The Blossoming Romance with the Bonnie

The Blossoming Romance with the Bonnie

In the fall of 2015, the Bonneville came home as something of an impulse buy. I hadn’t been lusting over one for months or years. And the truth is, I didn’t need it. I just wanted it. As a result, up until recently, it hadn’t been ridden with the same enthusiasm you might approach something you’d been longing for. Instead, the Bonnie has been a slow burn – the flame getting brighter and brighter over time.

For some time, I’ve considered moving away from my Tiger. Not because there is anything wrong with it. Quite the opposite, really. It is me that is different. My comfort level and wants have changed. The Tiger is an excellent sport-tourer; a great workhorse for the fast-paced, mile-munching trips that I am inclined to knock out. But, now? I don’t want that.

What do I want? I want easy.

I’ve tried to explain the feeling of dealing with a top-heavy bike while on tiptoes to Kenny. As a tall drink o’ water, he can listen and try to be sympathetic but will never know the experience firsthand. Though in my mind we see eye to eye, he’s a bit taller than me.

I am the luckiest girl in the world <3

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Over the years you learn to compensate for all the things that might be less than ideal about your too tall, too heavy bike. And there may be long periods of time in which you are perfectly fine happy, with the situation. You love the bike, you’re more than willing to do what you need to to ride it. But sometimes, you change. I think that’s where I am now.

Enter the Bonneville

The Bonneville, while peppy doesn’t offer any punch when you crack the throttle. I often refer to it as gentlemanly.  It’s front brake is… okay. It’s rear suspension, a little jarring. Yet in spite of those things, it is a pleasure to ride. Perhaps because of those things? I don’t know.

Performance or lack thereof aside, I hadn’t really considered what a relief it would be to ride a small bike all the time. What a great feeling it is to be able to pull over and put both of your feet flat down on the ground anywhere; to be able to park wherever the hell you want to without worrying if you can swing the sidestand around; without worrying if you and the bike will topple over as you try to dismount while one-footing on uneven ground. These may sound like nothing things, but I’ve come to realize that worrying about them makes you have to consider what you’re doing. That’s the opposite of easy.

The ability to effortlessly handle your motorcycle at low or no speed with surefootedness is something I didn’t know I needed or wanted. Now that I have it, I love it. As someone who likes to pull over on the side of the road to look at stuff and take pictures? This carefree hop-on-hop-off ability is a joy.

Cheers to a blossoming romance. Let’s go somewhere!

11 Replies to “The Blossoming Romance with the Bonnie”

  1. That’s the same way I feel about the Harley Davidson Roadster. Though I don’t own one, yet, it’s just the bike I want that will do all the things I want my bike to do. While I love my 2003 100th Anniversary Heritage Softail Classic, it’s big, it’s heavy and it just feels like there is too much preparation needed to go ride it. Not that there is, it just feels like it. It’s super comfortable (my grand daughter fell asleep on the back once), it’s not loud like you’d think a Harley is and it’s great on gas (45 MPG). But, the Roadster, is fun, simple, nimble and just bad-ass. It’s a put-on-the-helmet-and-go bike. My friends at the Harley dealer always ask me when I walk in “Today the day?”, sadly I answer no. I’ll get my Roadster and likely ride it more than I ride Sugar (the Heritage). You’re right though, we change, our preferences change. Not for the better or worse, just change. Go ride.

  2. I know exactly what you’re talking about. For local errands, I ride my ’86 Honda Elite 250 scooter(!). It’s light, nimble, and can carry small stuff. I cannot touch the ground flat footed on my Super Tenere, even in boots. It’s no fun in parking lots. Bob

      1. Compared to the R1100RT I sold to buy it, my Super T does not feel nearly as top heavy. The BMW tended to “fall” into turns at low speed. It may also be the wider handlebars and more upright seating position of the Super T that helps low speed control. I rode my Super T over 200 miles off road in Maine last weekend, and it never felt top heavy to me. Compared to my 520EXC, it’s a total barge off road, but turn off the traction control and set the fuel injection mapping to sport mode, and it’s a grin fest on fire roads and ATV trails. Bob

  3. I have lusted over KTM’s for several years now. But even with lowering kits, they are too tall. Like you stated, tall is fine until you get in a slightly squirrely situation, then the work begins, and the fun ends.

    1. Yup. I have less of an issue dealing with the height of my KTM than I do with the Tiger because of that other variable – weight. But I run into problems all the time with the sidestand on the KTM. The stand is long and I don’t have much leeway to lean because I’m tippy-tippy toeing or 1-footing. Sometimes I get into a precarious spot where the stand gets wedged into the ground and I can’t get enough footing to move it in either direction. And I don’t have enough room/footing to lean the bike over to the right to force the sidestand up or down. I’ve ever had to ask someone to help me because I’m in a weird limbo spot, about to fall over.

      not having to think about stupid crap like that is nice 🙂

  4. I wonder whether one of the new water cooled Bonnie family – particularly one of the slightly sportier ones – might make a good replacement for both that & the Tiger? Alternatively, take one of the new Street Triples out for a play – they make amazing Sports Tourers, if you aren’t too bothered by the lack of wind & weather protection…

    1. I’m really not interested in getting a new bike. The only thing tempting over the last year has been the Africa Twin. But, eh. I’m happy with what I’ve got.

      I had a ’05 Speed Triple for 5 or 6 years before the Tiger. Loved that bike and did a fair amount of touring on it.

  5. I have absolutely no experience with this tech but have you considered lowering the Tiger? There are lowering links out there (Soupy’s) that can bring down the ride height by up to 4 inches. Of course, if you were to radically change the ride height I’m sure you would also need to adjust or replace the shock and probably the fork springs which could get expensive.

    1. I haven’t. I’m not invested in keeping it so I’m not looking for ways to make that happen. The Tiger is 6 years old and we’ve had a good time together. I’m never sitting around the house dying to take it out for a ride, it’s more of a “tool” now. I fall out of love easily 🙂

      ::shrug::

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