By Paul Berglund
This past weekend I had a real fever. I had a bad headache and swung back and forth between shivering and sweating. I didn’t feel much like eating, or standing up or looking at anything. Not looking was the hard part. It interfered with my other fever, next bike fever.
If I’m hanging out with my wife, watching TV and my attention wanes from the show she’s watching, I fire up the iPad and hit Craig’s List to look at the used motorcycles that are for sale. If one peaks my interest, I might do a google search and read the specs or a review of that bike. For me, it’s a very pleasant way to pass time. It’s all fun and games till I get fixated on one bike.
For example, I’ve become obsessed with an obscure bike like an early eighties Kawasaki GPz 305 and use my powers of Web Fu to track one down nationwide. Thankfully, that’s an easy bike to resist. The fever is low on that one. I can get over a 305 GPz in a day or so. Some bikes produce more heat. I can’t stop thinking about them for a week. When it gets real bad, I’ll run a high “next bike fever” for a month or more.
I have two bikes in my garage that I love. Oh, and one more that I don’t love. Long story. So I don’t need another bike. Bike fever isn’t about needing a bike. That’s a strait up treatable disorder. Just buy a bike. You’ll be much happier. Wanting a bike is a lingering disorder that can be disruptive to your entire life. It will also annoy the hell out of your friends and family should you foolishly discuss it with them. People who need a bike are welcome company to other riders. They will be happy to help you find that bike. If you just want a bike, you get one conversation. Anything more than that, and you’ve annoyed anyone listening to you.
I’m as stoic as a stone mouse about my next bike fever. With 3 bikes, the wrath is both swift and terrible.
Some forms that are more difficult to contain are transitional bike fevers. If you have a motorcycle that you enjoy, but are curious and desire a different kind of bike, be wary. If you think you would be happier on a type of bike you know nothing about, like cruiser, adventure, standard, touring, sport, etc, you are going to have many questions. Do lots of research on the web. Haunt the Owner’s Group web page. Read voraciously, post sparingly. No one on-line can pick the best bike for you, because they don’t know you. This one is all on you. Work through the fever.
One form of fever that recently bit me in the ass is when you find a low fever bike that’s both local and cheap. I didn’t want the damn thing before I saw it for sale. Suddenly, I was thinking about it way too much. I figured, I’ll go see it. Maybe take it for a test ride. Surly that will cure this fever. The whole thing went as anticipated, clearly I would regret buying this bike. I was going to walk away. I, was, going, to, walk, away. Just to be polite and mindful of wasting the owners time, I made a low, low, offer. Fate stuck the knife in my back and I stuck the bike in the back of my truck. I guess it wasn’t such a long story after all.
So, once I sell that bike, I will address the current fever that is burning within. I have a single, for off-road use and a triple for on- road use, but what I’m wanting, what I’m missing, is a v-twin. I love v-twin motors. Can I get an amen! What would help my situation is finding a v-twin stuffed in a bike that doesn’t do everything
that my triple does. In other words, when I’m sitting on our patio watching a fire in our outdoor fireplace and my wife goes into the garage to adjust the volume on the stereo, and she whacks her shin on the new to me third bike parked in the way, and the flood gates open, I have to have some way to justify the existence of that bike. To all the faithful that answered me with an amen when I shouted out to the v-twin. You won’t be there man.
For me, the sound alone is all the justification I need. Just listen to it. Why are we even talking? Sadly, none of that should be said to my chosen life partner.
Some of my options are combine it with one of my other next bike fevers. Like my burning desire for a scrambler. Possibly a Dorsoduro or Hypermotard. Or some pre-justified form of bike that I don’t currently own, like a sport touring bike. So that leaves me with what? A Moto Guzzi Norge? Has any husband stood up in his living room and announced to his wife, “Honey, I’m buying a Norge!” and she runs to him, hugs his neck, happy-ever-after music plays and the credits roll? If she saw the bike first and I taped over the name, I might get away with it.
One bike I thought I had a real shot with was a Harley-Davidson XR1200X. You may recall, it’s arguably the best handling Harley ever made. It was rejected by the Brotherhood for not being a cruiser and by the non Harley riding crowd for being a Sportster. And it’s heavy. I thought I had a chance when she asked me what I’d been looking at on the lap top for the last three hours, I showed her a picture of the XR1200X (making sure to hold my thumb over the ugly part of the spec chart). She looked at the bike and then at me, her brows furrowed. She looked back at the glowing picture on the screen. “It looks like a turd bike.” she said. (Honestly, I don’t know where she picks these things up. It’s a handsome bike.) I explained that as a writer for a major motorcycle magazine (she doesn’t read any motorcycle magazines, so she doesn’t know) that it would be a real connection with a portion of MMM readers that feel under-served. I should own an American bike. For that I got a scowl. Well, it’s going to have to be cheap and local.