Published on November 6th, 2019 | by Boris0
THE GORILLA FILES – Dino meets Gorilla Guts
Dino finally came to visit me. Which was a great thing because I love Dino and I miss him since he moved to the north coast of NSW.
One of the reasons I love Dino – and there are many – is because he is one of the fastest, if not THE fastest riders I have ever seen. He used to race BEARS quite successfully, and on a road bike is quite without peer. I have chased him, briefly, over the years, and no matter what I am riding, or how hard I am trying, he invariably disappears, only to wait up the road, a massive grin on his face.
But it is not an “Eat my shit, loser!” grin. It is a grin which defines Dino – and he is all about laughter and going fast without ever putting slower riders down.
His grin wavered a bit when he beheld Gorilla Guts in my garage.
“What’s that?” he asked, peering at it intently.
“That is the new Yamaha Super Ténéré XT1200ZE,” I replied. “The only bike on earth with its own set of monkey bars.”
“It’s awesome,” he said.
I nodded. “It is. Awesome like a matte black war-boot crunching over the bones of its enemies and flinging the shards into the sky.”
The next morning, Dino and I set off for Mt Royal National Park, which is just up the road from where I live.
He let me go first only because he doesn’t know where he is going.
I set a Christian pace on the tarmac, which Dino easily matched, as I knew he would. He was astride an ancient, noisy, and rather over-stressed GS 800, shod with near-dead Shinko tyres and an ancient Chinese can which made it sound like a damaged buzzsaw. Dino doesn’t mind riding bizarre and worn-out motorcycles on awful tyres. He says they keep him interested as they constantly try to murder him and he constantly tries to resist being murdered. Does it slow him down? Does it shit. Two weeks later he was rounding up fast boys on Multistradas on the Oxley Highway.
This weekend he was sitting in my mirrors as we made our way past Lake St Clair and headed up into the hills on the other side.
Gorilla Guts is actually a superb touring bike. A true mile-eater, which is just as capable on the road as it is off. Linked brakes, bulk torque, and the ability to carry a house on its back while still behaving like a motorcycle. It’s not light at 265kg wet, but while some might view this heft as a negative on dirt, it is actually quite comforting on the road in terms of presence. Gorilla Guts in Matte Black Hate is one hell of an imposing motorcycle. The weight also incentivises me greatly not to crash on the dirt, so it’s win-win for me there.
It’s comfortable, the electronic suspension (set to Standard) just wafts you over bumps, and because it’s a monstrous 1200, it picks up its black skirts and gets along right sharpish. Sure, the paddle-wheel Pirelli Scorpion dirt-rubber make it interesting in corners, but having seen Dino grinding his sidestand away (yes, seriously) on old Shinkos, I was confident.
The road into Mt Royal is good dirt, which gradually turns into less good dirt and then ultimately begins to resemble something from Erzberg.
I stopped way before it did that. Dino did not need the added burden of waiting for the Westpac Rescue chopper as well as trying to winch 265kgs of Super Ténéré out of a canyon.
We enjoyed a spirited run up the hill, and while the Scorpions may not be the optimum road tyre, they are excellent in the loose stuff. And the way Gorilla Guts provides power is always controllable and predictable. Which is good. It’s a lot of bike to ride on the ragged edge.
I followed Dino for a bit – an exercise which is historically fraught with peril. I followed him over a cliff at Binacrombi once. But this time there were no cliffs.
When we stopped for a breather, our conversation turned to our good fortune in having moved away from the city. The birds sang, the wind soughed through the trees, the bikes ticked cooling down, and we were both smiley-faced.
“That is such a lot of bike,” Dino said, as he watched me clamber onto its back.
“Shut up,” I growled. “I’m being as graceful as I can be.”
Just so you know, the Super Ten is not the tallest of the Adventure bike line up. It’s kind of in the middle (and you can get it in two seat heights 845mm and 870mm), but when you put the panniers on, you need to be able to heave your leg up over them, or you’ll tear chunks of your shin out. Or do as I do and just get on it like a horse, ie. Foot on the stirrup/peg, and on you go.
On the way down the mountain, we almost died through no fault of our own. An oncoming car towing a boat had lost a wheel on the trailer. The ensuing apocalypse showered us both with torn-up bitumen; Dino more so than me, despite the fact I was in front. Big tick for the excellent protection the Super Ten offers in terms of wide tank and adjustable screen.
Back home, I offered Dino beer to salve the bruising on his arms from the kicked-up bitumen, but he was more concerned about the damage to his new helmet.
“Look what he’s done to it!” he wailed.
“Do you need me to hug you?” I asked.
That’s the only time you’ll ever see fear in Dino’s eyes.