What do you think of when you hear the words sport bike? I think of winding roads taken in triple digits, running out of straight road before running out of throttle, and adrenaline pumping like a fuel pump. The bikes that light up the curves have a very avid following of speed junkies, and that was me, through and through.
I loved spending all day weaving back and forth, chasing the curves, finding out just how far I could push my limits. In my late teens and early 20s, I never thought I would slow down to enjoy the scenery.
Well, after living in Florida for 2 years with nothing but straight roads and lots of cops, I must say it was not as fun as riding a sport bike as it once was when I lived in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. The idea of sitting up as well as taking longer rides without my knees being cramped and my lower back tightening up was kind of appealing. Don’t get me wrong, this notion was a little disturbing at first because of how much I love going fast.
One day while out for a cruise my friend Scooter, he let me switch out my GSXR1000 for his Electra Glide with a Mustang seat. We rode a good portion of the day until he could no longer stand riding the GSXR. For me there were a lot of differences in comfort, and feeling just cruising around on that Lazy Boy. It got me thinking about how much I already enjoy riding and the potential of enjoying it even more if I was a little more comfortable.
Not long after that ride, I found myself looking in dealerships at some cruising models keeping in the back of my mind that I wanted to retain as much performance as possible. After a few test rides on various performance-driven cruiser models, I ended up choosing the 2008 Suzuki M109R. The bike has an abundance of power in the low and midranges, but it does give up a lot in the corners compared to my previous bike. So along with a few M109R accessories to suit my riding style, I found I was much more comfortable on the longer rides than before.
That proved true on the trek out to Sturgis this year. It was far more enjoyable than what I imagined it to be on a sport bike. But taking the bike through Spearfish Canyon, Vanacker Canyon and Iron Mountain Road, I missed the nimble ride of my old GSXR. The M109R was a little heavy and it liked to scrape the pegs in the corners. I had the comfort, for sure, but watching my friend Patrick Garvin on his ZX10, going in and out of the corners with ease, made me realize how much I missed that kind of riding.
So, I am now looking for a second bike that I can ride with my speed junkie friends. In the meantime, I’ve slowed down a little and have found different aspects of riding that I enjoy. Sure I often think of those days of riding fast and taking chances, but for now, riding a cruiser gets me down the road in a different way.