Thursday, April 28, 2005

Chain, Chain, Go Away...

Clean, dry, lube, ride, and repeat.

Those are the basic instructions you need to learn when riding a chain-driven motorcycle. Some don't seem to mind too much. But then again, some seem to spend more time shining than riding, and on longer trips their bikes are usually tagging along in a trailer! Not that there's anything wrong with being a chrome worshiper; it's just not my thing.

I got into motorcycling as a means to travel. I’d read books like Jupiter’s Travels and Ghost Rider; so these are the people I wanted to emulate. Problem is, Ted Simon never mentioned how often he had to stop to oil the chain and change the sprockets when on his ‘round the world trip. Neil Peart didn’t have to worry of such things, he had a shaft. Ah yes, the elusive shaft. It used to be a rarity among motorcycles, a piece of automotive technology grafted onto a two-wheeled vehicle. Shafts are now commonplace, even on entry level cruisers (like the Yamaha V-Star 650). Alas, I’m not a cruiser guy; and most of the bikes I like that are equipped with shafts are beyond my financial resources.

Maybe BMW could sponsor me! I’d write about what great bikes they produce, cleverly ignoring some of the “issues” they’ve had with the splines on their final drives, and they’d reward my lack of journalistic integrity with a new R1200RT. Yeah, I know I’m dreaming…

About the cheapest bike out there that would fit my needs is the Yamaha FJR1300; which isn’t a bad thing in itself, since it’s a great sport touring rig. At least, that’s what almost every magazine review and comparo have said about it. Now my only obstacle is getting the boss (wife) to approve such a purchase. Maybe it’s time for some flowers ;-)