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bmw k1200

It's glandular, Luv

(Travels with Guido series #206, by Guy ‘Guido’ Allen, July 2021)

You can justify, reason and spreadsheet your motorcycle choices until you’re blue in the face. Ultimately, it comes down to glands…


Why do people buy what they do? Old mate Rob Blackbourn, who at the time was running a mag I worked on, once sent out an email demanding to know from various staffers what their choices would be for the ‘perfect’ three-bike shed, and why.

It quickly became apparent how tough that choice really is. In some ways it’s more difficult than picking just one, because the possible combinations are myriad and far greater than a mere human brain is designed to cope with.

Mathematically, if you have to choose one, you select from a possible (for argument’s sake) 400 models. Expand the fleet to three and now the combinations number in the thousands.

This doesn’t seem to have defeated reader Phil C, who sent this wonderful email:
“Buon giorno Guido,

“Am a long time reader of your ramblings. Currently own a 900 Trophy and a Dyna Twin cam Convertible. Have been seriously influenced by your biased reporting on 1200 Triumph Daytonas.

“Just purchased a ’96 1200 in Diablo Black with 30k on the clock. Looks as tho' some of 'em might've been a trifle hard, but basically a good thing. Can't get the smile off my dial!

“I live in the Adelaide Hills and have just had two days of glorious autumn weather tooling around my favourite roads midweek. What a bloody great bike – only scared myself two or three times.

“I might mention that I'm 57, have had a quad bypass & a stroke, but, hey, you're a long time dead.

“I might also mention that, back in about 1967 or ’68, I was offered a Sunbeam very similar to your Winston (a 1947 S7) for something like 20 or 30 bucks – I declined. I wish you the very best of good fortune with it…”

Let’s not even begin to tackle the quad bypass issue, though I have noticed folk who’ve suffered serious health problems tend to lean towards big performance bikes. Just ask mate and legendary Two Wheels columnist Pete 'Mister' Smith (RIP), who knew a thing or two about strokes and myriad other health issues. He too so many pills that he rattled when walked…err, limped. And had the time of his life punting, of all things, a very quick VMax.

I’m beginning to wonder if there are bike shops out there, in secret locations, serving folk who’ve just escaped from the outpatient wards of local hospitals. Maybe there’s a special prescription: “J Bloggs is to take one large and hideously powerful motorcycle for a run twice weekly until the rash, or stroke, clears.”

Something that continues to drive me mad is that, over the years, I’ve had BMW’s various iterations on the boxer twin all-rounder GS adventure bike theme solidly placed close to the top of a personal list of choices. Worse, every time I’ve reviewed one, it’s been given a comprehensive thumbs-up and I walk away wondering why on earth there isn’t one in the shed.

There’s really no excuse. In current guise, it’ll leap small countries in a single bound and goes like the proverbial cruise missile in most circumstances. But truth be known, I’ll buy a naked K 1200/1300 R – now there’s a really interesting hot-up project (mostly because it doesn’t need it…) – long before a GS will ever make it into the shed. To me, that confirms motorcycle buying is glandular rather than rational.

In any case, having one bike is a fine and dandy thing. Buying a second means you’re a little indulgent but can probably still justify it on some vaguely rational argument (they’ll keep each other warm at night: I’ll use the smaller one as a runabout…etc).

Getting a third is the tipping point – you have now entered the long and slippery slope of becoming a nutter.

Just ask spouse Ms M senior, who has essentially given up the tussle on my toy-buying addiction (15 in the shed, this week) but is nevertheless fighting a brave rearguard action.

When recently she saw me cruising the classifieds, she asked, “Is there anything in here that we own that I don’t know about?”
“Nup,” was the fulsome reply.
“Are you sure?”

See more Travels with Guido


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