Published on December 12th, 2018 | by Boris



In which our hero considers the existential aspects of the Niken while belting it up a shitweasel of a road, parking it front of a small country pub and awaiting the judgement of large, tattooed men who have been drinking beer and possibly riding motorcycles in their youth, and who might want to kiss him.

“Where the road is dark and the seed is sowed
Where the gun is cocked and the bullet’s cold
Where the miles are marked in the blood and gold
I’ll meet you further on up the road”

That’s a kangaroo corral behind the Niken.

There has been a quite a lot of carry-on with the advent of the Niken. Social media, as always a cage full of twitching monkeys smearing themselves with their own outraged excrement, has excelled itself.

The Niken has been called “gay”.

The Niken has been accused of having “too many wheels”.

The Niken has been accused of “not being a motorcycle.”

I have been accused of “selling out”.

So allow me to grab the monkey-stick and run it clanging along the bars of the monkey-cage for sec.

Calling something “gay” is only insult if you’re missing parts of your brain because your parents were closely related when they conceived you.

Secondly, a machine cannot have a sexual orientation, so I assume the insult is meant for the person riding it, yes? In this case, me. I like the Niken and therefore it logically follows (in the inbred’s part-brain) that I prefer to have sex with men. This is the kind of monkey-thought that causes the smarter monkeys to beat that monkey with rocks until it dies and cleanses the gene pool.

The Niken having “too many wheels” insult is an interesting one. Being designed as a Leaning Multi-Wheeler, I’m of the view it has the correct amount of wheels for its design brief. It has one more wheel than a motorcycle. It has two more wheels than a unicycle. And it has three more wheels than a surfboard. But does it have “too many wheels”? Um…no.

Observers who have observed it to be “not a motorcycle” are correct. It is not a motorcycle in the same way I am not a journalist.

Have I “sold out”? To who and for what, I ask?

To Yamaha and for money, I presume, betraying the whole monkey-plagued brotherhood of the handlebars because I like the Niken, yes?

I like the Harley FXDR, the Suzuki Hayabusa and the KTM Superduke R too – a good deal more than I probably should, and certainly more than I like the Niken. Have I sold out to Harley, Suzuki and KTM? Does someone in the monkey-cage think these companies transfer funds to my horrified bank account each time I say something positive about their bikes? Lord Jesus, I wish they would. Hell, make me an offer bitches. I’ll dance.

But that ain’t how it works in my world.

I asked for a long-term loan of the Niken because I wanted to live with it a bit and ride it where and how I would ride a normal motorcycle. I am endlessly curious, and the Niken piqued my curiosity. It goes around corners and generally acts like a really well-sorted motorcycle – every single reviewer of any worth has come to the same conclusion. I’m not an island here.

But what’s it like to live with? Will I have to get a neck tattoo? Will I be forced to defend my sexuality? Will I have to defend the Niken’s sexuality? Will I have to wipe the despair-flavoured tears of some sportsbike-riding muppet?

That’s what I wanted to know and that’s what I’m in the process of finding out.

And that’s why, with the late afternoon sun baking my restless humours, I took the Niken for a fast lash to the Gresford pub. I needed to be there and back before the kangaroos started their sunset ritual of “Let’s kill the fool by sacrificing our lives so we may end his”.

So I set to with a will.

The roads around where I live are mostly rubbish. The surfaces are, with some wonderful exceptions, deteriorating nightmares. The bitumen has flowed and lumped like new lava, vanished altogether, or is busily turning into a rocky goulash.

“Come at me, goulash!”

On a normal bike these roads are challenging. They force your front-end to work hard, you to work harder, and keeping a good Christian pace is down to local knowledge and a belief in voodoo. And at any time, Skippy might leap into your face, or a depressed miner may decide he’s taking the express train outta Dodge and you’re collateral damage.

It reminds of the brutal, atavistic glory of the Hume Highway before it was turned into a soulless freeway.

And it is precisely the kind of road-surface the Niken is eminently suited to. It’s like the designers came to Gresford and said: “Look what these poor Orokamono have to put up with! Let us build them something that will stop them weeping and riding like toshioita josei.” And they did just that.

Once again, I was fighting my two-wheeled programming. But the realisation you can push two-front wheels much harder than you can push one wheel on a crappy, variable surface is revelatory.

So I pushed. I went around the outside of cars with confidence, braked very late into terrible corners, and generally drove several nails into the coffin of motorcycling respectability.

I arrived at Gresford pub en-fizzed and bright-eyed.

The locals pretended to ignore the bizarre vehicle I had parked in front of their pub.

But the Niken is impossible to ignore.

And slowly they wandered down to look at it and take pictures of it. And, as most of them had ridden bikes at some stage of their lives, they would ask me questions as we sipped our beers in the warm gloaming.

“I wonder if he will dance with me if I ask?”

“Straight to the Grindr app then…”

“Is it unstable?”

“It’s actually more stable than a normal bike.”

“Of course it’s more stable, you dickhead! Two front wheels…Jeez, look at that technology under there…”

“So it leans?”

“Yes it does.”

“How far?”

“The pegs touch at forty-five degrees and there’s a bit left after that.”

“You’re shitting me.”

“I promise you I’m not.”

“It’s like a bike built by alien ants.”

Then I asked them a question.
“Do any of you think I’m gay?”

They look nonplussed.

“Do you feel gay?” one of them eventually asked.

“Not at all. But there are people who reckon this thing is gay and only gay people ride them.”

There was a silence.

Then one of them grinned.

“I’ve never kissed a poof, but I kissed a bloke who has.”

I rode home after another beer with these good-natured blokes. We did not kiss each other goodbye, even though maybe we should have. Just to keep the monkeys happy, you understand.




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About the Author

is a writer who has contributed to many magazines and websites over the years, edited a couple of those things as well, and written a few books. But his most important contribution is pissing people off. He feels this is his calling in life and something he takes seriously. He also enjoys whiskey, whisky and the way girls dance on tables. And riding motorcycles. He's pretty keen on that, too.

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