After riding my middleweight sport standard bike(Kawasaki Ninja 650R) for a year and several thousand miles, I decided it was time to start looking for my target bike. When I decided to get my motorcycle license, I went to the NY International Motorcycle Show to get a feel for what's out there.
With the abundance of Japanese bikes on the road, I wanted something different. I shied away from Ducati as they are considered the exotics and generally expensive to buy and own. As a result, I was drawn to the 2011-2012 Triumph Daytona 675. More specifically the R model with pearl white/black paint, with red subframe and full Ohlins suspension. The British bike had a different feel and sound compared to the sea of Japanese supersports normally found on the road. The 675cc inline three cylinder engine has a very unique and addictive sound. Its a symphony incorporating the smoothness of a Japanese inline 4 and the deep tone of a twin cylinder with an intake whistling that sounds like a jet turbine engine. I was hooked.
When it came time to find a used Daytona, I had trouble locating a reasonable priced example. Andres happened to stumble on a Craigslist ad for a 9k mile 2008 Ducati 1098 Superbike well within my price range and only 50 miles away. Although I was in the market for a middleweight 600cc supersport, I was cautiously excited to check out the big 1098cc superbike.
I admit I was sold as soon as I saw it. If you haven't been around a Ducati Superbike before, I promise the oozing presence of the bike will stay with you forever. The beautiful curves, Ducati red, ginormous twin undertail exhaust that twists around under the seat, and single sided swingarm add up to arguably one of the most visually appealing bikes ever made. Add in the rattle of the exposed dry clutch and the unique roaring exhaust note that reverberates through your body and its an unforgettable experience. This was purely a purchase of passion and I just got lucky it turned out well.
On to the questionably low price. The bike wasn't perfect but I saw the potential. Mechanically the bike was fine. The bike sat for a year which was fine because I planned to do a oil, coolant, and timing belt change immediately. Unfortunately, the bike had a salvage title. Apparently some kids went on a rampage in the seller's town and vandalized vehicles and property. Sadly, they keyed the nose, left side fairing, tail on both sides and top & sides of the fuel tank. Due to the cost to repair the damage and a nick(not through he primer) on the left side of the frame, the bike was deemed totaled. I confirmed with my insurance that the would insure it and it was valued at more than the selling price even with a rebuilt title. We had a deal and she was coming home.
Planting the Seeds of Speed
I guess it all started with my obsession to become a fighter pilot growing up. My father worked at Northrop Grumman(just Grumman at the time) so I had a healthy exposure to military aircraft. Being a naturally curious person, I would study photos, cross sections, and specs of various aircraft to figure out how each component worked together to make an effective and efficient machine. Mind you, I started this obsession in elementary school where most kids my age were playing video games. I learned the basics of flight controls in fixed wing and rotary aircraft and even aerodymic heories such as bernoullis principle which makes flight possible. The dream of flying, breaking the sound barrier and pulling high g turns was burned into my brain.
Then came the crushing news in 2nd grade that I needed to wear glasses. Laser eye surgery did not exist at the time and I knew my eye sight would never be good enough for the military, where most pilots have better than 20/20 vision. The dream was crushed but remnants always remained. This only further fueled my obsession of figuring out the way things work. I went on to study more aircraft, spacecraft, cars, boats, motorcycles, guns, and even construction vehicles.
Beauty in the Details
There is a beauty in every machine. This beauty may not be visible from the outside but in the way parts/components are designed and created to interact with each other in a complex but perfectly timed series of events. A good example of this a car's internal combustion engine where the basic operations of suck, squeeze, bang, & blow turn air and fuel into motion. Of course that is a simplified and not very glorious description. The beauty is in the details of how precisely machined valves open and close, spark plugs fire, and injectors/carburetors distribute the right amount of fuel all at precise moments to turn chemistry into motion.
Many of you know me for my obsession with tinkering. I've have been a tinkerer as far back as I can remember. I think started when I was about 2 years old when my parents caught me on camera taking apart a remote controlled car and attempting to put it back together. Additionally, at a young age my father would have me help him with house maintenance/upgrades(construction, plumbing, electrical) and car maintenance. I would reluctantly sit there watching and handing him tools while jealous that my older brother was playing. Little did I know, I was learning valuable and rare life skills/knowledge for the future.