Thursday, December 8, 2016

Motorcycles in Barcelona

OK, here comes the much-awaited "Motorcycles in BCN" post!
If you REALLY REALLY don't care about motorcycles you could probably skip this one, but hey, you might be unexpectedly entertained!

Well, the first thing that needs to be said is that Barcelona really is a motorcycle town, as long as you consider that scooters are also motorcycles. And, as we shall see shortly, the line between "motorcycle" and "scooter" is a lot blurrier here than in the US.

Here is a pretty typical moto parking area, this one at Plaça Cataluña. I would say that at least 8 out of 10 motorized 2-wheeled vehicles here are scooters. Proper motorcycles are in the small minority. Of that remaining 20%, which are the proper motorcycles, I would say 3/4 are "street bikes", with the remaining 1/4, or 5% of the total, being dual sports of some kind, including super-moto. And I will also point out that probably one out of every 300 bikes here is a BMW K75, the same bike Christina rides in Taos. Those old K75s did well here.

But the range of "scooters" is impressive.

Here we see a 600cc BMW scooter.

And here are the police scooters. I think they are also 600cc. Suzuki makes a 650cc scooter called the Burgman. 400cc scooters are also common. But the vast majority are 50cc and 125cc. And speaking of 125cc...

125cc bikes are super common, and can be had in pretty much any style - rice rockets, super moto, naked, street, whatever. Here is a KTM125 Duke. 

The Suzuki VanVan is a neat little bike that I first saw in Israel. Fat tires, tiny tank, looks fun.

And a couple of customs. This type of modified bike is very rare here.

And a handful of super-motos, which are basically "dual-sport" bikes, or "enduros", with smaller wheels and street tires, thereby achieving a lowered stance. From the top, a Yamaha 125, a Rieju 250, and a KTM 640. Supermoto bikes are very much what I have my eye on these days, and I would be thrilled to have a bike like that KTM to zip around BCN on. These are, after all, very similar to the KTM full-fledged dual-sports I've been riding in Taos the last few years.

Last week I did finally have to scratch the 2-wheeler itch a little bit, and so I rented a 125cc Peugeot for a few days. Lots of fun, but also lots of traffic and waiting at red lights. The highlight was certainly a little trip I took up a mountain road in the Collserola, the mountain range that forms the northwest edge of Barcelona. The views were great, and it was fun to ride a curvy road once again.

And lastly, here's a neat little electric scooter for rent down by the port. Looks fun. Actually, it looks like it was fun to design. It's mostly just CNC milled plastic panels bolted to a basic welded frame, with small wheels and pretty nice bolt-on suspension components.

At some point soon I will have enough of my paperwork sorted out here in Barcelona to allow me to legally buy a bike of some sort. That ride up in the Collserola was enough proof, to me, that I would benefit greatly from having one. The only struggle then will be: Supermoto? Dual-sport? Or moped? Who will win, the dopamine-circuit or the pocket book?

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