Three weeks and over 500 miles into this union…
It’s too small and narrow for me, who’s too tall for it. I thought that the first time I laid eyes on such a diminutive bike, that it looks like it should be riding me, which is probably how we look now in the last three weeks I’ve been riding it almost daily.
And I’m a sport rider at heart – always and forever interested in sportbikes more than I have been and will be interested in any other kinds of motorcycling. It’s just my nature to want the most performance-oriented motorcycles with performance-oriented aesthetics even if I have to suffer the too-performance-oriented ergonomics now and into my older years.
Sure the NT650’s twin-spar aluminum frame is the standard for motorcycle chassis in today’s sport machines, and its single-sided swingarm is sported predominantly by bikes from the likes of Ducati, MV Agusta, BMW – all high-end motorcycle manufacturers. But this motorcycle is anything but sporty or high-end, and doesn’t even look it. If it wasn’t for the said frame and swingarm, the rest of the bike simply hearkens back to the motorcycles of yesteryears – a powerplant, chassis, two wheels, a seat, a fuel tank, handlebars, and a single, round headlight.
But it just so happens, I do like the iconic silhouette of a motorcycle from the olden days. And it just so happens that though its 650cc V-twin powerplant churns out a steady drive without urgency – unlike the visceral and progressive rush of my R1 – the bike is nimble like a sport rider’s dream. It’s as if it’s guise is meant to hide it’s capabilities – or is it? Because as I’ve pointed out numerous times, it’s chassis does hearken forward to the sport machines of now.
I am trying, I really am. Trying to make sense for myself if not for anyone else exactly of what this bike ought to be. But in all honesty, it doesn’t know what it means to be and so you don’t really know what to make of it, and yet somehow when the two of you get going, it’s like there’s no question whatsoever after all.
It just works, and you just click, and there is nothing but confidence in any ride you embark on and you just feel like you can keep going along for the ride. And day in and day out – it just doesn’t disappoint. I haven’t even taken it to any kind of a winding road yet, with the first five hundred miles I’ve put on it so far having been mainly from my commute to work and back – the kind of monotonous ride that can get old on a motorcycle. But it hasn’t, and it doesn’t matter that I’ve just spent a whole day on a race track on my R1; I’m already thinking about the ride to work the next morning on the NT650.
There’s a look of disbelief in how I gaze lovingly at this bike.
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised I am hitting it off so well with something that looks like I shouldn’t. It isn’t the first time it’s happened to me. Just ask my wife, whose 5-foot frame is merely the start of the laundry list of differences she and I have. Yet somehow we work together, leaving those we know scratching their heads as to how we even got together to begin with.
But I’m not complaining.
I knew at first try that I’m in this for the long ride.