A single bike in the garage isn't enough for some of us. But think beyond the winter hack, the 'shed' and the humdrum commuter
Do you have more than one bike in your garage? Tell us about them below...
There is of course no definition of a second bike. It is merely a statement of fact; a second bike is just that, a second bike. Implicit, though, is that there's a first bike too. Only you have to ask: which is the first and which is the second? How can you qualify it? Truth is you can't. But the owner can. Only he can say, "this is my first bike, this my second."
And only the owner can explain the basis of his ranking. Yet in compiling this feature one thing we have consistently found is that to be identified as a second bike is not to infer secondary importance or inferiority. Far from it. In fact from our interviews we found the contrary to be the reality. Second bikes attract all manner of responses from the spectrum of emotional attachment, from being objects of desire through to being lifestyle choices or statements. And on more than one occasion we found the second bike brings with it friendships or attachments. More than just being a mere motorcycle, an object, the second bikes were typically catalysts to activities or relationships that would help define their owners.
Not all second bikes start life as second bikes, of course. Mike Jones's 1975 CB750 was once his first bike. Bought when he was 19, the CB then nine years old, it would for a decade be his first bike. Having started his biking life with an RD250 the CB750 seemed a huge bike at the time, "a monster", but with the passing years it appears to have shrunk somewhat, as Jones admitted. His current first bike, a CB1300, stands far taller, weighs much heavier. Currently the CB750 is off the road, as it has been for three or four years now.
"Nothing's going to happen to it in the near future either, until I get a house with a garage," says Jones, the CB750 currently residing in his dad's shed alongside the mower and barbeque.
"But I love the old thing, I'll never sell it. And I'd like to restore it given half the chance. I've replaced the rims with ally ones and laced them up with stainless spokes, and done little bits as the need has come along. I'd love to get a set of original pipes for it as well, but the cost is prohibitive. I'd like it to look original, it's such an iconic bike."
It was also, before being his, his mate's late father's bike, and so the attachment with it is shared by more than the one household. Jones spoke of the two mates maybe one day sitting down with the CB and restoring it to its former glory.
Nick Manning's attachment to his Yamaha R1 track bike is also shared. In fact the bike was first bought by his good mate Daniel Barge, who recalls a slightly fraught run last winter up to Scotch Corner to meet a Scots vendor in a lay-by, whereupon a deal was done for the 1998 sports bike turned track hack.
"It was an eBay find, although I didn't bid. I just called the man, arranged a price, doing a deal for cash," says Barge. "And I wanted it to have a V5 as well, for the occasional road ride."
Manning, Barge and another mate had previously discussed the idea of sharing a track bike, only there could be no agreement as to what they should buy aside from it being a litre bike - as that's what the group were all riding on the road. So Barge took the initiative, laid down his own money and then offered the thirds shares to his mates. Nick and another mate took him up, £750 apiece had the trio a slice of serious track action.
Having been track riding on their immaculate Suzuki GSX-R1000 and Benelli Tornado, Barge and Manning, respectively, found the R1 took their track enjoyment to a new level.
"We've got the spares, clip-ons, levers, fairing panels, and it's fairly heavily crash-mushroomed up, so it can take a slide up the track without too much drama. Whereas before we always rode with crash concerns in mind, now we're enjoying the riding more.
"And the bike's set up for the track as well. It really is so much better than our road bikes on track - although it's too lively on the road. The funny thing is it's pretty standard. But it has got Öhlins fork springs and a race shock and we buy second-hand race tyres for it. It's surprising the difference that makes."
Continue the Second Bike Options 2/2
I do have a second bike - err well, scooter counts? , too. My main ride a younger half liter Hornet. I bought the scooter a while after having it. I don't think through when I did so. I phoned the dealer, and make the deal on the phone, without even seeing that little 125cc.
It turns out that, the second did an helluva good job to me. I commute it, I've done my shopping with it. We even ride it to 10hrs road and back with 2-up and with a luggage!
Today, I'm dreaming of a new ride as I've always done. But to replace the first beast, not to replace the second! So looks like I'm gonna save it to the end. I love it!
Posted: 02/12/2010 at 07:37
i dont think i have a second bike ... more like 2 bikes
i have a 1992 fireblade which has been a an ongoing project for the last 6 years
and i also bought a 96 tdm 850 last september which im doing a nut and bolt rebuild on which is due to finished in the next few months
just lately ive had a hankering for something like a cb750 with bang up to date wheels suspension and brakes
ive been eyeing up YPVS 350's for a while to do something similar on
Posted: 11/03/2011 at 19:41
I have a 1997 1200 Bandit as a second bike. I use it to commute and as a stand-in if my Aprilia Tuono is having a bad hair day.
The bandit used to be my first bike but I couldn't bring myself to sell it when I bought something more modern. OK its ugly and heavy but its got a rogue-ish charm which is rare for jap bikes generally. I have also improved it over the years with new fork springs, shock, brakes. As well as a home tune which took hours of internet research and satisfying shed time. Its also the bike I did my first proper hairy-chested wheelie on so its secured a place in the shed for life. The MK1s seem to be acquiring 'classic' status now as well so keeping it is even more justified.
Posted: 14/03/2011 at 15:07
Unlike cars, many bikes tend to be designed with a very focused purpose (well, apart from all-rounders!), meaning it's rare that one bike will suit every application.
My no.1 bike is a Ducati 749, owned from new in '05. It provides a very special riding experience, eats up distance with ease, and does the occasional trackday, but could hardly be described as practical for daily duty, and especially not for tackling city traffic where I live.
Hence my no.2 bike - a Honda FMX650 - which may lack the competition edge to back up its supermoto styling but (as I said in an owner review elsewhere on this site) is otherwise a genuinely brilliant urban tool.
It's costly sustaining two bikes, but each of them fulfils such entirely different purposes, and so effectively, that I wouldn't want to be without either of them.
Posted: 16/03/2011 at 12:08
I've a cbr6 (f2) as my no1 bike, I'm not very attached to it, it works it 's smooth fuss free and comfortable for pretty much everything also painfully reliable.
no2 bike is not even a bike it's a moped, gilera runner 180, unreliable, horrendous drink problem, gets (alot) longer when you brake and quite literally has a hinge in the middle. and it looks just like a 50, massive fun never ever ever selling it. ever. At the moment its in bits coz I've blown it up again (oil pump fell off, which stopped the water pump. Oil pump still worked tho!) Good excuse to make it go faster
I have a busa too, but that's just a faster boring. kids will be impressed tho.
Posted: 04/05/2011 at 12:45
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