Published on November 7th, 2009 | by Boris
True clarity of thought and purpose are only rarely granted to men in their short time upon this earth.
Those fleeting, savage moments of absolute mental purity – unsullied by mortgage payments, deadlines, commitments, relationships and background noise – provide a life-perspective not regularly granted to us.
Seeing 303km/h appear on my speedometer blessed me with one such instance – and all my spiritual anguish was rent asunder by the supernatural howl of an MV Agusta 312R on full noise and flushed down the screaming sinkhole of speed for speed’s sake.
How I came to be doing that speed is not relevant. Where I came to be doing it is also not relevant. That some of you may be appalled and sense a desire to moralise at me is especially not relevant.
All that is relevant in this case is the actual doing.
Very few riders see numbers like that on their speedos. This is not because their bikes aren’t physically capable of speeds in excess of 300km/h, because they are. Riders don’t see numbers in excess of 299 on their speedos cos of that bizarre “gentleman’s agreement” that exists between the Big Four that dictates their bikes shall be electronically limited to 299km/h.
Interestingly, MV Agusta is not party to this politically correct pandering, and has proudly and righteously built a motorcycle that states its top speed on the tank, the tailpiece and the mirrors. And you can eat shit and die if that offends you.
The world, you’ll be surprised to know, does not end at speeds in excess of 300km/h. What does end is any mental fogginess, personal doubt and unresolved angst you may have hanging around. What’s left, as the numbers tick upwards on the speedo, is just a sense of dreadful purpose and primitive anticipation. Afterwards, your mind is serene pool of perfect clarity. You may be trembling like a pig wracked with palsy, but your mind will feel like it’s just been flushed clean and re-booted. It’s as close to a zen high as anything I could have ever imagined.
And what made it all the more special was that it wasn’t a planned thing. I just seized the moment, as it were, after having seen the Highway Patrol car pull over a bike in front of me. There won’t be another one of them for a few kays, I thought, as the Snowy Mountains Highway unfurled its structural magic before me. I put my head down, my elbows in, gripped the tank with my knees, wriggled my weight back into my infernal luggage and pinned the throttle in sixth.
If you don’t know, then be advised that the 312R is a machine that accelerates as hard from 200 to 300 as it does from 100 to 200. It just sounds angrier and angrier, but gets smoother and smoother as the speed rises. Its stability is uncanny and I will swear to you upon the forgotten graves of my ancestors that it felt perfectly pleased (and even eager) to be pinned to the stop and screaming its blessed heart out of its four Arrows pipes.
At those speeds all you can hear is the booming assault of the wind, the 312R’s demonic intake howl and the rasping hell-shriek that passes for an exhaust note on this instrument of divine madness.
My brain ceased to reason and stopped muttering to itself, and directed all of its attention to the very primal task at hand – which really didn’t consist of anything more than hanging on and dealing with tunnel vision.
As 300km/h appeared and turned into 301, then 302 and then 303 – two things happened simultaneously. I ran out of road and testicular fortitude. But that was alright. I’d seen and felt what 303km/h was all about – and it was pure and true. And mind-flushingly fast.
Buttoning off, 240 felt like 100…160 felt like 60…and the speed limit felt like walking pace.
I actually kissed the tank (not all that hard to do given the riding position) in respect.
My love for the MV Agusta marque is a badge I wear with pride. No other motorcycle brand fills me with such pornographic lust and no other motorcycle brand can touch the MV in terms of aspirational desire. An MV Agusta seems to be built for just this spiritual purpose.
That it is an immensely and insanely capable bike, no-one can argue. But there are many such bikes, all for a good deal less money. But they do not dare etch their abilities into the paint and thumb their noses at society’s nanny-state limits.
It is not a bike you can be lazy on. It’s not a bike you can be uncertain on. So it is certainly not a bike for people who fearfully sandpaper their new tyres.
But it is a bike that you can ride like no other.
And it is a bike that will show you things you’ve never seen before.
But you have to want to see them first.