Surrealchemist has his first bike

During the LLS ride, I gazed upon Mr. Furious’ gorgeous new Moto Guzzi V7 Racer and thought: “He’s going to sell that within six months.”

I was wrong. He got rid of it in three months.

Why? The Guzzi V7 is a great machine, but it’s only 55 HP… at the crank. Probably closer to 40 HP after the shaft drive takes it’s power tax. Furious needs triple-digit horsepower to be satisfied. Meanwhile, Konrad Urban put a crowbar to his wallet and bought a new BMW R1200GS, which made his Triumph Sprint redundant. Furious had rode on the Sprint and pronounced it Full of Goodness, but Furious also has no garage to keep two bikes.

Along comes Surrealchemist, with his freshly-minted motorcycle license. He was looking at the usual suspects – Suzuki SV650, Kawasaki EX500, maybe even a Ducati Monster 620. Knowing that he was in need of a forgiving bike but tempted by more enticing machines, Furious made Surrealchemist an offer he couldn’t refuse: $500 off the public asking price of the V7.

Test rides were taken

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And so a deal was struck.

Clown rule number one was triggered.

The weather report for yesterday called for a pick thunderstorms, and it was correct! However it showed that the thunderstorms would not be coming through our area until the afternoon. This gave the opportunity for Josh and I to drive up to Mr. furious’ house and pick up SC’s bike. Mr. furious is on vacation in upstate New York, but he graciously left the bike unlocked and ready to roll with all of its paperwork and extra parts so that we could pick it up without him being home.
SC came to my house around 10 AM, and I threw my gear into his Volkswagen GTI. We were at the furious ranch before 11 AM. Of course several cats greeted us and demanded attention. The motorcycle was exactly where it was supposed to be, in his shed along with a box of parts extra fender, and The original fly screen. Like some drug deal on breaking bad, SC put the cash in the secret place, locked the door, and collected the pre-signed title. I hopped on the bike and negotiated the treacherous gravel driveway and we were off.
This turned out to be an excellent chance to test and evaluate the biker. I had meant to get a test ride when we were down in Maryland for the leukemia and lymphoma Society charity ride several weeks ago. But I never got the chance. The short answer is that the bike is in excellent ride! Is it superfast? No, absolutely not. But it all works, and it is an excellent bike for a first-time rider like SC.
Some observations:
Motor: at first I was a little bit disappointed with the power output of the transverse air cooled pushrod 750 cc V-twin. (Ha! Siri just corrected “cc” to mL) it does have a remarkable amount of torque starting from idle. You can easily roll away just by releasing the clutch and not giving it any throttle at all. But at first it seemed a little bit wheezy. Like it had half the horsepower that it should. As I got more comfortable with the bike I realized that it was because the throttle has a huge amount of travel! If you keep on rolling on the throttle, you keep on getting more and more power. This means that you need to adjust your wrist position a little bit so that you can twist the throttle further than you would expect. Maybe I have just gotten used bikes with a more hair – trigger throttle. This kind of throttle behavior is great for a beginner rider! There are no surprises. The engine gives you what you ask for, when you ask for it. Once I got used to the throttle the bike is an incredibly torquey fun ride! It has something over 50 hp at the crank, which translates to something less than 40 hp after the shaft drive takes it’s toll. I deem it a worthy motor.
Brakes: pretty much the same as the motor. The bike only has a single front desk but it is also a fairly light bike at something around 425 pounds. The brakes are progressive and predictable, which is excellent for a new rider. The rear brake in particular actually works better then many more expert level bikes. They are not what I would call “amazing”. They just work as they’re supposed to without risking throwing you over the handlebars. Again I am used to bikes with hairtrigger brakes, so just because I say that these brakes are not spectacular does not mean that there is anything wrong with them. In fact they are much better for a beginner rider because just like the motor, they give you the braking power that you want when you ask for it. They are not “one finger brakes”. You do need to use a little bit of hand muscle in order to get The stopping power that you want.
Chassis & suspension: when riding  someone else’s bike, I am not about to risk it at 9/10 level. But from normal riding on back roads and on the highway I can say that the chassis and handling are indeed up to snuff with modern café racer type bikes. The bike feels nimble and light and eager to turn. Again excellent choice for the new rider because they handling is confidence – inspiring and predictable.
Dealership experience: apparently, Josh forgot to check off the “provide more than 6 ounces of fuel” option to this used motorcycle dealer :-). The low fuel light started blinking as we were driving through downtown Newton New Jersey which is only about 12 minutes from the furious ranch. It was full-on by the time we got onto New Jersey Route 15. No problem! There are ample gas stations on route 15 and this gave me a chance to stop and be sure that everything was cool with Josh.
When we got the bike to my house, the weather report showed that we still had about an hour before the skies would open up and drench us. So I offered to take SC for a local backstreet training ride so that he could have a chance to get used to the bike being led by an experienced rider (hah!). It helps that we both have Bluetooth helmet intercom systems so I was able to lead the way and listen to SC and give him pointers. We rode around my neighborhood and the old Greystone psychiatric hospital which are good, safe roads. They are mostly 25 mph zone’s with one section of 40 mph. I do note that SC is a little bit tentative on his speed and tended to fall back even when I was riding just below the 25 mph speed limit. Not surprising for somebody who is taking their first tentative steps of actual road riding.
There was indeed one puckering incident: in one 90° left-hand turn, SC got a little bit of target fixation, and ran wide. I heard rather distressing noises over the helmet intercom. But no crash. I was stopped at a stop sign, and looked into my rearview mirror. SC was on the lawn of the house on the outside of the turn! He was watching the trees and the curb instead of the road and hence ran wide and onto the grass.  So SC got his first taste of off – road riding!
After maybe 40 minutes of riding, it started to drizzle. So SC got to experience his first rain ride as a motorcyclist as well! But discretion is the better part of valor and I decided that we should park the bikes. As it turns out I do indeed have enough room in my garage to park three motorcycles. SC and I had to do a little bit of cleaning up, but we were able to move the Buell towards the back of the garage and put both Italian bikes at the front.
The Guzzi will live in my garage for a few days until work schedules allow me to shuttle it down to SC in Highland Park. Probably should plan to visit SC at lunch time over the next few weeks when our schedules permit, so that I can take him on a few more guided rides. But I expect him to be totally comfortable with this bike within the month!

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