Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Good, The Bad & The Bella: A 600 Mile (1000 km) Review

The Beginning - From Bella's Perspective
For two years I sat at Rock Moto Sport. Sure, there was a lot of interest. There always is. People come and go. They fondle me in ways I'd rather not be touched. Some even hop on without so much as asking permission. One guy in particular accidentally scratched the top of my chrome tank (albeit lightly, but still...) with the cuff of his leather jacket sleeve next to my brown leather belt on the left side. I was annoyed as was Michael Oborne, a salesman at Rock Moto Sport, but what could they do? Others came in promising to get back to them by week's end only never to return. I know I am not to everyone's taste. They think I am high maintenance, what with my candy apple red frame, chrome tank and suede seat. Others find my number 7 plates too poserish. To them I say how many posers can run 250 miles (450 km) without having to stop for petrol all whilst doing the ton? Still, I didn't want just anyone to buy me. I have seen many other bikes be bought by folks only to be sold soon afterwards or worse, wrecked. While some of the Kawasakis were particularly interested in the "young crowd", I had hoped for someone a little more mature, preferably with nothing to prove. Someone like me, who knew their own limitations as well as mine.

The Good

A Touch of Nostalgia
The first time I saw him I wasn't sure what to think. He had come and gone several times over the last two years. He was polite, always asking first if he could "hop on". He always made sure that the belt on his leather jacket wasn't loose so that it wouldn't scratch me. When nobody was looking he would sometimes even slide his hands alongside my tank. Other times he would arrive with his children. While they gawked at the Arctic Cats he would begin looking me over again as if it were the first time he had ever seen me. I would be lying if I said that I didn't enjoy his enthusiasm for me. I remember once he had told Michael that he had owned a Moto Guzzi Nevada. However, she sounded like a harpy and I could see that it had left him with reservations. So you can imagine my surprise one day last autumn when he was back once again. The timing couldn't have been better either. Unlike myself, Moto Guzzi had updated my siblings to include a 6 speed transmission, traction control and ABS brakes. As a result, I was being heavily discounted.

Just Part of the Quirky Atmosphere That is The Eastern Townships
The 'Fuzz' Keeping A Dutiful Eye Out ;-)
This One is For Mr. Percy Hart
I don't mind telling you that they were selling me for $8, 500 Canadian as opposed to my then regular price of $10,600. I also don't mind telling you that it didn't bother me one bit. Whilst I had enjoyed the summers at Rock Moto Sport, I can't deny that with each passing winter I found it unbearably lonely. Not least of all because so many of my brothers and sisters had been sold. I am strong and independent, but I was beginning to wonder if I would ever find the right home.  He had returned again but this time he had brought his wife and children, whom by now I had looked forward to seeing. However, this time I could see his eyes light up in a way I had never seen before when he saw the sticker price on my handle bars. He ushered his wife over quickly. Seeing his enthusiasm, Michael, always the observant salesman, was out in stride doing his due diligence. He sat on me again, with permission of course (he's such a gentleman) and I could see the wheels spinning in his head, if he were a motorcycle himself he would have already surpassed the ton!

Lac-M├ęgantic Rail Disaster 2013
Pic © CTV News
After three years, the downtown has been completely demolished!
The disaster took 47 lives, five of whom have never been found!
Pic © CTV News
This disaster is considered one of the worst rail road accidents
in Canada's history.
Roughly 30 Buildings in the downtown area had to be demolished!
Pic © CTV News
Today, the city is slowly rebuilding but is still feeling
the effects of the disaster.
It was bittersweet when he said good-bye to Michael, thanking him for his time. He looked at me with such a sad expression on his face. I felt a ping in my jugs (despite not having been running) as he walked out the doors again. Somehow, we both knew it would probably be the last time we would ever see each other again. Or so we thought. Minutes later he came back into the shop, his wife and kids waiting for him in their Honda Civic named Ruby (a very nice Civic with a witty personality, if not bossy at times). Both Michael and him chatted for a bit but I could not hear what they were saying. Though, by how anxious he seemed he made me feel anxious as well. A strange sense of hopefulness began to take over me, but admittedly, I tried to push the feeling away. It wasn't until Michael had come by and placed a VENDU sign on my handlebars with his name on it that I finally realized what had just happened! I couldn't believe it! He was so excited that before leaving he literally gave me a whopping big kiss on my headlight and that is when I knew I had found the right rider for me! :-)

Sherbrooke boasts having its own Drive In Movie Theatre!
With a Vintage Charm, there is also a playground for kids!
It's the perfect setting for a romantic night away as well! ;-)
Apparently, this is only 1 of 6 Drive In Movie Theatres Left in Canada!
The winter months seemed to drag on forever. I sat there in the warehouse wondering if he was thinking about me. How could I have known that he was already buying accessories? When the day finally came to collect me, I won't deny that I was very nervous. After all, he did name his last Moto Guzzi the Widowmaker! I wanted him to want to keep me forever so I tried very hard to be on my best behaviour. Our first month was spent travelling in and around the Eastern Townships. I got to meet one of his pals, a man named Rolly who owns a Yamaha 1100 V-Star. The Yamaha had some interesting stories to tell as his previous owner was in fact a police officer. While they ate ice cream, we sat in the sun enjoying being outside after a long winter. However, like myself, I could see that he was anxious to get back out onto the open road. We had both waited two years for this after all.

A Yamaha, A Moto Guzzi and Some Ice Cream... Priceless!
Pic © Rolly (aka Big Bear) Rider
A 1953 Jeep For Sale!
A Little Rough Around The Edges But Arguably, it Adds Character!
The Kind of Guy I Could Get Into on a Mechanical Level! ;-)
He showered me with gifts, including a nifty new leather seat from Corbin.  More comfort for him, less maintenance for me! But as much as I appreciated the accessories, I much preferred being out on the open road with him. Always the consummate gentleman, he followed the guidelines properly and ensured that I never redlined. As my engine began working itself into each component I could feel myself getting stronger with each ride out. In our first month together we even managed to get his lovely wife out on the road with us. We spent an entire morning riding together. We put a total of 60 miles (100km) on me all whilst enjoying the scenery. His wife even wrote a very flattering ride report on her experience with me. I can tell that she and I are going to be the best of friends! I am even hopeful that maybe one day she will learn to ride me as well so we can have a day out together, you know, just us girls. [edited to add: Jennifer says no! Happy to be a passenger!]

The Jeep is Located in Magog, Quebec!
Its Tranny and Engine Have Been Rebuilt!
Asking Price: $6000 Canadian Dollars!
Interested in Buying The Jeep?
Phone Number: 1 (819) 679-4887
However, I knew that he trusted me implicitly when he decided to take his oldest son to his very first school dance on me one Friday evening. I was surprised, to be honest. I had never had a child ride on me before, though, I had become accustomed to having his kids sit on me. Like their father, they are very respectful, so I don't mind. Some might say that I even like the attention from them. Trusting me not only with his wife but his son as well made me feel like I was part of the family. I know this old Honda Goldwing who gets his medical check ups at Rock Moto Sport. She is always talking about how she and her owner have been together for 36 years. That is longer than most human marriages, let alone motorcycle ownership for the majority of us. The best that us motorcycles can hope for is that we will find one owner who will take care of us for as long as possible. However, until I met my owner, I never dared dream of being part of the 1% of motorcycles who could spend their entire lives with one owner. I know it may be too early to say, but I am hopeful that he is the "one".

The Bad

I Spy...
To say that the last month has been trouble free would be an untruth... I tried very, very hard but being put together in a small factory in Mandello del Lario, partly by human hands, well, some hiccups are bound to happen. The seal in my left fork nut leaked lubricant (so embarrassing...). Also, as to be expected within the first 600 miles (1000 km), my gear shifter became more difficult to click out of 1st gear. I could hear him mutter obscenities under his breath, but in fairness, that really happened only when we were setting off from a green light. It wasn't until this past Thursday that I really became scared that I had put him in jeopardy though when the screw joining the gear shifter snapped! I essentially left him stuck in 2nd gear with no way of getting out of or into any other gear. He pulled over on the shoulder and got off. Looking down and inspecting the broken piece I braced myself for the worst. If motorcycles had eyes, mine would have been clenched shut. So you can imagine my confusion when I heard him begin to laugh out loud! It was a genuine, kind laugh that left me feeling bewildered at what I thought would instead be a berated tone of insults and accusations.

It Snapped Clean Off!
(How Embarrassing!)
Uncertain if this incident was too close to his previous experience with the Widowmaker,  I found myself unwilling to disappoint him again. I waited until he was ready and once we were underway again, not so much as a whine came from my engine when he rode down the shoulder in second gear. He kept me at reasonable speed suitable for 2nd gear the majority of the time, only going higher when there was absolutely no choice because of traffic conditions. Still, he managed to keep me just below my redline. Saying that I was humiliated is an understatement. But his reaction to my gear lever breaking surprised me. He seems to have had his fair share of troubles with motorcycles and whilst I am making no excuses for my behaviour, I can't deny that its refreshing to have a rider who can see the silver lining. Otherwise, its been a trouble free 600 miles (1000km). He has been very busy with work lately and I suspect we would have had more miles put on me otherwise. However, with summer starting and work nearly over, I am sure we can make up for lost time.

The Bella

Picture Perfect: Deauville Mincipal Beach Park
Part of the joy of being a motorcycle in my humble opinion is having a good mechanic. I can't begin to tell you how relieved I am that Rock Moto Sport has been absolutely wonderful in their care and handling of me. They have gone above and beyond. I have met some bikes in the past who came from dealers who would "cut corners" which often led to mechanical issues. But not Rock Moto Sport! Take it from me, I spent two years with them before going home with my owner. During my first service they changed my transmission, motor, and differential oil and changed my oil filter. They also adjusted my cables and tightened my fork nuts. They also re-torqued my heads and adjusted my valves all within an hour and a half. They also fixed my gear shifter of course and to top it off, they gave me a wash making me look like new again. Though, between you and I, I prefer the dirty look! Think of me as the BugSpatteredFairing to my BigSpatteredJacket! ;-) I think my owner was pretty pleased too because it cost only $248 for the 1st service. I overheard him telling his wife when we got home that he had heard of some folks over on Guzzi Tech and Wild Guzzi having been charged as much as $350 USD to an astounding $800 USD by their dealers in the United States!

It's Times Like These I wish I Was a Boat!
That White Spec Is a Sail Boat!
The Eastern Townships is a Motorcycling Mecca For Anyone Interested!
Though we have only put 60 miles (100km), give or take, since my first service I can already feel the difference. My gearbox is butter smooth again and pulling 75 miles (120km) is a cinch and runs me at around 4500 rpm. Vibrations are all but nil at higher speeds. The best part is I think he appreciates how the 1st service also opened up my voice. There is a deep growl now at city speeds that I can feel makes him happy (take that to mean whatever you want ;-p)! Though we cannot determine what the future holds, I am hopeful that at the very least he and I will always remain together. I don't care if we travel the world together or just take his wife and kids out on short rides, so long as we just ride, I don't mind. I have already heard him talking to his little girl when he was out putting me to bed for the night. I couldn't help but feel that ping in my jugs again when he said that I would be hers someday. We may be machines but we have hearts and knowing that a part of his heart belongs to me makes me feel alive inside.

Call For Submissions!

Would you like to be a Guest Contributor? 
Say What? is always looking for quality contributions to our blog.


  1. So far so good. Hope you continue with the good luck with this bike. Get out and ride it....OFTEN!


  2. I would highly recommend you all read this, it`s brilliant!

    Rob Murray

  3. Love it. I may have even got a little teary when he picked the bike up.....

    Craig Clancy

  4. Bella has skill..

    Percy Hart

  5. Very nice read


  6. Thanks for the favorable words. Too often people focus (me included) on the negatives and neglect all that is well in the world. Many people get a car and don't notice the flaws unless the car won't go or stop. We just don't get all that wrapped up in our 4 wheel daily drivers, a 65 GTO would certainly be different. We are much more intimate with our 2 wheelers and I think all of tend to border on OCD when it comes to motorcycle perfection. We also tend to have more mechanical inclination and talk about what we work on and not what we didn't work on. You won't find many threads where people talk about the fun or trouble they had with what didn't need maintenance or repair/replacement. I suppose there must be someone who said........Hey guys, there seems to be absolutely nothing wrong with my Guzzi, should I be worried?