My Favorite Bike

When people find out that I have three bikes, they inevitably ask me which one I like best.  This generally results in me having  to explain that I really don’t have a “favorite” bike.  Each bike is different and is used for a different purpose.

The Electra Gide is comfortable and generally quite relaxing to ride.  The Rinehart true dual exhaust and amplified stereo ensures that everyone hears me coming from afar.  The Harley is a motorcycle that has a classic feel to it that makes it a great bike to ride.  With 68K miles, my 2006 Electra Glide has been 100% reliable and has never leaked a drop of oil.  It’s definitely not fast, corners poorly compared to my other bikes, and the brakes are just OK.  This is the bike I ride when I just want to slow down, relax and enjoy the scenery.

The Street Triple R is my sport bike.  It’s the bike I’ve been riding the most lately because its lightweight, powerful, handles great, and has terrific brakes and is an incredibly easy bike to ride.  While long rides are not out of the question, the Triumph’s suspension is firmer and  focused on performance rather than comfort.  In short, it’s everything that the Harley is not.  Its’ the bike I ride when I just want to have fun.

The BMW K1600 has to be the star of the bikes I own.  Every time I ride the BMW I marvel at just how good it is.  It’s fast, comfortable, corners great, stops brilliantly, and has every electronic gizmo you could imagine.   The 6 cylinder motor is amazing – very good low-end power with amazing high rpm power as well.  Sure, there are more powerful engines, but when you can go from 35 mph to 135+ mph in 6th gear on a 750lb motorcycle, that’s impressive.  The suspension/handling is equally impressive and amazingly flexible due to the ESA.  The electronic suspension adjustment (ESA) allows you to have a very soft and plush ride on the interstate highways and then, with a couple of button presses, switch to firmer settings to handle the twisty roads.  Really, the only downside to the BMW that I can come up with is that it’s heavy to move around in the garage and parking lots.  I ride the BMW when I want the comfort, weather protection,  and storage of the Harley with the performance of a sport bike.  It’s got to be one of the best all-around bikes ever made.

So there  you have it. Three bikes for three different riding moods.

 

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Triumph Street Triple R

Over the past year or so, my interest in motorcycling has taken a decidedly different direction moving from touring, to sport touring, and now towards sport riding.  After riding Harley touring bikes for 6 years, I started looking at sport-touring bikes and ended up getting a 2012 BMW K1600 GTL in August 2012.  The BMW totally changed my view of riding allowing me to  appreciate a more sporty style of riding.

While the BMW is a great all around bike, I was becoming tired of pushing around 750+ pound bikes so I decided it was time to start looking for something smaller and lighter for my daily commuting.

Earlier this summer, I dropped off my K1600 for the 18K service and they gave me a loaner bike to ride – a BMW F 800 GT.  It didn’t take long for me to appreciate how nice it was to ride a smaller, lighter bike.  Unfortunately, the BMW 800 GT just didn’t provide any real sense of excitement.  It handled well and had decent wind protection but the exhaust sounded like a cross between a wet fart and a souped-up moped.    The one thing this did prove was that a small, lightweight bike is much easier to ride around town.

I read reviews to find out what each of the manufacturers offered.  One bike that always seemed to rise to the top of the comparisons was the Triumph Street Triple.  I went to a few dealers to see the bikes in person, sit on them, and ask some questions.  When I sat on the Triumph, I immediately liked how it felt.

I took a short 20 minute test ride on the Street Triple and immediately knew that it was the right bike for me.  It’s lightweight (400 lbs), has a riding position, and most importantly – it’s fun to ride. A week later, I rode a white 2013 Street Triple R home.

In the past 4 weeks, I’ve put almost 3K miles on the little Triumph and have loved every minute of it.  Other than the few hours it took get used to the short wheelbase, it’s been an easy transition from the big touring bikes to the Triumph.  This little 400lb bike is so much easier to back out of the garage and maneuver through parking lots than the big bikes are.

Riding the Triumph is sublime.  The sound of the 675cc triple is amazing above 8k rpm’s when the motor really starts making power.  The the cornering and braking are equally incredible and are clearly beyond my riding abilities.

Being a naked bike, there’s no wind/weather protection and no storage at all.  The wind really isn’t too bad when riding under 80 mph which was a pleasant surprise – I was expecting it to be a lot worse.  If it looks like it’s going to rain, I take the BMW out instead.  Storage deficiencies were addressed with the addition of a small tail bag and a small tank bag that provide enough room to bring the basic necessities along with me.

I’ve taken a number of fairly long rides (200+ miles) and it’s been OK comfort wise. Of course it’s nowhere near as comfortable as the Electa Glide or the K1600, but it’s acceptable.  The only real issue with longer rides is the with the seat.  I took the seat cover off, added some foam, and reshaped which did help, but it;s still not something that you want to ride 500+ miles on.  .

Overall, I have to say that this is quite a fun and exciting bike to ride.  The power, handling, and brakes are excellent and it’s a reasonably comfortable and easy bike to ride.  You should get one.