The bike (an '85 Nighthawk 650) started up right away and warmed up in almost no time. To be honest, the body was a little underwhelming (if that's a word). Rust, chipped-off paint and chrome, small dents, cracks, and holes, etc. adorned the tank cover, fender, sissy bar, handlebars, and virtually every exposed surface. One of the front fork seals had a leak. The headlight retainer was homemade. One mirror was badly bent. One front turn signal was missing, or rather, had been moved to replace a missing rear one. The tachometer was not functional. The fusebox was exposed.
It wasn't all bad. The tires were in great shape. The seat was remarkably intact. And most importantly, the engine, brakes, clutch, and transmission were in great shape. This bike is similar to the Nighthawk S (which was in much better condition body-wise) I rode last week--a little smaller engine, a little less weight. When I had tried the S and ZX-6 though, I had barely opened them up at all. Just coasted down the street and back. A little intimidating. This time I wasn't timid with it. Now keep in mind this is an old, weathered, unmodified bike. It's an '85. It's not a powerful or "fast" bike. It's only a 650 with shaft drive and tall gearing. It needs a tune-up. I didn't open it up full throttle. I didn't come close to redline.
And still, it was a rocket. Wow... I was able to go blasting down the road! The engine is a champ! It pulls with authority, and very linearly. Run it half throttle and shift halfway through the rev range and you feel the hand of God pushing you along. Once I hit about 3/4 throttle up to about 3/4 redline in 1st and 2nd (and on into third where I decelerated) and there was a beautiful, very noticeable snap to the acceleration and some great sounds from the engine to go along. Clearly, this engine has all the power I'd need for quite a while. Nice taste of freedom and power.
All the important parts worked great. The brakes were strong and there was only a little fork dive. The handling was nice after 5 mph. The riding position was just about ideal, forward enough that I could lean forward for cornering or high speed blasting or to take weight off my back when need be. My father liked parts of it too. But in the end, we decided to leave it. With a leaking front fork, missing turn signal, no tach, and some suspect parts here and there, we just decided it would take a lot of work and money to get it street legal and fix all its little problems. It would be layed up in my living room or worse, my dad's garage being worked on for some time. It was a bit like my car in some respects: ugly on the outside while the internals are in excellent condition. The important bit, the engine, was outstanding, but the rest meant it is probably not the best bike for me right now.
I also drove one of the guy's 4-wheelers (also for sale). What a blast!! I've barely given those things a second thought, and around the burbs, there's not much you can do with one, but it makes perfect sense out in the country. If I lived there I'd be out every day on the ATV riding the trails! Anyway, we thanked him for the test rides and left in the Vette. It wasn't a wasted trip at all, in my opinion. And so the search goes on...
There is some illusionist who was supposedly frozen in a block of ice for two days or something. My father was interviewed by Malcolm Mayhew of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for an article. I know Malcolm, he's a patient of my father's and he writes about local music, video games, and other pop culture events (such as the sensationalist illusionist act). It was an interesting read. There were about 15 quotes attributed to my father. The thing about the illusionist in the first place is that he deals in illusions... if he said "well, it'll appear as if I'm frozen in a block of ice, but really it's just an illusion and I'm not" then nobody would watch.
Things are a little slow lately on the UT front. No matches, but we play almost every day. We've been playing some Chaos, which is an interesting variation (you've got to hear the smilie-faced proxy mines giggling and saying their lines as they chase you). We've also been playing some Domination on Killing Fields, I really cleaned up tonight against my old teammates. And duo found a mod called "TallyHo" which turns UT into an old-fashioned arcade game where you shoot monsters for points, bonus points, extra powers, power ups, etc. It's addictive as Hell!
I enjoy digging out old classics at the video store (preferably on DVD) which duo has never seen. It's a great excuse to watch my old favorites again and expose my brother to films he'd otherwise never see and I'd otherwise never rent again. I'm talking Heathers, Princess Bride, Natural Born Killers, Willow, Flatliners, Brazil, The Exorcist, Labyrinth, etc.
My father likes NASCAR. I think it's pretty dull myself. Identically prepared, boring race cars that look like rolling magazine ads and bear no resemblance to the car they're supposed to be modeled after (Ford Taurus? Yah, right). They just go round and round an oval track. They never even make any right turns. Sometimes they don't even have to shift! Damn, what's exciting about that?
On the other hand, last weekend I was sitting in front of the TV and thumbing through the channels and came across Speedvision. Speedvision is a cable channel which plays nothing but shows about all kinds of motor vehicles and all kinds of races. There was a great Canadian race going on. It was Corvettes, Mustangs, Civics, NSXs, Supras, Porsches, BMWs, Vipers, Camaros, Audis, Subarus, Integras, and all kinds of others all racing around a street course. Long straightaways, tight turns in both directions, hills, valleys, wide areas, tight areas, long sweepers, esses, and the crowd right there by the road at certain places. These were regular cars, with headlights, passenger seats, windshield wipers, and treads on the tires. They were race-prepped of course, and many had prominent sponsor banners, but they ran on 101 octane gasoline, not racing fuel. In fact, some of the drivers could have driven their cars TO the track. The track itself consisted of several square blocks of Toronto heavily blocked off to form a road course. There was this Porsche Turbo that started in 52nd place. When we started watching he was in 11th. I told duo I thought the Porsche driver would win and sure enough, he did. Always bet on Porsche! That's the kind of race I want to go to, not boring Indy or NASCAR crap. It was like watching Gran Turismo in real life. Lots of real drama, driving skill, strategy, and real cars! Heck, I could even do that someday!
Speedvision is pretty good. Tuesday is "Two Wheel Tuesday", where they have nothing but bike shows and bike races. They also have rally races, which look incredibly entertaining from the commercials I've seen.
Check out this bike.
I like the styling a lot. It is a Buell Blast. The engine is half of a Harley one liter. It's a 500cc single aimed at beginning riders. It's just so darn awesome looking. It's amazingly narrow and light, and, with some mods, could be a great keeper.
I've just about figured out everything I need to go with my bike. I'm getting Twist of the Wrist II. I'm going to attend the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Course again. I'm going to invest in a good helmet, probably an Arai or Shoei with both clear and tinted faces. I'm going to buy riding boots. I'm going to buy some hardcore insulated gloves. I'm going to buy knee and elbow pads and a leather jacket in lieu of a full riding suit. I'm going to buy a better rain coat. I'm going to buy a bike cover. And I'm going to buy several white sheets and an extensive tool set. I'll be doing maintenance and modifications in my living room. I may search for a way to listen to music while riding, maybe a portable MP3 player and earbuds.
Florida keeps on keeping on. Right now, Gore is appealing the Supreme Courts' (of the US and Florida) rulings while Bush is looking smug in his mansion in Austin. A friend of mine posted a list of Bush's quotes, some worse than "I invented the Internet"!
Finally, about this diary: The number one rule I use regarding this diary is that what I write has to be interesting to me. I have to be able to go back and read it weeks later and have fun and not be pained by what I see. Beyond that, what I'm doing is chronicling the progression of certain activities: Unreal Tournament, buying a motorcycle, politics/the election/what I believe, as well as a few others that don't last more than one or two entries. There, a mission statement I guess.