Thursday, August 25, 2005

The "Jap" bikes

I ride a bike designed and built in Japan. It has a plastic fairing for aerodynamics and style. It is bright green. Is it any wonder that it stands out in a sea of Harleys?

The local Harley Davidson (HD) shop allows us to hold the classroom portion of our classes in their classroom on Fridays and Saturdays. A very fine arrangement. On Saturday mornings the class begins at the range and the students ride through several exercises. Then we break for lunch and meet up back at the HD shop to finish the classroom book work. A written test concludes Saturday's portion and the remainder of the class finishes up at the range on Sunday.

Last Saturday, I pulled into the dealership after lunch and see big, shiny, chromed bikes line the parking lot. A couple hundred by my estimate. There was a big ride, you see. They would take off from the shop in groups at predetermined intervals so as to avoid the hassle of choking traffic with the masses.

I had a hard time finding a parking place, which is really odd. There were bikes parked 2-4 deep in some spaces, but all the spaces had at least 2-3 bikes in them already. I rode around a bit, noticing some of the neat and $$$ machinery present. I also noticed that I was almost alone in a loaded parking lot. You see, there was only one other bike there that was easily identifiable as a non-Harley bike. It was a Gold Wing 1500.

For those of you not in the know, a Gold Wing is Honda's flagship model for luxury motorcycling. It comes with all sorts of electronic gagetry, gizmos, and thingamabobs. Come on folks, you can get them with 6+ CD changers, CB, and intercom from the factory. It is a bike that may have been designed in Japan, but is built in the US and is more American than some Harleys. (but that's another story) The luxo-tourer that it is puts it in another class from the one in which my fundamentalist sporty-bike exists.

I made some comment about having the only Japanese bike in a lot full of proud American iron owners. Several customers and students from my class insisted that there were two more "Jap" bikes out front and insisted that I had missed them. I am not perfect (as mollo will attest) so I walked to the front to see who rode what sushi bikes to the Harley ride.

There they were. Sporty looking bikes. One had a half fairing, the other had a full one. One white and the other yellow. Then I laughed to myself when I recognized the white one to be a Buell Firebolt. Buell is a company owned by HD that makes sporty bikes and uses modified Sportster engines. This "Jap" bike was actually made just up the road from the birthplace of HD, is sold out of Harley shops around the world, and there were models of the same bike in other colors in the very shop they were standing in. A Buell is a dressed up Harley. (Har-de-har-har) Many were just as startled when I revealed the identity of the yellow unknown bike to be a Triumph Daytona 955, a British bike.

So much for not being the only "Jap" bike around. *giggle-tee-hee*


MHN for short said...

funny. so do the HD owners give you a hard time a bout not having a Harley?

P-Ratt said...

Of course not. ;) Harley owners are such nice and courteous people.