I *get* it!

It’s taken me many, many years of wrongheadedness but I finally understand.

All my life I’ve gone for bikes that look pretty; naked, air-cooled, poser chic.

Today was my first proper ride out on the Widow-Maker. Plastic fairings hiding an ugly, water-cooled (admittedly awesome) V twin engine.


Took her for a spin up to the Lake District, learning about the pains of sports bike riding on the way. My wrists! You seem to be supporting your whole, chunky-monkey, body weight on your wrists. I took the pressure off by supporting more of my weight with my back. Which then hurt my back like a bastard.

Also, some fool has fitted this beast with hideously loud exhausts. My ears were ringing afterwards, even though I was wearing ear protectors the whole time. As soon as I got it home on Saturday I ordered some road legal end cans. Poor neighbours!

So there’s the pain and the noise. Then I pulled off the motorway onto the twisty A roads of Cumbria.

Oh. My. God!

I’ve wrestled bikes around bends before now. Often. And some had some poke.

Forget it. No comparison.

She flicks from left to right through the bends effortlessly. Think about acceleration and you’re already there. Get nervous and the brakes have you. They could stop my truck, I think.

The only thing is it’s ridiculously overpowered! I was doing 70mph (on the motorway!), thought it was a bit rev-y, (though only halfway to redline) so I tried changing up. I had two more gears! Also, even with my tenuous cornering, I could feel the front end getting light.


Some good news about the end cans I was forced to buy to quieten the beast down. With my failing reading vision, squinting at my ‘phone, I thought it said stainless steel end cans, £244 for a pair, titanium, £249. For the sake of a fiver I ordered the snazzier ones. I looked again, on the PC, and it was £294.Bugger. Still a steal for what it is, but it’s purely to make it useable, I’m not *that* arsed how it looks. I emailed the seller (of both sets) on ebay and asked would it be possible to change my mind and get the cheaper ones. He consented and refunded me £81. Huh? Yep, seems he had a special deal on! Brilliant.

There are a few niggles with the bike, very minor. One embarrassing one was it kept cutting out on tickover. The revs would drop below 1,000 and it would die. I was worried I’d bought a dud, but I googled it and the tickover is supposed to be 1,250 rpm. Found the knob, sorted it.

That was after today’s ride. During the ride at every set of lights (or whatever) I was having to rev a stupidly loud bike like an idiot boy racer. I felt a right twat. Road legal end cans with the sorted tickover should cure that.

There are a few other things. The right hand mirror has been smacked at some point and won’t stay set. Ordered a new pair.

There are a few allen bolts missing out of the fairing. It’s a 20 year old bike. You can buy them on ebay.

Even with the teething niggles it’s an awesome bike.

I finally get it. The cafe racers of the ‘50s and ‘60s have become an aesthetic, but it is for this they were aiming. It’s like the Americans calling indicators ‘blinkers’.  Blinking describes it, but indicating is what it does. A cafe racer was just a poor man’s attempt at a modern sports bike using the agricultural hardware of his day. I’ve missed the point all this time. I was hooked on the looks of the previous generation’s sport bikes without really seeing them for what they were. I wanted a blinker not an indicator.

Further insights if I should survive the learning curve.