Okay, this is not amusing anymore. I’m about 5’11”, which is a decent amount of altitude even if I say so myself. I like my bikes fairly hefty, with enough height on them for me not to have to bend myself into a yogic posture on the seat. Given this preference, it isn’t surprising that after about six minutes on Yogesh Sathe’s wildly-modified drag special RX100, my back feels like some-one drove a poker rod through it. My teeth are also rattling to the point that I fear for the safety of my fillings. You see, the bike I’m riding has had its suspension drastically lowered. My spine is the rear shock absorber – well, actually there’s a pair of old Eliminator rear shocks – and the front fork sliders have been chopped too; smaller suspension components, less weight. The end result of all of this is an extreme riding position and an ability to transmit every undulation on the road directly to the brain. Still, I remind myself that this bike was purpose-built purely for ferocious straight-line performance, not a toddle down to the market.
I persevere and search for a reasonably long section of road where I can let this ticking time bomb loose. Hiccuping and coughing along at about 3500 rpm, the bike is clearly unhappy about the current state of affairs – like all two-strokes, it wants to hit the powerband ‘Now!’ and cling to it for dear life. All this ambling about is definitely beginning to get on its nerves. Even at the low speeds I’m currently doing, the soundtrack coming through its Proton expansion chamber is deafening, and I quickly pull in the clutch and coast as I pass a hospital – the last thing I need now is a few cardiac arrests on my conscience.
Ah, there’s a promising stretch – a good 80 metres long, well-surfaced, no traffic, a few dozing building security guards. I do a recce along the stretch just to make sure there are no nasty surprises; gravel, hidden potholes, speed-breakers and so forth. The coast, thankfully, is clear – time to light the fuse and stand well clear. I crouch over and grasp the clip-ons (with anodised aluminium grips, very cool), position my feet well back on the home-made rear sets and take a moment. Revs dialled in, a slightly rough shift into first and I’m off.