Article By: Rob Keller
Photos By: Bean’re
Originally Published In The August 2012 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
It all started while we were on a ride to the fourth annual Big Mountain Run. As we were taking a break from some laps through Deal’s Gap, also known as the Dragon’s Tail, Bean’re said that I should do a test ride article on his motorcycle. I thought he was joking! All I could think about was the vision that is still stuck in my head of Sturgis 2008 when we watched Bean’re and Charlie Ransom trick riding on our first annual ride through the Black Hills. We were in a small town called Hoover, population 7, and the challenge to stand up on the seat of their motorcycles was entertaining all of us. Those two were riding through the fields and really getting it. Just then, Bean’re hit a groundhog hole and was immediately ejected from his bike. He got up, dusted himself off and picked his motorcycle up off the ground, laughing the whole time. What a showman! Then I thought about the B.M.R. of 2010 when Bean’re was competing in the triathlon. You know the one, the video is still on YouTube. Bean’re had just come out of the tent, pulled on his boots and ran 50 yards to his bike. He started it and rode as fast as he could toward the river. He came in a little too hot but still almost saved it! His bike went crashing to the ground while he went running for the river. He won the event! That same year I watched Bean’re ride up the hill climb at the Broken Spoke and barrel race at the Ranch House in Sturgis.
His bike is an extension of his very soul. The two are one and they are rarely separated; they travel together from event to event. This is no trailer queen! This machine is his pride and joy and together they have traveled thousands of miles, managing to stay together through thick and thin. To say that Bean’re is a gypsy, is a fact and his bike is a tramp! They were made for each other. Bean’re said that he was serious about the test ride. I told him that a test ride has to have photos and he said he had a camera. Then I said that there was no better place to do it than on the Dragon. He agreed, and said, “There are three things you need to know about my bike. The first is that the rear brake doesn’t work that well. Second is the return spring on the gear shifter is broken so you need to pull it back up when you down shift. And third, the throttle is stiff so I can trick ride.” To me these weren’t real problems, just some minor mechanical things that you deal with when you ride a bike that has that much personality.
As I sat on his bike for the first time, it was like being in the arms of another woman, but not a strange woman. It’s kind of like a girl you have hung out with but you know that she belongs to your brother so you have the utmost respect for her and the last thing that you want to do is let her see you sweat. The seat was very low to the ground and the handlebars felt surprisingly comfortable. I wasn’t sure how this bike would handle. The rake combined with the fat front tire is hard to judge while sitting still. I did like the fact that the bike has a real solid feel, and not loose at all. As Bean’re climbed onto my bike, the lights started to flash and he said, “What did I do?” I told him that it was the silent alarm and handed him my key fob. He then said, “How do you start it?” and I laughed. Then I had to ask him where his starter button was. When I found the button, she fired right up. There was no riding around the parking lot to get use to the bike; it was straight to that famous stretch of road that has 318 curves in 11 miles.
As I pulled out of the parking lot and made the hard right hander, I couldn’t see the road for a second. The bike is long and I wasn’t sure of the turning radius yet. I pulled back the throttle and it was on. Heading into the first right turn I used some heavy engine brake to help slow me down. I was wound up pretty good in second gear and I pushed hard on the rear brake to see how much stopping power it had since Bean’re said it was not good. I wasn’t expecting much, but it really wasn’t that bad. I took the corner pretty good and didn’t drag anything so I took a deep breath and headed for corner number two. This left hander was a few feet away so I grabbed third gear and rolled it on. When I down shifted, the shifter didn’t bounce back up, just like Bean’re said it wouldn’t, so I pulled it up with my toe just in case I would need to kick it into first. That turn was also pretty smooth; no sparks were flying and absolutely no front end flop. After that, my confidence level of the handling of the purple monster was greatly improved. The front brakes worked well and the engine ran smooth with plenty of acceleration and excellent engine brake. As we ran through the corners, I couldn’t help pushing it harder and harder. I was very impressed with this machine, but I wasn’t teaching her anything new. She was giving me a fantastic ride and all I could think about was the fact that Bean’re has built himself a fine machine that he can depend on mechanically and has a personality that fits his demeanor. I am honored to say that I rode it for all that it was worth on an incredible stretch of two lane and it performed way beyond my expectations. Thank you both for the ride!