I can’t believe I did it (on a few things)
August 26, 2009 at 5:33 am #3349
Okay, Okay, I know, I know!
I said I would wait until Spring. And then Friday happened at work, followed by Saturday, then Sunday, and finally I broke on Monday. Something had to give somewhere, so I did it. I skipped out half way through the day, went down to the dealership, and signed on the dotted line for a brand new Suzuki Boulevard S40, which for now I have unimaginatively dubbed “Thumper”.
It was unnerving to finally be on the back of my own motorcycle. I spent some time duck walking it at the dealership, and did some quick stops on one of the neighborhood streets nearby (dead end, no traffic) before I headed home. Thankfully the rain had stopped, and the roads were generally dry. I’m not fully geared up yet, so I just had my rain pants on over my jeans, and a gore tex windbreaker on, in addition to helmet and leather gloves.
The ride home was interesting, and not entirely successful. I’d like to say that I took Munch’s Grandad’s advice about running into a mailbox intentionally, but no. Dropping my bike on the road when I pulled out onto a gravel drive to snap a quick photo was definitely not intentional. Not quite sure what I did, but I think that I pulled into the drive too quickly and still had the bike leaned when I braked. A couple of scratches on my mirror and exhaust, a lovely melted black nylon patch on the pipes from my rain pants, and a few bruises to me and my ego.
The most annoying part is that the rainbow that I wanted to snap a picture of didn’t turn out! Grrrrr
Made it home. In all honesty, I think if I hadn’t dropped it where I did, I probably would have dropped it in my driveway for the same reason. Let me tell you, that trip down the drive way was sloow and steady.
So for me:
1) Riding pants and jacket are a must. If I had been wearing shorts, or left behind my gloves, I would have been one unhappy person.
2) Practice! Practice! Practice!
3) Balaclava since the air coming up under the front of my helmet was a little nippy.
4) Chapstick.August 26, 2009 at 5:36 am #21932eternal05Participant
You’re now officially a two-wheel hooligan! Welcome to the clubAugust 26, 2009 at 9:41 am #21933MunchParticipant
Congrats! I was fortunate in my first dealing with gravel, I watched my boss man handle it on my V500 when I first got it and paid close attention to his technique. Takes a bit of courage for you to ride your new ride to the house , especially fresh from the MSF. Definitely use the rear brakes more on the gravel though. Both if you can but more on the rear. That front brake with street tires will quickly turn into a ski more then stopping power and then down you will go.
But hey , guess what….now your not scared of the first scratch! So now you can focus on RIDING!August 26, 2009 at 1:25 pm #21935wbsprudelsParticipant
Congratulations! I love the look–especially the two-tone tank (of course, I am partial to the Boulevards).August 26, 2009 at 3:04 pm #21938JackTradeParticipant
Congratulations, both on the bike and getting it home your first time out! As for dropping it, exactly what Munch said…once you put that first scratch on it, you stop worrying about it.
Is that a belt final drive I see? I didn’t know anything but Harleys and Buells had them. Love the color, and dig the off-center fuel cap!August 26, 2009 at 3:06 pm #21939
The F&I manager was razzing me about it because she “was thinking about buying” the bike come spring, just for the color. I have to admit, I love it.August 26, 2009 at 3:14 pm #21942
I think Suzuki is putting belt drives in all of their bikes also. Out of curiosity, what is the benefit of belt drives over chains?August 26, 2009 at 3:20 pm #21944CBBaronParticipant
Belt Drive seems to be popular with some cruisers.
I think all Victory motorcycles, some Vulcans, the S40 and probably a few others I am missing.
Belt drive makes sense for alot of these cruisers as it is less maintenance than a chain drive but is less expensive, more efficient and lighter than a shaft. Plus the most popular cruisers (HD) have belt drives so the others try to copy.
CraigAugust 26, 2009 at 3:22 pm #21945CBBaronParticipant
You don’t need to oil a belt.
CraigAugust 26, 2009 at 3:26 pm #21946
Thanks for the tip.
And I have to say it is a relief, even if it is totally embarrassing. I guess that the good thing is that I am embarrassed and not upset/afraid/scared.
I can see the Craig’s List post now:
“Brand New Suzuki Boulevard S40, Less than 20 miles. Great beginner bike. Ladies go crazy over the two-tone magenta/white paint. I just don’t want to store it for the winter and am looking to get a bigger bike in the spring. A few minor scratches in the mirror and exhaust from where it got dropped in my driveway. Nothing a good buffing can’t get. Barely been ridden, so $4500 firm.”
Nope. I’ll get some more gear before I go riding again, but that was too much fun.
As for riding it home, the major reason for that was that I wanted to get a feel for it on concrete first rather than gravel. My driveway is a 200ft gravel drive that inclines up to the road at about 13deg. The drive from the dealership is mostly back roads that I am really familiar with, so I wasn’t too concerned about that.August 26, 2009 at 3:28 pm #21947
Cool! I’m a hooligan! Maybe I should get that for my personalized tag instead of “Thumper”.August 26, 2009 at 3:40 pm #21948JackTradeParticipant
unless you’re racing and changing sprockets, there’s no need for a chain. All Buells have belts, though they do offer a chain conversion kit.August 26, 2009 at 5:30 pm #21950CandiceParticipant
You made an excellent choice for your first bike. I have a 2003 Savage which is now called the Bouldevard S40. The people in my riding group call my bike Thumper and it is a thumper but it was great to learn on, pretty darn forgiving of my mistakes and I was told that these bikes are bullet proof.
My bike came with a “lovely melted black nylon patch” from the previous owner so now yours just looks like you use it! No problem. A couple of scratches only gives the bike character anyways.
Have fun, ride safe!August 26, 2009 at 6:59 pm #21952motokidParticipant
my first bike was s40, and it had melted patches from the previous owner ) – I mean his rain gear, not himself
Great bike, good confidence builder; I learned everything I needed on it and decided it was time to change once I’ve ridden it full open throttle in every gear. Good for everything except hwy speeds.
Some to pay attention to:
– crash bar on this bike is for display only. It won’t protect the bike or your legs if you go seriously down.
– inspect the belt regularly. Since your driveway is gravel, it will likely get into the belt. Not a big deal, but if it remains stuck between teeth of the sprocket, it might damage it. Unlike some more expensive bikes, the belt on this one is not fully protected.
KAugust 26, 2009 at 10:23 pm #21956EddiepowerfmParticipant
Congratulations on the first bike, I like the colors. I also like the sleek look of the S40. I too rode my Vulcan 500 home after just having 2 days experience at msf. Kind of crazy to get on Cooper St in Arlington Texas but I stayed off the highway that day and many more until I was ready. Have fun.
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