moto guzzi motorcycle

The Case for Enough

I went out for my first motorcycle ride of the season today. Nothing too crazy or long, just a short trip to shake the dust off and enjoy the first glimpse of warmer spring weather. Not too warm, mind you. I know some places are fully into beach season by now. I’m at 9,000 feet. In Colorado, this is the first day my driveway has been clear enough of ice and snow that the bike could make it up. Nowhere on my ride was above 55 degrees. But it was warm enough to enjoy the ride.

It’s a 1984 Moto Guzzi V65 SP. My bike. Bone stock and a survivor. It’s far from perfect, with plenty of dings in the original paint. The odometer shows 28,000 miles, but it hasn’t worked for a while so it probably has three or four thousand more. One of the side covers doesn’t fit right and I haven’t spent the time to fix it. The windscreen has a crack. But it’s been a surprisingly dependable bike. I spent the whole ride thinking about how I simply don’t want anything else. This bike is perfect “enough” for me.

moto guzzi motorcycle

This is the first and only motorcycle I’ve owned and I’ve had it for 5 or so years now. When I first bought it, every motorcycle owner I knew told me I’d outgrow it in a year. “It’s a 650,” they said, which would be “great to learn on” but I’d “want more soon.” Give it a year or two, and I’d be “looking for a liter bike for sure.”

That day has not yet come. Maybe someday it will. But for me, I just enjoy the ride. I like being on two wheels, riding through some twisty mountain roads on a bike I can lay over to the extent of my abilities, and fast enough for my abilities. I really don’t think that more power, more handling, more whatever would improve the experience for me.

I guess it all depends on your goals for a bike. This isn’t a cross-country tourer. I get pretty sore after three or four hours. After six or seven I’m done for the day. My wife and I will ride 2 up sometimes, and it’s fun for a while, but neither of us would really be happy to spend 10 hours in the saddle in a day. It probably wouldn’t be great for track days, and I agree they would be fun, but that doesn’t really fit into my life right now. I can ride some dirt National Forest roads, and sometimes I do find myself wanting a KLR or the like (the new Africa Twins look pretty sweet), but with young kids, that type of riding doesn’t seem to fit well with the family life, and that’s fine, too.

moto guzzi

I’m not trying to say that a V65 SP is a perfect bike for everyone. But for me, right now, it’s perfectly “enough.” That thought has made me realize I could probably use a little more “enough” in my life. It’s not really a concept I’m good at. I’m pretty damn good at “more.” There’s something to be said for a nice ride to clear your head and help you reassess priorities. I’m looking forward to some more warm weather. With any luck, a few more rides may help me learn to be happier with “enough” in other areas of life, too.

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6 responses to “The Case for Enough”

  1. Batshitbox Avatar

    The best bike for you is the bike that makes you want to ride. (Motorized or not.)

    Take it from a guy one of those ‘pretty sweet’ Africa Twin jobbies*, being a little tired after 3 – 4 hours in the saddle is normal; stopping altogether after 6 hours is actually good advice. Buying a liter bike with an aftermarket seat and windscreen isn’t going to do anything for your endurance. (I’m encouraging people to check out the Yamaha Tenere 700, which is absolutely enough bike.)

    *and fellow owner of a 1984 Italian motorcycle.

    1. danleym Avatar

      Quote: “The best bike for you is the bike that makes you want to ride. (Motorized or not.)”

      100% agree.

  2. Maymar Avatar

    Between pretty much all the riding I’ve done being on an ancient, wheezing 250, and spending about a decade driving something with a 100hp 1.5, I will fully cop to wanting something a little less frantic on the highway, but self-preservation (or cowardice) keep me from needing much more two-wheeled performance, and the threat of impound tampers any more need for four-wheeled speed.

  3. Sjalabais Avatar

    What a lovely read and I think this attitude applies well to so much more than vehicles. I am currently in the process of finding new mountain skis and since I am looking for what turns out to be a weird combo (I’d give a little finger for being less strange sometimes), these are a chore to find at an acceptable price. But what lead to “enough” not being enough anymore is just that I wore out my old mountain ski over literally thousands of kilometers. They are not particularly fancy, and people would even ridicule them for some of the specs they have. But for what I do, and do often, these are just…perfectly fine. Versatile and, plainly, not the focus of the trips I go on. I don’t sit at campfires to talk about equipment all night.

    Sometimes, not asking for more and enjoying the moment with what you’ve got is the best thing to do. If you can make that last for years, this is just splendid and a good use of the stuff we surround ourselves with.

  4. tiberiuswise Avatar

    I’ve had my Wee Strom for about a decade now and assure you 650 is plenty, for me. There are times when I might want a little more but, especially on a bike, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. More power means more weight, less mileage (range), more stability, less maneuverability…. Basically everything that applies to cars but amplified.

  5. Alex Avatar

    Took my 1977 Yamaha xs750 out for a nice ride today. It is also just enough.