Archive for August, 2013

Getting There Faster?

Thursday, August 29th, 2013
Fast motorcycle

Yes, we know that bike goes fast.

I was in my car on my way to work Tuesday when a guy on a sportbike blasted past me and a bunch of other folks as well. We were on west 6th Avenue, which is a freeway, so we weren’t going slowly, but he wanted to go faster. With the fairly thick morning commute traffic this meant that he was doing some serious weaving in and around a lot of cars and trucks.

I watched him go and wondered if he was just having a good time or if he was in a hurry.

Back when I was first getting into riding my friend John gave me what I have always considered a terrific bit of advice. He told me that weaving in and out like that was a dangerous thing to do and the best thing I could do in traffic was to stay put so that the guy in back of me and the guy in front of me both knew I was there. Of course, that still leaves the people on either side who are only there momentarily and may decide–without looking–that they want your lane. That’s a whole other issue.

Still, zipping in and out like that can be fun, and you have the speed and the agility to do it on a sportbike. So I hoped the guy was having fun.

It wasn’t long and he was out of sight up ahead and I forgot about him. Then I got off at the Union/Simms exit and there he was, waiting for the light. The light turned and we all turned south onto Union and once again he wove in and around the other traffic. Four blocks later, at 2nd Avenue, we got stopped by a red light and I was right behind him. Then he turned off at 1st.

The point here, in my mind, was that for all his zipping and weaving and efforts to get ahead, he hadn’t accomplished a thing that I hadn’t also accomplished by taking it easy and just staying put in one lane. And to the extent that it is a risk to ride like that, he had put himself a lot more at risk in the process. Again, I hoped he was at least partially doing it because it was fun, because it sure didn’t get him where he was going any faster.

What I did notice when I pulled up behind him was that the bike was new, with a dealer tag still on it. That tends to support the idea that he was doing it because it was fun, but it also suggests he may be an inexperienced rider. That’s not a good combination. We’ll wish him luck and hope he lives long enough to look back and shake his head about the silly things he did a long time ago.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
OFMC heads home, more dirt en route

Biker Quote for Today

New bike beats having medical issues hands down!

A Story About Zeros

Monday, August 26th, 2013
Zero Electic Motorcycles

These old (now) Zeros were the first I ever rode. This was several years ago and they've just gotten better.

I hate it when I get so busy that I miss out on things I wanted to do. That happened this weekend when in the middle of Saturday afternoon I was plowing through old emails I had put aside to get back to when I had the time. I opened one from Grand Prix Motorsports and it was announcing a demo days event on Friday and Saturday, with the opportunity to ride some Zero electric motorcycles.

I’ve ridden Zeros before but they keep getting better and I definitely wanted to check out the latest ones. Rats. I guess in the future I need to at least put things on my calendar as soon as I hear about them.

Zeros have been of continuing interest to me in more ways than one. I was working on a story for Rider magazine recently and one particular Zero was at the center of it.

It started out that I approached Rider editor Mark Tuttle about doing a piece on Craig Vetter and his Craig Vetter Fuel Economy Challenge. Mark was interested so I spoke with Craig and it turned out the timing was really good. This year’s Vetter Challenge was coming up shortly at the Vintage Motorcycle Days event the American Motorcyclist Association puts on each year in Ohio and Craig was very excited about one particular entrant.

Craig had been working with Terry Hershner, prepping Terry’s Zero S to ride cross-country. Craig was handling the streamlining that would enable Terry’s electrical power to carry him further, while Terry was amping up the electrics, adding extra batteries and charging units. By the time they got done Terry could go 150 miles or more at 75 mph between charges and, with the proper charging units, could recharge in an hour. Craig figured Terry was going to be a break-out winner in the Vetter Challenge and what a momentous event that was going to be.

So I wrote the piece and sent it to Mark, Craig provided some photos, and all we were waiting for was the event. After it was over I was going to add a couple follow-up paragraphs and Rider was going to run with the piece.

Then Mark and I both got an email from Craig: Terry’s wheel bearings had gone out on him on his way to Ohio. Originally built to carry a weight close to 500 pounds, with all the extra gear Terry had been running with more than 1,000 pounds. The wheel bearings had taken all they could. Terry would not be competing in Ohio. And Rider would not be running the piece, at least not at that time.

Can you say frustrating?

All is not lost, however. The next Vetter event takes place in California in October, and we’re counting on Terry being there. Of course this means I’m going to need to rewrite the piece a bit; a lot of it was focused on the (then) upcoming Ohio event. Oh well. Mark said he plans to run the piece right away on the website and then run a further revised and updated version of it in the magazine sometime next summer.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
OFMC day three brings a patch of dirt

Biker Quote for Today

Been there, broke that.

Once More, Weird Stuff On The Road

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013
Burros in Oatman

In Oatman, AZ, you share the road with burros.

You can tell I’m either feeling lazy or uninspired–or maybe just in a humorous mood–when I fall back on this ADV thread: “What is the strangest thing you hit/almost hit?” But I am, so I must be one of those three.

So here we go once again into the wacky world of the stuff you don’t want to encounter.

  • Late one night I was heading north on the 405 in Lake Forest, riding in the car pool lane. I have no idea what happened on the south side, but a car wheel came bouncing over the freeway divider and bounced not more than 10 feet in front of me. I was probably about half a mile up the road before I was able to clearly comprehend what had happened.
  • Ridin’ along with a group of friends and we are bored just covering miles. We started playing “Catch” with an imaginary ball. I “Toss” the Ball to my Bud Mario and he stands up on the Pegs and “Catches” it. We were going past a golf course and he had in Reality CAUGHT a Golf BALL!
  • Big wet wad of chewing tobacco right on my left shoulder with spray over my jacket and helmet. I do not like following pickups to this day. That was 40 years ago. It may have been different if it was my brand.
  • Kitchen Table, between Bismark and Fargo. Car in front of me swerved and there it was….
  • Riding along under the Gardiner Expressway in Toronto a couple of decades back in December after a snow, and the snowplow on the elevated section above me pushed a real nice windrow of snow off the edge of the expressway onto my lane. Got stopped, but it took awhile and I was horizontal. No injury, minor scuffing.
  • Hit in chest by an exploding boat trailer tire as it passed me going the opposite direction. Ouch!
  • During a group ride in the Fingerlakes region of NY a friend on a VTR ran over a squirrel, it stuck to his tire and was flung up in the air over the guy behind him only to land flat and soggy in my lap.
  • Of course the scariest was the time I was following a pickup with a shell camper on it – the shell flew off and I swear it went over my head. On the other hand I believe my helmet was buried in the gas tank as I tried to hide behind the bikini fairing on the GPz550 so I didn’t actually see it go over my head – wonder how much protection that would have been?
  • Meeting a smallish farm tractor, noticed it wobble and the rear wheel came off and rolled across in front of me.
  • I rode through Portland just to take a look around and find a place to update my website. I was downtown in traffic, going about 30 mph lost in a strange city when a gust of wind picked up a newspaper page from the curb and wrapped it around my helmet. My thought was “oh no deadly cartoon moment!”. Coming to a stop blind in moving traffic was interesting as was the looks on the faces of people on sidewalk.

Yow! I’ll be happy to get through life without those sorts of experiences. But here’s one I did experience.

This was back in about January and I was in my car, not on a bike, but I was getting ready to go south on I-25 off of 6th Avenue. In the lane to my left just ahead of me was a pick-up with a load of logs these guys had probably spent the day cutting and trimming the limbs off. Then the tailgate gave way and almost all the logs poured out on the highway, right to my left. The guy right behind these guys was in a high-clearance four-wheel-drive and he had no choice but to go right over several of them. He was lucky he was able to.

The guys pulled over and secured the few remaining logs and took off in a hurry. I’m sure they wanted to get gone quick in case someone got hurt and they were held responsible.

So yeah, we don’t really need reminders, but do be careful out there. You never know what kind of craziness is just around the corner.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
OFMC heads for the slopes

Biker Quote for Today

“Me and gravity, we are really, really good friends.” – Streetbike Tommy

Pokorny and Crew Set Records at Bonneville

Monday, August 19th, 2013
Jerry Pokorny and bike at speed week

Jerry Pokorny with a bike he ran at Speed Week in 2010.

This piece pretty much wrote itself. I just watched as the emails came in.

You may recall me writing about Jerry Pokorny before, or you may know him. Jerry is connected with the British Motorcycle Association of Colorado (BMAC) and he owns quite a few old bikes. In the past few years he has made it out to Utah each year to take a crack at setting land speed records on the salt flats on various of his bikes.

This year’s event is just over and here are some emails I received.

August 11 —
Good news – Bmac teams of George N, John Stoner and Jerry are in the Impound area tonight after qualifying for different Land Speed Records. Tomorrow we are all out before daylight to get in line to run at daybreak. With a little luck and some guidance from Sherm we expect to set three new records tomorrow.

But that’s not all! Frank and Ray will be then following for another record with the Sherminator and George and John will also be going after additional recods later in the week. And Jack Begman is working hard tto get his bike a little faster to reclaim his record so this is going to be quite a week for the BMAC.

Stay tuned, more to follow.

Carpe Diem,

Whiskyman

August 12 —
Great news from the Salt. BMAC teams have set 3 new land speed records. John stoner on Salt Flats Sally, George on his Triumph and Jerry on the Sherminator all are now in the record books. Ray Puckett is in impound tonight (a good thing) and will be running at dawn tomorrow for another BMAC record. Jack Bergman made a great showing but not quite fast enough to regain his record. Now he has retired for the year with a bent valve. And we still have days to go and might see even more records fall.

full details pending – stay tuned!

Whiskyman

August 12 —
John Stoner burned a hole in the piston of his Honda SL 175 making his record run today. He needs a replacement FAST. We only have a few days left here on the salt so we need to see if somebody can overnight one to him RIGHT NOW. No time to order on line so if anybody has one floating around and can help please contact John – his address is in the cc.

Thanks in advance,

jerry

August 16 —
This will give you an idea of what it’s like “racing on the surface of the moon” :>)
Bonneville Speed Week 2013

Following is video from John Stoner’s second run for his record on Salt Flats Sally, and Raymond Puckett’s rookie run on the BMAC Sherminator. These were taken with the GoPro helmet video. Please send out to the BMAC members and thank them for their support!!!

Frank Puckett

Johns run

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-zo_Hw2e-k&feature=youtube_gdata_player

My run

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGTq8i29Lmo&feature=youtube_gdata_player

August 18 —
http://scta-bni.org/Bonneville/SpeedWeek%202013/BonnCertifiedRecords.pdf

Colorado Springs area Teams setting World Land Speed Records include bike’s numbers:

194B
286B (Sherminator)
3286B (Sherminator)
679B
6779B
735B

And our friends from Wales shattered the 125cc vintage records with their BSA Bantams:

375B
376B
3751B

What an awesome year!

A big thanks to all our sponsor for helping us achieve these records! Note the photo of the Sherminator fairing – Advertisers and Sherm on board for all the runs! He was an inspiration!

Whiskyman

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
The OFMC gets wet

Biker Quote for Today

They say never ride faster than your Guardian Angel can fly. Given my luck, I wanna know if the bitch is drunk or on a smoke break.

Biker Quotes List Unpublished by Examiner

Thursday, August 15th, 2013
Unpublished on Examiner

Unpublished on Examiner.

For five years now I have written for Examiner.com as their National Motorcycle Examiner, though of late I’ve been doing a minimum of work for them. Here’s an example of why.

I was putting up an article recently and found that when I filtered my content list for just the unpublished pieces there was more than the one I was working on. Turns out someone down there in their infinite wisdom decided to unpublish a piece I put up in 2010, presumably because it contained objectionable material. Now? After all this time? And what was objectionable about it?

So I’m going to republish it right here and let you see if you can figure out what they decided they didn’t like.

Only a biker knows . . .: Motorcycle wit and wisdom, #15

Dang, those bikers are quotable. It all started with the line, “Only a biker knows why a dog sticks its head out the window” and now we’re back with out 15th batch of amusing, sometimes thought-provoking, frequently dead-on biker quotes. Enjoy.

  • You ain’t livin’ unless you’re livin’ on the edge.
  • Bounce like you’ve got hydraulics in your G-string.
  • Never look where you are going, always look where you want to go.
  • On a motorcycle, you’re penetrating distance right along with the machine. In a car, you’re just a spectator; the windshield’s like a TV. — Von Dutch
  • If it’s too loud you’re too old.
  • You’re a biker wannabe if you spit out the bug that just flew in your mouth.
  • Some people ride to enjoy life, some ride to travel, and some people ride to bars.
  • Don’t die wondering, die wandering.
  • Adventure is not the road we travel, it’s the obstacles we overcome.
  • At the end of the day, you’ve still got to twist that throttle.
  • Gravity: Obeying the law is for pussies.
  • I don’t know, it’s kinda weird, but the constant chest pains seem to go away when I let the clutch out on my bike.
  • Scars are tattoos with better stories!
  • Remember kiddies, bikers have more fun than people.
  • Remember when sex was safe and motorcycles were dangerous?
  • If motorcycles are not allowed in heaven then I’ll ride mine to hell.
  • Midnight bugs taste just as bad as noon time bugs.
  • I’m a highway junkie! Lord, I love a white line!!!
  • Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today. — James Dean
  • It’s not the bike so much as it’s the rider. Put the stock pistons back in the bike and quit messing with stuff you don’t understand.

OK, there you go. Something in there is pretty offensive, right? My best guess is that it’s that line about gravity, and they got some cock-eyed idea that it was referring to female anatomy as opposed to being a synonym for wussies or wimps or something like that. There are a lot of reasons I don’t write much for them anymore and this is just one more on the list. Too bad, it was a good gig for a while.

Biker Quote for Today

Motorcycles are better than men because motorcycles don’t pass gas and belch all the time. If they do, you can do something about it.

The Most Detailed Motorcycle Tour Book You’ll Ever Need

Monday, August 12th, 2013

I’ve been looking through a copy of Great American Motorcycle Tours, by Gary McKechnie, and I am blown away at the amount of effort he has put into this. And oh yeah, he’s also laid out 25 rides that would probably be a lot of fun.

Great American Motorcycle Tours cover

Great American Motorcycle Tours by Gary McKechnie.

This is actually the fifth edition of this book so I guess he’s had a lot of time to do his research but with all the detail he includes it would be a full-time job just trying to keep that all current. I have a hard enough time just trying to keep my Colorado Motorcycle Dealers and Repair Shops page semi up to date, and this is so much more.

The tours are distributed all over the country. That is by design, Gary says: “In this volume I have tried to be equitable in representing different regions of the country, so you should find at least one tour that’s near you.”

That’s fine, but in my mind it’s the information about the tours that are not near me that are of interest. One of the 25 is titled “Colorado’s San Juan Skyway” and that’s a great ride. I know that because I’ve ridden it and pieces of it many times. But I don’t need a book to tell me about that ride. What I like is the information about all the others all over the country.

Now, truth be told, I’ve done enough touring that I’ve also ridden a bunch of the other rides as well. But the large majority are places I’ve never been on a motorcycle and this book just points out what I’ve been missing. So far.

Which ones look the most interesting? Well, there’s “Oregon’s Best Run,” which runs down the Pacific coast from Cannon Beach to Florence and then goes inland to a town named Sisters. I’ve been all along the Oregon coast, though not on a motorcycle, but I have no idea what the terrain is like heading east there. Apparently it’s a good place to go. I’ll keep that in mind.

Then there’s the “Blues Cruise,” which starts in Memphis and follows the Mississippi River all the way to New Orleans. Again, I can say, “Oh, I’ve lived in Memphis and I’ve been to New Orleans several times,” but I’ve never been to either place on a bike. (I was 10 when we moved away from Memphis.) And the real strength of the book is the detail. Gary doesn’t just tell you the roads to take, he probably offers more than most people want. That’s fine, you don’t have to read it all, but whichever parts you do want to read, they’re there.

He starts each section with a “primer” that gives you some basic history and background information about the town or area. Then he runs through a list of some of the best tourist spots, again with background and history. In the case of Memphis, we’re talking about places like Sun Studio, where Sam Phillips discovered and made history with recording artists such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis. And Graceland, Elvis’ home.

There’s more to Memphis than those places, though, and Gary continues with plenty of spots you’ve never heard of. This is followed with a small section on shopping, then restaurants, then bars, and then motels. This is the stuff that I’m certain must be a lot of work to keep current. Knock yourself out, Gary.

So anyway, the section continues with some highlights of the ride south and then goes into all this detail again about Vicksburg, the next sizable town on the route. And then on to New Orleans and the same treatment for New Orleans.

Now, for me, I don’t care two hoots about the shopping. I’m not going to spend my time reading that. But the rest of it, if I’m there or going there, I’ll probably read it all.

The obvious question–and Gary raises this himself–is, are these the best 25 rides in the U.S.? And as he says, well, some of them may be but the intent is not to point out the best, the intent is to point out some really good ones so if you’re going somewhere you’re not familiar with, you’ll have an idea about where you might want to go when you get there.

That works for me. I’ll be hanging onto Great American Motorcycle Tours and when I’m planning future trips, if I’m going anywhere near any of these rides I’ll be considering how I might incorporate some of these roads in my itinerary. Thanks for the heads-up, Gary.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
The OFMC and the day of bugs

Biker Quote for Today

Some days you’re the bug. Some days you’re the windshield. But you’re always in the wind!

Learning More Boulder County Back Roads

Thursday, August 8th, 2013
V-Strom on gravel road

Ron Coleman on one of his V-Stroms, ahead of me on mine.

I recently bought a Suzuki V-Strom because I have ridden them and I like them. Ron Coleman is part of the reason for that. Ron runs Western Dual Sport Motorcycle Adventures and he rents V-Stroms. It used to be that was all he rented but now he has a BMW GS800 and several Suzuki DR650s. I’ve gone riding with Ron a number of times, usually on one of his V-Stroms. This past weekend, though, we went riding and I was on my own V-Strom.

When Ron and I ride he generally takes me on gravel roads in the hills above Boulder that, in many cases, I had no idea existed. That was the case once again.

We headed up Boulder Canyon and then turned north on the road up Fourmile Canyon. Fair enough, I’d been up that road before. But we kept on going, way beyond anywhere I had ever been before. We got up into the area where the big fire burned a couple years go and I could see there were a lot of lucky people there. Whereas a lot of folks lost their homes, especially in the Wall Street area, all along Fourmile Canyon there were homes beside the road and scorched trees coming down the slopes but stopping just shy of the houses. I don’t know if that was due to the efforts of firefighters or just plain luck, but those places survived.

Eventually we came upon a sign that warned that the pavement was ending. This is what I love about this bike: we didn’t slow down for a second. These bikes love the gravel.

So the road wound around and around, climbing ever higher, and I just had no idea so many people lived up there. From riding through the canyon we emerged onto the ridge above and now we had some really nice views. Eventually the road came out at Gold Hill. Ron had led me on another gravel road to Gold Hill another time so I was a bit surprised to discover there is another route. From there we took a road we have ridden on before to the Peak-to-Peak Highway. We turned north and headed to Allenspark for lunch.

Unfortunately the Mountain Meadow Cafe was closing when we got there. Ron said he goes there a lot and it is a terrific place but they close at 2 p.m. and it was about 1:56 when we walked in. Oh well, another time.

So we headed back south and took the turn-off to Jamestown. From the Peak-to-Peak the road is unpaved, so once again it was just cool to turn off onto the gravel without giving it a second thought. I’ve been on that road before but I’m not sure I’ve ever been on it on a bike. Maybe once on my Honda. Not sure. Anyway, it’s a nice ride, a bit steep in places, and perfectly comfortable on the Suzuki.

We were headed for the Mercantile in Jamestown and it was a busy place when we arrived. We walked in, though, and the waitress told us that, sorry, they were just closing. Rats–again!

What to do, where to go . . . We were hungry. There has to be someplace we can eat. So we continued on down Lefthand Canyon to where it came out to U.S. 36 and turned north to Lyons. Here, on a straight and fast piece of road, I finally got to try out this little throttle lock device Ron had loaned me, which worked amazingly well considering how simple it is. I’ll tell you more about that soon because I’m buying one. We finally ate at Smokin’ Dave’s in Lyons and then headed back toward our various homes. On the way we zig-zagged across Boulder County avoiding the heavily populated areas and at one point Ron led the way off the pavement onto another piece of gravel that cut a diagonal and was therefore a short-cut. Again, it was no hesitation, just go. I love that. You don’t go another route in a car when you come to gravel. Why should you do so on a motorcycle?

And then we parted ways and headed on home. Another good day of riding.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
OFMC heads home, more dirt en route

Biker Quote for Today

Getting lost on purpose . . . again.

The Road to Silt

Monday, August 5th, 2013
The road to Silt.

The road as it descends to the north, toward Silt and New Castle.

OK now, before I was so rudely interrupted by this OFMC motorcycle trip I was going to tell you about the road to Silt from down around Vega State Park. Back to where we left off.

As I had described, we had turned off the McClure Pass road (CO 133) to cruise a gravel road that runs over to Collbran, with Vega State Park on the way. After camping overnight at the park we were planning to backtrack a few miles and take the road that runs north to Silt.

In the morning, though, before heading out, we went around Vega Lake and stopped at the Vega Lodge to check it out as a potential overnight destination for the OFMC. It was a nice place with good rates so I have since told John that he ought to consider adding it as a stop on some future trip.

While talking with the lady who runs the place we mentioned we were planning to go back east a bit and take the road to Silt.

“Oh, we hate that road,” she said. “We go to Collbran and take the Debeque cut-off.” She told us it was a bad road in good weather and in bad weather it gets “really greasy.”

But the weather was good and we were not planning on being in any kind of hurry so off we went.

For quite a ways the road was not bad at all. It climbed a bit and we got up fairly high, and then came over the crest and started down. (You can see what I mean in the photo.) That was where things got quite a bit worse. It was obvious that cars and trucks going the other way had had struggles getting up this hill in the wet. In places there were ruts in the road dug by four-wheel-drive tires in mud and the going was pretty rough. Still, there was plenty of smooth road surface if you took your time and avoided the ruts. I definitely would not want to be on this road going either direction is a rainstorm, though. You could really see what she meant by “greasy.” Slick road surface that would give no traction at all when wet. Bad news.

But the weather was good and we had a nice trip. The road went down quite a ways and then we started running into farmland. The road was paved as we got further north and we reached a T intersection. Go left and it took you to Silt. Go right and it took you to New Castle. It’s called the road to Silt but there’s really no reason to go to Silt unless you plan to head west on I-70. If you were going east, as we were, you might as well turn right. We did and it was a nice run to New Castle.

And then it was time to do some slabbing. All good things do come to an end.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
OFMC dips into New Mexico

Biker Quote for Today

The destination is not important, only the ride there…

Overall V-Strom Appraisal Now With Some Miles On It

Thursday, August 1st, 2013
me on my Suzuki V-Strom

Me on the V-Strom on a pass in New Mexico. My jacket even goes with the color of the bike!

Having just ridden 1,611 miles over nine days on my new V-Strom 650 I’m finally able to state some opinions and give an appraisal. Here’s my take.

I know for certain I’ll be spending some money on this bike to make it fit me. It didn’t take very long before I found myself reaching repeatedly for highway pegs that were not there. I reckon it’s going to take installation of a case guard–not a bad idea on its own–to have something to mount highway pegs to. That’s exactly what I did with my Honda CB750 Custom many years ago and its definitely going to happen with the V-Strom.

I did find that it’s a reasonably comfortable alternative to shift my feet to the buddy pegs. On the Honda I do that all the time and it’s probably the most comfortable position of the three. On the V-Strom it’s not as good, but it’s OK. Better than nothing. But highway pegs will be very good.

The next thing I’ll be getting is a throttle lock. We had pretty short days on this trip but it still got to my right wrist after numerous hours. This will be simple and cheap.

Third, I’ll be getting a top bag for the rear. The side bags on the bike now are huge, so much so that I loaded everything I needed and had a phenomenal amount of space empty. In fact, they’re really too big for daily needs. I park in a pretty tight space at home and it’s much easier to do so without the bags on the bike. But a top bag won’t get in the way and will be plenty to carry all the day to day stuff I need. The side bags will just be for traveling.

The bike has incredible range. Suzuki says it holds 5.8 gallons of gas and I never got less than 52 miles per gallon. That’s a minimum range of just over 300 miles. And one time I got 70 miles to the gallon, so at that pace you could go more than 400 miles on a tank of gas. Amazing.

The seat is very broad and reasonably comfortable for quite awhile but it’s not as good as the seat on my ’99 Concours. The Connie will continue to be my main traveling bike, especially when I’m going a long way. But that’s not what I bought the V-Strom for anyway. I bought it to ride on gravel roads.

The seat is a little high but so is the one on the Connie so that didn’t even take any getting used to. It feels perfectly normal.

The little bikini windshield does remarkably well. I’m used to the big, full fairing on the Connie but I was never uncomfortable. I guess as long as the main blast of wind is deflected that’s all that matters.

On the gravel, where I intend to use it, the bike handles very nicely. I got a little nervous one time when the loose gravel on the road surface started getting pretty thick but there were no problems. And I’m sure the more I ride it on those kinds of roads the more comfortable I’ll get.

In the twisties the bike really shines. It’s so light and agile that it’s really fun to ride fast. After I met up with Brett and Jason in the Poudre we stopped to say hi and then I took off in the lead. They said later that they saw me for about 15 seconds before I disappeared ahead of them. I was having fun.

The one thing that does not excite me is that this bike has a chain that needs oiling and adjustment. So does my Honda, and it’s done in exactly the same manner, so it’s not onerous. But it is an annoyance. Shaft drive is so nice.

The riding position is just about perfect for me. I like to sit up straight and I like my feet underneath me. None of this feet-forward, slouched back sort of thing. On my Concours even after I added risers there is still a slight reach forward. That’s OK, I’m not unhappy with that. But on the Suzuki I sit bolt upright and that’s very nice. Of course, being a dual-sport bike, it is also designed to be ridden standing up on the pegs and the fit there is perfect as well.

All in all, I’m extremely pleased with it. If I didn’t already have the two other bikes I might not buy either of them, except, as I say, the Connie is the better traveling bike. Not that I’m going to get rid of anything; I’ll just get by with three motorcycles. It’s that old business of a dirty job that someone has to do, you know? And I’m glad to have added this third one to the fold.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
OFMC is off on its 2013 ride

Biker Quote for Today

That road less traveled is a toll road, and sometimes the charge is more expensive than we ever expected. Most of the time, it’s a one way road. Make the decision, hope for the best, and start traveling. Carry lots of coins. — PecosBill