I am terrible at blog writing. One of my goals for 2019 is to be more confident and I’m starting that here because the reason I don’t write as often as I’d like is because I don’t have much confidence in my writing.
So it’s January 3rd and I have a new bike. Finally. I got to about June and decided that it was time. My R1 and I had a beautiful relationship but it wasn’t going to last forever and that R1 was never the bike I wanted. I got a 3rd job, upped my business game and drew a whole load of bikes for people. By December I was able to get a bike that I didn’t think I’d ever be able to get, the 2018 R1 from The Motorbike Shop in Farnborough.
Giving the old one away was not as hard as I prepared for, I reserved the new bike over a month before I could make the exchange, and had that time to emotionally distance myself from it. I got to a point with the old one where I was totally comfortable with it, but it was getting up to 30k miles and I wanted a new bike more than I wanted to pay for the servicing that the old one needed.
I went to collect the new one in the rain. December seemed to just rain solidly and balancing 3 jobs made finding time to ride a bit awkward, so in the end I went out on a day that looked fairly dry but got rained on anyway. So the first thing I learned about the new bike is that it’s good in the wet. The old bike had no electronics, no rider aids, no abs, nothing to help me, it had good tyres which I swapped onto the new bike, but when it came to wet weather all that confidence I had one the bike just vanished. A lot of it came down to confidence in myself and not the bike, but the new R1 had so much going on that I felt safe riding normally in the rain knowing that the bike was looking after me. It has rider modes – something I’ve never had before, so I can change the power, traction control, slide control, anti wheelie etc on and off depending on the situation, and I can change the settings within the rider modes to suit me.
The new bike has a quick shifter and an auto blipper. More things I’ve never had before, although I’ve ridden bikes with a quick shifter, I’ve never bothered to learn how to use one. The auto blipper so far only comes on the 18+ models of R1 but this wasn’t a factor in buying the newer bike, however, I’ve figured out how to use it and now I’m happy I’ve got one. Both the quick shifter and the auto blipper can make riding quickly so much easier. My fear was they’d make me lazy but that’s a problem I can deal with if I ever get on a bike that doesn’t have them again (probably. I’ll let you know.), similar to my worry that driving automatic cars is going to ruin my ability to drive manual cars.
The riding position of the new bike is a bit more extreme than the old one, the old one was comfortable and I felt securely wedged into it. The new one has a higher seat and lower bars, so I feel more like I’m perched on top of it delicately than sitting on it. I’ll be ordering stomp grips to stop me sliding forwards every time I brake. So far my wrists haven’t suffered so I’m sure I’ll just get used to it.
When I bought the bike it was completely standard, it is an ex demo with very few miles on it, the last miles being mine before I bought it. I have now fitted an exhaust supplied by Performance Parts UK, it is a Yoshimura R11. I’m fussy when it comes to exhausts, and I wanted the Yoshi because I liked the way they looked on the GSXRs. I don’t like exhausts that look like baked bean tins no matter how pretty the bolts or the logo look. The Akra is nice but everyone’s got it and I like being awkward and different. I haven’t decatted the bike, and I’m not sure I will. I want to do track days without having to worry about changing the exhaust over, and the Yoshi with the cat is nice and quiet. Honestly it’s not changed much about the bikes sound except that the noise is smoother and it sounds more growl-y in higher revs. It’s tough to describe sound in writing. It sounds better, but it’s a subtle change, which is what I wanted. I’m still getting messages from strangers going ‘Hey Liz you should decat your bike it’ll make it sound better’. The bike is insanely loud without a cat and I value my good relationship with the neighbours.
I’ve got lots of R&G goodies waiting to go on the bike, and plans for some pink bits. People keep pointing out that I need a tail tidy and I have one! The standard number plate mount sticks out further than the rear wheel and I KNOW it looks awful. I haven’t decided if I want to do anything dramatic to the bikes colour. The original plan was to get the bike in black, paint the wheels pink and put some subtle pink details on the body work, but the bike was blue and I didn’t want to wait for a black one to show up. The blue is lovely and I’m a bit conflicted over if I want to change it. I’m ‘hmming’ and ‘aaahing’ about just wrapping the whole thing barbie pink. I’ve bought some pink headlight wrap because someone told me the lights are prone to damage from stones, so I’ll put some protective pink film on them, why not…
I found out the hard way that the tank is made out of stuff that magnets don’t stick to (science.), my beloved miniature tank bag had to be left behind when I took the bike home. Now I have to wear a bum bag if I want to carry more than my phone and an eyebrow pencil anywhere I go. It’s a big adjustment. I went from enough storage on my bike for two beanie hats to a bike with no beanie hat carrying capabilities. It was important, but I’ll adjust.
So far since I’ve had the new one I’ve been out a few times but not for any serious rides. I’m looking forward to the longer evenings so I can ride after work as at the moment I don’t have many days off, and in the summer I’ll hopefully book some track days. The bike makes me laugh, if you ever spot me riding along giggling behind my visor like an idiot it’s because I’ve done something stupid and the bike’s told me off. It’s got an attitude and that’s a large factor in why I bought it. I like bikes with personality and sass and this bike has bundles of that.
I can’t remember if, in the last blog, I mentioned that I got a new dog. Simon (the white fluffy one) went back to live with my dad, and after a few days of bursting into tears when there wasn’t a dog in the house, we got a puppy. It was a few days before my birthday so that worked out nicely. The puppy is called Keira, she’s a german shepherd, she’s now 11 months old and she’s a very good girl. She’s been in a lot of cartoons and is a nice addition to my little family. She comes to work with me and takes up the space under my desk where my feet are supposed to go.
Anyway that’s the bike, I’m super excited to ride it as much as I can. All going well this bike will be with me for longer than the previous ones and I’m not afraid to rack up the miles on it. Here’s to a great new year :).