No, I’ve not sold the SR500. That one’s a sickness. I call her the Black Dog. Just like Tucker’s daughter that time, “She wanna build me up tear me down” – that is, she’s a leading cause of manic depression. When she’s running well she’s fantastic, the best bike to come out of Japan, and when she’s running badly she’s hell on wheels. And even when good, she's just plain uncomfortable on the highway and she makes you feel guilty for it. It's a big country and I need some touring power! "Bad Black Dog! Where’s my whip?!" That’s QuarterWit taking it easy on her. So this week I bought a second bike. I never would have chosen something like this, but with the Black Dog in my life I need something reliable which can do many miles, at speed, for a good while to come. I thought I had that in the GR650, even though it's 25 years old, but then a mate decided to give up bikes. As a parting shot he offered his to me for the great price of $4k, which would mean more money from the bank. To be in debt is to serve The Man, and that is more service than I wanted so I left it. Then he said, “Seriously, just make an offer – I’d rather see a mate get a bargain!” So I said $3k, which somehow involves less psychological ties that bind me to The Man. Hoping not to offend. He went quiet, said “The rego’s due” and “so how about we make it $2750?”! Here she is today on my first run. Hornet 600, excellent condition, just had $1000 major service, 40,000 km which is low to me, 1998 which to me is a new bike. I was there the day my mate bought it and know it better than anybody after him – so no risks. For RWC needed new fluid in front brake. Comprehensive insurance at market value is $195 per year. It’s my first bike, in a decade of riding, which isn’t from the late 70s or early 80s, and which is made for highway miles. So I did my first ride today on it, taking back roads from Melbourne until I ended up Moama, then north to Barham and back down to Shepperton, Strathbogie etc. She ate the kms happily. My riding style is sedate and she can do that even if most owners buy her for other reasons. I just cruised along and she’s chilled. I re-fueled frequently to gauge economy, which was consistently at 19 or 20km per Litre. I’m not a inline-4 sports guy, but try finding me a Vulcan for $2.7k! Anyway, I figure I can make an unusual cruiser out of this (they’re all the same these days, as though imitating some ‘one true’ Platonic form of the cruiser) inspired by the stuff done in that direction to big Jap I-4s in the 70s: when I can get longer cables made I’ll put on the bars from the GR (see pic below), a tall windscreen, forward pegs, and my partner (who likes the pillion set-up otherwise) wants a generous sissy-bar, which I think will be unecessary for as soon as I’ve got more dosh, the sidecar chassis will be hooked up and a well-sprung Mad Max-style boat made for it, at which point this will be a go-anywhere touring bike, where ‘anywhere’ means especially dirt highways – I’ll see if indeed there is an inland sea on the continent (which the first settlers imagined). Alas for the GR650, a good and faithful servant who I assumed would continue to serve, but will now be placed on eBay. Goodbye GR!