Thursday, May 15

The F800ST is home!

Picked the bike up today. Strange. I felt nervous. It's not like I've never ridden it before. I think it had to do with letting go of Queenie. Dave went with me to complete paperwork that demanded both of our signatures. He is now the proud owner of Queenie. Mike Abt, at Chicago BMW, is the kindest, gentlest, most patient and most informative salesperson you'll ever meet. I started talking to him last spring about bikes and went through a number of choices before the season ended. Then I started it all up again this spring. Never once did I feel rushed or pushed to close the deal, which weighed heavily in my decision to buy from Chicago BMW.

I took Lake Shore Drive South home. Construction had backed up traffic in spots, which provided ample time to adjust to feeling the gears and getting a comfortable sense of the 'cycle's friction zone. Still, by the time I arrived home, I had managed to kill the engine three times, I'm embarrassed to say. Fortunately, each time I was stopped at a light and the bike started up and I was off well before anyone honked at me. Downtown traffic really was insane but I didn't mind it at all. In fact, I enjoyed myself, even while keeping in mind that the rpms needed to stay below 5.

I'll write a full review of the bike after I get to know it. For now, I can say that it is quiet, smooth, and has a low husky sound compared to the higher pitch vocals of the SV. The seating position on the ST is excellent. Like on the SV, my knees are bent and relaxed--in fact, they are not as sharply bent as on the SV. This subtle difference in extension will be welcomed on long trips. It just felt good. The instrument panel is fabulous. Bells and whistles galore compared to my more minimalist SV.

The bike needs a name. I admit to anthropomorphizing, that is, naming my things as if they either already possessed human qualities or would come to represent the attributes of the given name. The SV had a strong woman's feel and I named her Queen-Esther Sojourner Stringfield accordingly. Perhaps it's premature to decide what the ST shall be called. This is the third time I've ridden a F800ST and the second time I've ridden the one I now own. It feels male-ish. I can't explain it, I just know how it feels. I'll see if that changes in a few days. My friend, Lucas, suggested the name Marlene for Marlene Dietrich. Marlene is out if the bike proves to be male. But Dietrich might work. I'm thinking more, however, of "Jesse" for
Jessie Owens.

If you've ever seen some of the footage of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, you'll likely remember Jesse Owens' dramatic finishes resulting in four gold metals and establishing 11 Olympic records. One documentary film on the event has some scenes of Hitler after each of Owens' wins and in them, Hitler looks really ticked! Right before his eyes and country, his whole Aryan "Master Race" beliefs were destroyed by a member of a most "inferior" race. In spite of Hitler's views, Lutz Lang, Germany's most gifted and popular athlete, befriended Owens and they remained lifelong friends. Nonetheless, Hitler refused to put the gold metals around Owens' neck.

Not too long ago, I visited Jesse Owens' grave. He is buried at Oak Woods Cemetery in Chicago, where he spend the bulk of his adult life. In celebration of friendship, like that between Lutz and Jesse, the F800ST might be named Jesse, a merging of machine and human speed. To help me figure this out, I'll need to do more fieldwork. Gotta get those 600 break in miles out of the way.

2008 BMW Blue F800ST with comfort package, safety package, low seat, standard suspension, center stand, anti-theft system. (Helmet was up only for the picture, not for the ride)