Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Kawasaki GT550: DR hack nightmare


Give me some wheels, man, whined I to the back street dealer. He took one look at the camouflage gear, sighed, and jerked his finger backwards. Hey, I don't want that rat in matt black. What? It's only two hundred nicker? Well, maybe. The motor was fired into life on the starter and I spent the next ten minutes on my knees searching for my eardrums! Major surgery but narrowly avoided!

Alright, I reluctantly admitted, I'll have the damn thing. Seeing straight was a major achievement with the buzz that the round-the-clock (at least once!) motor put out! My mantra for the day was, I don't wanna die, which I repeated furiously every time I tried to use what was left of the triple discs. Not much, as it happens. Somehow, I avoided hitting anything but it needed psychic overload!

London and rotten GT's don't mix very well. Fast moves, rapid acceleration and a certain delirium needed, which the GT totally lacked. Only the fact that I really didn't give a damn allowed me to carve a path through the cages. They soon got the right idea, swerving, cursing and playing on their horns as they realised I was coming through regardless.

The combination of worn gearbox and, er, shafted shaft added up to leaving the box in second or third. The vibes blitzed my mind numb but at least I could discern the acceleration. In fourth or fifth the bike entered another dimension, one that seemed to send the plot shooting backwards. F..king dangerous, an extended suicide note, in Central London.

Expectations of the GT were zero. Maybe that it would last a couple of months. I tried my hardest to hit something or blow the engine into a million pieces, a minor nuclear reaction. But try as I did, the thing just kept running and running. A dead battery was the first thing that gnawed its way into my consciousness. Visionary moments - or momentary visions - during the bump starts! Kept my neighbours amused.

The battery wasn't working because there wasn't any acid left in it. And I wasn't even sniffing it, more's the pity! The local auto shop refilled it for free. Probably figured it was worth it to stop me scaring off the customers. I didn't even bother charging it, bumped the bike for the rest of the day whilst the alternator did the business. Worked so furiously the next day there was smoke coming out of the starter motor. Maybe it was just all the tab's I was dropping as the smoke coalesced into a raging dragon and I had to get out of there fast, man.

Days blurred into each other, the vibes turning my brain into mush, the GT just asking for more and more abuse. Riding around with a sump all but empty of oil for a week didn't even add to the machine's scars!

After too many months, the front calipers finally seized up, a grating noise that split my brain in half and whilst I was putting the pieces back together the ungrateful beast threw me down the road. I screamed with the casual violence of it all, bumped off the front of a cage and rolled under a bus, whose back wheel stopped about an inch from my legs.

Immediately, I was full of visions of a future life without any limbs, did a crippled roll back the way I came, all the time screaming at the top of my lungs. Dazed and confused I looked around for the GT, finding the bugger implanted in someone's shop window surrounded by dangerous looking shards of glass which had ripped the tyres to pieces. A couple of burly traffic wardens of indeterminate gender held on to my shaking form until the plod proper arrived.

After a night in a cell I was reluctantly released, something about my total non-existence as far as the nation's computers go. I walked about ten miles to the site of the accident, found the GT left down a side alley. I cried my eyes out when I saw the state of it, gone over by vandals, down to the frame and engine. No-one had had the decency to put a match in its tank...

J.L.

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