The kid and the motorcycle

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As a kid, I always wanted a horse. But my grandfather didn’t have a horse, he had a Mobra 50, a Romanian moped made in Brasov that was quite popular in the 80s. It was big and heavy and noisy and it constantly required maintenance. It was amazing.

My second oldest motorcycle related memories are from the motocross track that I used to visit with my old man in Zarnesti, near Brasov. Those guys were supernatural beings.

The third time I can count something motorcycle related is back in 2009 when I signed up for a driving school and I joined the motorcycle school “just in case”. But I didn’t really think about getting a bike. I was discovering offroading and I liked the brief encounters with dualsport bikes on my tracks but I was really happy with my Samurai.

And then, in 2013, my brother from another mother, Cristi, took me for a ride on his Yamaha XTZ 750 Super Ténéré. I told him I got my moto driving license and he trusted me to ride (and drop) his bike a few times. I was hooked.

At that time my Suzuki Samurai was in a service for major repairs. So getting a motorcycle as my next toy was not a bad idea.

You don’t find your motorcycle, the motorcycle finds you.

That’s what everybody said. But I didn’t get it at the time so I started analysing. The search for the best motorcycle in the world just started. Here’s the list I made at the time.

Dream Bike
Enduro Adventure Touring

BMW F650GS Dakar
Seat height: 34.3 in (871 mm)
Honda XL600V Transalp
Dual cylinder
Kawasaki KLR 600
Single cylinder
Kawasaki KLR 650
“A very capable dual-purpose bike that is efficient on the street and holds its own off-road.”
Single cylinder
Kawasaki KLE500
Dual cylinder
Suzuki DR 800 S Big
Single cylinder

Suzuki DR 650 RS
Single cylinder
Suzuki DR650SE
“A smooth-running dual-sport bike with good road manners and surprising off-road capability.”
No tachometer. Single cylinder.
Seat Height: 34.8 in (885 mm)
Suzuki DR200SE
“A great beginner dual-sport bike with a low price and good fuel efficiency.”
Honda XR650L
“A large-displacement dual-purpose bike with a history of performance and reliability.”
YAMAHA XTZ 660 Tenere
Yamaha XTZ 750 Super Ténéré
Dual cylinder
Seat height 34.3 inch (871 mm)

I was looking for a motorcycle to replace my under-heavy-repairs Suzuki Samurai so a dual sport bike was the obvious choice.

First I thought my bike will be a Honda Transalp. It made sense .. dual cylinder, large tank and quite a decent trail bike. I actually found one that looked really good and I was planning the trip to Cluj-Napoca when I found the owner just sold it the day before. And then I thought what am I supposed to do with such a heavy bike after all?

My second choice was the BMW F650 Dakar. A friend was selling his Dakar and he let me ride it, but even if the bike was really nice I simply didn’t feel that the Dakar was it.

After the Dakar I started checking the Yamaha XTZ660 Tenere, inspired by Cristi’s 750 Super Tenere. I even took a trip to Essen to see a Tenere for sale for a good price. But again, it wasn’t the one. Can’t explain why.

And then I just took a break from searching.
Enough of this, maybe it’s not really meant for me. It was September 2014 and the summer was over already.

And then it happened.

One day I just saw this online ad with a white Suzuki DR650SE. It was an old ad that I kept ignoring simply because the photo the owner posted looked too good to be true. And the ad was quite a few months old. Seemed fishy but I still called this time. And the bike was still available.

The second day me and Cristi were on a road-trip to Galati, where we found an almost brand new Suzuki DR650SE 1997. It  was kept in a showroom in Italy for the last 17 years. It was probably waiting for me 🙂

Against Cristi’s advice, I wanted to ride my bike home, so my first real ride on a motorcycle was the 300 Km Galati to Brasov trip. I was slow and I hardly knew how to turn so the Oituz Pass by night was quite a challenge.

It was an amazing first ride and the look on my old man’s face when the next day I’m riding my motorcycle in his back yard was just priceless.

What followed was an incredible autumn when I spent almost every day learning how to ride my motorcycle and mostly learning about myself. But about that autumn in the next story…

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