Thursday, 14 July 2011

Night Moves

Maybe I spent to much time as a kid lying in the dark listening to stuff like Bob Seger's Night Moves but I love finding bike's tucked down dark alleyways. It's like finding a hidden gun or stash of drugs: what's it doing there? You just know the owner wouldn't take kindly to finding your loitering, so you move on. Who'd ride a sports bike to a night-time liaison that's held in a seedy backstreet? This 999 appeared at about 10pm and was gone just after midnight, parked barely 25m from a floodlit carpark. Not locked, but in the shadier parts of Italy you'd better be sure of your criminal connections before stealing it.

At least the 999 has an OK headlight, at least compared to the 916 series. Years ago, riding my 916 back from Bristol it started to get dark, and I actually stopped to check the headlights were working. By the time I got a 999 I was ready to ride with a torch between my teeth...

The 999 was a shock after the 916 series, and felt more like a fast ST4 than a 998. With the comfort seat and screen it was a real ground-coverer regardless of traffic or the road. Pity it was slower than a 998S. And it became the machine that turned me off modern bikes - where the 998 still had Dzus fasteners and natty brackets the 999 was more like a washing machine under the skin; zillions of little screws, and obviously intended to be cheaper to built than the 916 series. Maybe that's the way of the world, and it can be admirable - I love the way my Fiat 500 has a tensioned "carpet" that rests on the spare wheel to form the boot floor: simple, lightweight and clever enough to let them sell a brand new car at £8000. But when I buy something special - like a sportsbike - I want it to feel special. Like Bianchi bicycles, with their clickety-click alloy gear shifters and hidden cable runs. So when I look at an 848 Evo with those self-tapping screws holding one bit of plastic to another, or the Diavel's exhaust trying to look like there's two silencers rather than a single pressing I shudder. Too reminiscent of the final MV Agusta 750 America's abominations, for a start

1 comment:

  1. Non the less the 999 won the biggest % of World Superbike races entered of any bike. I still love it's styling, but I'm a Pierre Terblanche fan. Love the Hypermotard and the orignal Multistrada too. Must say that the older Superbikes just ooze passion, whilst the Terblanche bikes are more edgy in my opinion.