So I was on my way home a couple years ago and as I started into the neighborhood I saw something that nearly made me crash the car. The house on the corner had a bit of candy pushed to the end of the driveway with a "for sale" sign on it.
I gunned it home and then beat-feet through the woods to check this bike out. I was in a very vulnerable time in my early 2-wheeled enthusiast's development. Not only was I young and pretty stupid but also I had just grenade my CB750 a couple months earlier. AND a bunch of my friends were starting to pick up bikes while I was confined to four-wheeled locomotion.
The slick looking scooter had caught my eye because I had been to a couple dealerships oogling the newer GSX-R's, mainly the pre-'99 750's. Those were the last years of carburetion and the fairing reminded me of humping a big 'ol slob; something about the shapes in the plastics still drives me nuts.
My neighbor's bike turned out to be a '99 600. Okay, a little small, but worth investigating. So once I knocked on the door I find out that he had bought it to be his track-bike and that it had never been on the road. The bad news was that it had been raced but the other side of that being it was a winning bike and maintained accordingly.
"Want to go for a spin"? he asks me.
I said sure, but let me run home to get my helmet and gloves. When I got back this 50yo guy had the top half of his zip-ups on while warming up the 600 and his Duc 999. I remember thinking: ahh shit.
"We’ll just go down the street a clip so you can see what she can do"
"sure, but I’ve never ridden anything this powerful before"
"its cool, just stay on my wing and the Michelins will take care of the rest"
-ahh hell; ever have an experience so intense that it still makes your stomach sink?
So we pull out into the road with absolutely no cars around, he gives a look back to see that I am working the controls properly and then "ahh hell". The space between Haven Rd and Plymouth South High School is pretty small and a bit inadequate to hit 80mph while still making it into the school's entrance so we settled for 75. Stay on his wing, down to third, second, brake, lean. Right turn into the driveway; whack it to the top of 2nd, brake, hard left. Ahh hell, we're going to the middle school… To the top of third for the easy right to the middle school's lot. I fingered the clutch a little too much and the motor spooled way up so when I dumped it back out the front wheel lifted as I kept accelerating. (My boner was a little distracting and uncomfortable) With that goof-up with the clutch I decided to skip that detail and went to fourth without it. I thought I had time to look so I spied both needles on the gauges were pointed quite a bit to the right. Oh, shit the next right came up quickly; both brakes, down to second, lean. Lean more. Settle down. As my heart catches up to my face and common sense is a distant memory, my man on his Duc slows way down and lifts his visor.
"Yeah, fine" fuckin liar.
We did under 50 around the parking lot and reversed our direction. I remember thinking: okay that was a little fast, probably should take it easy for the return.
As soon as we hit the straight again the rich exhaust from the Ducati hit me in the face. Second, third, fourth, fuck the clutch. I didn't even have the sense to tuck and duck. Down to third for the now left-hander, then whack-whack for the next straight, right, straight. Left out into the street; eased it into first then front wheel up for second, down for third and fourth. Pull clutch, hold, coast, brakes and cruise back into his driveway.
We both took our helmets off and the look on my face made him smile and laugh.
"If I pay you tomorrow, can I keep it at your house for a day? I need to figure out how to explain this to my mom".