Friday, 10 July 2009

A matter of trust

Danny over at A Blog About recently posted about Trust Issues. He’d been having electrical problems with his Suzuki Savage that have  left him stranded on at least one occasion, and was lamenting that he was losing (had lost?) trust in his ride.
That post got me thinking about trust and motorcycles.
Trust is a very tenuous thing. When we buy a ‘new’ motorcycle (even used, it’s ‘new’ to us) we start with a high degree of trust, otherwise we wouldn’t part with our hard-earned dollars. We simply assume it will start when we want it to, and take us where we need to go without drama. And we continue to trust it until it lets us down. Now there’s usually a freebie in there and we’ll forgive the first time. But if it happens a second time, your faith and confidence is seriously fractured. Even after making repairs and countless subsequent event-free rides you will always remember the time your bike let you down.
That's not to say you should rush right out and buy a new one (although who among us wouldn't love to be able to do that), just that your relationship has now changed.
Norton roadsideOn the other hand, I once had a bike that I could absolutely trust to let me down in the middle of nowhere. It became part of the adventure and I always had a wide selection of bolts, fuses, clamps, duct tape, mechanic’s wire and assorted tools for the inevitable roadside repairs that would be needed to get me home. In spite of (or because of?) my ride’s reputation I still managed to find a fair number of riding partners, although perhaps it was just that I offered more entertainment than a simple ride in the country. And while I did hear of the odd bet being placed on which part would fall off first, and how far from home we’d be when it happened, no one would ever admit to profiting from my misfortunes.


  1. Well the Savage has managed a few days in a row without further incident. I have however added a few tools and spare bits to my saddle bags. I guess you get what you pay for and the Savage was free to start with. My wife points out that I have brought the bike a long way. It used to take a lot of patience to even get it started. A ritual had to be followed and usually involved the sacrifice of something (Usually self respect). Now she starts right up and runs a lot better than she used to. (not counting the battery issues this year). It sure has been an adventure and quite the learning experience. I want a new one but there is enough of my blood, sweat and tears in this one I doubt I could ever let her go.

  2. Starting from free is pretty hard to beat!
    And you're right - at some point you have so much invested it becomes very personal.
    Anyway, enjoy the drama-free riding as long as it lasts.

  3. Once upon a time, bikes were mechanically straightforward and the toolkit that came with the bike was all you needed...

    I envy those who have the wrenching chops to repair their bike with confidence should they find themselves on the side of the road.

    Now, with liquid cooling, CANBUS, fuel injection, ABS, yadda bing, fancy technology...

    I know if my SV fails, it's gonna fail me hard.

  4. it is interesting the personalities that each bike has and the reputations that develop. each bike's unique. it can be such a labor of love, really...

  5. Stacy, you're right there! I think that's one of the reasons I always liked the old bikes. Carburetors, points, coils - with some wire and tin foil from a cigarette pack (back when everyone smoked) you could always get home. Not today. But then again, reliability is about 100 times better today. It's a wash I expect.

    Ms. M, yes it can become a labour of love. Perhaps that's why customizing has become such a big deal - especially in the cruiser arena - because the mere mortals among us are pretty limited in what we can do in this day and age with all the high tech and electronics that are now part of every bike.

  6. Great observations here Canajun. During my first true commute to work this summer, my bike starting hesitating and sputtering (on the freeway no less). I attributed this to bad gas gumming the carbs, applied Seafoam, and the problem has not happened since. It still weighs on my mind, however, particularly when I go out on a long ride, i.e., "will it happen again?"

  7. Lance, it's very true. Trust is kind of a Humpty Dumpty thing - once broken it's very hard to put back together again. At the very least, there will be lots of seams.

  8. Humpty dumpty sat on a wall.... but you are right...It does become a very personal thing regardless of how much money yo got invested in's the personal time in a relationship sorta thing...

  9. Baron, not a lot of difference when it comes to passions, whether motorcycling or relationships. We invest a lot in them and hate to be disappointed.


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