‘I’M BUYING IT TO LEARN TO DO WHEELIES IN THE BACK ALLEY’
Punk rock star talks stunt riding and why he wants to build a 125cc rat bike
How did you get into bikes?
I learned how to ride dirt bikes when I was really young, but never had my own. I got into motorcycles through my girlfriend because she grew up riding. I think I had a month off from touring and it was probably the first time I had time to ride a motorcycle.
And how long ago was that?
I ended up doing my learner’s permit for three years because I was on tour so often. I started riding around 2009. I grew up snowboarding, skateboarding and riding BMX bikes. The feeling I get from snowboarding is the same when I’m riding motorcycles, but I can do it anywhere, even on tour.
So what was your first bike?
I got a Suzuki LS650, which is the single cylinder 650. We call them ‘mom choppers’. They’re super-light and awesome, they’re great bikes to learn on. I destroyed mine. I rode it so hard and did massive trips, which isn’t really what it’s meant for. From there I thought, ‘I’m never home, I don’t know how to work on bikes and I need to get a bike that works’. Luckily I was in a position where I could buy a brand new Triumph. So I got a 2011 Scrambler, which was crazy, especially to be coming from a punk background and living in our van. To actually afford a motorcycle was such a huge deal and I still have that bike.
What else have you had?
I’ve got a two-stroke Kawasaki KDX220 trail bike. I crash it all the time, I feel that’s kind of the fun of trail riding, and you should bail at least a couple of times in a day. So now we’ve had the summer off and I’ve been going out once or twice a week dirt biking. I also have a Honda XR80. I was trying to learn how to do wheelies and bought it on the east coast of Canada. I bought it from an 11-year-old who told me he’s selling it so that he can buy something bigger. I was like, ‘Right. I’m 35, I’m buying it so I can learn to do wheelies in the back alley’. I’ve since destroyed that bike – it’s definitely seized.
So you’ve got a project bike?
Yeah, the Honda XR and a Suzuki GM125 that I’m learning to clean-up. It’s been sat in a garage for about four years and at the moment it’s like troubleshooting; clean the carb, that didn’t work. Change the fuel filter, OK that’s got it going. I’m finally having time to earn my mechanic’s stripes. I got inspired to work on this 125 after coming to the UK and seeing what Mutt Motorcycles and the VCC girls are doing with 125s. Everyone has these cool rat bikes. That scene doesn’t exist in Toronto at all, so I wanna make this dirty rat-bike 125.
Is it easy to ride and tour?
I try to make it fit. It makes everything more fun. Not like touring ever gets boring, but there are times when I think, ‘OK, this is something that’s completely different’. To let rip on your day off is sick. When I meet someone who also rides we’ll hook this up and go riding together.
Are bikes and music linked?
I feel it all crosses over and is connected. In the same way that I feel that punk rock and skateboarding are linked. I think a lot of people who used to skate are still looking for that kind of feeling but are older and maybe a little bit less in shape than they were when they were 20.
What’s your favourite bike?
I feel like I’m still so new to it so I’m really open to trying a lot of different bikes. As much as I love big touring and want to go on bigger trips, I’m still hesitant to get into some of the big enduro-style bikes. I like the feeling of it being sketchy or kinda dangerous, but I like riding smaller bikes. Maybe I just don’t see the same connection when I look at something huge. Even my KDX seems to be tall. I rode a Kawasaki KLR650 in Mexico and it was like riding this huge beast of a bike.
Cormier knows no self-respecting rockstar is complete without a motorcycle
‘Buying this bike new was a big deal’ ‘I bought it to learn wheelies’