Tag Archives: motorcycle

Youtube Videos

Just before going out to California this fall, I had purchased a GoPro camera to record some highlights of my rides.  I haven’t figured out how to use it to its full potential yet and hope to get some more experience with it over the winter months so that I’m ready to capture some more interesting footage next summer.

One of the things that surprised me the most about the GoPro was how well it did with audio.  With the camera mounted to the handlebars on the Triumph and the crash bar on the Versys, I figured that wind noise would be a problem.  However, it seems as if the camera does an excellent job of eliminating the wind noise leaving just the sound of the engine.

I haven’t taken a lot of footage yet, but I did post a couple of short videos to YouTube recently.

Triumph Street Triple – Late Summer Ride

Kawasaki Versys – Palm to Pines Highway

Video editing is another area where I need to get some experience.  Right now, I can only manage to do the most basic things with Adobe Premier and hope to get a lot more experience during the snowy months here in the Northeast.

Nice ride through the Angeles National Forest

On October 23, I took a nice day ride through the Angeles National Forest.  I had intended to ride the Angeles Crest Highway but my plans changed when I stopped for gas in La Cañada Flintridge.  After filling the Versys up with gas, I pulled off to the side next to some other bikes and went into the store to get a drink.

I started chatting with the other riders and found out that they were locals who had taken the day off of work to go out for a ride. It was an interesting group of bikes these guys were riding.  There was a Suzuki DRZ400SM, a Yamaha R6, a Yamaha V-Max, a BMW S1000RR, and a BMW Scooter.  After talking to these guys for a little while, they invited me to tag a long with them for the day.  I had intended to go over the Angeles Crest Highway as I’ve done in the past but my new found friends were going to take some me om some less traveled back roads to Wrightwood.

We started out by going up Rt. 2 but quickly turned off on to a road towards a place they called the “Big Tree”.  After about 30 minutes, we pulled over and stopped.  I found out that the Big Tree tree had been cut down years ago but this is where it used to be.  After a nice 15 minute break, we took off towards some nice twisty roads.

We continued through the mountains where there was virtually no traffic at all.  The roads were typical CA canyon roads – smooth, twisty, and fun to ride.  Looking at a map now, I think we took Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road to highway N3 but I’m not really sure exactly what route we actually took.  I just know that we really weren’t on Rt. 3 for more than a few miles before stopping for lunch at the Grizzly Cafe in Wrightwood.  I got to know my new friends a bit better and discovered that they’re all self employed and every so often, they take a day off and go out for a ride.

After lunch, we headed out onto Rt 138 and then Rt 18 past Lake Arrowhead and into Big Bear.  In Big Bear, we stopped at a coffee shop for a nice hot beverage.  By this time it was around 4:30 so I decided that it was time to head back home.  I said goodbye to my new found friends and headed back down Rt 18 and then on to Rt 330 to Loma Linda.  From here I just took freeways back home.

What a great ride.  The weather was great and riding with locals allowed me to follow along on roads that I never would have ridden if I were out on my own for the day.

Back on the Versys

I’m back out in California so I get to ride the Versys for a few days.  The first order of business was to get some fresh tires and an oil change.  I had a local shop install a set of Pirelli Scorpion Trail tires, clean and lube the chain, and do an oil change.

I chose the Scorpion Trail tires because I want to start exploring some unpaved roads.  Pirelli describes the tires as “Suited to Enduro motorcycles with a Touring setup, capable of tackling long journeys and excursions with light off road stretches”.  It didn’t take long to get them scrubbed in and so far, they feel good on the street.

A Short Off-Road Excursion

20141018_162627I rode around a bit looking for some forest service roads to ride on but found them to be closed.  Eventually, I found a dirt road called Trabuco Creek Road that went off into the canyons.  A mile or so up this road, I saw a guy stopped along the side of the road so I pulled up to say hello and try to find out a bit more about this road.  He was riding a homemade bike with an old single cylinder 500cc dirt bike motor,  a rigid frame, two solo seats (rider and passenger) and a bunch of parts salvaged from various other bikes.  It was a great little bike.  He assured me that that road was in pretty good shape and that I would have no trouble for the next few miles.  20141018_163648

Since I really haven’t spent much time riding in dirt, I just took it easy and went nice and slow. The road was pretty good with only a few small ruts making it a nice easy ride.  Since it hasn’t rained here in months, it was a bit dusty and mud definitely wasn’t a factor.  Since it was getting to be late in the afternoon I decided it was time to turn around and go back after going only about 3-4 miles into the canyon.  The new tires seemed to handle this terrain just fine although just about any tire probably would have worked.

New Levers for the Triumph

A few weeks ago, my Triumph got dropped.  It wasn’t me who dropped it and the guilty party will remain nameless.

Damage is minimal with only a small scratch on the side where the turn signal hit the bodywork, a scuff on one of the engine covers, the bar-end mirror has a little scratch, and the end of the brake lever broke off.  The scratches really aren’t noticeable unless you really look for them but the brake lever needed to be replaced.

Looking around at various options inevitably led to eBay and I ended up buying some adjustable shorty levers from China.  There were many color options and I choose titanium levers with black adjusters.  With shipping the levers were $50 for the pair (brake and clutch).  Installation was straight forward and only took about 20 minutes.  They feel solid, appear to be well-made and look pretty good too.

I went with shorty levers for a couple of reasons.  I got used to riding with the shorter broken lever and found that I liked it. I only need two fingers on the brakes and the clutch is light enough to use two fingers as well.   I’m also hoping that if the bike gets tipped over or dropped again, the levers will survive.

New Jacket

Fall is a great time to pick up some nice riding gear at a discount as companies clear out inventory to get ready for new arrivals.  This year, I picked up a Dainese Racing C2 perforated leather jacket that was on sale at Revzilla.

This is the first leather jacket that I’ve purchased since I started gearing up after buying the BMW in August of 2012. Until now, I’ve been buying textile gear as I find it to be comfortable, versatile, and it provides reasonably good protection. I consider this my core riding gear that takes me from early spring to late fall.

Now that I have all of the gear I need for daily riding, I decided its time to focus on some gear that I can use if I ever get around to attending a track day in the future.  I like the idea of having a leather jacket that I can wear without having to wear leather pants so a one-piece suit was out of the running.

When I saw that the Dainese Racing C2 was on sale, I did some research and decided that it would be a great addition to my ever-growing collection of jackets. It has plenty of protection, will zip into the Dainese pants that I already have and it looks good too.

The jacket appears to be very well made. The leather is heavy yet also fairly soft and supple.  The material used for the stretch panels, zippers and seams all seem to be high quality.  I opted for the perforated version so that wearing it in the summertime would be tolerable.Dainese-Racing-C2

The shoulder, elbow, and arms all contain CE rated armor. It does not come with a back protector so I put a back protector from one of my other jackets into the pocket in the back for the time being.

Putting the jacket on for the first time felt a little odd and a bit tight in the shoulders and arms as I was standing up. However, once i hopped onto the Triumph everything fell into place and it fit perfectly. On the bike, I don’t even feel the armor and the whole jacket fits snug without being tight and forms perfectly to my body. It feels like a custom fit jacket made just for me.

My first ride with the new jacket was in nice humid 85 degree weather. I was hot when sitting still but once moving, i could definitely feel the air coming through the perforations. It doesn’t flow as much air as my mesh jacket but it does provide enough airflow to make it bearable.  Once the temperature drops below 70, you can really feel the cool air coming through.

Overall, it seems to be a very nice jacket that will work well in warm weather.  Now I just need to find some good leather pants and I’ll be ready for the track.

Test Ride – BMW 1200 GS

I went to the BMW dealer to get the right switch gear replaced and as it turned out, they didn’t have the part in stock.  So, they offered me a loaner bike and asked what I would like.  After going through some options, I decided it was about time to ride something with a boxer motor so I choose to take a 1200 GS.

The GS is a rather tall bike with wide handlebars.  I didn’t really have trouble touching the ground, but it was a bit of a stretch.  I was pleasantly surprised at how light the bike felt.  It looks like a good-sized bike and with all that motor sticking out the sides, I expected it to feel heavier.

The riding position seems to be similar to my Versys except that the GS is just bigger and roomier.  I liked the peg location and appreciated the leg room.  The seat seemed pretty comfortable and I suspect it would be just fine on a long trip.

Riding some of the back roads around my house I started getting a good feel for the bike.  The power comes on strong above 4K and gets you up to speed surprisingly quickly.  Low-end power could be a bit better and I did feel some vibrations from the motor but it wasn’t enough to bother me.

As far as the gearbox is concerned, shifting gave a nice positive feel although it was a bit loud and clunky when shifting.  The gears seemed well spaced and neutral was easy to find.

The suspension is great for the rough roads here in Upstate NY.  The shocks seemed to soak up all nasty bumps making it very pleasant and easy to ride on roads that are less than perfect.

One of the things about the boxer motor that I wasn’t fond of was the sound.  I know it’s silly but the sound of a motorcycle is important to me and I just don’t like the sound of the boxer motor.

Overall, I liked riding the GS.  It had good power, was comfortable, handled great, and felt a lot lighter than it looks.  After spending a day with it, I can certainly see why they’re so popular.

 

 

 

 

BMW Starter Switch

Well, it finally happened.  The starter switch on the BMW stopped working.  I’ve been lucky so far as this is a common problem with the K1600.  I had installed a new Shorai battery and then rode it to work a few days ago.  When I went out to go to lunch and tried to start the bike, pressing the starter switch did nothing.   Since the dashboard display and headlight came on, I was pretty sure the battery was fine.

Thankfully, I had saved some instructions to my phone describing how to bypass the starter switch by jumping a couple of terminals under a relay.  After finding some spare wire and touching the proper terminals, it started right up.

One of the suspected causes of the starter switch failure on these bikes is that the switch gets too hot while sitting out in the hot sun.  So, I draped a cool cloth over it to cool it down.  That didn’t work so I had to hotwire it again when it was time to go home.

Looks like its time to make an appointment to get the right switchgear replaced.  It seems to be working today so apparently its going to be an intermittent problem.

Angeles Crest Highway Ride

On Friday 6/13/14, I decided to finish my CA trip with a nice ride along the Angeles Crest Highway.  I took the interstate highways through Pomona and Passadena to La Cañada Flintridge.

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A view from the Angeles Crest Highway

I do believe that the Angeles Crest Highway is my favorite road of all time.  The road is smooth with nice moderate corners making riding fun and exciting.  About halfway along the road, I stopped at Newcombs Ranch for lunch.

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Rt 138 as you head toward San Bernadino

After lunch I rode the remainder of the Angeles Crest highway and started heading back toward LA along Rt 138.  Rt 138 is another nice road that goes past Silverwood Lake and into San Bernadino.  From There I headed to Perris and Lake Elsinore finishing up the ride on the Ortega Highway,

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Somewhere along Rt 138 near Silverwood Lake
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A view from the hills looking down on to Silverwood Lake

Palomar Observatory Ride

On Tuesday 6/10, went for a nice day ride up to the Palomar Observatory.  I was able to take the Ortega Highway over to Lake Elsinore and then south through Temecula to Palomar.  The weather was perfect, 75-80 degrees and of course, sunny all the way.  Gotta love southern CA weather.

wpid-wp-1402496750680.jpegThe loop around Palomar has some nice twisty roads leading up the mountain.  There were plenty of nice tight corners as well as wider, higher speed corners to make the ride interesting.  The roads are in pretty good shape with only a few bumps here and there.

wpid-20140610_123340.jpgI stopped at the Palomar Observatory and took a walk around.  The landscape around the observatory is beautiful and the telescope is huge.  I stayed for about 30 min. reading the various tidbits of information displayed in the small museum/gift shop.

After leaving the observatory, I stopped in a town called Lake Henshaw for lunch.  After lunch, I back tracked and rode the same route in reverse just for fun.

All-in-all, it was a great ride and a wonderful way to spend a day.

 

 

Day 7 – 6/6/14

As is typical on the coast, the weather was cool, about 55 degrees,  when I left Monterey this morning.  The skies were mostly clear with just a hint of fog rolling in off of the ocean and the smell of salt water was in the air.

wpid-wp-1402163823749.jpegI headed south on the Pacific Coast Highway going through Carmel and Big Sur.  I stopped along US 1 a number of times to take pictures because every time you go around another corner, the view changes.  It’s some of the most beautiful scenery that you’re ever see.

Jwpid-wp-1402166816140.jpegust south of big Sur I turned off of US 1 and onto Nacimiento Fergusson Rd.  This road takes you up into some nice canyons.  The road is narrow with tight switchbacks that take you up the mountain and above the fog  giving you an incredible view of the ocean from above US 1.

wpid-wp-1402167059379.jpegOn the way up to the top of Nacimiento Fergusson Rd. I came across a tarantula walking across the road.  It didn’t seem to be in a hurry and posed for pictures.  I tried to coax it off the road but instead of turning around and running, it just reared up and got ready to attack  I decided to just leave it alone and let it take its chances crossing the road.

I rode past a number of National Forest campsites as I continued east toward Lockwood.  Eventually, the road straightened out and I started seeing lots of nondescript white vans on the road.  As it turns out, this road goes through a US Army training camp.  I’m guessing that I was being monitored because i had to drive through some devices that looked like big metal detectors.

Eventually, I ended up back on highway 101 where I headed south and then turned on to Rt.  33 toward Ojai.  The first part of this road went through some rather large Almond groves and then through some oil fields near an town named Taft.  After leaving Taft, the road started getting through some canyons and cooled off nicely.

Once I got to Ventura, I got back on to 101 and made the final run to my daughter’s house in Rancho Santa Margurita.  Of course my timing couldn’t have been worse because I spent that last 2-3 hours in heavy traffic giving me time to practice my lane splitting skills.  I probably went at least 20 miles weaving between cars trying my best not to smack my mirrors into pickup, SUV, and mini van mirrors.  I’m really not too good at this lane splitting thing so every time I saw another bike behind me, I pulled over and let them by.  I tried to follow but could never keep up.  In the end, I spend about 1.5 hours battling traffic before ending my cross country trip at about 7:30 pm.