Some vehicles are fairly or unfairly called a “widowmaker” because of their difficult handling or flat out insane performance. When this word is spoken, I’m sure some people will think of their favourite video game character and some may even think of a Corvair. Me? A chunky Suzuki.
Widowmaker. That’s the name I’ve finally found for my GS850G. Why? It’s tried to kill me twice in a week.
Both times were my mistake and illustrates what they mean in the MSF when they say one of the most dangerous times to be a rider is when you have a new bike.
My first mishap was when I was having a spirited ride on the GS when I encountered a closed road (construction) that detoured into an industrial park (gypsum supply place on the right, garbage truck storage place on the left). In hindsight, this is when I should have slowed my roll as industrial/construction bits on the road and bikes do not mix!
I hit the turn at about 15-20 mph or so (by all means a safe speed on any other local left turn on the GS) and halfway into the turn with a decent lean going on I felt my front tyre break loose. I hadn’t yet experienced the feeling of a motorcycle that has lost front grip and it’s a weird feeling that is hard to describe. Taking what I learned from the MSF I straightened myself and the bike up and used the wheel that still had traction (the rear) to stop me from wiping out in the ditch at the corner of the intersection. I regained control and continued on with what was most likely the most embarrassed face I have ever had in my life.
The second oopsie happened last night as a monster of a storm system rolled in. I took off on a green light with decently heavy acceleration and a damp road. As I traversed a manhole cover the rear tyre broke loose and started a violent tank slapper. I slowly rolled off the throttle, the rear tire caught, then I was safely on my way. Note to self: Power and water also don’t mix!
(What do you think this beauty at work is?)
Along with the brutal speed and ground crumbling weight of this machine, I feel the name is definitely deserved. I plan for the bike’s name to stay just that, a name...
These are just a couple things I’m learning about how a big bike handles vs my old small ones. I expected these big bikes to be different, harder to handle, and heavy. I was warned that these bikes can be a handful. You have no idea until you’re behind the handlebars. It’s like entering into a whole new world. I do admit that maybe just a little I expected these big bikes to be like my old little ones, just maxi-sized? NOPE!
(Somehow... this is a Suzuki! Or Yamaha...I forget what the VIN plate said.)
The adventure continues with little more than a bruised “ego”. :)