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.
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!