HONDA”, it said, right across the blade. Of course it was adjustable, as many aftermarket brake levers are, with a large, machined knob protruding from its knuckle. This is where the trouble starts.

My wife was just brave enough to ride pillion in those days, before we had kids. She had a nice Shoei helmet of her own, a Teknic jacket, Joe Rocket boots and gloves. ATGATT, even for passengers, right? I would pick her up from work, we would go to restaurants, out for ice cream.

That evening, not long after my baby received her lever upgrade, we were on our way out when we decided to hit the ATM. Pulling into the parking space, I turned the bars to full lock for a tight turn to face the bike nose-out. That’s when the adjusting knob on the brand new lever hit the plastic around the dashboard and applied just enough lever pressure at walking pace to stop the bike dead. Feet still up, the bike toppled over. My wife’s cat-like reflexes allowed her to leap off, landing unharmed on her feet. My sloth-like reflexes had me stumbling off, hopping on one foot, as the bike fell on its side.

Dean’s Honda CBR – He’d better not leave that helmet on the mirror like that, given the bike’s record for tipping over.

No real damage, and date night continued uneventful, but a few lessons learned. One: always check for interference and cable lengths when installing hand controls. Two: frame sliders do their job fantastically in parking lot tipovers. Three: pillion passengers would do well to be athletic, and be fully aware at all times.

The jewel-like brake lever escaped unharmed, and some very minor Dremel sanding of the dash plastic solved the interference issue. Lesson learned.

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