Torque of normality

Two perfectly normal rides reflect on each other’s abnormalities
Two perfectly normal rides reflect on each other’s abnormalities

Far Island Fox Hunt: On seeking a normal state of tune.

It’s two months now since I began to tamper with my idle. To my usual fuel intake I have, as advised, injected some additives, about 40mg daily of antidepressant in fact. During this time I’ve been doing a bit of charting; plotting highs and lows, taking note of anything that might upset my handling. All fairly standard but quite informative stuff that’s available here and there. My tuning specialist (cycologist?) has me at present playing with the first of those two and it’s raised a quite curious and personal challenge.

Now I like a good dyno chart, but I’m all torque as you may expect, with power an annoyingly variable factor. On a real dyno chart we see a couple of lines that present these values for the standard machine, then, we might see them overlayed with those of a much modified example. In response, a healthy mind will drift into finding ways to convince our significant other such a modification is vital for our own machine. Yet I find myself stuck on this concept of standard performance.

Each of us is bespoke design, a unique build with both genetic and conditioned performance values. And that for me is the big issue with the little line streaking right across the middle of my chart and marked “normal”. What, in the sweet name of overhead combustion, is “normal”? I for one am damned if I know.

My mate Peter rides an old BMW R100RT. I don’t think he’ll mind me saying he’s a few years on me and I’m sure he won’t mind me saying he’s not near as hypomanic as I can be.  In fact (arguably) there’s nothing abnormal about Peter at all, and certainly there’s nothing abnormal about his BMW tourer. But place that old RT out on the Tanami Road and there’s plenty who will suggest that’s not normal at all, and yet, it is. Now that’s a bit philosophical huh?

I recently rode about 2000km alongside Peter all through NSW and Victoria and we took in pretty average conditions as well as a bit of torrential rainfall (much of which we donated to the floor of Tamworth’s Powerhouse Motorcycle Museum in exchange for coffee). Although both of our rides are markedly different in purpose both handled the experiences with aplomb. It’s what you’d normally expect on a ride of that distance and geography.

But supposing we’re riding Peter’s bike outside of what it might normally expect, we find ourselves for whatever reason perplexingly committed to a solo crossing of the Sandover Highway, what the hell. You’re making good progress when all of a sudden your cycologist leaps out from behind some spinifex (as they do) and asks if the old BMW is handling normally. Of course you’re much too polite to strike them for stuffing your momentum so you pause for a moment before answering “yes, perfectly” before paddling off in a weaving motion towards the horizon.

Actually, I’ve decided I’m going to tick the normal box for every day. Not feeling quite normal I reckon is quite normal for me.

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