I love my Bonneville.
Evie – yeah, I named her Evie – is the first motorcycle I’ve ever owned. She’s good to look at and a blast to ride. I don’t see myself getting rid of her any time soon…
All that being said, when I decided to tag along with Alex – to pick up his new ride – I couldn’t help but “eye” a few of other bikes at Triumph Manassas. Realizing that my 6’6″ frame makes me look like a circus bear on my Black Bonnie, I have often pondered what might be a bigger alternative. Alex’s choice of a Tiger XC (story to come) had me thinking of a Tiger – and a quick sit on an Explorer on the showroom floor at Chesapeake Cycle a few weeks ago only fed that idea.
While Alex was filling out the paperwork for his new toy, Ken tossed me the keys to a beautifully painted Special Edition Red framed Tiger XC. I took it for a spin around the parking lot and felt more cramped than on my Bonneville. Realizing they had set it up for a normal human being – and not a tall fellow like myself – we adjusted the seat to its highest setting. This made a huge difference and a much more comfortable ride, but something didn’t feel just right.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the XC, but it didn’t blow me away. It didn’t feel a whole lot bigger than my Bonneville and didn’t give me the same rush.
I was a little bummed. It looks like this was not going to be the next “big” bike for me.
But then Ken Davis, the owner, pointed me over to his personal Tiger Explorer.
“Here, try this one…”
I’m always leery about trying other people’s bikes. The last thing I wanted to do here was drop the dealership owner’s personal bike. But after the keys were put in it and she started up with that “triple” purr, I had no choice but to take her for a run.
This was a totally different experience. It was the right height, it felt good, and it had great grunt from its 1215cc engine. A quick ride down the road and back and I was hooked. It may not be as classic and nostalgic as the Bonneville, but I could see running cross-country on this bike with no problem. And I kinda wanted to start that journey today.
The Johnson house rule is only one bike at a time, so it will require a lot of soul-searching to decide if I should take the plunge and change bikes. But after a brief dip of my foot in the Tiger Explorer pool, I think I know the body of water I’m interested in next.
Thanks to Alex and Jan for letting me tag along on the pick-up run and to all the folks at Triumph Manassas for letting me try a few beautiful bikes.test-ride, Tiger Explorer, Tiger XC, Triumph Manassas