My biking past is relatively short. I took my test in 2009 at the age of 30. I came from a background littered with turbo-charged Japanese cars…well four of them, each one I’d tried to make ‘better’. On the last one I worked out leaving the engine alone was ‘better’! RWD cars are fun, but to have fun in such capable machinery you have to go well beyond speed limits and onto tracks to really *feel* anything. Maybe a Caterham or something of that would have given me legal thrills…but I’d always been drawn to bikes and with a change in personal circumstances I took the opportunity to begin my journey.
The VTR1000 SP2…that was the bike. Whilst others wanted the 916/998 Ducati, the SP2 had my heart. And with that Honda were my make of choice. I’d like to think I’m not too daft, I was sure the SP2 was the wrong bike to get at first…something more benign and manageable would be the ticket. You hear a lot from bikers when you’re learning, about not getting a bike with too many CC’s at first cause for some reason CC’s death. You soon realise though, that they are talking utter twaddle. A bike goes as fast as you make it go, just like a car. Be the master of the controls and you can ride anything but don’t go crazy, ok? So during the lessons we stop at the Honda dealership…and whilst the ‘blade is sitting there looking fearsome (to a newb), across from it sat it’s detuned and naked brethren. The CB1000R was to be my weapon of choice. It was the perfect first bike for a rider with limited experience, but good road sense. We covered lots of ground, we attended additional training like ERS, Bike Safe, i2i MC1/3/5. And then we took on Trackdays.
My CB1R was awesome on track but it started to be a limitation and after that I found limits which cost me confidence. Something was going to have to change. I had two main goals, trackdays and getting to them. Going further afield from my Norfolk home (as was) to other tracks would see me crave a faired bike. Hitting the pegs and belly pan on the deck with alarming frequency whilst leant over meant that a sportier bike was required. A ‘blade! But hang on, no electronics, no safety net, I do love a good safety net. The ‘blades engine was awesome, it spun like a turbine with its fat midrange and perfect fueling, but on it I felt cramped. Hmmm, SP-2? No, too archaic, times had changed and they say to never meet your idols. Ninja? Yuk! No, what I needed was cutting edge and cast from form over function (I’m in IT after all)…something that was different…something that was winning every test in every magazine…something like an S1000RR.
After back to back tests my head won, my heart wanted the ‘blade and to stay loyal to the brand, but the S1000RR was just something else. My black 2012 spec bike was collected in April 2014…and with it my interest in modifying it, like I had my cars, began…