Once you’ve made a decision, it’s no good regretting it. I’d decided to swap my beloved R1200R for the hated Tenere, okay, so stop whinging and crying you useless idiot.
To be fair, riding home from the dealer after I surrendered my BMW keys was not as appalling as I’d thought it would be. Clearly, the terrible impression the testride had made on me a year or so ago had worked small wonders: I was expecting I’m not sure what, something as pleasing as piles or a fishbone stuck in my brain. Well, it was not.
Don’t get me wrong, the Ten’s engine still felt like a third-world country tractor 25 years past its sell-by date, but it had more punch that I remembered (not a lot, but more than expected), the sitting position was quite nice, and I managed to outpace the 12-year-old girl on her pushbike at the lights.
A lesson then: always expect the worst of the worst, so that when the worst comes your way, it’s actually not too bad.
But my cunning plan to actually not look back too longingly on my R1200R was to take advantage of what the Ten had that the BMW didn’t. Simply put: its suspensions. Everytime I rode over a gravel or twig on the R, images of the Apocalypse materialised in my head. Not a nice feeling. Not that the suspensions were bad, but a beauty like that, you want to lay your coat over the puddle to help her walk across, don’t you?
I bought the Ten because it’s an adventure bike, and it can tackle off-road. No beauty in that: Rambo’s got to go, he’s rugged and actually likes cuts and bruises. I decided the Ten would wear no make-up, make no fuss and get on with things.
What this all means is this: I took on speed bumps at speed, stood up on the pegs, like a Paris-Dakar old hand. Oh yes. And it felt good. Oh yes. Speeding OVER the speed bumps instead of AROUND: that’s refinement for you, lawlessness taken full-on with rightful aplomb. I am the Thomas Crown of motorbiking. Oh yes.
If they live in a country graced by normal-ish roads and a number of adequate dealerships, I don’t wish the Ten on my nastiest enemy. But if they move to Laos? Well, let’s see.