So I’ve been haunting dealers, checking the papers and trading posts for the last three or four months now since I got my big bike licence but on most occasions conditions have conspired against me whether it be rain, timing, cost or just not finding a nice enough example of a bike to really take my fancy. Yesterday though, after days of crappy on-and-off rain and gales, the sun decided to make an appearance so I went out and ran a couple of errands before I headed over to a dealer where I’d seen a couple of bikes that took my interest.
I was on the way to the dealer from work, but decided I may as well stop in and see if anything new had popped in at a couple of other dealers that were on the way. Mostly the same stock as last week, but there was a nice silver and black CBR F4i with an Ohlins on the back, looked very tidy, but I made my way to where I’d been heading to ride another F4i and a 2001 ZX-6R.
I took the CBR out for a ride first, which was a nice snug fit, I had trouble finding the gearshift at first, but after that I really began to take a shine to it. It was comfy, had plenty of go and stop and seemed to suit me really well. There was no problem getting nice feel from the suspension and the gearbox, motor and clutch were all nice and slick. The tilt of the clutch lever started to bug me after a while, but I could always adjust that. I accidentally performed my first stoppie when testing the brakes while coming onto an empty freeway offramp, which was enough to convince me they worked well enough.
I went back after about three quarters of an hour, jumped straight off the Honda and onto the Kawa. Hmm… seat didn’t suit my arse as much as the CBR, no matter, lets see how we go. For some reason the Kawa seemed really hesitant to tip in and always wanted to stand itself up again whenever I was cornering, I’d most likely put this down to something being kooky with the tyres (never heard of Macadam’s before), but overall the handling wasn’t as friendly as I found the Honda. I don’t know how much of that I can put down to the rubber, but it was starting to look like the 6R and myself weren’t made for each other. That said, the gearbox was seriously schmick and the motor was so smooth even with me being a bit twitchy with the throttle. It’s definitely still a good bike, but it’s not for me, and the ride had made me that much more interested in the F4i…
So when I get back I start to take another look over the Honda. Yellow’s nice and bright, that’d go down well with Mother dearest, only 5,000 k’s, mmm… yep, like this one a lot… wait a second, what’s that? Upon closer inspection there seemed to be some scratching out of the frame hiding under the right fairing. Hmm. Taking a more suspicious look I started to notice a couple of other things, including a scallop out of the swingarm behind the ankleguards where it looked like the footpegs had been pounded back and taken a lump out. So I decide to ask the sales guy what the score is with this bike, so he tells me that when it came in, it had a shattered display so they replaced that (the odo was reading 900km) but otherwise it is as it was. I point out the other little things I’ve noticed at which point he tells me that “Almost every bike’s been crashed”. I don’t like the way this is going. They did have a brand new 02/03 model F4i for 12k plus on roads, but I felt like backing off for a bit. So after leaving then coming back 20 minutes later after I realised I left my licence behind… I went for another stroll back to the other dealers I’d stopped by earlier.
I pulled up and started to take another squiz at this F4i that was sitting there when a friendly fella appeared from somewhere and asked if I wanted to take it for a spin. Couldn’t hurt to ride another F4i I figured, might be able to see if there were any differences between this one and the suspect one elsewhere. This one ran a little quieter from around the engine which I appreciated, I didn’t have the same trouble with the gearshift and clutch positions as I had before, maybe they’d been banged out of shape on the other one as well. I started to give the bike a bit of a workout and then I really started to take a shine to it. So when I got back again (reserve lights going beserk) I started to go over it with the proverbial toothcomb. Aside from one corner of the chain mud guard being gnawed by a dog, I couldn’t fault the thing. Everthing lined up and was original, no marks, no paint scuffs, no stone chips, nothing. It looked good, almost perfect. So good in fact that I decided to buy it.
So the old blue nag is gone, and I’m really happy with the new steed. Life is wonderful. (pardon the hedonism)