Boxers and Motorcycles: Fatal Attraction

diego corrales c22bc

By BERNARD FERNANDEZ

They are, or were, superbly conditioned athletes, adept at moving quickly, hitting hard and taking risks. For some, the risk-taking part is merely an occupational hazard, part of a job description that by definition entails some degree of personal peril. For others, those who know the exhilaration of staring into the face of disaster and making it blink, it might be easy to feel as if they are indestructible, somehow impervious to the possibility of instant tragedy. Courting danger, conquering one’s fear in the process, can almost be an aphrodisiac. Hurtling down a highway at a high rate of speed provides the kind of rush that not even participation in the most physically challenging of sports can furnish.

Boxers and motorcycles have always gone together, like a right cross off a left jab. But there is often a high price to be paid for the attraction certain fighters have for land rockets that offer them scant protection from the kind of horrific collisions that make bikers 25 times more likely to suffer death or serious injury than those involved in car crashes.

All of which makes former two-time world champion Paul “The Punisher” Williams one of those fortunate enough to have been involved in such a motorcycle accident and live to tell about it. Just a week after signing for an HBO Pay Per View fight with Canelo Alvarez that, had he won, might have made him incredibly rich and a certifiable superstar, Williams was in Atlanta, where he was to serve as best man at his brother Leon’s wedding. The date was May 27, 2012.

But Williams, who was more accustomed to dishing out punishment than receiving it in the ring, never made it to the nuptials. Driving a modified Suzuki 1300 Hayabusa, a recent gift to himself, Williams was going too fast (an estimated 75 mph) when he swerved up a steep roadside embankment to avoid a collision and was catapulted 60 feet into the air. His body landed with such force that his spinal cord was severely damaged, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. Williams was later told by workers at Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, Ga., where he arrived by ambulance, that there had been three motorcycle accidents in the Atlanta metropolitan area that weekend, and that he was the only rider among them who had survived.

Initially clinging to the hope that he could be rehabilitated to a point where he could resume his boxing career, Williams understandably slipped into periods of depression when it became obvious that he would forever be confined to a wheelchair. But the Aiken, S.C., native is an optimist by nature, and he makes his much-anticipated return to the fight game, as a trainer, on Friday night at the Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Okla., when his protégé, super welterweight Justin DeLoach (13-1, 7 KOs), takes on Dillon Cook (16-0, 6 KOs) in the opening eight-round bout of a ShoBox: The New Generation quadrupleheader, the 10-round main event of which pits super lightweight knockout artist Regis “Rolugarou” Prograis (16-0, 13 KOs) against Aaron “The Jewel” Herrera (29-4-1, 18 KOs).

“What’s happened has happened,” Williams said of his altered circumstances. “It is what it is. This is my first time stepping back into the world. I love boxing.

“What I don’t want to see is a fighter getting hurt. This is a hard sport. I know when I was in there I was always going for broke. But I want Justin – all fighters, actually – to come out of the ring the same way they came in. Win or lose, I don’t want to see anybody get hurt.”

But despite his fervent hope that those in his potentially damaging profession remain safe inside the ropes, there is a part of “The Punisher” that will always regret that he can never again know the joy of taking to the open road on his supercharged motorcycle and feeling the wind in his face. Like the character played by Tom Cruise in Top Gun, he wistfully still feels the need for speed, like other adrenaline junkies who weigh the benefits of that feeling of freedom against the sobering statistics and decide that the risk is worth taking.

“There’s nothing like being on a bike and it’s just you and the road,” Williams told writer Jason Langendorf of Vice Sports for an article that was posted in January 2015, 32 months after the accident that forever changed his life. “Peaceful. That was some of the best time, clearing my head. The fun. It’s a whole different world.

“Of course, you’ve got people who say, `Oh, he’s stupid. He should’ve never got on that bike.’ Hey, you know me. I don’t have no regrets. I don’t mean to be selfish, but if I had my legs again, I’d bike to the house right now.”

The allure of motorcycles to the adventurous and those who reject conformity is, of course, a matter of long-standing. The silver screen has romanticized the image of the biker as rebel. Think of a leather-jacketed Marlon Brandon in The Wild One, Peter Fonda in Easy Rider, Steve McQueen in The Great Escape, Cruise as hotshot jet fighter pilot “Maverick” in Top Gun. It is one of the reasons milquetoast CPAs and librarians in Las Vegas pack the Harley-Davidson apparel store on the Strip, loading up on cool-looking gear, whether or not they actually ride bikes, that allows them to channel their inner Brando. It is also the reason thousands of spectators were drawn to the daredevil antics of the late Evel Knievel, who used to jump his chopper over long rows of parked buses and 18-wheelers. Sometimes he even made it all the way over. And when he didn’t … well, seeing him bounce off pavement like a rag doll on failed attempts was part of the show, too. We could not turn away because the constant possibility of death or grievous injury was as much of a reason for watching as Knievel’s chances for actually pulling off feats that seemed nearly impossible.

Williams is hardly the first fighter or noted athlete to have risked so much on a motorcycle, and lost, nor will he be the last. Perhaps the most notable example in recent years is former IBF super featherweight and WBC lightweight champion Diego “Chico” Corrales, winner of perhaps the most spectacularly action-packed fight of the 21st century, on May 7, 2005, at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay, in which he somehow rallied from two 10th-round knockdowns at the hands of Jose Luis Castillo to win by a stoppage in the very round in which he appeared to be all but finished.

“You can vote now,” Gary Shaw, Corrales’ promoter, excitedly said at the postfight press conference after his guy had staged the comeback to end all comebacks. “This is Fight of the Year, Fight of Next Year, Fight of the Decade. I don’t believe you’ll ever see anything like this again.”

Added Joe Goossen, Corrales’ trainer: “In my 35 years (in boxing), that was the greatest fight I’ve ever seen.”

Exactly two years to the day after registering the victory that forever shall be the cornerstone of his boxing legacy, Corrales died on a Las Vegas highway when the 29-year-old, depressed over a downturn in his fistic fortunes and aboard his newly purchased racing bike, ran into the back of a car and was then struck by another from behind. Corrales – who police said had been “traveling at a high rate of speed,” estimated at 100 mph – was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of one of the two cars involved sustained minor injuries.

“The guy was a true warrior. Simply by the way he fought he should be in the (International Boxing) Hall of Fame,” a somber Shaw said of Corrales, a father of five, who left behind a wife who was six months pregnant. “Believe me, if he could’ve got off that cold pavement, he would.”

Ironically, Corrales had discussed his motorcycle riding the previous summer in a Las Vegas Review-Journal story.

“I’m only young once and, unless someone hasn’t told me something yet, I only get to live once,” he said. “If I couldn’t do this stuff now, stuff I always wanted to do, I would never get a chance to do it.”

Corrales’ cautionary tale is very similar to that of heavyweight Young Stribling, a 1996 inductee into the IBHOF who posted a 224-13-14 record, with 129 victories inside the distance, in a career that spanned from 1921 to ’33. Sometimes criticized for being overly cautious in the ring, Stribling was famously reckless outside of it. He was obsessed at traveling at breakneck speeds, whether it was behind the wheel of a car or on a motorcycle. But it was on his bike that Stribling’s life was cut short, at 28, when he was involved in a terrible crash that left him with internal injuries that ultimately proved fatal. He was rushed to a hospital in Macon, Ga., where he died on Oct. 3, 1933.

The list of fighters killed or seriously injured in motorcycle-related accidents has continued to mount. Former WBO light heavyweight champion Julio Cesar Gonzalez, 35, was killed in a motorbike accident in Mexico on March 10, 2012, following a hit-and-run involving a drunk driver. Australian women’s amateur titlist Donna Pepper was 30 when she died in a crash on Feb. 13, 2012, in Cambodia while on a five-month Asian holiday. Former WBC super middleweight champ Anthony Dirrell, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2006, not only overcame cancer but a 2012 motorcycle crash that resulted in a broken leg and a four-hour surgical procedure to repair the damage. Dirrell again was able to resume his career and is set to take on Caleb Truax on April 29 at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City.

The Philadelphia metropolitan area has been especially hard-hit by fatal incidents involving fighters on motorcycles. Middleweight contender James “Black Gold” Shuler was only 26 when, on March 20, 1986, his red Kawasaki collided with a tractor-trailer and he died at the scene. Undefeated light heavyweight prospect Andre “Thee” Prophet – who will be posthumously inducted into the Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame on May 15 was even younger, 20, when he and a woman companion, 19-year-old Tres Kelly, both succumbed from massive injuries suffered on Aug. 13, 1988, when the borrowed bike Prophet was driving was struck by a hit-and-run driver. Former super middleweight contender Tony “The Punching Postman” Thornton, of Glassboro, N.J., who fought three times for world titles with losses to Chris Eubank, James Toney and Roy Jones Jr., was retired and 49 when he died on Sept. 10, 2009, 11 days after he was involved in a bad collision.

But boxing is not the only sport, or occupation, that has lost members to motorcycle accidents. Baltimore Ravens cornerback Tray Walker, 23, died on March 18 of this year, the day after he was critically injured in a dirt bike crash in Liberty City, Fla. Other famous people who met their end on cycles include T.E. Lawrence, better known as “Lawrence of Arabia,” rock star Duane Allman and 69-year-old retired astronaut Pete Conrad, the third person to walk on the moon.

It should be stipulated here that hundreds of thousands of individuals drive or ride safely on motorcycles, which can be legally operated in every state and throughout the world. There also are no laws prohibiting usage of tobacco products and alcoholic beverages by those who meet age requirements, or for those who choose to join the military, skydive, swim in the ocean with sharks and barracudas or bungee-jump off high bridges. Acceptance of risk is a part of everyday life, and there can be no faulting those who voluntarily enter the danger zone if they are cognizant of the possible consequences.

The chips always fall where they may.

“I know I can’t change time, but I do think about that day (of his accident),” said Williams in an interview with Joseph Santoliquito of The Ring magazine in January 2015. “What if I was going a little slower? What if that car in front of me wasn’t there? There’s a million of the, all of those `What ifs.’ I’ve seen both worlds, being a world champion and now being paralyzed.

“If I could change time, I would. But I can’t, so I have to deal with it. If I wasn’t able to deal with it, I probably would have committed suicide by now or would be angry and depressed all of the time.

“I have my bad days and my good days. I do feel there are two sides of me: who I was and who I am. I had all this money, all this fame, I was on top of the world. Everyone loved me.”

Williams received the Bill Crawford Award for Courage in Overcoming Adversity at the 89th annual Boxing Writers Association of America Awards Dinner in Las Vegas in 2014, at which time he received a standing ovation and the realization that, while he had lost so much, he had not lost everything.

 

Comment on this article

COMMENTS

-New York Tony :

Lew Jenkins is another one who had some close calls with motorcycles.


-deepwater2 :

one of my first days on the Trauma team in the ER, I came in to find a young marine on a back board, crying and screaming he couldn't feel his legs. he was cut off by a car while on a motorcycle. His fiancee was there crying. his cord was severed. he would never walk again. I would never ride a motorcycle ever again. you never know what texting idiot will side swipe you. no second chances on a bike.


-New York Tony :

one of my first days on the Trauma team in the ER, I came in to find a young marine on a back board, crying and screaming he couldn't feel his legs. he was cut off by a car while on a motorcycle. His fiancee was there crying. his cord was severed. he would never walk again. I would never ride a motorcycle ever again. you never know what texting idiot will side swipe you. no second chances on a bike.
A powerful anecdote. Personally, I hate motorcycles.


-Radam G :

Another great, powerful piece from the arch-master boxing journalist B-Fern. Holla!


-miguel1 :

Young Stribling fought in the 20s, he diesd on a bike. His wife was giving birth to their baby in the same hospital. 29 years old.


-stormcentre :

I have owned probably about 30 motorcycles in my life, and currently own 4. They are all awesome machines. Some have around 500 HP and accelerate faster than the space shuttle. Others cruise and are relaxed. Yes motorcycles are dangerous; there's no doubt about that. But so is boxing. The thrill of experiencing, what can be called, life and death experiences in the ring when you compete, and overcoming is what makes us box and learn. That and money and adulation. For a while there I was unable to find a thrill that matches boxing. There are some though, and they involve pretty girls, winged-suit skydiving, driving racing cars, and . . . . Motorcycles. I am yet to find a thrill that can replace motorcycles - and I am aware of the dangers. One of my bikes is so powerful and thrilling that I have to make sure there are no cross winds before serious overtaking and throttle action; otherwise if the front wheel is up - and it happens :) - the bike will veer across the road unless tamed. This is a similar thrill to taking on the risks in the ring and winning; as such you need to think about what you're doing, and make sure you win without crossing the line of too much risk. So what I do is treat the throttle as if it is an extension of my willpower; rather than a toggle switch for pleasure. It's a simple thought process but one that seems to escape many other motorcyclists. *In other words (especially now that I am a little more mature) I always; ride defensively, assume all cars and intersections will hurt me (even if the lights are green), think, always modify my bikes brakes/suspension to align with engine mods, don't play games in traffic, go nuts at track days or on the open/rural roads where visibility and roads are excellent, never deliberately go out on wet roads, and I always think of my family before that throttle is opened up. Some of the best moments of my life are riding to the gym, throwing down a good 2 or 3 hour training session, having a shower, then fire up the bike and ride to some sweet girlies house and do what comes naturally. Now if you took the motorcycle out of that, it just wouldn't be the same. That said, years ago, I have come off before, and also been under a truck. But - after a lot of analysis about that - I realized that the thrill was too much to give away and as such invented the above *rule set in order for me to continue.

There's a lot to be said about;


A) Being able to accelerate to 200 Km/h in about 8 seconds; faster than any available supercar - modified or not.
B) Cruise around calmly on a nice motorcycle and on a beautiful road/day.
C) Sitting behind a guy - sitting proud in his latest Lamborghini Aventedor (with his girlie in the passenger seat) - who is overtaking a line of vehicles and thinks, as you sit way back/behind, you can't keep up . . . . then slowly stretching him as he overtakes so he thinks he's got a supercar that's faster than a motorcycle . . . stretching him until he has no torque left . . . . then (providing the road/traffic will allow it) blasting past him (on either one or two wheels) - with toque to spare - and looking at the look on his face as he sits there all embarrassed in front of his mini skirt wearing honey.



Whether it's silly or not; I love it and am not too scared to admit it !!!!!! However, treat it like you're sparring/fighting a dangerous fast heavyweight boxer - box clever - keep thinking - remember defence, and you will always have fun and walk away feeling invigorated and like you learned and achieved something. Be a Clown, and you will get knocked out. One lane baby; the fast (and thinking) lane.
Storm. :) :)


-stormcentre :

I have owned probably about 30 motorcycles in my life, and currently own 4. They are all awesome machines. Some have around 500 HP and accelerate faster than the space shuttle. Others cruise and are relaxed. Yes motorcycles are dangerous; there's no doubt about that. But so is boxing. The thrill of experiencing, what can be called, life and death experiences in the ring when you compete, and overcoming is what makes us box and learn. That and money and adulation. For a while there I was unable to find a thrill that matches boxing. There are some though, and they involve pretty girls, winged-suit skydiving, driving racing cars, and . . . . Motorcycles. I am yet to find a thrill that can replace motorcycles - and I am aware of the dangers. One of my bikes is so powerful and thrilling that I have to make sure there are no cross winds before serious overtaking and throttle action; otherwise if the front wheel is up - and it happens :) - the bike will veer across the road unless tamed. This is a similar thrill to taking on the risks in the ring and winning; as such you need to think about what you're doing, and make sure you win without crossing the line of too much risk. So what I do is treat the throttle as if it is an extension of my willpower; rather than a toggle switch for pleasure. It's a simple thought process but one that seems to escape many other motorcyclists. *In other words (especially now that I am a little more mature) I always; ride defensively, assume all cars and intersections will hurt me (even if the lights are green), think, always modify my bikes brakes/suspension to align with engine mods, don't play games in traffic, go nuts at track days or on the open/rural roads where visibility and roads are excellent, never deliberately go out on wet roads, and I always think of my family before that throttle is opened up. Some of the best moments of my life are riding to the gym, throwing down a good 2 or 3 hour training session, having a shower, then fire up the bike and ride to some sweet girlies house and do what comes naturally. Now if you took the motorcycle out of that, it just wouldn't be the same. That said, years ago, I have come off before, and also been under a truck. But - after a lot of analysis about that - I realized that the thrill was too much to give away and as such invented the above *rule set in order for me to continue.

There's a lot to be said about;


A) Being able to accelerate to 200 Km/h in about 8 seconds; faster than any available supercar - modified or not.
B) Cruise around calmly on a nice motorcycle and on a beautiful road/day.
C) Sitting behind a guy - sitting proud in his latest Lamborghini Aventedor (with his girlie in the passenger seat) - who is overtaking a line of vehicles and thinks, as you sit way back/behind, you can't keep up . . . . then slowly stretching him as he overtakes so he thinks he's got a supercar that's faster than a motorcycle . . . stretching him until he has no torque left . . . . then (providing the road/traffic will allow it) blasting past him (on either one or two wheels) - with toque to spare - and looking at the look on his face as he sits there all embarrassed in front of his mini skirt wearing honey.



Whether it's silly or not; I love it and am not too scared to admit it !!!!!! However, treat it like you're sparring/fighting a dangerous fast heavyweight boxer - box clever - keep thinking - remember defence, and you will always have fun and walk away feeling invigorated and like you learned and achieved something. Be a Clown, and you will get knocked out. One lane baby; the fast (and thinking) lane.
Storm. :) :)


-SuperLight :

I have owned probably about 30 motorcycles in my life, and currently own 4. They are all awesome machines. Some have around 500 HP and accelerate faster than the space shuttle. Others cruise and are relaxed. Yes motorcycles are dangerous; there's no doubt about that. But so is boxing. The thrill of experiencing, what can be called, life and death experiences in the ring when you compete, and overcoming is what makes us box and learn. That and money and adulation. For a while there I was unable to find a thrill that matches boxing. There are some though, and they involve pretty girls, winged-suit skydiving, driving racing cars, and . . . . Motorcycles. I am yet to find a thrill that can replace motorcycles - and I am aware of the dangers. One of my bikes is so powerful and thrilling that I have to make sure there are no cross winds before serious overtaking and throttle action; otherwise if the front wheel is up - and it happens :) - the bike will veer across the road unless tamed. This is a similar thrill to taking on the risks in the ring and winning; as such you need to think about what you're doing, and make sure you win without crossing the line of too much risk. So what I do is treat the throttle as if it is an extension of my willpower; rather than a toggle switch for pleasure. It's a simple thought process but one that seems to escape many other motorcyclists. *In other words (especially now that I am a little more mature) I always; ride defensively, assume all cars and intersections will hurt me (even if the lights are green), think, always modify my bikes brakes/suspension to align with engine mods, don't play games in traffic, go nuts at track days or on the open/rural roads where visibility and roads are excellent, never deliberately go out on wet roads, and I always think of my family before that throttle is opened up. Some of the best moments of my life are riding to the gym, throwing down a good 2 or 3 hour training session, having a shower, then fire up the bike and ride to some sweet girlies house and do what comes naturally. Now if you took the motorcycle out of that, it just wouldn't be the same. That said, years ago, I have come off before, and also been under a truck. But - after a lot of analysis about that - I realized that the thrill was too much to give away and as such invented the above *rule set in order for me to continue.

There's a lot to be said about;


A) Being able to accelerate to 200 Km/h in about 8 seconds; faster than any available supercar - modified or not.
B) Cruise around calmly on a nice motorcycle and on a beautiful road/day.
C) Sitting behind a guy - sitting proud in his latest Lamborghini Aventedor (with his girlie in the passenger seat) - who is overtaking a line of vehicles and thinks, as you sit way back/behind, you can't keep up . . . . then slowly stretching him as he overtakes so he thinks he's got a supercar that's faster than a motorcycle . . . stretching him until he has no torque left . . . . then (providing the road/traffic will allow it) blasting past him (on either one or two wheels) - with toque to spare - and looking at the look on his face as he sits there all embarrassed in front of his mini skirt wearing honey.



Whether it's silly or not; I love it and am not too scared to admit it !!!!!! However, treat it like you're sparring/fighting a dangerous fast heavyweight boxer - box clever - keep thinking - remember defence, and you will always have fun and walk away feeling invigorated and like you learned and achieved something. Be a Clown, and you will get knocked out. One lane baby; the fast (and thinking) lane.
Storm. :) :)
Storm, we're of one mind regarding motorcycles. Likening riding a powerful moto to sparring just that kind of fighter is certainly close to home for me. Lose alertness and something is likely to break. I believe the idea of cheating death is an important part of life.


-stormcentre :

I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie SL. And I don't mind taking on some calculated risk to get it either. But, I really love motorcycles. Big time. I've had more than my fair share of overpowered and/or fast cars, and I've been banned from driving a few fairly fast/expensive European race-rentals at the local race track too. And that's all nice. Especially to have 12 cylinders screaming behind your back on a racetrack, whilst you know you can just hand it back to them after you have flogged it. But . . . . . When it's all said and done . . . All those vehicles are just pretenders when it comes to acceleration, exhilaration, and big time thrills. Because . . in that domain - and let's face it, that's why most boys are addicted to hyper/muscle cars, superbikes, and power - high powered motorcycles rule. Nothing comes close.

Nothing provides the thrills like winding out a big bore, turbocharged, nitro/methanol burning, bike - on full boost - to over 10,000 rpm in the lower gears . . . . . then hitting 3rd gear to find out that it's still got lungs and legs and is (more than) up for 180Km per hour . . . . . only then to catch your breath, lock 4th gear in, and find out that it's still soooo ready to keep going . . . . . and that the only limit is how far you want to go. That kind of rush is what thrill seeking and life is all about. But it must be done after a calculation of risks has taken place, and only when the conditions suit. Still, for all those that love adrenalin rushes . .. very few equal this.

Winged suit skydiving and scoring public and planned for (in training) KO's in boxing fights does though . . .. but . . . and here is the real kicker . . . None of them can be relived at the flick of a switch/throttle, and "before" the previous adrenalin rush from doing it has subsided. I have certainly had women and other material (and entertaining) things in my life that have provided far less thrills/reliability than the above-mentioned motorcycle. Little wonder is it then that the above-mentioned motorcycle has outstayed many of them. :) :)


-SuperLight :

I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie SL. And I don't mind taking on some calculated risk to get it either. But, I really love motorcycles. Big time. I've had more than my fair share of overpowered and/or fast cars, and I've been banned from driving a few fairly fast/expensive European race-rentals at the local race track too. And that's all nice. Especially to have 12 cylinders screaming behind your back on a racetrack, whilst you know you can just hand it back to them after you have flogged it. But . . . . . When it's all said and done . . . All those vehicles are just pretenders when it comes to acceleration, exhilaration, and big time thrills. Because . . in that domain - and let's face it, that's why most boys are addicted to hyper/muscle cars, superbikes, and power - high powered motorcycles rule. Nothing comes close.

Nothing provides the thrills like winding out a big bore, turbocharged, nitro/methanol burning, bike - on full boost - to over 10,000 rpm in the lower gears . . . . . then hitting 3rd gear to find out that it's still got lungs and legs and is (more than) up for 180Km per hour . . . . . only then to catch your breath, lock 4th gear in, and find out that it's still soooo ready to keep going . . . . . and that the only limit is how far you want to go. That kind of rush is what thrill seeking and life is all about. But it must be done after a calculation of risks has taken place, and only when the conditions suit. Still, for all those that love adrenalin rushes . .. very few equal this.

Winged suit skydiving and scoring public and planned for (in training) KO's in boxing fights does though . . .. but . . . and here is the real kicker . . . None of them can be relived at the flick of a switch/throttle, and "before" the previous adrenalin rush from doing it has subsided. I have certainly had women and other material (and entertaining) things in my life that have provided far less thrills/reliability than the above-mentioned motorcycle. Little wonder is it then that the above-mentioned motorcycle has outstayed many of them. :) :)
It seems there's a difference in the size of our respective toys, and the max velocities we've attained! Never mind, I think I pulled a full metric "ton" on my Honda thumper, and it felt plenty fast. I'd never accuse it of being "planted" or "sorted" for handling, but it was possible to use every bit of its torque. The above notwithstanding, I'm with you on the rules.


-stormcentre :


It seems there's a difference in the size of our respective toys, and the max velocities we've attained! Never mind, I think I pulled a full metric "ton" on my Honda thumper, and it felt plenty fast. I'd never accuse it of being "planted" or "sorted" for handling, but it was possible to use every bit of its torque. The above notwithstanding, I'm with you on the rules.
Yep, no worries. So long as you got 2 wheels. I don't always ride like that mentioned above; as it's only on the turbo Busa. Even then, I often take that out and are (sometimes) still (reasonably) sane with it all. It's not easy . . . I tell ya !!!! I currently have a little 88 Harley with a peanut tank on it . . . . A friend of mine put one of those S&S 200 cube motor jobbies in it for me though. He also did all the electrical and frame work required too; so it all looks like the factory put that motor in there !!! That bike loves to shake, rattle, roll, and grunt down low, now!!!! It's nuts. And that's. . . besides (or considering) the fact(s) that;


A) When your'e on it . . . you really can't go anywhere that's too far away from a fuel station; due to the big motor and (very) small peanut tank.
B) It produces both enormous torque and also a glorious,
Deep, baritone like pulsating V-twn sound; it goes like lightening (for a Hog) and sounds like thunder.

On this bad boy, and late at night; you're just not sneaking around the back streets and pulling up at home unnoticed.


C) It makes nowhere near the "power" or "torque" of the (always exciting) Busa . . .

But despite all that . . . the fact of the matter is . . . .


-
The girlies love it.

And that's without the - always reliable - strategy of a 2B pencil strategically placed under the passenger seat's lining to make sure they're all revved up for a ride after the one with the Harley has come to an end. :)


-
It's a comfortable bike.
-
Despite it's size, lack of refinement, and other negativities (Harley's are nowhere near perfect) . . it's a pretty easy going bike that;

Not only; do you not have to have all the weight on your wrists with (like most sports/hyper bikes); when in traffic. But also; you don't have to be pulling big Triple numbers on the speedometer in order to be having fun.



And that's what I like about it. Ride to live and live to ride. Stay (safe and) cool SL; and keep having fun.
Storm. :) :) :)

PS: Listen to this with headphones and/or as you run/train.


-SuperLight :

Yes, I hear you. My current ride is a Monster, the most powerful air-cooled L twin of its day. It's about as uncomfortable as I can handle for a daily commuter. Clip-ons and all look great but are not much fun for the type of riding I do. I.e., usually short rides and often with traffic. When possible I aim for twisties and hills, and smile every time I match the engine speed on a downshift and hear the barking reply. Besides the type of low to mid torque delivery, there's the style, soul, passion and all those other words that belong in the Italian swear jar. My dream would be to have a Siegl motorcycle as a weekend/open road vehicle. That or something like a 916, one of the best-looking faired motorcycles to my eyes. But those are just for beauty of the machines - I seldom get beyond halfway through third gear given my location and riding style. Staying safe and cool, on two wheels the and in the ring. Always fun =)


-SuperLight :

Yes, I hear you. My current ride is a Monster, the most powerful air-cooled L twin of its day. It's about as uncomfortable as I can handle for a daily commuter. Clip-ons and all look great but are not much fun for the type of riding I do. I.e., usually short rides and often with traffic. When possible I aim for twisties and hills, and smile every time I match the engine speed on a downshift and hear the barking reply. Besides the type of low to mid torque delivery, there's the style, soul, passion and all those other words that belong in the Italian swear jar. My dream would be to have a Siegl motorcycle as a weekend/open road vehicle. That or something like a 916, one of the best-looking faired motorcycles to my eyes. But those are just for beauty of the machines - I seldom get beyond halfway through third gear given my location and riding style. Staying safe and cool, on two wheels the and in the ring. Always fun =)


-stormcentre :

Oh boy . . . . We could have some interesting discussions then, as . . . . I used to have a 916 . . . it was one of the first motorcycles with a proper single sided swingarm; if my memory serves me correctly - very very, pretty and charismatic bike that one. But she got stacked on a track day, so that was that. :( Also, about 18 months ago I sold my 1098R . . . That was a beautiful machine and in my opinion more of a "pure" Ducati than even the latest Panigale is; that - in my opinion - has no low end torque and is (with it's fat torque band situated in the higher rev range) trying to be a 4 cylinder. The 1098 pulled out of the corners better than the Panigales that I have test ridden (read; flogged). That said, I like the Panigale for its overall engineering brilliance though. But since I have owned more than my fair share of Ducatis (and love them) I just know it's not user friendly (or reliable) enough for both the coin their asking, and also how I would treat it. This is just my opinion . . . but if you're looking for a bike to go like the wind and/or thrash, hail, rain, or sunshine; most Ducatis are not the way to go as they're too intricate/pedantic.

I know (some) Monsters can be an exception, and I touch on that later/below.

The thing with a powerful Jap bike is that they can handle abuse, are reliable, easy to fix, and they also hold a good tune. It's hard to beat that. Take my Busa for example . . . I have had that for ~ 10 years and had no issues at all with it all. It does what I say/want, never lets me down, is always fun, and whats more . . . it simply laughs at me every time I get the courage/skills to wring its neck and throttle another millimetre; which probably still leaves 1/3rd of the throttle that still - all these years - remains unexplored. By comparison . . . . Take a sports-bike Ducati out for a few weekend thrashes in a row and you come home to either spend the next week working on them and/or inspecting them to make sure they're not going to break next time out. When I bought my Busa I think I paid around $20K for it, and (roughly) at the time I had just stacked the above-mentioned 916. The 916 was pretty modified for track use, but despite the fact that (even after purchase costs) you could still easily spend $50K on the 916 making it faster . . . The reality was that - out of the box - the Busa (or a Gixxer) was not only faster in almost every respect (except for the Busa cornering) - but it was also more reliable. I then converted to using Gixxers for track bikes, and have never looked back. But the recipe still - to some extent - holds true even with the Busa. As despite it's age none of the current bikes (supercharged Kawasaki HR2, BMW 1000RR, Ducati Panigale, and the rest of fast litre {or bigger capacity} bikes . . included) get near it on the open roads and when it's (as they say) "hyper touring"; which is really what that is all about. So the summary is that . . With most of the Jap stuff, you just turn the key, go, and they laugh at your attempts to wring their neck; and I love that. And, when it's all said/done you just put them back in the garage, leave them there, and they're ready to do it again; no matter the frequency/thrashing you bestow upon them. I love that reliability, and to some extent discovered it the hard/expensive way; through decades of being solely a Ducati rider and thinking it would be sacrilege to walk the floor to another brand. These days I love any motorcycle that makes me smile. That said, despite my love of Jap bikes, I still have a passion for Ducatis and you would probably love my pride/joy; an immaculate 900 GTS - that I have had for around 30 years. This bike is special. I imported it from Italy and apparently (according to a letter I have from Ducati Bologna) there are none other like it in Australia, UK and Russia; due to the fact that it is not a 900 GTS that was originally made and/or complaint for Australia. The bike - like your Monster - is an air cooled L-twin, and it's just a lovely minimalist machine. Unlike yours though the 900 GTS has square cases, exposed bevel drives, and all the alloy is polished and not black; like most Monsters. It's also been totally rebuilt, and has everything (every nut/bolt) either renewed or upgraded; too many parts too mention. But just to give you an idea, it's bored/stroked out to 1093cc now (up from 860cc), and has a roller bearing and alloy swingarm that I had made up especially for it. Front end is all off a Darmah as well (retains the standard Marzocchi forks though); so it has bigger/better brakes. I also put my own electronic ignition on it and with it all did away with the crappy old stator based system the GTS's came out of the factory with; that just basically had a step-shape for advancing the timing at higher revs - rather than a neatly graduated slope. Years ago, I actually went to the (great) trouble of exporting the bike with me for a 11 month holiday to Europe, and the bike has been in a few magazines too. So, despite all the offers I have never sold her and don't intend to. It's been a love/hate relationship though, as whilst she has given me many great thrills, she has also let me down a few times when I least needed it too. Try finding a competent Ducati mechanic in Wales in winter !!!! Even aside from the fact that you need quite a lot of specialised and Ducati specific tools for these models; everything in those old Ducati motors is shimmed up and/or overcomplicated - so most bike mechanics don't really know how to work on them. Now to close this post . . . . . I really like the look and sound of the new monsters . . . you know the ones with the ~1200cc motor in them.

That said, one of my buddies whom works on Dukes for a living told me that the early breed of Ducati Monsters were one of the more reliable lines they made. What year is yours?
Storm. :) :)


-SuperLight :

Oh boy . . . . We could have some interesting discussions then, as . . . . I used to have a 916 . . . it was one of the first motorcycles with a proper single sided swingarm; if my memory serves me correctly - very very, pretty and charismatic bike that one. But she got stacked on a track day, so that was that. :( Also, about 18 months ago I sold my 1098R . . . That was a beautiful machine and in my opinion more of a "pure" Ducati than even the latest Panigale is; that - in my opinion - has no low end torque and is (with it's fat torque band situated in the higher rev range) trying to be a 4 cylinder. The 1098 pulled out of the corners better than the Panigales that I have test ridden (read; flogged). That said, I like the Panigale for its overall engineering brilliance though. But since I have owned more than my fair share of Ducatis (and love them) I just know it's not user friendly (or reliable) enough for both the coin their asking, and also how I would treat it. This is just my opinion . . . but if you're looking for a bike to go like the wind and/or thrash, hail, rain, or sunshine; most Ducatis are not the way to go as they're too intricate/pedantic.

I know (some) Monsters can be an exception, and I touch on that later/below.

The thing with a powerful Jap bike is that they can handle abuse, are reliable, easy to fix, and they also hold a good tune. It's hard to beat that. Take my Busa for example . . . I have had that for ~ 10 years and had no issues at all with it all. It does what I say/want, never lets me down, is always fun, and whats more . . . it simply laughs at me every time I get the courage/skills to wring its neck and throttle another millimetre; which probably still leaves 1/3rd of the throttle that still - all these years - remains unexplored. By comparison . . . . Take a sports-bike Ducati out for a few weekend thrashes in a row and you come home to either spend the next week working on them and/or inspecting them to make sure they're not going to break next time out. When I bought my Busa I think I paid around $20K for it, and (roughly) at the time I had just stacked the above-mentioned 916. The 916 was pretty modified for track use, but despite the fact that (even after purchase costs) you could still easily spend $50K on the 916 making it faster . . . The reality was that - out of the box - the Busa (or a Gixxer) was not only faster in almost every respect (except for the Busa cornering) - but it was also more reliable. I then converted to using Gixxers for track bikes, and have never looked back. But the recipe still - to some extent - holds true even with the Busa. As despite it's age none of the current bikes (supercharged Kawasaki HR2, BMW 1000RR, Ducati Panigale, and the rest of fast litre {or bigger capacity} bikes . . included) get near it on the open roads and when it's (as they say) "hyper touring"; which is really what that is all about. So the summary is that . . With most of the Jap stuff, you just turn the key, go, and they laugh at your attempts to wring their neck; and I love that. And, when it's all said/done you just put them back in the garage, leave them there, and they're ready to do it again; no matter the frequency/thrashing you bestow upon them. I love that reliability, and to some extent discovered it the hard/expensive way; through decades of being solely a Ducati rider and thinking it would be sacrilege to walk the floor to another brand. These days I love any motorcycle that makes me smile. That said, despite my love of Jap bikes, I still have a passion for Ducatis and you would probably love my pride/joy; an immaculate 900 GTS - that I have had for around 30 years. This bike is special. I imported it from Italy and apparently (according to a letter I have from Ducati Bologna) there are none other like it in Australia, UK and Russia; due to the fact that it is not a 900 GTS that was originally made and/or complaint for Australia. The bike - like your Monster - is an air cooled L-twin, and it's just a lovely minimalist machine. Unlike yours though the 900 GTS has square cases, exposed bevel drives, and all the alloy is polished and not black; like most Monsters. It's also been totally rebuilt, and has everything (every nut/bolt) either renewed or upgraded; too many parts too mention. But just to give you an idea, it's bored/stroked out to 1093cc now (up from 860cc), and has a roller bearing and alloy swingarm that I had made up especially for it. Front end is all off a Darmah as well (retains the standard Marzocchi forks though); so it has bigger/better brakes. I also put my own electronic ignition on it and with it all did away with the crappy old stator based system the GTS's came out of the factory with; that just basically had a step-shape for advancing the timing at higher revs - rather than a neatly graduated slope. Years ago, I actually went to the (great) trouble of exporting the bike with me for a 11 month holiday to Europe, and the bike has been in a few magazines too. So, despite all the offers I have never sold her and don't intend to. It's been a love/hate relationship though, as whilst she has given me many great thrills, she has also let me down a few times when I least needed it too. Try finding a competent Ducati mechanic in Wales in winter !!!! Even aside from the fact that you need quite a lot of specialised and Ducati specific tools for these models; everything in those old Ducati motors is shimmed up and/or overcomplicated - so most bike mechanics don't really know how to work on them. Now to close this post . . . . . I really like the look and sound of the new monsters . . . you know the ones with the ~1200cc motor in them.

That said, one of my buddies whom works on Dukes for a living told me that the early breed of Ducati Monsters were one of the more reliable lines they made. What year is yours?
Storm. :) :)
Sounds like you've had some good times all around. Mine's a 2007 S2R from Japan - think they only made them for 2 years or so. Relatively expensive to maintain but much cheaper than the human kind of mistress, I'll wager thee.



I know what you mean about Japanese machines. There have been numerous Toyotas and Hondas (2 and 4-wheel) throughout my family, most of which seldom skip a beat, and are usually relatively easy and/or cheap to repair when something goes wrong.


-stormcentre :

Yep, good times. As to your gear . . . . Good stuff. Nice bike. I know a few guys that swear by their Monster Ducatis. You know Monsters were pretty much birthed from the Pantah range of Ducatis, and they had a pretty strong following. Agree; hard to go wrong with Toyota and Honda. I haven't heard too many people complain about either's reliability. Honda sports motorcycles are arguably the best handling bike out there without all the electronic aids, and there's no need to talk abut their R&D and racing pedigree . . . Just look at what they do in MotoGP. Yamaha and Honda own that series. :) :)


-SuperLight :

Storm, the GTS has one of the best-looking engines ever. I'm pretty set on Walt Siegl's Leggero but who knows? Maybe if $ allow and I can't live without the bevel, I could swing that way one day. I just went out on a service call and gave the moto a sensible but fun little workout. Best of all, my little girl heard me coming home, opened the door and proceeded to name all the major parts and ask for a sit on. I'm a lucky man! BTW, there was a cool take on a Pantah by JvB-Moto.


-stormcentre :

SL . . .. you probably won't believe this either . . . But my child (at about 4 - 6 years old) used to come into the gym/shed, after I came home from a ride too, and proceed to run through all the major/visible parts . . . ""motor"", ""exhaust"", ""mirror"", ""front forks"", ""brakes"" . . etc As a means of showing me that she's in on the motorcycle scene too. It's pretty cute. At one stage she became pretty good at it too; being able to name and point out the more hidden and complex parts - like ""master cylinders"", ""brake lines"", and ""callipers"". Finally, on those old bevel drive motors looking sexy. You're right. Especially when they're all bead blasted, clean and shiny. They're probably one of the best looking motors around. That said . . . They're pigs to pull apart and work on though. For instance; the entire cranks/sump is vertically (yes; not horizontally - like most Jap, Euro, and Italian engines) split into 2 pieces. This means you need to always take them to a workshop that has a specialist crankcase separating tool; that not all workshops have - unless they specialise in Ducatis. Goes to what I said about . . . . . "

Try finding a competent Ducati mechanic in Wales in winter !!!! Even aside from the fact that you need quite a lot of specialised and Ducati specific tools for these models; everything in those old Ducati motors is shimmed up and/or overcomplicated - so most bike mechanics don't really know how to work on them.

" In my above post #13. My 900GTS looks a bit like this one . . .
->http://cdn.silodrome.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/20R9829-copy.jpg Except it's black, has no side covers, much shorter pipes, better brakes, and a few more goodies. To me - done correctly - the 900GTS is a nicer, and more traditionally tough, looking bike than the more popular collector's classic of the same era; 900SS. Classic Euro-German lines from an Italian icon. Cheers, Storm. :) :) :)


-SuperLight :

Storm, I've seen that very bike on Silodrome and wondered whether yours was something like it. What was that about great minds? ;) It looks like it necessitates what I consider the typical Ducati/Agusta riding position, with hands quite a way forward. Such a position is no good to me in traffic. Likewise chrome and aluminium tend to get rusty or spotty very easily in HK, so something with a lot of stainless or polymer bits is easier to keep tidy. In fact, my moto cries out if I miss a weekend or two of detailing. So if the above were not considerations, and $ allowed, then I'd have a GTS os SS no worries. If I was going modern and water cooled, then it probably would've been a Brutale. Finally, I certainly believe you about your daughter. Our girl is not yet 3 years old, and knows as many components as I can name for her, and knows not to touch the exhaust, clutch, brakes or engine after I've been riding =) Seems like it's just us on this topic. I wonder who else here rides.


-stormcentre :

There you go.

At least more than a decade and half ago, and before she had her frame and tank painted black and was adorned with a few other above-mentioned rebuild/restoration-related changes . . . . Please meet . . . . .
Storm's 900GTS, in the UK. In it's day this Ducati walked down Suzuki 1100 Katanas and Suzuki GSX1000's, and - if my memory serves me correctly - those Jap bikes were commonly accepted as being (some of, if not) the fastest motorcycles out there. Today, I still love her - especially in black and now she's even more modified and restored - but, when I take her out, I do often laugh at how she was ever considered fast. Today's motorcycles have really come a long way in those stakes. As, most of the newer litre or larger bore bikes that I now have, would - whilst, if not the 1st two, then just in their first 3 gears - easily eat her up.
Storm. :) :)