Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Panigale Rider Speaks the Truth.

Recently, I explained to a friend of mine that the Panigale impressed me, but didn't inspire me. To me, the bike is an aesthetic mess, a glut of exotica easily eclipsed by the simplicity of the BMW s1000, which I have come to favor quite a bit. The Panigale is too focused, I said. Too uncomfortable, if we are to believe the reviews.

But the testimony of a rider who traveled 15,000 miles on a panigale has forced me to reconsider at least one point; The machine is not too focused. It exists for those who can love it, and that love can carry them to the end of the earth, no matter how hot the exhaust is just beneath the seat.

"I did 1,036 miles in one day on the Panigale, so it can’t be that bad of a touring bike now, can it?

That sentiment of ‘why that bike?’ was expressed quite a bit during my trip, though, and a lot of people I met in gas stations or on the side of the road didn’t believe how far I’d come on it until they saw my license plate. 

I think the issue wasn’t with my choice to ride the bike I love — it’s that our lives have become so comfortable and cozy that what we consider challenges today probably wouldn’t even classify as inconveniences a generation or two ago. Show up for a ride with Steve McQueen in 1972 complaining about the switch for your heated grips only having three settings and you’re going to catch a boot to the hairy gumballs. Our ability to adapt is greatly underestimated, which is why I think so many people end up choosing what seems to make sense instead of the going with bike they lust after. 

I knew the Panigale would test me, but that was part of the allure. Coping with demanding situations and overcoming adversity produces a tremendous feeling of private, personal power that luxury and security can never provide—isn’t this, the internal satisfaction that comes from doing things our own way (despite the added difficulty), one of the reasons why we ride motorcycles?"

-- Dennis, at Hell for Leather Magazine