Day 5: To Istanbul!

I changed my mind. Ramazan is not as cool as it appears after 7:30 in the evening. It sucks to stay hungry all day. The ice-cream store where I had purchased my ice-cream yesterday was closed, and I hoped that it was not because of my yesterday’s behavior. After some futile attempts to find some food, I went to the “otopark” to meet Cenghiz and arrange my departure. Cenghiz was in his booth. He opened Google Translator.

“How do you like Turkey?”

“Nice country to ride a motorcycle, I am definitely coming back, maybe with friends!”

“With Allah’s will!”

“Don’t you wanna visit Armenia?”

He hesitated for a minute.

“If your motorcycle crashes in Erzurum, I help you. Mahmet helps you. All good people will help you. God created us all with love and to love. I do this not for you but for God. If I come to Armenia and crash, I don’t know what will happen to me.”

I wanted to say that it would not be a problem, but somehow remained silent. I knew I would help any motorcyclist in trouble. Biker’s code. He waited for an answer, then sighed and gave me his “tesbih”. “Hediye!” — gift!

Then we heard Mahmet’s motorcycle outside. I went out to speak with Mahmet, and Cenghiz disappeared with his affairs. Mahmet turned out to be an Enduro enthusiast. We talked about BMW R1200GS, BMW F800 and F650, KTM and Varadero, and agreed that sportbikes suck butt.

“Istanbul is big, there is no way you will not find your part there for the price that you want. Istanbul is great!”

“I hope you are right, Mahmet!.. And I am kinda hungry now”

“Aaa yes, in Erzurum very traditional! No yemek in Ramazan! But in Istanbul, you can eat, everyone can eat when they want!”


“Police in Istanbul ride BMW R1200GSes,” he sighed. “Here in Erzurum only Honda CBF.”

“Why don’t you go to Istanbul, Mahmet?”

“4 more years here and then I can!” he sounded like he really craved that. “All Police wish to be in Istanbul. Only the best can…”

Another policeman joined our conversation.

“Where are you from?”

“Ermeni,” said Mahmet before I could

“Aaa… What motorcycles do the police ride in Ermenistan?”

“They don’t ride motorcycles…”


“I don’t know, they probably don’t know how to ride motorcycles or don’t really like motorcycles”

“Which police do you think is better?”

“I don’t know”

“But we ride motorcycles. We like motorcycles!” he laughed

I smiled. “That gives you the edge! But the drivers are much better in Armenia!”

“Oh yes, traffic in Turkey bad, very bad, huh!”

“Lets go now, so that we aren’t late again”

We went to the bus terminal with Cenghis and Mahmet, put the motorcycle in the bus’s luggage compartment, and I left to Istanbul.

At that point I felt like I knew exactly how to build a great Police service. Take charismatic decent-looking men and women with nice manners. Teach them English. Never forgive impoliteness. Make them work out. Demand that they consistently go out of their ways to help others. Ensure that they believe they are serving a good cause. Serving “the light”. Even if that means they are brainwashed. There is no way people will not trust them then. There is absolutely no way you will not trust a person who rides your motorcycle with a broken throttle grip to a terminal so fast, endangering his life, just so that you don’t miss your bus.

How do you find people like this?

I have no idea.

So you dream of a motorcycle

It started with a sexy next-year sportbike model that caught your eye online or in the street. You started wanting one badly. Generally the black one.

2011 Ducati 848 Evo
2011 Ducati 848 Evo

You suddenly began noticing and hearing every motorcycle in the street, and with time your plans started shaping up. But then so did your thought process. You started “getting real”!

What if you get married and make ~40 babies? Even now, you already have a family that needs to be driven somewhere every now and then. You couldn’t ride your mom to a hair saloon on a motorcycle now, could you? Of course not!

More than the need to drive them around is the need to convince them you are going to ride. Of course, you could do that! You have the authority, you are self–sufficient and your word matters! But you calm yourself down — it’s just too much hassle… you respect your elders, you don’t wanna make daddy a sad panda!

Afterall, you also need to haul around some luggage sometimes. Heavy suitcases, personal computers, pillows, blankets, construction materials, livestock and nuclear warheads.

What about the winter? You can’t ride a motorcycle in the winter! Argh!

And you want to be safe. You want to be able to make mistakes. Airbags and crash tests!

Comfort is important to you. Who doesn’t like the good familiar bass line streaming out of the subwoofer, along with the flow of hot or cool air? Climate control! You want to be able to control the climate around you!

The apparel. What, you’ll need to purchase and wear special equipment to ride? But you love wearing your slippers out!

You love vehicle maintenance! Greasy hands are sexy in the music videos! But seriously, changing your oil and the brake pads, cleaning your carburetor and configuring the clutch, that’s more effort than watching a video!

The motorcycle has no doors. I mean of course, you’ve seen it has no doors, but whew — really? No doors? What if someone steals it? These are hard times we’re living in!

Then of course the parts! No motorcycle is an Opel Vectra, where would you order the parts? UK? USA? You get online for that? Uh!

How much fuel per 100 kilometers? 7 liters? Hey that’s almost like a car! I mean, my friend’s Cherokee burns only like 14! Nah, not when he’s pushing it of course. Still!

Finally comes the neighbor who knows someone who knows someone else who has heard of someone’s relative telling about his wife’s colleague’s lover’s neighbor dying in a motorcycle accident in 1981 on an unknown motorcycle. “I mean, the brains were all over the place!” he adds. The other neighbor confirms his words with a thoughtful nod.

And so you buy a car. Something reasonably aged, but not too old. Something you can convince yourself and the others is the coolest car one could ever own. You’re certainly planning to travel with it just as you would travel on a motorcycle, so you make sure it has a 4WD differential lock and throw in a sleeping bag into the trunk. “2011 X6?? Are you fucking kidding me? I would never ever ever change my 2001 Toyota RAV4 for that shit! My car is truly offroad and totally stylish, while X6 is just a pile of junk for wussies! I mean you can’t even ride X6 on worn tarmac, let alone gravel! Who buys that shit?! It doesn’t even look that good!” Some around you argue. Some nod. What matters is your feeling of self–righteousness.

Toyota RAV4
Toyota RAV4



Of course, you will get a motorcycle. Someday. Now is a little tense, financially. The stock market is going down. It is just not the right time.

You pick a date that is reasonably far away not to require any actions today, but sounds close nevertheless. Sounds to who? To yourself of course! Two or three years. Then it’ll be yours. You pick a model out of the blue — say, a Triumph Rocket III. There’s a dude standing in the promo poster that totally looks like what you would want to look.

2010 Triumph Rocket III Roadster

“This shit is my favorite motorcycle!”, you tell your friends. Of course you’ve never even seen one on TV, just the Internet. “2,300 cubic centimeters! That’s 2,3 liters in the car slang! But I can totally speak cc’s!” You learn all the specifications of this motorcycle by heart and set it as your wallpaper for a couple of weeks, before the next cool game comes out or the next awesome abstract wallpaper is published on DeviantArt.

It is pretty much sealed — you will probably never ride.


Finally, after an enormously long break, I am back to motorcycling and of course my blog. After some storm, everything is getting back to amazing — and this certainly includes my life as well as the weather. I am back to my life and motorcycling with great ideas, great plans and great hopes. Some of these are so great that I contemplate and breathe them every minute of my daily routine. My following posts will cover these. The winter was relatively grim, as it is for every motorcyclist, but the perspective looks brighter than ever from where I stand.

And oh I already took my bike out of the winter storage. Riding in Yerevan, on February 17th. The air was chilly but the overall experience wasn’t as bad as during my last riding day on December 3rd. Only 76 days of not riding a motorcycle during the entire year in Armenia. How cool is that?!

Sweet Gloves

Spilled a whole glass of Coca-Cola with ice on my brilliant Spidi gloves from Italy (:*) while dining. The gloves have the “do not wash in any way” sign. Luckily no coke got inside of the gloves. However, they’re now sticking to the handlebar. Gross. Damn it.

On the other hand, now I have a bullet-proof argument as to why exactly I think my leather gloves are so sweet! Take that!

Why Ducati Monster Owns Honda CBF

“The Monster 796 is the perfect synthesis between sports performances, aesthetics and daily riding pleasure. Cared for in each single detail, it is the ideal bike for each riding style and represents the utmost evolution of the Monster family.”


Despite the differences, these motorcycles are essentially aimed at the same crowd: young urban dudes who want style, performance and daily commute (at our age it’s always a matter of a choice between a car and a motorcycle; both together are very rarely an option). For all these young dudes who want something more stylish (yes, more stylish!) and more fun (that’s right!) than a plastic sportbike, all major motorcycle manufacturers have something to offer. All these offers are generally within the 500cc and 800cc range naked streetfighters with upright riding position, have a good performance engine and stylish design.

Honda has two ideas of that for 2011. First is Honda Hornet, which is pretty cool looking but is not very practical due to its very low ground clearance (might as well get a CBR600) and limited accessories options. It’s awesome if you want to ride around cafes, but what if you encounter a little gravel?

Second is Honda CBF600, a 600cc 4-cylinder naked motorcycle that is fantastic in every way.

2011 Honda CBF600
2011 Honda CBF600

Until you see what Ducati is offering.

2011 Ducati Monster 796
2011 Ducati Monster 796

Oh my God! Now take a look at numbers!

Ducati Monster 796Honda CBF600
Engine Size796cc600cc
Power87 hp (64 kW) @ 8250 rpm76.43 HP (55.8 kW)) @ 10500 RPM
Ground Clearance150mm130mm

OK, you say, the numbers are good, the looks are definitely awesome but it’s a Ducati against Honda, and this means thousands of dollars of price difference! Ducati is the “elite” motorcycle for the posh guys (who have both a motorcycle and a car), and Honda has always been there as an affordable alternative to the European motorcycles! How much more would the italian beauty cost than its cheap japanese counterpart? And that’s where the whole point of this post comes in:

2011 Ducati Monster 796: ~$9,950
2011 Honda CBF600: ~$9,000

Question: would you pay 10% extra to ride a motorcycle that is sexier, faster, lighter, more powerful, taller, has a better build quality, is hand-made in Italy and has “Ducati” written over it?

[pe2-gallery class=”gallery aligncenter” ] M 796_10S_LM-Imola-72_C01S [1200x800].jpgM 796_10S_LM-Ducati-Corse_C01S [1200x800].jpgM 796_10S_B_C01S [1920x1280].jpgM 796_10S_LM-IOM78_C01S [1200x800].jpgM 796_10S_LM-Ducati-Sport-100_C01S [1200x800].jpgM 796_10S_LM-Pantah_C01S [1200x800].jpgM 796_10S_CT-Giallo_C01S [1200x800].jpgM 796_10S_LM-Ducati-Mach-1_C01S [1200x800].jpgM 796_10S_W_C01S [1920x1280].jpgM 796_10S_CT-Lilla_C01S [1200x800].jpgM 796_10S_LM-Darmah_C01S [1200x800].jpgM 796_10S_R_C01S [1920x1280].jpgM 796_10S_CT-Arancione_C01S [1200x800].jpg[/pe2-gallery]

Note: Gallery pictures are extremely sexy and high-res, check the spectacular stock paint job of each one of these Monsters!