How to break in a new bike and your left wrist on the same day

A year ago yesterday, May 18, was a day of extreme contrasts, chock-a-block with ebbs and flows.

One minute I was filled with joy, exuberance, and excitement, and the next, I was on the floor of a deserted underground car park, writhing in extreme agony, as the radius and ulna in my left wrist, snapped in a clean break.

A call had come in earlier in the day from Royal Enfield Petaling Jaya, telling me that my bike, the hot-selling, ‘can’t-make-enough-of-‘em-fast-enough’ Interceptor 650, would probably arrive at my doorstep later that evening.

Sekarang kat JPJ, bang… tengah register. Tapi queue panjang, jadi ada kemungkinan esok. Kita cuba gak, bang…

I ho-hummed and said no worries, as I walked out the door to meet my friend Ahmad Razlan Alias at the bakery near my place. Lan had swung by to document the delivery.

I told him of the latest update and said, if it happens today, it happens. If it doesn’t, it’s fine. We then talked about the mental capacity of politicians (of no particular country), when I spot a white van with the legend ‘Motoplex’ emblazoned across it, rolling up the incline leading up to my condo.

I gestured and pointed it to Lan, and said “Some lucky Beano is getting his bike today,” and laughed. We continued talking about the mating rituals of egrets and politicians when the same van rolled down the incline and parked right in front of us.

The side door of the large panel van swung open, followed by the two rear swing doors. I spot the unmistakable lines of an Interceptor 650, leaning oh so haughtily over to the left side, her rear haunches jutting out so provocatively, as if to tease, and taunt me.

The two men began breaking down the straps and started backing her out of the van, onto the metal ramp. As the evening sun bathed over the bike, I saw that it was the same paint scheme that I had picked out for my as-yet-still-stuck-in-JPJ bike – Sunset Strip.

“Well… what are the odds of that,” I said to Lan. “Same bike, same paint job… What a lucky ‘essobe’,” I mouthed, using the only Swahili word I know, for ‘fellow’.

Just about then, I see a familiar face, grinning from ear to ear. It was Rusydi Razali, Dealer Principal for Royal Enfield Petaling Jaya (REPJ). Accompanying him was Asa’ari Ahmad, a sales executive with REPJ.

Surprise!

Apparently, the guys had planned it all along. Even Lan was in on it. He made sure the trap was sprung, good and proper.

I took possession of the Interceptor with relish, and loads of trepidation. The biggest bike I had handled up to that point was the driving school’s Kawasaki ER-6. By comparison to my Vespa Primavera 150, the Interceptor was an animal.

Not long after the chaps had gone home, I fired up the 47hp, 4-stroke, 650cc parallel twin engine with a 270-degree crank, and swung a leg over. I revelled with satisfaction upon hearing the low burble of the S&S slip-ons resonating in the air when I fired her up.

I stowed the kickstand, pulled in the clutch lever, and kicked it into first gear. She responded with a commanding ‘thunk’. I consciously reminded myself “Don’t feed the gas” over and over again. Instead, I eased off slowly on the clutch, looking for the friction zone, that sweet spot when you slowly release the clutch lever, and the clutch just starts to engage, setting the bike in motion.

The Interceptor is an intuitive bike. You get comfortable on her pretty fast.

I had initially planned to do a short hop around the block, just to try her on for size, but in the end, I spent the next 30 minutes riding through Sungai Penchala, Hartamas, Jalan Kuching, up to Jalan Parlimen, then down and around Jalan Tangsi, through Hartamas and Sungai Penchala again, and finally back to my condo in Mutiara Damansara.

She felt good, planted, easy on the corners at slow speeds, but you really had to lean into it at higher rpm. The most important thing was, she felt right. As I parked and bedded her down for the night, I couldn’t wait for tomorrow to really see what she could do.

I thumbed the kill switch, turned off the ignition, and slowly leaned her over to the left. And then she leaned over some more. The kickstand on the Interceptor is notoriously shorter than on most bikes, so, her lean is a little more pronounced. I kept feeding into that lean, waiting for the kickstand to finally catch and kiss the ground.

But by the time the alarm bells and klaxons were going off in my head, it was too late. We had gone way past the tipping point, and the entire 214kg mass of iron and steel was going to go down because I had made a noob mistake. I had forgotten to put the kickstand down.

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