So I go to get my 800 back from BMW Toronto one day and, as usual, there's no one manning the Motorrad counter.

One of the bike sales guys eventually comes downstairs, looking whipped and sweaty. He keeps coming and going and apologizing and leaving again. I'm chatting with a 1200GS owner about his ride in Newfoundland, and bike sales guy comes back, says, 'I'm sorry. Your bike's not done. There was a problem yesterday with the tech. Um, he no longer works here -- he left, sorta mid- repair on your bike. We don't know where he was on it so we're starting it all over again, to be sure it's done right. So, um, would you mind very much keeping the 650 and coming back tomorrow?' %u2028%u2028I'm thinking, 'Wonder if that was the same tech who forgot to tighten a lock nut when he replaced my recall chain a couple weeks back.'

He gets an idea, offers me a loaner upgrade. It is the psycho-orange K1300S I'd seen on entering the lot.

'Done,' I say.

He backs it out for me, starts it, asks, 'Can you handle it?'

'Yeah,' I say, otherwise speechless on a flood of five new kinds of adrenaline. He leaves me to it. I do not know if I can handle it.

I sit, kick the stand, look around, pull in the clutch and put it into first. I am careful and casual as I exit the lot. I don't want them to take it away from me. I haven't sat on anything 1300-like in 16 years, and that was a Kawasaki for half an hour in downtown Singapore, and I've never sat on anything with two wheels and 175 equines. And I've never ridden a crotch rocket larger than a insanely modded RD350 twenty years ago and I overwheelied and crashed that a minute after getting on it.

It feels good. Civilized. Except for the posture I must adopt, which wildlife biologists would call 'presenting', as in presenting one's rear for potential suitors.

Now, I am a cautious man when it comes to transportation, mostly. Every now and then a teenage 'bugger caution' surge overtakes, though I initially resist this, as I am in downtown Toronto and I have a family. %u2028%u2028I am on a little quiet ride around town, and go back home to work, vowing to take it on the highway after the workday ends.

At 6pm my wife says, 'Go, honey. I understand.' And I go.

At first, I thought both tach and speedo were broken. But no, it's just that neither needle gets past 8 o'clock till you're breaking every speed limit in North America. That is sobering. I enter the Allan Expy northbound and crank hard. I hit something like 160k/h in seconds - that's second gear, and about two seconds, respectively. I'm laughing all pervert-like. I slow down to 80, remembering speed traps are found on this stretch, and shift up a few gears. K1300S doesn't care what gear I'm in, for the bike is filth. I could ride all day at 100k/h in first and not hurt it. %u2028%u2028I hit the 401 W, no traffic jams, oh-oh, and I run up through the gears, semi-aggro. Again, to 160 before I'm even nearly getting started. Faaaack, I say to myself, I better be careful. They have hard laws against behaviour like this. The 400 N-bound is also clear and I've got three hours of daylight left. I play a bit.

I get into the country roads, as the 400 is also a heat score. I know where most of the cops hide, the deer roam and the dogs chase in the Caledon area, and scope out a few likely stretches before making my declaration. Coast clear, I am in second, at 5k, and, semi-fastly, I twist it all the way. It doesn't wheelie, thank Christ. But oh, lord. My ears rotate to just above my spine, and my eyes go where those ears used to reside. I redline, grab another, redline, grab another, and the entire world goes liquid. I can't see but green ribbons left and right, a juddering greyness in front. I apply the brakes hastily, too blind, wronged and terrified to continue. I have no idea how fast I go, probably no more than 200, but all in about 2.3 seconds. I feel like I've been raped, violated, or something grave that I cannot understand.

I decide that that's enough. Time to go home. I'm intact, I've just done something very bad and got away with it. %u2028%u2028Just to be sure though, I wind it out a ways again, and slow down quickly. And once again. But the road's bumpy, I keep losing too much vision to continue unsucidally. I decide to just stay in second and work it back and forth between 6-11k, get comfy with all that pornography before becoming a red smear on some ditch. This is sound thinking. There's no way to really see where all this can lead. The speedometer goes to 300. Nothankyouverymuch.

I conclude there isn't room in Canada for this bike. K1300S needs airport runways connected to Nurburgrings to be understood. My wrists are sore. The riding posture is absurd. Who could own this bike but persons with damaged minds? Then I remember the 1000RR, with 20 extra more hp, and Hayabusas too, mythical machines I know little of, and wonder at the state of humanity. I imagine well-dressed German engineers discussing improving ze hosepowa in these bikes, and others in Japan doing the same, in fullblooded competition, and I realize there are good secrets that are kept secret by the dangerous people who ride the bikes that hold those secrets. By this I mean, you can't explain the feeling and power of a bike like this. It all becomes metaphor and exaggeration and it's still so short of the experience, it's pitiful. That's why this writeup is over.


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