That’s me in October 2004, flogging my trusty BMW R1100RS along Hwy 341 in North Central Arkansas. That area of the Ozarks has the best riding roads in the south central U.S., and I sneak off up there for a couple of days now and then to spend some time with just “me, the mountains and God” and clear out the cobwebs.
This picture was taken the day before the RS died on one of those roads. Unposted curve, off-camber, decreasing-radius, strewn gravel (the perfect storm). I threw ‘er in till the engine head was dragging. Made it thru the 90-degree curve… but it wasn’t a 90-degree curve. It came back around for a total of about 160 degrees. The RS and I slammed into the side of a mountain and bounced along the rocks for a couple hundred feet. Left me laid up for some time, and my old friend totaled.
Luckily, I already had what I knew was the most all-around perfect motorcycle I’ve owned in 20 years of riding: a screamin’-chicken yellow 2000 Honda VFR800FI. I still have the VFR, and have made a number of getaways up to the mountains on it:
I’ve also done the Ozarks and Rockies on a Honda ST1100, a Super Blackbird and a Yamaha FJR1300 over the years. I’ve ridden motorcycles that were faster on long straights, softer over the bumps, or stiffer in the curves, but never anything that could do it all as well as this one. I can scream in the twisties and still cover 800 miles of 2-lane roads in a day. The VFR loves it. So, I don’t plan to ever part with ‘er, but I may be adding a new bike next year. I’d rather a V4-based machine (the V4’s personality is unbeatable), and really had my hopes up for the ST1300 back when it came out, but Honda has it bit fat and a little underpowered for my tastes. So, no new V4 in sight. But the new Kawasaki Concours 14 has me salivating.
If it turns out to be like an FJR1300 with less Yamaha (transmission, suspension), more engine and a shorter wheelbase, I won’t be able to resist.
Did I mention stocks are just one of my passions??