no politics...just ridin'


Look what I scored!! I decided it was time to finally explore some of the great dirt strips we have around Brisbane and so a couple of weeks back set out looking for something that would enable me to do so. I looked at a few dirt bikes around the place but eventually found this 2002 KTM 520 EXC for a bloody good price and so bought it. The bike is in pretty good nic considering its age, but does need a couple of minor things done to make it comfortable for me to ride. The thing only weighs in at around 115kg, so that makes the rider heavier than the machine!! It is registered so I can ride it on the road, although after riding it the 30kms home I would not want to be on the black stuff for too long on this.

I suppose the reasoning behind me wanting to get into some dirt bike riding stems from the fact that the roads are becoming a bit too restrictive - after loosing my license for a few months last year and watching the ever increasing precense of unmarked cop cars, bikes and speed traps on many of the routes I like to ride, I thought about heading off road and saving my "moments" for a place where I am less likely to be nabbed or cause injury. There are also some fantastic tracks running through the many National Parks and forests in south east Queensland.

I do still have the GSX but I now also have an alternative, so stay tuned for some off-road stories coming soon.


My Triumph Daytona 675 Experience

How do readers - long time & not much written!! As you may have read in previous posts, I have not really had the urge to blog much, due in part to the fact that I haven't really been riding outside of my daily commute and also because of some major changes in my personal life. So I thought I would make an attempt to get back into it by documenting my experiences on riding Cindy's bike while she has not been able to.

Back in October I went on a ride with Cindy - unfortunately she suffered an injury whilst on this ride and is still recovering from it 6 months down the track. She is now walking unaided, but is still a long way off being able to get back on her bike whilst the bone in her ankle repairs. In the meantime she so generously offered her Daytona to me to ride - and wow, what an experience I have had!

When I first had a good look at her Triumph Daytona I thought to myself that there was no way I would ever ride one of "those". Being a true sports bike it would mean a large proportion of my somewhat ample weight on my wrists in what I thought would be a very uncomfortable riding position. Anyway, I agreed to look after her bike and ride it for maybe one or two days a week whilst she could not.

The first time I started this bike in my own garage, the sound immediately grabbed me - there is something about a Daytona 675 with a decent pipe that is extremely appealing, as well as being somewhat Jekyll and Hyde. The bike quietly purrs whilst it sits there warming up, but give the throttle a slight twist and she barks at you, almost daring you to get on with the real business and ride her. I was so used to the rumble of a vee twin or the deep growl of my torque laden 1400, not the higher pitched "plastic fantastic" Trumpy. The seed had been planted.

Out onto the road, and whilst I was not overly happy with the posture I was forced into, the sounds coming from this baby kept me wanting more. This bike really sounded like a racing machine - the high pitched whine from the box coupled with the grumbling coming from the pipe exiting from beneath the pillion seat made this riding experience something completely different. I felt as if I had mounted something a little more refined than I was used to - a racing machine with real personality. The one thing I did find initially difficult - other than the weight on my wrists - was pushing the tacho needle up into what would usually be redline territory for me. I struggled listening to this poor little three pot 675 screaming from between my legs - but it still pulled my weight comfortably even though it sounded as if it was straining, which it clearly wasn't. This was the nature of this beast.

The riding experience on the Daytona made me feel as if I was travelling faster that what I actually was - I was closer to the road, the motor was really reving, I was enjoying it immensely, and for once I was not upsetting anyone. After a few weeks of getting to know the bike and learning to use my thighs and lower back more effectively, I found that I was picking the Triumph key from the rack more often than the Suzi. That is not to say that I don't enjoy the 1400 when I do ride her - it is just a very different experience. The Daytona is real head down arse up type, lighter and nimble, more suited to single seat fun. The Suzuki is more the torque laden monster, better suited to touring with a pillion & luggage or just flat out power.

I really do have to pay my utmost respect to this bike - it has opened me up to a different type of riding experience - one that I honestly thought I would never get the chance to try nor enjoy.

And it hasn't yet ended - well at least not until Cindy wants her back!!

A footnote: I am yet to really push the Daytona as I am still gaining my confidence riding it and finding out exactly what it can do. I have no doubt that it will perform adequately with me on it, however it is a slightly different riding style, one that I am yet to fully come to terms with. And I do not own it!! Last thing I want to do is something like this.