‘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

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

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’

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