I am not a tall person. I am reconciled to this fact, and it never really bothered me much… until I decided to learn motorbike riding. Not just any motorbike riding either, but adventure riding, which takes you off-road onto surfaces varying from gravel highways to little twee-spoor tracks littered with loose rocks, pebbles and sand.
For this, my lack of height is a problem, because most adventure bikes are tall, to deal with various terrains and conditions. On these motorbikes I perch precariously, tippy-toed, unable to control the bike if (when) it topples.
Fortunately, Japanese people also generally lack height, which Suzuki apparently considered when designing their DR650 SE, a fairly light motorbike with a lowering link built in to cater for the height-impaired. And so it came that I decided to buy a Suzuki DR650 SE.
Suzuki DR650s aren’t imported into SA anymore, due to exceeding emissions standards, a lack Suzuki seems to have no intention of remedying. But the Suzuki’s are generally considered bullet-proof, and sometimes barn finds still pop up – older pristine motorbikes with exceptionally low mileage, bought and parked in the barn, and forgotten.
Incidentally, in Australia the DR650 is called the “Bush Pig” and is still a best-selling motorbike, probably due to its low cost, versatility, and the ease with which its performance can be improved.
In 2015, I found a slightly battered, slightly souped up DR650 and proceeded to fall the heck out of it, and myself, trying to ride ever more challenging terrain.
In 2017, I found a workshop, Motoworx, to service, patch up and pimp the DR650. The owner/mechanic Donald, a guy knowledgable on all things motorbike, immediately adjusted the lowering link and the front forks, and, aided by a lowered seat, suddenly my feet could comfortably touch ground. This had a huge impact on my riding confidence, and I ranged further afield.
My skills couldn’t keep up with my ambitions, and eventually I broke a leg, a very pedestrian injury for someone who’s broken a coccyx, a tooth and a toe (and maybe cracked a cheek bone). What with one thing and another, I was unable to ride for too long, but eventually everything healed.
I once read, only a biker knows why a dog sticks his head out of a travelling car. The sensations of joy and freedom on a motorbike is hard to describe. You instantly becomes a solitary nomad, alone in the world, even though you might be surrounded by traffic.
I am Bikermouse again.