Friday, July 11, 2014

Little bit of maintence

So, it has been a while since the last post. Hopefully that can change once we get the Buell back in riding shape.

We picked it up from storage in Virginia. I mean that literally. We had no ramp to load it into the trailer, so we used a wooden pallet and lifted it. That'll lead to some sore shoulders. Because it had been sitting for a while, we knew it would need some TLC. Battery was drained, front brake was almost spongey enough to be useless, and it wouldn't start (see: battery drained).

So, we put it on the battery tender after we got it home. After a recharge it now starts up fine. Next up, bleeding the front brake and putting fresh fluids in.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

New line from the Motor Co.

It looks like Harley is getting back into the "smaller" displacement game. After the demise of Buell's Blast, HD the smallest HD was the 883 Sportster. A liquid cooled, 500cc, under 500 pound Harley? Sounds like they are actually trying to compete with the Big Four for new riders. Good, the Motor Co. could use some new blood. Put some rear mounts on it and I'll try it.

Monday, September 16, 2013

It's alive!

Well, the blog is still alive. Still sans wheels though. That part is a work in progress.

Speaking of progress, I was in the area of one of Roanoke's larger motorcycle shops today. I figured I could drop in, just to drool copiously over carefully examine the inventory. The place is a dealer for the Big Four, plus KTM. So, I was hoping to butt-test a KLR (to compare with BMW's F800GS later), a Ninja 300, perhaps the FZ6R, and--if I was very lucky-- the Duke. When I pulled in, they had a ZRX1200 and a V-Strom 650 in the line-up of used bikes out front. This looks promising. Inside, it is your standard fair for a Big Four dealer. Sport bikes segregated from cruisers, all separate from dirt bikes and ATVs on the other side of the shop, with gear and accessories in back.

Looking around, I was not surprised to only find KTM off roaders. But... no KLR. Ok. Umm, nor Ninja 300. Damn. One FZ6R. Alrighty... wait... what's this? A Honda middleweight sportbike? I'm intrigued. I threw a leg over the CBR500R. Ergonomically, very similar to the old Ninja 250 or Suzuki's GS500F. It seems to be a pretty comfortable bike. Coming in about $1600 less than the Ninja 650 it was sitting next to, it looks like a pretty good deal, too.

But the 650 has a little more grunt, an adjustable windscreen, slightly more room, and better (to me) ergonomics... And that brand new 636 down the line....

Too many bikes, too little money.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Bike review: BMW F650GS

Alright, so I had the chance to ride a 2007 BMW F659GS today. A friend of mine left it in town to sell and told me to look after it. Then he said there is a nice loop near the storage unit.... Put two and two together...

Here it is:

Here are the basics: 652 cc single, 50 hp, chain drive, 5 speed, and all is 386 pounds.

This is a taller bike than I have ridden before, so a slight worry about getting my feet down. But, I could get my toes down once I put weight on the bike, so a little more comfortable. The seating position is pure standard. Feet almost half way between being under my knees and under my hips; arms slightly extended out to the wide bars. I know the mirrors look pretty small in the picture, but keep in mind that those hand guards are plenty over-sized and the mirrors are almost as large.

On to the ride: the power delivery is smooth and predictable, coming with a light clutch pull and wide friction zone. Goose the throttle and you get a strong pull from the big thumper, but not so much as to be intimidating.

The rake felt more relax than the bikes I'm used to, so less twitchy than a sportbike. Accordingly, the steering was heavier than I expected, but once it leaned over, it stayed planted.

Lastly, the brakes: I didn't try to do any full braking (borrowed bike, remember?) but they were also predictable and gave pretty good feedback. I don't know if the bike had ABS, but I wasn't about to find out.

Overall, it is a fantastic ride, and a relatively new rider should be able to handle it pretty well. Assuming they are tall enough to feel comfortable with the height. Also, it reminded me I need a bike of my own.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Knowing Your Limits

A couple of days ago, I was driving to the store. It had just finished raining and the roads were beginning to dry. As I sat at the light to turn onto Route 11, I saw two cruisers go past-heading north, the direction I was going to turn.

Shortly, the light turned green for me and I proceeded up to the next light, which had just turned red. I noticed something as I came to the light: the cruisers had been caught by this second light. But, there was a problem. Apparently, when the light turned red, the riders had decided to stop on the drying road. One of them must have locked a brake (I couldn't tell if it was front or rear, not having seen the get off). One of the bikes was lying on its side in the intersection, being picked up by the rider.

I tell this to remind people: if you don't have the space to stop safely, don't. When you are so close to the light that you can't stop safely, you are close enough that there will not be cross traffic if you go through as it turns red. Also, practice quick stops. It makes you learn those distances and speeds. It also helps you instill the proper reactions to locking a brake. If you are riding with a group and some of you get through a light, just wait on the other side for your fellows.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Winter of My Discontent

The Buell lives, after a long winter of disuse. I hooked the battery up to a trickle charger last night (and took it back off before bed to be sure the battery was up to holding a charge). Fired up this afternoon after a few minutes of cranking the engine. Now to get it inspected, change the oil, and probably get it some new tires.

In other news, my wife is right: taking the bike for a spin around the block really does improve my mood.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Scorpion EXO-700: Part 2

When my new helmet arrived, I said I would be posting a review of the -700. Well, I've finally had the chance to ride around in it. Aaand, you guessed it, here is my review.

My earlier assessment that the vents are easier to use was spot on. They are easy to find with a gloved hand when you forget to open them before the ride. Just as easy to operate with said gloved hand. And, finally, they all slide in the same direction to open, so no more trying to remember which vent does what with which motion. They also seem to be rather effective. When I opened the vents during my ride, I felt a noticeable breeze on my head.

Next, I think that breaking it in some has helped. I didn't notice the hot-spots I had felt when I initially tried the helmet on. Needless to say, this is a good thing.

Finally, it was loud. This is probably a combination of various factors. First and foremost, I wasn't wearing my usual earplugs, so that might account for the entire difference. Second, I was riding the Blast, which is a loud bike on the best of days and the windshield on it increases buffeting around my head. As Amanda said when I commented on the noise, "It makes its presence known." And finally, the vent holes are a different shape than those on the -400. The rounded holes on this one might act more like a flute mouthpiece than the rectangular ones on the -400 did.

All in all, I still like Scorpion's helmets and I'm still happy with the decision to buy another one.