New Beginnings

A new beginning…

A few weeks ago I got a call from Justus Visagie. A seemingly innocuous call, just shooting the breeze, and then a suggestion of a get together to talk about my writing and my passion for bikes and cars and such.

So earlier this week we met up at the delightful Knead Bakery at Wembley Square. We chatted a bit about this and that, and then Justus asked if I would like to take a bike for a few days, then write some stuff about my time with it. Naturally I jumped at the chance! Any bike, any day, I said.

Now my initial thinking was that maybe it would be the naked 1000 Honda, or perhaps the new v four, but when Justus called to say the Goldwing was waiting for me, I was a little apprehensive..A Goldwing?! 1800 CC of American Cruiser?!

But as the days ticked by, the anticipation of the ride started building up. I rode my little CBF600 at cruising speed on the N1, wondering what the beast would be like, and how much of a difference the 1800 would be to the 600. My math told me that the GL was three times more bike! Yikes!!

Many superlatives sprang to mind – The Bus, The Beast, The Bruiser, The Brute…

I decided not to have any expectations. I mean, after all, the bike was just a bike. Right? Wrong!

I first laid eyes on the bike, standing on the street in front of Mike’s place in a shimmering copper green. And it was huge!

My initial take was simply that it was so big, and slightly intimidating.

Mike showed me around the bike and started pushing buttons here and there. The bike comes with a standard CD player, an MP3 connector, an intercom connection. All these controls are on the left handle bar, things like volume and auxiliary selection buttons.

Then we got to the nitty gritty. The right handlebar has a few buttons and switches, one of which is a reverse gear selector! Reverse gear? On a bike? Yes, and it works like a dream. The starter button serves as the reverse throttle. Select neutral, then depress the reverse gear selector, then push the starter/reverse throttle. The button takes a few pushes to get used to and the bike then moves backwards very slowly. I think ALL bikes should have this function – who has not parked on a steep incline and struggled to get the bike back into the street?

I turned the bike expecting the turning circle to be very small, and was pleasantly surprised at how nimble the steering felt. Gingerly, I set off into the peak hour traffic, and again I was surprised at just how smooth the shaft drive handled the gear changes. I love shaft drive bikes, having first owned a shaft drive back in ’91, when I bought my first CX 500. Approaching the first traffic light, I shifted down, and heard the big motor rumble beneath me! She did not like the sudden clutch release, and told me so! After a few more traffic lights, I started getting the hang of the gears, and could feel the smoothness of the big motor beneath me. Taking my first turn onto the freeway caused me to worry about how she would turn, but again the big bike surprised me. The 180/60/16 Bridgestone tyres turn easily, and soon the bike was upright again, and merging with the fast moving traffic.

I carefully opened the throttle, expecting some lag, but the instant response from the big engine was fantastic! My smile widened with each passing kilometer, but too soon I had to take the next off ramp and head back home.

So my first ride on the bike was over too quickly, but I felt assured that my next ride would be OK…

Feedback and Photos to follow…and miles of smiles too 🙂

Honda GoldWing 1800 GL Deluxe 2011

First time I laid eyes on you..