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Motorcycle No. 9 1/2

People say the number of motorcycles needed is N+1. (where N is current number) But owning more than one motorcycle at one time has never appealed to me.

Perhaps because I have been changing them frequently or perhaps its the road taxes, insurance, tyres and servicing all multiplied that always stopped me. Rather be out riding than maintaining a garage.

However for a short while I owned two motorcycles – in two countries. This is my 2007 Kawasaki Versys 650 I had in Ireland.

The idea was buy a motorcycle for a long tour (or two) and sell afterwards. Something I had already achieved in the early 90’s with an old Ford Transit campervan (although in hindsight a Contiki bus tour might have been wiser). I just bought the van in Essex and with no clue set off to Norway. You can do anything when young.

Lady luck was travelling with me. Driving all over Europe before the Euro zone with borders every country my paperwork was never fully checked until I was nearly back at Calais for the ferry where upon it turned out I had been driving illegally the entire time with no insurance. Say what you may about the French police but I shall be forever in their debt as they let me go with instructions drive directly on the ferry and if anyone asks we never met. This time I had the correct paper work but the CTP is a grey area, you have to lie and say you are a EU resident, fortunately I never had to test things as my grand trip was cut short.

The Versys is a great bike actually very similar to the BMW GS700/800 just without the bigger front wheel and costs half as much. With about 70hp I find the ER series from Kawasaki perfect for me as I like to be able to use a bikes engine rather than rarely be able to open it up (like my FJR). The above low mileage bike came with new tyres, grip heaters, full luggage and even a Garmin GPS for bit over 2000 Euro but it did have a warped front brake rotor that was never mentioned.

However that never mattered. I never completed my tour. A broken collar bone cancelled my initial plans and also made riding the 2nd time little difficult but really it was the terrible weather conditions that overwhelmed me. Why I did not just hold up in an pub a few days, re book ferries and hotels and seek out better riding gear I still don’t know. Combination of not enough experience at that point for a ride that big and not unlimited confidence like when I was in my twenties perhaps. I always have had problems with all my travels in Europe which is partly why I don’t go there much.

Having a 2nd bike overseas was an idea that predated my leaving Australia faced with long haul expensive flights. From Japan that isn’t such an issue so when I did the maths on keeping it, paying storage, it did not stack up and if you have to lie to get Irish CTP then it’s probably a house of cards. Registration would be invalid thus Green card invalid thus travel insurance null and void. An accident could be financial ruin. So it was sold for about same as I bought it, a great bike I never used more than a couple of weeks.


  1. I like my motorcycles to have a little more punch, each to their own i guess. It's not to say you don't have fun on a smaller capacity bike. You do, I just like a little more power.
    When I got the 15 R1 it's power was intimidating to be honest but after owning it for 3 years I sometimes find myself saying I wish it had a bit more. Must be a male thing…..

    • I think many people still want power. I am the odd one.

      At one point I just decided riding with my (then) focus on power and speed was too one dimensional for me and I seriously considered giving road riding away.

      I switched to riding solo so I could try find my own style rather than being in a group with every ride turning into a competitive near death experience and started to enjoy riding again.

      I found I enjoyed riding very smooth, no gassing it or hard braking in between corners, merely roll on and off the throttle not being in a rush to complete the ride, looking around more, I started taking photos and that lead to this blog.

    • Haha sounds like when I ride by myself I ride like you but when I ride with friends I like the devil you described above. I think once the R1 goes I'll be a lot more mellowed out.

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