20 December, 2010

Steampunk Motorcycling - Day 33

Odo 696

A mate turned up yesterday to take the new bike for a ride. I rode his bike, a KTM supermotard. Similar in concept to the Zero S. It was way bigger, heavier and just like any other motorcycle, totally strange. Hissing and blowing it was like riding a steam train. I am frankly amazed at how quickly I have converted to 21st Century motorcycling. The thing just snorted and puffed. Despite it's broad spread of power I was always finding myself in the wrong gear. Even the starting ritual seemed archaic. Find neutral, look for the light, press the starter with a little tiny bit of throttle and Boom it bursts into life. Shaking and lurching. Then pull in the clutch, click it into gear, a bit of throttle, ease out the clutch. For goodness sake it was like starting a Stanley Steamer. I was almost thinking that there would be a firebox to stoke. Then when riding I was constantly busy adjusting things and changing settings. I was reminded of vintage cars.

Anyway he thought my bike was a fascinating change from his. I don't see him getting one for himself. A couple of weeks ago he rode it to Perth via the Gunbarrel Highway in just 6 days (average over 1000 km per day for 6 days straight) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunbarrel_Highway I find it hard to imagine a time when electric bikes will be able to manage a trip like that. He insisted that we should go round to visit his son so he could sample the bike too. His son was amazed and amused. He took it off for a ride for what ended up being a worryingly long time. “Better than any moped I've ridden before” Oh well, you can't win them all.

This morning I went into the garage to get going for work and I could hear the high pitched sound of a chopper working on electricity. I was sure it was coming from the bike and it spelt disaster. It was so high pitched that I couldn't locate the source at all. I tried turning the bike on and off and unplugging the charger but it didn't change. I went round and turned off every electrical thing in the room. Still it whistled it's song of disaster. In the end I wheeled the bike out of the garage and even that didn't stop the sound. So what did that leave? Oh, the rowing machine. I pulled one of the batteries out of that and it stopped the sound instantly. Hmmm, panic first, think second. The bike continued to just work flawlessly.

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