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If you can keep your truck I would as not having 4 wheels can be a real pain at times. I just can’t justify the cost of buying a car that would sit idle 99% of the time. Plus that would eat into my next bike funds!
I have a Kawasaki Versys, which is a 650cc parallel twin. It’s kind of a cross between a sport tourer and a dual sport with the emphasis on the sporting side. Closet comparison is probably a VStrom but there still a big difference between the two.
Yes, I sold my car when I moved back to Seattle and have been carless ever since (3 years ago). It’s not as hardcore as it sounds as I live and work downtown (the 2 mile commute) and we don’t really get it that cold up here either but no surprise it does rain a little bit. That’s generally not a problem if you have waterproof gear but finding gear that really is waterproof is a challenge. My cycling jacket did really well but it wasn’t designed to withstand 60mph onslaughts and it has been leaking recently so the hunt is on for something else. There is a $300 Klim GoreTex jacket that looks nice but it’s just a waterproof layer only. Might save up and spring for a real winter jacket. Will cross that bridge when it starts to get cold again.
Oh, I also cheat by having a scooter that gives great protection from the elements. In fact I only got a real motorcycle 4 months ago. I initially wanted to get a Ninja 250 like you have but 3 years ago when gas prices were high you just couldn’t get one. So I somehow ended up with a maxi-scoot that has served me well. It still beats a motorcycle hands down when it comes to practicality (but not in the grin factor stakes).
I’m coming up on 3 years riding so I’ve picked up quite a few bits of gear now. My first outfit probably came in around $700 for boots/pants/jacket/gloves/helmet so it wasn’t the best out there. Since then I’ve been adding to it when I had the money and felt the need for something better. I’ve managed to survive the past 2 Seattle winters wearing a mesh jacket with an old cycling GoreTex jacket thrown over the top (with lots of layers). This saved me some money as good jackets can be one of the most expensive items you buy. Probably will break down next winter and buy a dedicated winter jacket as I was surviving and not enjoying the cold weather. May even go down the electric route but that’s even more money.
Nice helmets can be very nice but be aware they don’t necessarily mean better protection. It can mean more plush materials, better paint job etc but it can be the same or worse protection than a $100 helmet. Check out http://sharp.direct.gov.uk/ for a comparison on protective abilities of helmets. Having said all that I LOVE my Arai as it just fits me perfectly. I certainly was not looking to spend $500 on a helmet but once I tried it on there was no going back.
I pretty much wear all my gear all the time. The only concession I make is my 2 mile commute on city streets to work. Then I skip the pants and just wear my jeans but that’s a pretty safe bet. The cyclists are passing me more often than not! The most important thing about gear is to buy stuff that you will actually wear. I have a top of the line external back protector but it just got too tedious strapping it on all the time. I now have a very good protector that fits inside my jacket but I know it’s not as good as the one lying on my closet floor. But in this case convenience won over protective ability.
I always put my left foot down, for the simple reason it’s easier to be consistent and you’ve found out hill starts are easier when you are on the back brake. That and before I come to a complete stop I’m off the front brake and on the back brake only. Kind of hard to put that foot down when you are still using it!
Perhaps we are arguing semantics here but I still think going round a corner with the clutch in is a bad mistake. To me it means you have lost control of the situation and are dangerously close to a crash. However, this is meant as constructive criticism, not a put down. God knows I made enough mistakes in those early days and you quickly learn from them. Congrats to jsan for posting them on here and getting feedback. It’s sure is quicker to learn from other peoples mistakes than your own, and potentially a lot less painful.
As you say, with the clutch in you will get that wobbly/jello feel that saps your confidence and makes the bike hard to control. Being on the gas ever so slightly will settle it down and it will feel planted, inspiring confidence for you to lean over and make the turn. Don’t want to get into the physics too much (mainly cause I don’t understand it) but I think it has more to do with getting the suspension working in the sweet spot than anything else.
Been a while since I’ve been on here but I thought I would add my thoughts to this thread.
It’s only been 3 years since I started so I can remember what it was like. I did my BRC before hitting the road but the BRC is no magical course. I thought it was very basic and left thinking “is that it?” and as many instructors say as their parting words, “You are now qualified to ride in a parking lot”. The great thing about the course is you have experienced eyes looking at your form and can give you instant feedback. Things you would never know you are doing wrong otherwise and it helps to start out doing things correctly rather than learn bad habits which you would try to unlearn later.
jsan, I think you set alarm bells ringing when you talked about going round the corner with the clutch in. That basically means you were completely out of control. Happily nothing bad happened but, in case you didn’t realize it already, you messed up big time. Combine that with going in too fast to a blind intersection and it all sounds very scary. I can’t emphasize enough the need to slow down before a corner and be gently on the throttle throughout it. It took me the longest time to learn this simple lesson (despite reading it many times) as I was always concerned about how I looked. Eventually after one scare too many I stopped worrying about my speed and tried to get the correct form. I then had my aha moment. Being gently on the throttle the bike will go round the corner as if on rails. It all feels safe and secure and you are completely in control. It will probably also feel slow because you are so in control but trust me, your speed will build as your ability to read corners grows. Your “oh shit” moments will hopefully reduce to very few and riding becomes very much more rewarding.
I also strongly recommend you grab a copy of David Hough’s Proficient Motorcycling book. That is a great introduction to all the dangers out there you face that at this point you are unaware of. The best $20 you will ever spend on motorcycling training.
Good luck with everything and keep us posted on your progress
Congrats. Looking forward to the pics and hearing how your ride went. That’s a lot of bike
Yup. Actually found some pretty nice roads on the WA side. Grist Mill was a surprisingly cool place to visit (one of the pics). Stayed in OR side on the way back as I wanted to hit Vista House but that was more interstate than I liked. Might jump over to 14 if I do it again (which I might do in about 4 weeks). The hills to the NW of Portland were surprisingly good. Started off on Skyline Drive and kept going till we left the mansions behind. Then dropped of and climbed back up the ridge a couple of times. Was much better than I dared hope for. You have some great roads right on your doorstep.
Initially we had cabins booked over in Idaho. These were bare bones rustic cabins (ie. a hut) but they were supposedly heated. When we had to abandon Idaho because of snow I did throw my tent on the bike as I hit the road with no reservations. Not everyone had tents though and accomodation wasn’t hard to find so we roughed it in a Motel 6. Personally I would have preferred to camp. Would have been fine sleeping I’m sure but hanging out before then might have been cold.
You are going to love BC. I need to head up that way on my bike once the mountains start to thaw out. Unfortunately in June I’m scheduled to be riding from NC back to WA, but if timing works out I would take a weekend trip up there to meet up with you.
Music is obviously subject to personal tastes. If you don’t like my choice then it will have a big impact on how you view the video. The music is taken from GlobeTrekker/LonelyPlanet and for me invokes a sense of wonder and travel, which made it perfect for this video.
The road conditions at that point were slightly tricky and it looks like the road surface changed just as he slipped. I don’t think he scared himself as he is a bit of a fearless rider (not saying that’s a good thing). I think his bald tire with changing grip level caused him to slip. Important thing is he stayed up. Falling off at the beginning of the ride would kind of ruined the weekend
Thanks. When you’re putting the video together it’s hard to know if it’s going to be a good one or not. If I still like to watch it 2 months later then I know I did okay. This one is a keeper I think.
Yeah, I saw he almost lost it. Claims it was due to bald tires though why he went on a 3 day ride with bald tires I don’t know. We were only about 150 miles into the ride at that point and I was taking it easy as we were going down a steep hill surrounded by moss covered trees (ie. slippery road conditions).
Yup, that we should. Don’t want to hi-jack rannettes Guzzi appreciation thread so we can start another thread to see if there are any other BBM riders in the area (briderdt still around?). Or take it off line.
I actually went on a ride with the owner of Moto International and his wife a couple of years ago when they joined our little scooter group. They were on a pair of Breva’s and I admit I was drooling over their bikes. That could very easily have been my next bike. On the same ride we were joined by David Hough on his 1970’s BMW. I just get to mix with all the high flyers of the motorcycle community here. I once even got to meet Eternal05!
That’s a sweet looking bike but you’ll have to give us non Guzzi enthusiasts a clue as to what it is. I’m not sure I’m wild on having an engine from a truck stuck to a bike though! That’s one seriously big engine.
You are correct. Ride West BMW here in Seattle has many such events, nothing to do with BMW but all to do with getting bodies in the door and building a “family” feeling. They are pretty good at it and I have good feelings towards them even though it may be some time before I’m ready to buy a bike from them. Can’t say I have the same feelings towards the Kawasaki place I actually bought my bike from. This place (if not BMW in general, I’m not sure) certainly has a handle on the “social” aspect of business.
And to answer your earlier question, yes it was KMG who did the talk. Not sure who exactly was speaking but he was a local racer who learned about suspension through racing at Pacific Raceways.