I never ride anybody else’s motorcycle. I’ve been biking for well over 7 years now, and till last Sunday, the biggest motorcycle I had ever ridden was my dusty little old Duke 390. Have you ever asked your friend for a “test ride” of her sultry hot girlfriend? No? Then why his bike? There are a lot of reasons why I think that’s a bad idea:
- It’s pointless: Riding somebody’s bike for a few kilometers doesn’t tell you shit about shit. In fact, you can’t tell shit about shit even if you ride somebody’s motorcycle a hundred kilometers.
- It’s unsafe: Every bike, like every girl, has a different personality. Some always want to please you and keep you happy, others try to kill you at every chance they get. You can never be sure what trouble you are getting onto.
- It’s cheating: So obviously when you ride somebody’s bike, they’ll ride yours. Do you really want that to happen? Do you think your machine would like that? Try convincing your better half for a one night wife-swap, you’ll get the answer.
- Why?: Unless John Britten rises from the dead and specifically asks for you by name to test ride the Britten 1000 on the Nurburgring, I can’t imagine any situation in which you would have a good reason to give up your own machine for something else.
Test rides are different.
Test rides are different because those bikes don’t belong to a person. As bad as I may feel about them, they are like porn stars that are meant to take some pounding, it’s kinda in the job profile. Test rides are also quite pointless, unless you get to ride them over a week, which is nearly impossible. What they are good for though are speeding, profile photos and bragging rights.
A nutcase like me who’s constantly pissing everybody off obviously doesn’t get to do a lot of test rides. In fact I’ve only been able to do that with 2 machines, the Duke 390 and the RC390. The Duke because I was going to fucking buy it, the RC because of KTM Kanjurmarg’s manager Mr. Sanjeev, who’s a really nice guy and let me have some fun on it.
I doubt he’ll be doing that mistake again, since I took the RC from Kanjurmarg to Airoli and then back, when I was supposed to go till the next light and make a U-turn.
Fast forward half a year, and I got this opportunity to test ride Kawasaki’s entire range in India. The following bikes were available at Kawasaki Palm beach:
- Ninja 1000
- Versys 1000
I thought I’ll ride the Versys 1000 and the ZX14R, because it won’t make any difference anyway what you take over a 300m service road. I genuinely wanted to check out the Versys for its touring capabilities, the 14R was just meant for some fun and some swag.
I didn’t get to ride either.
It’s a funny story! So we reached the showroom, and all the bikes were lined up on the road, except the Versys. Turns out some walking bag of cash biker came by that morning, rode the Versys, and bought it, cash. So it was no longer available for a test ride. It was too hot, definitely too hot for full riding gear. I filled in the form, gave it to the lady behind the desk, and thought I’ll ride the 14R and fuck off from there.
I was given a token for the Z800.
The logic was that my current bike is a 390, so I obviously should start with something small. Well, point taken. I waited and waited as people took the Z800 out for the ride, and then finally got to plough it. I didn’t feel anything special, which was expected over such a short road lined with kids popping wheelies on their cycles and old people walking around in random directions. Did manage to wildly fishtail in second gear though, which was cool.
So once I was done with the Z800, I thought I had “proved” that I can ride the 14R.
Me: “I’m done with the Z800, I’ll take the 14R now.”
Lady: “No sir, you can’t take the 14R.”
Me: “What? Why?”
Lady: “You won’t be able to handle that bike.”
Me: *Laughing on the outside but feeling like somebody just cut my balls off on the inside*
I’m not a big guy, 5’8″, lean, 60 kgs. I kinda get why somebody would think I can’t handle something that weighs 200 kgs more than me and pulls 200 horses. Any good biker knows size doesn’t matter, but like every other girl in the universe, it totally mattered to the one behind that desk.
In an attempt to salvage some pride and some use for sweating my ass off for an hour, I chose the Z1000. I’m not sure what would’ve happened if I had asked for the ZX10R, but we’ll just let that hang in there as something to wonder about in future when I get high.
As expected, the Z1000 was no different from the Z800, or for that matter my Duke 390 or a Pulsar 150 or a TVS Heavy Duty Super XL. The only thing I noticed was how smooth both the Zs were, how easy it was to pull from 40-140 in 6th gear, something that the Duke absolutely sucks at.
What were we talking about again? Oh ya, should you ever buy a Superbike in India?
It’s absolutely useless, you would never be able to use even 25% of the power that these death machines have to offer. When I say death machines, I am not saying it in some sweet, metaphorical way. Anything that makes over 100 horses and doesn’t come with Traction Control is bound to kill you someday. Nobody has that kind of patience and self-control to tame these beasts, apart from monks, and everybody knows monks don’t ride superbikes, they ride Ferraris.