Friday, May 15, 2015

A tricky situation.

When I first started riding motorcycles, it was on small capacity, single cylinder bikes. I loved having a motorcycle, but I couldn't wait to get on the Norton Commando. I wanted more power and more torque. Especially the latter, it was (and still is) never enough. While I'm not entirely consumed by top horsepower figures like most modern motorcylists, I must admit that I have thoroughly lost sight of the carefree joys of small capacity motorcycles. The Yamaha Tricker takes you back to school:

Dad finished putting together this surprisingly fun little bike, after he had pretty much stripped it down to just the frame and engine. All the wiring came out for inspection, cleaning and an entire day spent re-routing it through the frame. The paint on the frame was touched up where needed, a few bushes and bearings were replaced, the front fork was thoroughly serviced, as was the carburetter. Certain smaller parts (e.g. the pillion footrest holders, the headlamp bracket, the mirror stems, the throttle housing and the handlebar) were sandblasted and powder-coated.

Now look, this engine was built for fuel economy and reliability, so it's not going to tear up the road with sheer horsepower, BUT there is plenty of pulling power to navigate the urban landscape and, in that context, I can't think of a single situation that the Yamaha wouldn't be able to overcome.

If at first it might seem like something's missing, both in terms of engine performance and physical size of the bike, that feeling goes away within a few hundred meters, and certainly by the time you tackle the first corner: that's when you realise one of the greatest assets of this bike. Not just lightness, or narrowness, or the fact that it's nimble... but the combination of all of that with an extremely wide handlebar. If you try to steer this bike as if it were a big bike you will drop it, that's how insanely reactive it is. I'm still re-learning how much pressure to apply to handlebar and footrests, how much countersteer it needs (none) but the point is that the agility this thing has will allow you to go anywhere and never get stuck in traffic again.
It jumps over kerbs with no effort whatsoever, opening up all sorts of parking possibilities.

The turning radius is so ample that you can navigate at more than 90° turns between gridlocked, bumper-to-bumper idiots and zip to the front of the line in a few seconds, while the guys on huge adventure bikes, gigantic mega-scooters and 200hp sports bikes are stuck between SUVs and hybrids, wondering why they can't zig-zag like you just did.

But above all, this is a highly addictive ride, I was honestly surprised by how much fun it is. Well done Yamaha, and well done dad for getting this thing back on the road!


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