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Hi folks,

I thought I would share a report of a near accident I had on the Honda CTX700 DCT a couple years ago. This was my first adult motorcycle, bought when I turned 60. For those of you who are not familiar with it, the DCT has an automatic transmission and lacks a clutch lever.

My spouse was with me riding on the pillion, and we went over a speed bump in the parking lot of the local QFC grocery. The frame high-centered on the bump with a pretty good bang. I was thrown off balance by the impact, and in pulling myself and the bike up to vertical, i pulled on the throttle. The result was an uncontrolled careen across the parking lot for 25 feet or so until I had sufficient balance that I could let go. Happily we did not hit anything. I had the bike checked over later and indeed there was damage to both the frame and oil pan, but nothing requiring immediate repair.

Lesson learned was to avoid large speed bumps to the extent possible, especially when riding tandem. I got so I was very aware of the layout of all our local strip malls. When I could not avoid them I would bring the bike to a full stop and walk it over the bump, feet down on pavement so that the bike was partially unweighted.

This month I took the next safety step and traded in the Honda for a Suzuki DL650 V-Strom. The taller bike with stiffer suspension soaks up the bumps better. My spouse already reports she far prefers the ride. And the addition of a clutch lever means that if I ever accidentally twist the throttle or catch it with an edge of my glove, the bike does not go anywhere. Plus the Suzuki came with a skid plate installed!

The transition to the Suzuki was pretty easy, as the new bike has similar weight and power to the Honda. Took me a day or two to remember how to use a clutch. I had a dirt bike as a teenager -- it is surprising that skills learned nearly 50 years ago can come back again!

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