Mechanical Sympathy

I’ve always had an over abundance of mechanical sympathy.  That sympathy often spills over into full on empathy for machines.  While I derive a great deal of joy from interacting with machines, the satisfaction I get out of fixing them is amplified by this natural inclination.

My first bike was a mechanically bullet proof 2007 Kawasaki Ninja 650r.  It had been dropped and scuffed, but it didn’t need open heart surgery.  I was happy to clean it up and send it on its way, and while I got attached to it, it never felt like a two way relationship.

The Concours I have now is a whole new level of commitment.  Not only did I find it sitting in a field, buried in grass, but it took me a winter of rebuilding to get it on the road again.  In my first season riding it I’ve put on more miles than I ever did on the Ninja (it’s a much more comfortable long distance tool).

Call me nostalgic (or perverse), but getting the four carburetors on the Concours running smoothly was very satisfying.  Even though I teach computer tech, I still find the clockwork nature of mechanical parts to have a grace that digital technology is lacking.  Listening to the Connie fire up at the touch of the starter on a cold morning and clear its throat is much more satisfying than listening to the clinical hum of a fuel injector making everything perfect.

I was out on the Concours again today – if the weather’s dry I’m out on it.  I’m always astonished at how responsive such a heavy machine can feel.  It fits me well, needed me to save it, and then responded to that saving with thousands of miles of riding.  There may come a time when the Connie is more trouble than it’s worth, but at the moment it’s what I was looking for all along.

It’s getting kind of crowded in there…

The Yamaha XS1100 sitting in the back of the garage will be my first go at a restoration, but as an owned bike it isn’t really what I’m looking for.  It’ll be my first go at a bike purchased for restoration rather than riding.  I’m curious to see how that process goes.

In the meantime, and completely off topic, here is some nice motorbike art I saw at Blue Mountain last weekend: