These days, my R1 sits just as a shadow of its former self.
I’m not going to lie.
Quitting anything cold turkey is hard, and it has been quite the internal struggle for me to relegate my R1 to a full-time trackbike, straight from being a daily workhorse for the last half-decade or so.
There are over 60,000 miles on the odometer of this bike when I took it off street-riding, at least 50,000 of which I racked up myself (I bought the bike in September 2008 with 12,000 miles). That’s an average of over 9,000 miles per year since taking ownership, from more-or-less year-round riding in all four of California’s seasons, to and from work, with practically every weekend of recreational riding, and a few thousand miles around a number of racetracks.
Circa 2008 – first photo I took of the bike.
That’s a lot of time spent on the bike, with a lot of adventures I’ve racked up in all the miles. The bike has seen so many changes and incarnations, always the subject of whatever idea would pop up in my head, whether from the desire to always improve something(s), or to serve a purpose far greater than myself and this passion of mine.
Circa 2009 – while I only meant to change the worn chain and sprockets then, I threw in the Marchesini wheels, and had the OEM swingarm welded Superbike-style. This was the start of the bike’s constant state of change.
Circa 2010 – what became of an idea to put my passion towards a greater cause…
…and on the track.
Even with all the mishaps and accidents that the bike and I would have, I was for the most part lucky to have been allowed a medium in which to indulge a selfish passion, and do selfless good for anyone other than myself. Not everyone can be so blessed to say the same about that which they passionately pursue.
So to go from being inseparable with my R1, to it only racking track miles now or otherwise sitting in my garage?
It’s been a hard transition, especially in the first few weeks, exacerbated by the fact that the bike is right there, sitting where I can see it on a day-to-day basis. I could ride it, and I certainly didn’t have to remove all the lights and mirrors that otherwise keeps it street-legal, but having done it the way I have I feel really helped me in staying true to my decision. It’s because I can’t just ride it whenever I want is what keeps me from falling off my self-imposed wagon.
Circa 2013 – the zenith of my vision for the bike as my personal “superbike,” and how it had been up until I turned the page to the latest chapter.
But there is a flip-side to my self-inflicted torment.
The trackdays that I regularly do, albeit in a monthly frequency on average, have made me appreciate the few times that I finally get on the R1 and ride it – a different kind of appreciation that I had when I previously rode it more frequently. Absence after all, really does make the heart grow fonder, and I believe that if my R1 was not just an inanimate object, it would express its appreciation in being used solely for the purpose it was made – to be pushed uninhibitedly in an environment that allows it, exclusively.
There was always that feeling of overkill using this bike like I did commuting to work, and even sport-riding in the street. It was akin to using a supercar to do the same. Obviously, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that if one could, but it nonetheless screamed excess.
And so that’s what’s been helping me feel easier by the day about what I’ve done to my R1 now. I’m slowly letting go of my hang-up that I’m doing this bike a disservice by not riding it as frequently as I did, and instead I am becoming more at peace that I am now only using it not just for what I’ve built it up to, but for the purposes it was made for to begin with.
Though the bike gets very little use now relative to how it used to be, my enjoyment in each time cannot be quantified. And though it doesn’t look anything like how it used to for the past half-decade, it simply looks exactly like it needs to.
Just a motorcycle, or an adrenaline-filled syringe to shoot straight into your heart?