Friday, January 11, 2013

Naming Your Motorcycle

Well it's always refreshing to ride a different motorcycle. The different seating position, the different weight, height and wheelbase, the different everything.

We picked up this 2006 Kawasaki Ninja 500R from a guy about 3 hours north of us. It had 11,000+ miles on it, but still looked and ran like new. It came with an extra windshield and a matching 3/4 helmet, for $2,400.00 USD.

2006 kawasaki ninja 500r

This bike, of course, is for Sash.

The idea of her riding it home entered my mind, but considering she hadn't ridden anything for the last several months, perhaps as much as a year, it probably wasn't a good idea. I did, however, offer to ride it to a parking lot somewhere and let her try it out, but it was already getting late and the temperatures were only going to get more chilly from here. So I rode it back home.

Sash named the bike, "Katie Scarlet", which apparently is the name that Scarlet O'Hara was called in Gone with the Wind. I suppose it's fitting, considering that's what Sash want to do (disappear into the wind).

I guess she didn't like my suggestion, "Rat Fingers".

So, in following up on my last article about the scratches and dings we collect on our motorcycles, and how they reflect memories and experiences of riding, the fact that many of us give names to our motorcycles suggest a next logical step, that they're real, live beings.

It probably took me a couple of years to name my Honda ST1300 "Blackbird", only because it took that long for me to feel a kinship to it. It wasn't until Sash asked me what name I had given it that I finally settled on a name.

"Blackbird", I told her.

"Oh, that's a nice name", she said. "Blackbird!".

"Yeah, but I'm reluctant to name it that, because Honda actually makes a bike called "Blackbird", and I don't want people to keep pointing that out.

But, I like the idea of my motorcycle being a bird, and it's colored black. So, Blackbird it became.

Sash, on the other hand, named her bike the moment we brought it home, without ever having ridden it yet. It was already her baby and little girl. Perhaps it has something to do with motherhood and unconditional love, who knows.

My Yamaha Road Star I had named, "Roadie". Not very original, I know.

My Ultra Classic Electra Glide I had named, "Battlecruiser". It was more a of joke in reference to all the electronics and fairings the Ultra comes with.

Somehow we as riders develop an emotional or spiritual connection to our motorcycles, whether it takes several years or just a few minutes.  For me, it's stems from the "we're in this together" mentality when we're on a lonely road, a hundred miles from the next town. I'm no more a master of my motorcycle as I am a slave.  I may control the throttle and turn the handle bars, but I depend on Blackbird to run reliably and get me where I want to go.

For that, there is a level of respect I have in her, and with that I gave her a name.

Anyway, the Ninja 500 should be a good starter bike for Sash.

If you follow Sash's Blog, you'll know more about it.


  1. I've only ever named a few vehicles for the simple reason that I've not really found something suitable for most of my bikes that also rolls of the tongue as easily as "the Honda" or "the Harley". Perhaps I should just give it some more thought.

  2. Im a woman and i named mine Cherry Popper because she's red and the fact that she's my first steet bike ;) before i even rode her once. My husband, on the other hand, has yet to name his.

  3. Is it OK to name your bike after a recently deceased friend?


About Steve

A vagabond who hauls a motorcycle around the country in a toy hauler, earning a living as a website developer. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, craft beer, and/or public nudity. (Read more...)