Lust stretching right back to my teenage years was enough to convince me to accept his offer.
But I was also interested to see if the hefty price tag of $32,990 plus on-road costs is justified.
Before departing, James tells me the ECU update has taken some of the lumpiness and grumpiness out of the engine, particularly when cold or ridden at low speeds.
However, we let it idle for a few minutes to warm up, just in case.
As we head out into busy morning traffic I am pleasantly surprised at how tame and manageable it feels.
However, when we turn the Commando 961 forks toward Mt Glorious, it lets rip with a maniacal yelp and plenty of bite from the 961cc parallel twin pushrod engine with 60kW of power and 80Nm of torque.
They are not world-leading figures, but there is a tone and character to this engine that is absolutely delightful and infectious.
The engine throbs and purrs with the best induction roar since Samson slayed that recalcitrant lion.
At idle, the twin pipes burble delightfully but their note is lost in the induction roar as you power on. So it entertains the rider, rather than alarming the general public.
We press on into the hills and the Commando 961 tingles my fingers, my feet and the antennae-like wing mirrors — if I could afford one, the first thing I would do is ditch those mirrors for bar-end units.
Handling duties are managed by Ohlins forks and shocks, so it’s predictable, sharp, precise and firm, but with a compliant ride over the harsh bumps.
A perfect, neutral handling bike with light steering and a joy to throw around S-bends.
However, I feel a strange disconnect with the bike. Not emotionally, but physically … in the seat of my pants!
I soon realise it’s due to the shape and design of the narrow-fronted seat and scalloped tank.
The seat is comfortable and fits me well, but my knees are too far forward and underneath the indents on the tank.
Consequently my knees are hanging out in the breeze rather than gripping the tank.
I move my rear rearward and it feels better, but still a little strange.
As we slice through the corners, I tap-dance on the gearshift and find the gears as slick as many Japanese motorcycles.
In fact, unless you watch the green neutral light flick off, you wouldn’t know you had selected first gear it is that smooth and quiet.
There are only five gears but with hefty midrange torque, you don’t really need to mess around with a lot of cog swapping.
In fact, I use only three gears up and down Mt Glorious.
Yet you can also short shift and cruise around in top gear even on city roads.
The Commando 961 is a bike that will accommodate any style of riding and reward in a responsive and entertaining way.