2016 Bonneville T 120 video

First video of my 2016 Triumph Bonneville T 120!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7HvpR9rS0p_AwS1UFPCslg

 

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Motorcycles Ridden – the lost files

Motorcycles I Have Ridden – the Lost Files

(Or some of #1 – 92)

Since the first of the many lists I compiled of motorcycles I’ve ridden seems to have meandered into cyberspace, I’m going to make some anecdotal comments about the first few dozen of them. At least the ones I can remember.  Thou shalt be thus forewarned:  this mass of typing will be of little interest to anyone other than the more crazed of my motorcycle brethren. I may go back to this from time to time and add more as they burble up in memory. The reason for creation is so that when I am older and even more gray (is that possible?), I’ll be able to use these notes to reminisce.  Probably to the great annoyance of those unfortunates enlisted to care for me at some point, but I digress…

1965 Yamaha YDS3

  • First bike!  Purchased in August of 1967. I was 20 years old.
  • Only 400 miles, and $400. Blue and white
  • First owner frightened by a car turning left in front of him
  • Ridden for two years, including Minneapolis to Seattle and back in 1968 – camping.
  • Added one of the first Vetter fairings – essentially a road race fairing with a taller windscreen.  White with blue Yamaha “tuning fork” decals on the sides. That necessitated the removal of the front fender – cool!
  • Destroyed in a ditch at 60mph in June of 1969 by a rider who was behaving like an idiot – me.  Separated shoulder.

 

Honda 305 Superhawk

  • Owned by a college pal who went with me on my first big trip.
  • Painfully obvious that it was a much better bike than my Yamaha, although my friend was kind enough not to mention it.
  • Dead reliable, fast for its day, and capable of almost anything

 

1969 Honda 450SS

  • Second bike owned. Purchased in September of 1969.  $875 I think, with less than 900 miles.
  • First owner had removed the side and center stands, worked on them with a grinder for days, and then had them chromed.
  • Silver, with gold “lightning” graphics on the tank.
  • Gorgeous, and in many ways my best friend. I had just moved from Minneapolis and knew my Dad (Bellevue) and the staff of my first school – that was it.
  • Ridden for two years and 19,000 miles, including Seattle to Berkeley for Christmas (1969), Seattle to Minneapolis and back (1970) and Seattle to St. Petersburg, Florida in 1971.
  • A snapped cam chain in St. Pete ate the engine. I flew back with helmet in hand.

 

1969 Honda 350 Scrambler

  • Two of them, one in blue and the other red. Purchased by two teacher friends I was renting a house with.  Rode at least one of them at a staff party – faster than I should have.  Impressive bike.

 

1972 Honda 500 4

  • Purchased in September of 1971 – 3rd one sold in this state.  Gold.
  • A perfect motorcycle; so perfect it was boring.
  • Used for our honeymoon ride down the coast of Oregon in March of 1972.
  • Featured in “2 X4,” an article I wrote for “Road Rider” magazine. One of the first bits of writing I got paid for. “Road Rider” is now “Motorcycle Consumer News.”  They also published a poem I sent them that is too embarrassing to reprint here.  Trust me.
  • Sold for funds to purchase a rolling wreck of a 1958 Corvette

 

Honda 90

  • Belonged to one of my junior high students. Spent a fun afternoon bouncing around a vacant lot trading off with this 14 year old girl.   Today that would get you fired – rapidly.

 

Honda 450 CL

  • Purchased as a “commuter bike” in 1976.
  • I didn’t think the badly faded green paint on the tank would bother me, but it did.
  • Stupid mufflers with the welded seams
  • Functional as a motorcycle, but not very inspiring.

 

1977 Yamaha 750 Triple

  • Purchased in summer of 1977.  Silver with blue graphics. I added an owner’s manual and a license plate burglar alarm – came to just over $2,000. The house we had just traded up from paid for it.
  • Rode it for 22 years and almost 50,000 miles
  • Added a copy of a BMW R90S fairing in black.  Narrower bars from a Euro-spec Norton. K&N filters, S&W shocks, and (eventually) a MAC exhaust.
  • Fantastic motorcycle

 

1976 Harley Davidson “CR” Sportster

  • This was Harley’s entry into the Café Racer craze of the 1970,s and they were late to the party with a bike that looked the business but was seriously flawed.
  •  I had a weekend and summer job at “Drager’s” which at that time was an aftermarket shop on Dexter Avenue.  A customer came in and wanted to get some passenger pegs for his girlfriend, as a CR had none. We found some that could be bolted around the shocks. 
  • As I gushed over his bike  (I do that a lot) he asked if I would like to ride it.
  • Once underway I noticed that Harley had taken a few short cuts. The instruments were Honda 750 items, for one.
  • All was fine until I got to a corner, and it would not turn. The frame geometry was such that it cornered only with great effort.  I scared myself silly, but did not crash.  I mentioned this to the owner and he said “Yeah, I probably should have mentioned that.”   Um. Yeah

 

1977  Moto- Guzzi

  • Weirdest bike I’d ridden to that point. Two humongous cylinders jutting out to either side.  It sounded like a farm tractor. The shift felt like you were moving ten pound gears.  And yet, within ten minutes it all began to make sense and I really enjoyed it.  Dull brown and not much to look at, but extremely capable. Over a 20 mile or so ride it felt like there was a hinge in the middle of the frame.  I reported this back to the owner and he said he felt it too and wondered if I would notice it!

 

1971 or ’72 Triumph triple

This deserves a story. Originally belonged to a colleague of my friend. The colleague left for a high-paying job in Saudi Arabia, or something like that, and left it with Alan to be sold. Alan was not able to find a buyer, and occasionally tried to ask his friend what to do. He never heard from the friend again, and  started to ride the bike occasionally to keep it in fine fettle. I had been lusting after this bike for some time, but when I took it out I wondered what all the fuss was about. Right side shift, as well, which frightened me.  In any case, it seemed all roar and not all that much speed. When I brought it back Alan discovered that the middle spark plug lead had come loose. With all three cylinders firing I quickly learned what the hype was all about. Seriously fast for the day.

This bike was the first of my experience that seemed to have a personality. An evil one. It always seemed to me that it dearly wanted to kill me. I don’t know why.

Months later Alan and I were out for a weekend ride down one of our favorite roads. I looked in my rear view mirror and he was doing a somersault in the road!   No bike!  In fact, he had crashed into a ditch.

He sat there with a broken shoulder, while I rode the Triumph back to his house. The bars and I think frame were bent, so to ride it I had to hang off about a foot to the left, while remembering the shift was on the wrong side.

I don’t know what eventually happened to it.

1982 Gus Kuhn Replica of a Norton John Player Replica

There’s a mouthful.  While working on a car or bike of some sort at Alan’s house  (we did this about once a week for years) a friend called from eastern Washington. He was visiting a guy on a farm and found that the guy had an “old Norton” in the barn, in pieces, and it looked sort of odd.

“What sort of ‘odd’?”

“Well, it has a fairing on it with two headlamps.”

Alan and I paused and stared. Could this be one of the rare and valuable street bikes Norton built to capitalize on their “John Player” sponsored race bikes?

“Is it white with red and blue stripes?”

“No.  Black.”

“Hmmm.  How much does he want for it.”

“$800.”

“Tell you what.  You buy it, and if you decide you don’t want it bring it over here and I’ll buy it.”

Which I did a couple of months later.   A Norton!  With a huge fuel tank for endurance racing, rear set pegs, clip on bars, and the swoopy road race fairing with the twin headlights. I was pretty excited.

Research showed that it was not a real JPR, but a kit of parts produced by a go-fast place for café racer stuff in England called Gus Kuhn. I spent the winter spraying the white fiberglass tank with cans of black rattle can paint, which did not work all that well in the cold, and then applied some gold Norton decals. Alan pretty much re-engineered and re-wired the entire electric system.   It looked pretty cool.

That was the best part.  But to start it, you had “tickle” the carbs until raw fuel over flowed, and then fold out the shortened kick start lever.  You would romp down on it, which would slam your ankle into the foot peg, which did not fold.   As a 1982, it did have an electric starter, but the early ones were famous for not having enough grunt to turn the engine over.  You would repeat this a few times and it would start.  Once underway, the limited clearance of the grips and the enormous fuel tank  (I think it held eight gallons) would restrict the turning circle, so you needed a width of a freeway to turn around.

On a warm day on a flowing back road it was fun, but then so was my Yamaha triple.   In due time I sold it for $2,000, splitting the profits with Alan.

1999 Kawasaki ZRX 1100 

Purchased in 1999, as I sold the Yamaha to Alan.  In a riotous paint scheme of white and green with purple, which inexplicably looked fabulous.   A big old bus that returned 45mpg at any speed, never used a drop of oil or water, and offered extremely stable handling. Hidden storage area under the seat as well. One of my favorite motorcycles of all time.

2000 Buell Thunderbolt

My first “company” bike. Jim Boltz called the regional Harley sales manager and told him we needed to “borrow” the bike assigned to him.  Then he gave me a dealer plate and told me to go to Eastside Harley to pick it up.  The service manager at Eastside had to call the boss and say “You mean I am just supposed to give this guy the bike?”    yes.

It was brand new, and I had never ridden a Harley before.  I pushed it out into the sunshine and started it up. It sounded like a paint shaker machine, or that something was seriously wrong with it. They all do that, sir.  I prayed I would not kill the engine, because all of the technicians were standing there waiting for this doofus to screw up.  I rode it out of the dealership, and once on the freeway the vibes and noise toned down and it was a very nice bike.

This was their sport tourer, with very nice large saddlebags. To my horror, I scraped one of them on a post one day, and covered the damage up with a Harley sticker. Nobody ever noticed.

1997 Muzzy Raptor

What an adventure! Rob Muzzy ran Kawasaki’s road race teams for many years, with great success.  He also sold exhaust systems, etc. out of a race shop in Bend, Oregon.  He 1997 he chose to make some exotic sport bikes out of the Kawasaki 750s that were the core of his race team’s success.  Jim Boltz of Cycle Barn heard of this, and the original deal was that Muzzy would create 30 examples of the “Muzzy Raptor,” and Cycle Barn would purchase all of them.  They came in two varieties – the milder one was $14,000 and the more race-prepped edition was $18,000.  That was a LOT of money at that time.  Cycle World magazine did a road test of one of them that fairly oozed moto-lust all over the page.

Muzzy decided to make more, and Boltz decided to only purchase 10.  In the end, I believe there were 56 of them. Most were raced, and the Raptor is the only street legal bike to ever podium at an AMA Superbike race.  They featured lots of “unobtanium” parts for the time.  A full titanium exhaust, hand formed solo seat body with ram air, flat slide carbs, Marchesini magnesium wheels, and on and on. It was essentially a combination of every go-fast piece available at the time with a Muzzy-refined engine.

I went to work for Cycle Barn in 2000, and they had two of the original 1997 bikes left.  Unsold.  I came up with a whacky plan that Cycle Barn would sell me one of them at a sharply reduced cost. I would ride it on the sport bike rides I was leading, and someone would want to purchase it.  I would then split the profits with Cycle Barn. This whacky plan had serious flaws I will get to, but it went forward.  Cycle Barn sold me the bike for $6,000, with 30 monthly payments of $200.   They then raised my salary by $200 a month. So the bike was mine for the cost of the insurance.

The day I purchased it someone called from Salt Lake City who wanted to purchase the other one!  I asked the finance woman to hurry up the paperwork before management changed their minds about the weird deal I had agreed to.

Late that night I got a call at home from a salesperson.  The couple from Salt Lake were flying in the next day and wanted to hear the Muzzy run, but the other one had not been prepped, so would I please bring mine back to work.

I explained that mine now had three coats of wax on the gloss black paint, and that it was raining.  I would drive my car to work and then bring the couple back to my house to hear it run. That is what we did, and I will never forget standing in my garage with this couple. As the bike warmed up we could watch the titanium exhaust change color.  Once warm, blipping the throttle produced a blue flame a foot long out of the pipes.  We went back to Cycle Barn and they purchased the last one, to add to a pretty extensive collection of high end bikes they both rode.

My plans for the bike went awry almost immediately.  The riding position was so radical that the eye port on my Shoei was too low – I could not see.  A new Arai solved that. Worse, riding it was an extremely intense experience that for some reason reminded me of playing football. When I got home from a ride I would be so amped up I had to walk around my garage for a while to calm down.  It was suxh an all-encompassing experience that I did not want to have any other motorcycle within 50 yards of me, so leading rides did not work well.  Plus, of course, the mirrors were useless.

The suspension was so hard it was virtually solid at any speed less than 85 mph. Above that it was silken. The flat slide carbs were designed to accept full throttle at high rpm. If you gave it too much too soon they would “drown,” and you could wait while the ignition cleared itself.

One day I was riding to work and all of a sudden the revs shot up. Had the clutch failed?  No, but the road was wet and I was on a blending white painted line, and the rear tire had spun up.  This did not bother the bike at all, but certainly got my attention.

Again, most of them were raced, and crashed.  The couple in Salt Lake put stock body work on theirs so it was better at sport touring!  By 2002 I had probably the best Muzzy Raptor on the planet. With 1100 miles, no races, and no track days.

I sold it to a fellow in Ohio who had a sport bike shop. He later sued me for shipping damage, (which was a completely bogus charge) and I had to fly back to Ohio for a trial in small claims court. Which I won.

In the end, I think I sold it for $12,750, so I made a $3,000 profit and Cycle Barn got back almost all of the money they had spent. Whew!   I still have a promotional sign with all of the specs and colorful graphics. I just need a big man cave to display it.

Honda Shadow 1100

  • Eminently practical cruiser than did everything well
  • While riding it on the freeway, the right hand mirror came loose. I reached across to tighten it with my left hand and hit the kill switch with my wrist. That was exciting.

 

Suzuki cruiser of some sort and year

This one made a real impression on me.  I wanted to ride it home to check it out and a salesman asked me why I would want to ride it, describing it as a “piece of shit.”  I replied that I had never ridden one, so I would find out for myself.

In this era  (2000 or so) all the major Japanese companies made multiple cruisers of varying displacement that were copies of Harleys.  Being Japanese, they could not understand why Harley would soldier on with such an antique engine architecture, so they could not help themselves and improved it. They added water cooling, shaft or belt drive, fuel injection at times, and so on. By doing so they lost the vibration and “potato potato” exhaust cadence that made Harley.  This one was  (I think) an 800cc version in a lovely cream and green paint scheme.

Long before I reached home I had sussed the intended buyer.  A man or woman who wanted a motorcycle to ride once in a while, when the weather was perfect.  The big trip for the year would probably be a ride around Mt. Rainier.  The bike asked very little of the rider. It was comfortable and extremely easy to ride.  The foot controls were mildly forward for that cool guy profile, but not out of reach of anyone’s leg. The handling was predictable, the brakes adequate, and the sound barely there.

Once home by daughter and wife came out and gushed all over it. They thought it was beautiful!  I questioned why they thought so and the response was “the classic lines.”   I sputtered on at some length about the radiator and the other things that were definitely not part of anyone’s definition of classic lines, and they were unmoved. To a person with only a mild interest in motorcycles, this one, glowing in dark green and cream with ample chrome, was beautiful. End of story.

So it was not my cup of tea, but I could imagine the customer who would like it. The salesman needed a check-up from the neck up.

Harley Fat Boy

Another bike that taught me a lesson. Looking at it, I just knew I would hate it.  Fat Boys had solid disc front and rear wheels, so a strong side wind would affect the bike.  Foot boards reduced cornering clearance to about nil.  Lots of chrome, and a wild black with red and yellow flames. Oh my. And forward controls, again, but more out there than on the Suzuki.

Determined to hate it, I wandered up the street on my way home, my feet waving helplessly in the air as I tried to locate the brake and shift controls. Little power, heavy as an oil tanker, mediocre brakes, and no cornering clearance.  And then something really odd happened.

I was having a great time!  For reasons hard to explain, it was just so much fun to ride!  Did it appeal to my inner 8 year old?  I don’t know, but I loved riding it home, and then back the next day, and I rode many more of them over the next few years.

I was not a “Harley” person, per se, but I could see the appeal.  Over the years I met many fine people who were passionate Harley riders, and although I disagreed with many of their opinions about other brands, I could at least identify with why they loved their Harleys.   Ironically, by the time I left Cycle Barn after almost ten years,  I’d ridden a couple of hundred Harleys of every description, assuredly more than any of the folks I’d met had experienced.

Honda Valkyrie

  • Mega-heavy cruiser
  • Essentially a Gold Wing without most of the bodywork
  • I actually liked it better than the Gold Wing
  • I rode one from Lynnwood to Smokey Point and back, and half way there was horrified to note that it was brand new!  It had been parked with the used bikes and nobody thought to tell me.

 

That’s about all I can remember.  For now.

 

Copyright 2016                          David Preston

 

Posted in Marketing, Motorcycles | 2 Comments

2016 Triumph Bonneville T 120. First Impressions

2016 Triumph T 120 – first impressions

Appearance: the first thing that grabs. Or at least me. I think this is the most beautiful motorcycle being produced today.   This is as Triumph intended. The new Bonnevilles, and especially the T 120, were deliberately designed to look like a mid-1960’s version. 

 

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I became a motorcycle enthusiast in 1962, at the age of 15. I purchased my first motorcycle in 1967. For several years I literally left fingerprints on the windows of the Triumph dealer, who always seemed to be closed when I walked by, staring with longing eyes at the beauty of each model. I friend had one when I was in college, and I have never been so filled with envy.  I could not have imagined that they would eventually create a bike that looks so similar and yet is massively superior in every way to its forebears.

My belief is that they are at the head of a coming wave – the return of motorcycles that are “pretty.” When I started, virtually all of the premium brands were rolling exhibits of colorful paint schemes and chrome everything. I remember a candy apple red Norton, the blue and white of a college friend’s new Harley, the chrome yellow of a Norton Commando, and virtually all the rest. My 1969 Honda 450 SS was a vision is silver with gold tank stripes, and a lot of chrome. My 1972 Honda 500 4 was a gorgeous metal flake dark amber gold.

Motorcycles as rolling art continued for a couple of decades, until the crash of the economy and the motorcycle market in 2006 – 2008. For various reasons, in came flat black plastic covers on almost everything.  Harley hung in there with a new state of the art painting facility in 2002 or so, and their bikes stood out from the rest with stunning paint jobs. BMWs had always been black with white pinstripes, but eventually they began to dip a toe in the colored water, although a cautious one. They introduced a blah grey, an uninspired blue, and so on. Even their version of red, like on a K1300S I had in 2002, was not all that moving. Of course I am generalizing, as my 2000 K 1300S was “lava orange.”  I loved it, and but some people thought it was grotesque.  There were, and are, colorful bikes that are beautiful, but my point is that now they are the rarities, where originally they were the majority.

Chrome wheels became an afterthought, as most bikes came with dark grey or black wheels, which were easier to clean. Chrome became a piece of trim, or went missing altogether. I think Triumph is on to something.  This bike is gorgeous, even to people who have no knowledge or interest in bikes.

Technology: This is where the new bike firmly parts company with the original, featuring items now commonplace on other brands, in some cases for years, but technologies that for the most part did not exist back then.

When most people think of Triumph, two flaws come to mind. Oil leaks and dodgy electronics. Oil leaks have not been a concern for decades, but even my 2006 Speed Triple had a weak electrical system.  I could add heated gear, but not much of it, and it would be pushing the envelope.

A Triumph enthusiast back in the day would not know what to do with an USB port under the seat to charge your phone. And a fake burglar alarm that puts out a flashing red light at intervals on the instrument panel. Later, there will be an accessory burglar alarm to make it real.

LED head light and tail light! Really?  A gear indicator in the instrument panel.

Standard heated grips (on the T 120), as well as ABS brakes, two engine modes, and traction control that can be turned off or on? Really?  This is a Triumph?

It has a 6 speed transmission, and some sort of techno-trickery to make the clutch pull light enough that you can pull it back with one finger. Literally.

Dual disk brakes on the front. Many road tests on many bikes claim that one disc is sufficient for that model, but the lack of symmetry always claws at my sense of what is right. I prefer the pair.

A ten thousand mile service interval! A couple of decades ago that mileage was usually an indication that a full engine rebuild would be on the agenda. Soon.  My Honda 450 snapped its cam chain and ate itself to ruin. At 19,000 miles.  This new Triumph will be about ready for its second oil change at that point.

One technological throwback to days or yore is tubes in the tires, as Triumph has not yet figure out how to make spoked chrome wheels that can accept tubeless tires, although others have.

Another throwback that I welcome, and that surprised me, is a steel fuel tank. This allows the use of a magnetic tank bag. I LOVE using a tank bag, although I realize many people hate them. My only issue now is that the bike is so gorgeous I want to leave the tank bag off. There are solutions to this dilemma, or will be soon from the aftermarket – probably a small rack on the back.

One thing I do find amusing. It is now common to have an ambient temperature read-out on the instrument display.  Almost all BMW motorcycles have this, and with Teutonic exactness, they read in tenths of a degree!  The technology for this is now readily available, and the instruments of our Fiat show the same snowflake warning a BMW motorcycle does, at the same temperature of 37 degrees.  Triumph seems to say “That’s ridiculous. The real measure of cold must include whether or not it is raining and how much the speed affects wind chill. Feel cold? Put on more gear!  Too warm?  Remove a layer!” 

It occurs to me that the Germans might soon introduce a modified gauge with techno trickery that allows for wind chill and humidity to give you an even clearer indication of why you feel cold.

Performance: This is not the fastest bike I have owned by some measure.  On the other hand, it will stomp on the original.  Now 1200cc of water-cooled and fuel injected propulsion, it has been tuned for torque, and it makes usable power from low speeds. The surge in 3rd gear, even while under break-in instructions, is very impressive.  The Thruxton R arriving in a couple of days has been tuned for more power higher in the rev range.  On the T 120 it is turning over at a calm 3,000 rpm at an indicated 70mph, and only 4,000 rpm at 80mph.  (They did say to vary the speed while breaking it in, officer)

Handling: The front forks are not adjustable, which is unfortunate, but probably a cost-saving measure. The rear shocks are the old type with 5 settings accessed by moving the stop up a stepped ramp.  You used to do this with a large C clamp that usually slipped and bloodied your knuckles, scratched paint, or both. Now it is done with a 5mm Allen key, supplied with the bike. Still not cutting edge by a long shot, but probably fine for my intended use.

On the road, the geometry seems set up for solid handling at higher speeds. I did find that it is not particularly happy with 10mph or 15mph curves, however. Perhaps I will get better at these with practice.  My Speed Triple would turn sharply if you merely contemplated a change of direction. Fortunately, I don’t encounter corners that slow and sharp all that often.

One thing that does aid handling at any sort of reasonable speed is the narrowness of the rear of the tank. It is easy to cock your hips in the direction of the turn, as there is an inch or more of air between your knees and the sides of the tank, even with the rubber knee pads on the tank.

Ergonomics: Wow.  I had forgotten that it is possible to have mirrors that allow you to see what it happening behind the bike. Another exaggeration, but the quest for a 1960’s look also brought chrome mirrors on stalks.  Probably an aerodynamic disaster, but they do work as – er – mirrors.

Dealership experience:   Have to admit my experience would not be everyone’s. I worked for the Cycle Barn MotorSports Group for ten years, and Triumph of Seattle was spun off of that. I know and have worked with almost all of the employees, and I am on good terms with both the former and current owners. In fact, I was invited to breakfast by the former owner at a diner near T of S, and afterward we walked over and were stunned by the new T 120, the first one either of us had seen.  When I wanted to purchase (the next day) I was able to skip the sales department and just sit down with the owner.   From experience, I knew what he would offer as a trade for my Speed Triple, and what the various costs would be. His numbers were about $35 less than mine, so for a $12,000 list price bike I was pretty close.  “Negotiations” took 5 minutes.

When the bike arrived, after an agonizing wait, I rode my Speed Triple in for the swap and was introduced to Andy. Andy patiently went through the new buyer walk through, and was very thorough. I was impressed by a couple of details. For one, the bike came with a full fuel tank.   Not a big deal, but attention to detail works wonders.  Secondly, a ‘pigtail’ for a battery charger had been installed and zip tied to a frame rail so it is virtually invisible. Another nice detail.

As we were talking I peeled off a couple of clear warning decals on the tank. Once outside I went back to get my gear, and the two friends who were with me were impressed with the zeal Andy showed in polishing away every shred of decal glue from the tank.  Then we took the picture they take of bike sold with the new owner – a customer service detail I tried in vain (for almost fourteen years!) to install as a 100% commitment from the dealership for every customer.  I don’t know if Andy gets the commission from this sale or not, but I would certainly direct others to him.

In the next few months I will probably purchase new brackets for the Ventura double bag system I kept from the old bike, assuming Ventura can figure out how to mount them inauspiciously. Other than that, for the first time in many motorcycles I have purchased or ridden, I don’t want to make any changes at all.

I will probably also further refine my analysis of the bike, and I may post further information down the road a few thousand miles.

But for now, as I said to my wife after the first day or riding: “This may not be the perfect bike for everyone, but it is probably the perfect bike for me.”

And – it is gorgeous!  

 

Copyright 2016                   David Preston

Posted in Marketing, Motorcycles | 2 Comments

A New Bike For The Older Rider

Purchasing A New Bike for The Older Rider.

Ah, the joys of living to a ripe old age. Or at least riper.  I just turned 69, a fine number for a figurative waving of a middle finger to all the well-meaning folks who told me I’d kill myself when I started riding motorcycles almost a half a century ago.  500 plus bikes ridden many hundreds of thousands of miles later, I can say “Oh yeah?  Tell that to the right knee I screwed up back when I thought I could play basketball.”  Or something like that.

However, the piper must be paid.  Aging will have at least two effects.

For one thing, your tastes change. For a long time I wanted to own the fastest bike I could afford, and I wanted to look fast.  I was never was as fast as I wanted to look, but the ego must be served.

I’ve now been there and done that. I’ve owned bikes with almost 200hp  (Kawasaki ZX 12R), a bike that was a thinly disguised superbike  (Muzzy Raptor) and ridden thousands of miles on a BMW K1300S, BMW S 1000RR, and many other high-powered bikes.

I’ve ridden to the edge of my limited abilities several times, and have been fortunate to pay the price for exceeding them only once.  That was in 1969. A self-induced accident destroyed my first bike, a 1965 Yamaha 250cc YDS3 that deserved a better fate. The separated collarbone was a small price to pay for the lesson that adrenaline and enthusiasm do not trump physics combined with a lack of experience and common sense. 

I’ve noticed in the past few years that very seldom am I trying all that hard any more, but with increases in experience and some training I’m about as fast over distance as I ever was.  But much safer.  And more relaxed.

As a younger rider, I was willing to put up with some discomfort to enjoy all this. A Muzzy Raptor has a suspension similar to granite unless you’re traveling over 85 mph. A BMW S 1000RR is comfy as far as super sports bikes go, but still requires a crunched up position with the knees tucked up high. As you age, the dictates of performance bikes begin to pall, just as your body is less willing to adapt.  Eventually, the wear and tear of the years takes a toll, even accounting for the days at the gym each week that keep me in relatively good health.  The first sign of old age is the physical where the doctor sums up a complete physical with the words “You’re in great shape, FOR A MAN YOUR AGE.”

Ouch.

Which gets us to the physical aspects. In the past year my right knee, a veteran of two operations, has gradually been evolving toward the status of a problem. Most of the little things that keep things sliding smoothly inside have been removed or have eroded away, or evanesced, or something.  It’s not likely to get better.  The occasional Aleve keeps the swelling at bay. 

An artificial knee may be out there, but who knows?

A few years ago I was having a lot of trouble with my left elbow. Swelling, a lot of of fluid, etc. After having it drained, twice, an MRI was taken. I’d severed both tendons in my left elbow, without ever being aware of it. I have nothing more than a couple of weak guesses as to when and how this occurred. Oddly, the elbow problem seems to have gone away. I have no idea why. But it might come back.  Surgery could repair it.  Maybe.

Your results will differ, depending on how much punishment you’ve meted out to the physical abilities you were born with, but we all share the fact that aging is going to take a toll.  You can’t predict when or what the cost to you will be, and in some cases what you did to create the problem will be a mystery.

The effect of my knee has been that at times riding my Speed Triple has given me pause. On a bad day I’m not completely sure that when I throw my leg over the seat and straighten up the bike my right knee will not crumple and send me and the bike crashing to the ground. Hasn’t happened, but the thought is there.

What to do?

Be mindful of what you’re doing when you get on the bike for one thing.  But still, it is a concern.

Some time ago I began to think along the lines of getting a bike that I could ride for as many more years as possible with fewer concerns that physical issues would get in the way.  Something with a lower seat height that weighs a bit less than my Speed Triple, for instance. I did not want to get a “slow” bike necessarily, or a cruiser. 

Here we shall pause to consider personal taste. In this country, motorcycles are in the majority purchased as a matter of personal expression.   They are, to some extent, toys.  What’s your passion?

What got you interested in motorcycles in the first place?  For many it was a father or older brother or some other relative. In many cases, the motorcycle they rode, and perhaps gave you a ride on, became imprinted on your brain and that, for you, will define “motorcycle” for the rest of your days.

There are thousands of people, for example, who consider a Harley-Davidson to be the only “real” motorcycle. Back in the 1960s Honda sold several million motorcycles to people who would not allow their son or daughter to ride a “motorcycle,” but a Honda was OK.

This is why you so often hear comments from people who are otherwise intelligent to the effect that they cannot understand why some people like fill in this space with any brand or type of motorcycle.  The reason is, almost invariably, that they have never ridden one of “those.

The greatest education I received about motorcycles came from the greatest job perk in the history of the motorcycle world. For fourteen years I was encouraged by the management of the dealership I worked for to ride – everything. For the first few years especially I took a different motorcycle home almost every night,  up to fifty different motorcycles a year.  I learned, very quickly, that motorcycles are designed by engineers to fit a particular market segment.  If you ride the bike thinking about who it was designed for, after a while you will “get it” and come to appreciate what the bike can do.  Most of them are wonderful designs, if you take the time to ponder what the intent was in the first place.

The first time I rode a Moto Guzzi I thought it was the strangest contraption ever. Ever control, every action, every movement and even the sound, everything was alien. Sort of like a farm tractor on two wheels.  But after about 20 miles I got it, and after 100 I loved it.  A few years later I almost bought one.

People who have never ridden Harleys think they are slow and rattly mastodons that cannot corner any better than a 1948 Buick.  This impression will be strengthened the first time you ride one, as compared with many bikes that is exactly what they are.  Given time, you will begin to understand the charm.   Harleys taught me the great joy of a ride where you are not trying to go fast, but simply enjoying riding on a beautiful bike and watching the scenery, while listening to a mesmerizing sound that fills you with confidence that everything will be OK.  I think they are linked to our limbic system in some way.  You will feel elated at the end of the ride, even though there was absolutely nothing special about it.

Of course, this is not true of all motorcycles. The 1977 Harley “CR,” which was their attempt at a café racer, looked spectacular and sounded great, but the steering was so slow and heavy I almost rode it off the road. It wouldn’t turn.  I rode a Harley chopper for two days that was so unbalanced to get the huge rear tire to fit that it leaned several degrees to the left while going in a straight line. It did corner well going left, of course, except that it had no ground clearance. Turning right was a wrestling match between ride and bike.  And so on.

The point (hurray – a point!) is that what you think you want may have been formed very early, and you might want to be open to a new idea or two.  Since I grew up in Minnesota (where motorcycles were fairly rare) in a home where nobody cared about motorcycles, my first notions were formed by reading Cycle World magazine every month. Several times.

Cycle World carried many articles about road racing.  Ergo – I wanted to be a road racer.   Of course, I simplify, but you get the point. What bike got you going, and does it still affect your choices?

One of the great benefits of aging is that you learn what you want in a motorcycle and what you do not want, and you care less and less what others think.  Let’s go shopping, and ponder some of our choices.

Cooling:  For decades almost all motorcycle engines were air-cooled, and they still call out to some. They tend to be simpler and lighter, and visually more appealing to many.  The downside is that they have a harder and harder time meeting increasingly stringent noise and pollution regs, especially when combined with the human desires for more of everything, which leads to more weight.

If you opt for water cooling, especially when combined with electronic fuel injection, there are many positives. More power, greater reliability, less pollution, and so on.  Electric fuel injection brings the potential for an entire suite of further electric aids, such a traction control, various engine operation modes, heated grips, cruise control, and more.

So first of all, what do you want your new bike to look like?  Jay Leno has been quoted as saying that a “real” motorcycle is one you can see through, and that resonates with me. A lot of modern bikes have “mass centralization,” which makes a lot of sense from an engineering point of view, but the appearance tends to come to a solid wall of stuff viewed from the side. The simplicity of the appearance and mechanicals of the bikes of your youth will fight with the appeal of modern technology.  Imagine a graph with a horizontal axis of old-school looks on one side and modern appearance on the other, with a vertical axis of cost. This will give you four quadrants, and you can place all the bikes on your “maybe” list into one of the quadrants.

What do you want your bike to sound like? Road tests never cover this, as music appreciation lies in the ear of the beholder. For some the “potato potato” of a Harley V-twin is the only sound they like.  I love the sound of a triple engine, especially with some mild enhancements, while you might prefer the smooth whir of a four or even six cylinder engine. It’s your choice.

Chrome?  Once a feature of every motorcycle, chrome is now used as a trim piece, if at all.  I like chrome wheels and chrome exhausts, and both are becoming rare.

Ergonomics?  Aging often brings a desire for a lower seat height. Most cruisers make this a feature, but I’ve never liked cruisers all that much. As an example of the fickle minds of consumers, the cruiser I liked the most was the Triumph Thunderbird of recent vintage. I loved it.  The first and only cruiser I could imagine spending my own money on.  Nobody else did, and now it is being dropped.

Power, handling, and brakes?   It’s hard to get all three at the same time.  I usually prioritize comfort first, brakes second, handling third, and power last. The reason for this is that almost any motorcycle the older rider is interested in will have “enough” power.  If your motorcycle has more than 100hp, the excess is mostly to prop up your ego. You will rarely use it.

Drive train?  You have at least three choices here.  (I am only discussing street bikes). You can have shaft drive, chain drive, or a belt.  The best compromise of weight and simplicity and efficiency is probably the belt, especially with modern materials that make the belts very sturdy. But, unless it is a Harley, your choice may have either a chain or a shaft. How big a deal is this to you?

Wheels?  I love chrome and spoked wheels, but that usually means tubed tires. How important is it to you to have tubeless?

Ease of cleaning? Not a factor for me. In fact, I LIKE to clean the motorcycle I own. It is a form of relaxation for me that goes back to my first three or four motorcycles.  Sitting out in the driveway listening to the Mariners lose on the radio while polishing chrome is a favorite pastime that comes close to the joy of actually riding.

Some of these categories overlap.  I prefer twin disc brakes on the front end. There are many motorcycles with just one, and the road tests usually point out that one is plenty for the motorcycle in question. I careth not. For me, one front disc looks unbalanced. I want the twin discs for appearance, and excess brake potential is preferable to “enough.”

Time to make your choice!

The Triumph Bonneville has appealed to me for half a century.  I spent my college years obsessing about the joys of the Bonneville, ignoring such practicalities as the dodgy electronics, the extreme unlikelihood that I could maintain it, and of course a chronic lack of funds.  When the “new” Bonneville came out in the early 2000s I had the chance to ride a several of them when I worked at Cycle Barn. Lovely bike, but just a tad low on power for my tastes.  My son purchased a “Bonnie Black” model in 2006 and it served him very well.

Earlier this year I attended an open house at Triumph of Seattle staged to welcome the new for 2016 Thruxton versions of the Bonneville. Spectacular looks, and this bike shot to the top of my wish list. Bars a little low, but I could cope.  Engine has more power, but still not quite enough.  The R model came later, with even more power.  Now we’re getting there.

And then… I was invited to have breakfast with Jim Boltz, the owner of Cycle Barn and the guy who hired me into full time work in the motorcycle business 16 years ago. He’s in the process of selling Triumph of Seattle (which used to be Cycle Barn Triumph) and evidently still consults with the new owner from time to time. So we met for breakfast at a lovely dive a half a block away.

Stuffed to the gills, we walked back to Triumph of Seattle and…  boom.

In the front row, with ribbons around it indicating it had already been sold, a new Bonneville T 120. This has the new 1200cc partially water-cooled engine and fuel injection, amounting to a 30% to 40% increase in both power and (especially) torque.  Now we’re talking.

The new one looks so much like the classic Bonnevilles of the 1960s that both Jim and I stood there for a couple of minutes while the right and left sides of our brains argued. Keep in mind that the ‘60s versions were ones I lusted after for years. Jim owned a restored 1967 when I worked for him that was one of the rare bikes that nobody but him got to ride. Couldn’t blame him.

We both KNEW it was a 2016, and yet it looked so much like a classic ‘60s version. It was weird.  Later I figured out that silver with maroon paint scheme is not actually identical to anything used back then, but so close it could pass for an original.  All by stated intent from Trumph.

I stared at it and started running through the list I’d made of what I wanted.  Lower seat height than a Speed Triple.  Less weight.  Center stand.   Fuel injection.  Longer service intervals (10,000 miles).  Knee pads on the sides of the tank. ABS brakes.  Heated grips.  It had everything on my list, and the looks (to me, and I am the only one that counts here), utterly stunning.

So I came home and laid out my ideas to my wonderful wife. The ups and downs of continued ownership of my Speed Triple which is still a wonderful bike. Plus, we just spent $1300 on new tires and some electrical repairs and various other ills!  Then there were the advantages and disadvantages to the new bike. Like cost.  You’re a fortunate person if you lay out such a list out and hear this response.  “You should do this.”

So I rode into the dealership with a printed list of the many assets of my Speed Triple. Because I know both the old and current owners, I got to skip a sales person (although theirs are perfectly nice) and dealt with the owner. I knew about what mine was worth retail, and about how much he would offer as a trade in.  I knew the list price of the new bike. “Negotiations” might be too strong a word, as the numbers he came up with were pretty much identical to the numbers in my head.

The only downside – no bike.  There are several T 120s in my selected color scheme on order, and several deposits ahead of me. 

Fortunately, one of the advantages of getting older is increased patience.  I can wait a few weeks.

But it won’t be easy.

 

Copyright 2016               David Preston

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Motorcycles I Have Ridden Part XII

# 506 to  #509  (and that’s all – for now)

David Preston:                                          Motorcycles Ridden Log

As of January 1st 2014:                                   8 owned   497 tested  Total:  505

#506   2014 BMW F 800ST           Ride West demo

  • White is not my favorite color, but suits the bike well
  • Too polite and civilized for me
  • Exhaust like a vacuum cleaner
  • Belt drive is nice
  • Good weather protection for a smaller sport tourer
  • 46 miles when I left with it – 147 when I returned
  • Adequate power –  but that is not enough
  • Excellent brakes and handling
  • ESA is nice, and I set it to “Sport” (firm) immediately
  • Usual ample info from BMW gauges
  • Under seat fuel tank would be nice on trips with a tank bag
  • Probably the bike I should be riding!  (with an accessory exhaust)

#507   2014 BMW F 800 GS         Ride West demo

  • Lovely maroon
  • Such a simple and easy bike to ride
  • Wish it had a belt instead of a chain
  • Probably the bike  (or the F 800 ST) I SHOULD be owning/riding, with all due respect to the Speed Triple

#508   2014 BMW R 1200 RT       Ride West demo

  • Massive changes from 2013
  • New engine has more power and more leg room
  • Adopted lots of tech from the K 1600 GT
  • Could not get comfy with the adjustments during my ride
  • Windshield made too much noise in all positions except totally up
  • In upper reaches, brings cold air to the shoulders and back
  • Seemed too tall to me – sitting on it rather than in it
  • Infinitely better, perhaps, but I did not like it much at all

#509   2012 BMW G 650 GS         Ride West MSF bike

  • If you have to have a BMW at the lowest cost
  • Practical in an extremely limited range of uses
  • Singe cylinder engine struggles at any speed over 50 mph
  • Gear change actually hurt my foot
  • Nimble for sure, and good brakes, but not very impressive at all
  • Pretty much a POS, sorry to say.

 

 

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Motorcycles I Have Ridden Part XI

Last year of full employment!  (to November 1st)  #475 – 505

Dave Preston:                                           Motorcycles Ridden Log

As of January 1st 2013:                                  8 owned –  466  tested = 474 total

#475             2013 BMW 800 GT demo

  • Orange color really suits the bike
  • Slightly more power than last year’s 800R
  • Fantastic new bags not on this one yet
  • 90hp vs. 87 for the 800R vs. 85 last year? Ample, at any rate
  • Clutch seems lighter
  • Fantastic mirrors! Mounted to the fairing, higher and wider than the 800R and with a bigger rounded rectangle shape vs. sort of a trapezoid – pretty much the best mirrors ever
  • Centerstand – ah yes!
  • For Mr. Preston’s inaugural first ride, he is wearing a helmet by Arai, jacket, boots, and pants by RevIt!, and gloves by BMW

#476             2013 BMW F 700 GS         demo           ZF 84434

  • Smoke gray and orange graphics work well – oddly enough
  • New body work is subtly different but much improved
  • Cast rather than spoke wheels – so no Helge Pedersen trips!
  • Smaller mirrors than F 800 GT
  • More power, but I did not notice
  • Centerstand!
  • Feet flat is nice for off-road
  • “Friendly” personality
  • Compare to G 650 GS, Sertao, F 800 GS, R 1200 GS, and R 1200 GS Adv, and new “water” R 1200 GS
  • (Later) Extensively farkled with Touratech aftermarket catalog
  • Knobby tires (later) make for a bumpy and “iffy” street ride

#477             BMW MOA “Smart” trainer

  • Seat, bars, shifter, throttle, and brake controls
  • Faces a video screen
  • Interactive – with typical hazards
  • Does not steer like a motorcycle
  • Interesting – of use in showing new riders hazards they may face

#478             Suzuki Burgman 650 “Executive”

  • Silver
  • LOTS of controls – too many?
  • Fuel door on left side is a nice tough
  • Mirror button folds in mirrors
  • “Up,” “Down” and “Power” buttons evidently allow for manual shifts
  • Overall – kind of weird – needs more time for me to acclimate

#479             BMW K 1600 GTL

  • Red – burgundy
  • Dirty!
  • Stuck starter relay

#480             2013 BMW R 1200 GS  “waterhead” demo                 #Z183174

  • Wow
  • Engine looks like a “big block” due to vertical intake and exhaust
  • Feels like a big block – engine dominates all the time
  • 92 lb ft of torque at 6500 rpm – is a lot
  • 125 hp – is a lot
  • Some say the fly by wire is snatchy – I say no, that is how much torque it has
  • Brakes are progressive, but stronger than usual
  • Manual adjustable screen
  • More options (ESA, etc) available that demo does not have
  • Needs panniers
  • Pterodactyl meets Praying Mantis in an origami faceoff styling
  • Usual BMW multiple screens
  • I am not quite tall enough, but I could cope
  • Hydraulic clutch (0ver dry used previously) makes a difference
  • Probably a real tool off-road ridden by an expert
  • Exciting to imagine the R 1200 ST and R 1200 R with this engine – and maybe an R 1200 RS?

#481             2013 BMW R 1200 RT demo

  • Lack of lot porter shows – filthy!
  • Narrower handlebars than other
  • Dark blue-green paint would look good if it was clean

#482             2013 BMW F 700 GS

  • Fully farkled with tank bag and big foot side stand and windscreen
  • I really like this bike
  • Tank bag interferes with key, which could be a drag
  • Big foot side stand should be standard
  • Really moves around on knobbies ridden on pavement

#483            2010 BMW F 800 GS  (used)

  • Who purchases a white bike on purpose? I mean really
  • Humongously wide bags
  • Custom lower saddle feels like a 2X4 board
  • Hand protectors with folding mirrors
  • Old-school turn signals – yuck
  • Brakes are tired
  • 21,000 miles – entire bike is tired
  • Needs service in 400 miles

#484             2013 BMW R 1200R          #ZX97420   (company bike)  4/25/2013

  • Brand new
  • Montego blue metallic is a terrific color – particularly in the sun
  • Awaiting tank bag, saddlebags, luggage rack, and windshield
  • Purchased RAM and Go Pro camera mounts today
  • The bike I have wanted for two years!
  • Low seat height, but adequate leg room
  • Curious mix of old and new – ABS brakes, hydraulic clutch and brakes, shaft drive, heated grips, and multiple screens, (but not as many as on new models), old style flipper turn signals, old style looks
  • Does not have ESA and ASC, although they are available
  • Short wheelbase – wide bars – incredibly stable at low speeds and maneuverable at all speeds
  • Steel tank!
  • Made a terrific video of The Ridge race track
  • I like it!  (0ne of my favorite bikes of all time)

#485             2009 BMW F 800 GS         #ZV01411

  • Yellow – my favorite
  • 18,000 plus miles but does not show it
  • Aluminum panniers, hand guards windshield, Zumo
  • Custom seat and side stand extender
  • Very nicely outfitted
  • Very nice bike

#486             2013 BMW R 1200 GS  “waterhead” demo #2            #Z183550

  • Wow
  • Engine looks like a “big block” due to vertical intake and exhaust
  • Feels like a big block – engine dominates all the time
  • 92 lb ft of torque at 6500 rpm – is a lot
  • 125 hp – is a lot
  • Brakes are progressive, but stronger than usual
  • Manual adjustable screen
  • Loaded with options (ESA, etc) – makes all the difference
  • With ESA I can set it up low and soft (relatively)
  • Hand guards, too
  • Needs panniers
  • Usual BMW multiple screens
  • Hydraulic clutch (0ver dry used previously) makes a difference
  • Probably a real tool off-road ridden by an expert
  • Exciting to imagine the R 1200 ST and R 1200 R with this engine – and maybe an R 1200 RS?

#487             2011   BMW  S 1000RR     used bike  # ZV42806

  • White anodized wheels
  • Tinted screen
  • Overdue for a service
  • At $12,990 I think it may be a better buy than a new one
  • Rear fender eliminator
  • Custom seat

#488   2012  G 650 GS                Ex – MSF bike

  • Red
  • Kind of same o same o

#489   2013 BMW C 650 GT scooter   (new)

  • Pre-delivery test ride of new scooter
  • Loaded with all the bells and whistles for sure
  • Sound is actually that of a big block drag boat – does water create a sort of CVT transmission?

#490             2013 BMW R 1200 GS  “waterhead” demo #3!           #Z183642

  • Wow
  • Engine looks like a “big block” due to vertical intake and exhaust
  • Feels like a big block – engine dominates all the time
  • 92 lb ft of torque at 6500 rpm – is a lot
  • 125 hp – is a lot
  • Brakes are progressive, but stronger than usual
  • Manual adjustable screen
  • Loaded with options (ESA, etc) – makes all the difference
  • With ESA I can set it up low and soft (relatively)
  • Light bright blue is an acquired taste I have not acquired.
  • Usual BMW multiple screens
  • Hydraulic clutch (0ver dry used previously) makes a difference
  • Probably a real tool off-road ridden by an expert
  • Throttle did not seem as ‘snatchy’ as the last one because (AHA!) this one had the modes control and it was in “Road”.  Thanks to Shane Balkovetz for that.   He reports that in “Rain” it hardly moves and in “Enduro” it is perfect off- road. On pavement you would want “dynamic.”
  • Exciting to imagine the R 1200 ST and R 1200 R with this engine – and maybe an R 1200 RS?

#491   2010 Ducati Streetfighter           used  #B002031

  • Red! Well, duh
  • Aftermarket mirrors (I think ) work much better than stock/expected
  • Mileage not sure – but several thousand
  • Loud twin pipes stacked on one side
  • Seating so far forward a tank bag map case could not be seen
  • Seat is not comfortable, but not as bad as I thought it would be
  • Lots of torque from the off
  • I can see it would be easy to wheelie, but it is also easy to accelerate pretty hard and sense when it would occur
  • Controls are all so tiny and petite they could not be operated with “real” gloves, methinks
  • Would be a mess after a short run in the rain
  • Hi tech instrument panel with LCDs is cool and has for more info than I could access without reading the owner’s manual
  • Where would you ride it? Great on a winding back road for about 25 minutes, and then pose at a café would be best
  • More than the Speed Triple, but very much less at the same time
  • Not for me, but I can see the appeal
  • Probably a terrific chick magnet, but no sane person would sit on the back

#492             used 2005 BMW R 1200 ST

  • 37,905 miles
  • Odd duck – comfy but very high foot pegs
  • Very low rear end compared to modern bikes
  • More comfortable than it first seems
  • Floppy windshield would irritate
  • Lots of boot scrapes on saddlebags
  • Deep red and silver

#493             used 2010 BMW S 1000RR

  • Nothing particularly noteworthy
  • Leathers caught on rear seat when getting off

#494             used 2002 BMW R 1150RS

  • Pearl white
  • High seat
  • Weird exhaust notes
  • Aftermarket knurled footpegs?
  • Weird screen
  • Sort of a not sport bike, not tourer, not middle of the road nuttin’

#495             used Triumph Bonneville

  • GREAT appearance – basic black plus SE wheels
  • Two into One Arrow exhaust is quiet but melodius
  • Oil pressure and temp gauges on engine add street cred
  • Small luggage rack and carbon fibre seat cover
  • Nice littler clear flyscreen
  • BUT – dumb instrument panel lights useless in the sun
  • Rear shocks were on full hard – basically a rigid suspension
  • Brake lever is like squeezing a brick – and then it starts to slow
  • Horrible seat position and almost cement feel
  • A BMW 800R that looks and sounds better, but does absolutely everything else nowhere near as well.
  • Most disappointing ride of this year

#496             2013 BMW C 600 Sport

  • The Sport is the smaller of the two models – manual adjusted windscreen that is smaller and less luggage space
  • Not as cramped as most scooters I’ve tried
  • Black paint looks stealthy – but I would prefer more flash
  • Heated grips and ABS
  • Adequate storage under seat
  • Brakes work in 3 phases, right  (blah)  left  (good) and both  (NOW!)
  • Massive torque (relatively) from 650cc twin at low rpm makes it work well in traffic
  • Feels lighter than GT, probably less of a difference than it seems
  • MUCH faster? Probably not, but feels it
  • Pleasant exhaust tone, and a level of vibration so you know you’re on a machine.
  • I could ride one of these for years when old and frail
  • Whimsical and fun, and you could really be a hooligan
  • Beat a Suzuki 650 is a stop light drag race he did not know he was in
  • Check oil light came on

#497   2007 BMW K 1200 S         25,000 miles           #ZM28698

  • Blue and silver paint scheme is a bit odd, but would grow on me
  • Lots of farkle connections for various accessories
  • R Front turn signal lamp out
  • Loose right front mirror
  • Clutch felt a little iffy.

#498   2008 used BMW R 1200 GS

  • Nice bike – seats seems low
  • That would be because the front is at 20psi and the rear 30!
  • Probably ridden off road the last time it was used
  • 41,986 miles and NO farkles?
  • Aaron Jennings old bike, evidently – he removed the farkles
  • Original owner a woman who lowered it, he restored it to stock height
  • Or close to it – seemed a little lower than stock to me
  • Odd vibration when slowing in 2nd or 3rd gear – normal?
  • Very nice bike, actually

#499   2013 BMW S 1000RR demo                   ZL17672

  • Slate grey
  • Only 65 miles
  • Clutch lever seems stiff
  • Actually, whole bike seems stiff – needs some miles!
  • Felt much better after 109 miles when fueled on 10/05. I think it was just me

#500   2008 Ducati S2R “Monster” 1000                    #B113119

  • 3223 miles
  • Red with sort of a dumb retro white stripe
  • Bikini fairing is not supported and vibrates – don’t like that
  • Fairly heavy clutch pull
  • Instruments are tach, speedo, idiot lights, and two small screens you probably cannot read
  • Stock pipes, and really does not need Termignonis
  • Stock everything – even the warning stickers are still there
  • Front tire low or “they all do that Sir”?
  • Comfiest Ducati I have ridden – not saying much
  • Rear seat cowl
  • Almost practical, in a basic way
  • No heated grips or gear indicator or ABS brakes
  • Why put new plates (Sept 2014) on and then trade in?
  • Snatchy at low speeds – just fine in a normal situation
  • Brakes are fine, neutral does not come up easily, however

# 501  2008 BMW R 1200 RT                #ZT13547

  • Who likes beige as a color? Really
  • Most farkled RT ever – bags, top box, heated seats and grips and oh my
  • Rattles from somewhere – low on oil maybe
  • Died off idle – was it me?

#502   2011 Yamaha R1 Josh Hayes Special Edition  #A011343

  • OH MY GOD! Most exciting/frightening bike I have ridden in 3 years
  • Flat plane crank and Leo Vince exhaust makes amazing sounds
  • Power on the bottom, OK in the middle, power on top
  • Blue paint with lots of decals and signature is a tad busy
  • Does have a gear indicator, but no other concessions to comfort
  • High pipes under seat will get hot
  • Sounds like a big block Corvette with open pipes at an autocross – loud blats of power for two seconds and then you have to roll off!
  • Could have done the entire test ride in 1st gear
  • Way more performance than most can handle on the street – including me – and the lack of traction/stability control would make it iffy on track
  • A bike for experts if ridden fast and for posers on the street.
  • But – wow

#503   ’12 BMW R 1200 GT  # ZW 20376

  • Dark blue
  • Fully equipped
  • Some scratches on the bags
  • Low seat is in the low position – makes for a lovely ride for me
  • Chosen for my “last ride” with Team Ride West

#504   ’14 BMW R 1200 GS demo                     201 miles

  • So much power – even in the “road” mode – not dynamic
  • There is nothing this bike cannot do
  • Slate grey is not all that exciting
  • Has a GPS system mount
  • Really impressive

#505   ’99 BMW R 1100 RSE                  #Z881290

  • Black with white pinstripes and bags – no windshield
  • Manual choke (actually throttle advance – how quaint
  • Neutral indicator works and then doesn’t
  • ABS brakes
  • An array of idiot lights I did not figure out
  • Seat is better than the modern one
  • 44,000 miles and ready for 50k more
  • Very nice bike

#505   ’02 BMW R 1200 C  (chromehead)   #Z610678

  • Yellow and chrome
  • Nicest one of these ever
  • Beach bars are stupid
  • Nice little windscreen
  • Passenger seat folks up to be a backrest – nice touch
  • Shifter, pegs, and sidestand all awkward to use
  • Does have a center stand – did not try it
  • 5,000 miles
  • Probably the nicest one ever, and still a dumb bike

 

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Motorcycles I Have Ridden Part X

#458 – 474

#458             ’12 BMW 800R demo                   ZS50972

  • White, with gloss black wheel and flat black trim
  • Flyscreen is a must have option
  • Almost no miles
  • Terrific commuter bike
  • Short gears – whee
  • Limited luggage capacity
  • A schoche short in knee and leg room
  • With bags, could be a good all around
  • Handling is so light and quick it is almost dangerous
  • Heated grips, of  course
  • Pleasant sound, but a Remus would really be great
  • Tank bag available?
  • ABS

#459             ’12 BMW S 1000 RR

  • Red and white – nice colors
  • Once again, more comfortable than can be believed

#460             ’12 BMW R 1200 ST

  • Dark blue
  • Should this be my 2012 company bike?  (yes, in 2013)

#461             ’08 BMW ST 800     #ZR11074

  • Nice shade of blue
  • Belt drive all the 800s should have
  • Sport bags
  • Only 2604 miles – a great used bike – price?
  • Appears as new

#462             2012   “My” BMW F 800 R

  • Red and silver
  • Tank bag easy to install
  • Added sport bags and luggage rack
  • Left side bag needs to be smaller to clear exhaust
  • HUGE tank bag may be “atrocious” (Swezey) but it is very utile
  • Added sport bags and luggage rack create a new niche
  • The mini sport-touring bike – there is nothing else with the same combo of like weight and technology

#463             2012 low frame BMW G 650 GS

  • They’re not kidding  – really is low!
  • Clutch and brake almost too easy to pull – stock?
  • Side stand is a mite sticky
  • Still easy to stand up on – even for the full-sized

#464             2012 BMW S 1000RR demo

  • Relatively  minor bodywork changes make a big difference
  • Muffler seems much more aggressive
  • Red white and blue paint scheme works much better now (to me)

#465             2012 BMW F 650 GS demo   Z062636

  • Yellow paint works really well. Graphics?  To taste
  • My “mini sport-tourer concept would work well with this bike as well.
  • Nice low seat, and friendly engine

#466             2012 BMW F 800 GS    “Keith’s”

  • Blue and white merely OK
  • Seat too tall
  • Bark busters a nice addition

#467             Suzuki 250cc single MSF bile

  • Used for MSF BRC program – do not recall the exact model number
  • Very impressive – kind of a Bonneville feel and ergos – a bit smaller
  • Everything works
  • Attractive maroon paint, chrome spoke wheels, etc.
  • Perfect for the lawn mowing money for a 1st bike
  • Very nice product

#468             Brammo Electric bike

  • $7000 for this?
  • No clutch, no noice, no interest at all
  • Irritating lag in the throttle
  • May be terrific as a transpo device – a total fail as a motorcycle
  • No windshield, no bags, no nada
  • Belt less wide than a “belt” – smooth power but no much
  • I doubt the range and longevity claims – no matter what they are

#469             2012 BMW R 1200R  Classic

  • Put fuel in a bike being sold
  • Has the matte black bags added
  • Old school start button and turn signals seem out of place
  • Classic paint job
  • Ample power, brakes, handling, grace, room – what else do you need?
  • A small bikini windshield, that is what it needs
  • My request for the standard model for me for this year was well placed!  2013 perhaps?

#470             ’04 BMW R 1150 GS                    used

  • Black
  • Really interesting –  much more street based that a current GS
  • Therefore, I liked it better
  • With 45,000 miles, seemed like the brakes were sticking or some other anomaly
  • Nice usable bags, small windshield, custom seat?
  • Nice bike, but definitely 8 years old in features and condition

#471             ’02 BMW R 1200CM                     used

  • BNW’s failed attempt to enter the cruiser market
  • Gray paint hardly an inspiring choice
  • Everyone of these I have ridden has just been weird
  • Chrome cylinder heads in the breeze are kind of cool
  • Sidestand with extra loop for foot is uncool
  • Clonks in front suspension and loose left hand grip
  • 3,400 miles – really?
  • The yellow and black one we sold last month is the only one of these I have seen  (ever) that I liked

#472             ’04 MZ 125 SM                  $2,000

  • A hoot and a half to ride
  • Blue with silver graphics and silver spoked “super motard” wheels
  • 125cc engine is willing but really, what can you expect
  • 5 speed gearbox
  • If I were 16, I would be in here signing any piece of paper asked
  • Fun to ride, with a smooth gearbox and good brakes
  • No extras, like gear indicator, heated grips, etc.
  • 1,565 miles!
  • So much more fun than a scooter, and several times as cool
  • Honda engine  (we think) should be bulletproof
  • Most fun bike of the year
  • REALLY hard seat

#473             ’13 BMW  C 650 GT  scooter   Vin  #ZC 94041  ( demo)

  • The GT is the larger of the two models – floorboards and more luggage and a bigger windscreen
  • Not as cramped as most scooters I’ve tried
  • Dark red paint looks good – could use even more flash
  • Electronic windshield works very well – silent when all the way up, and zippier when down.
  • Heated grips and ABS
  • Massive storage under seat
  • Brakes work in 3 phases,  right  (blah)  left  (good) and both  (NOW!)
  • Massive torque  (relatively) from 650cc twin at low rpm makes it work well in traffic
  • Feels light
  • Actually a pleasant exhaust tone, and a nice level of vibration so you know you are on a machine.
  • Perhaps typical for a BMW – seems more “serious” than most competitors.
  • I could ride one of these for years when old and frail
  • I think this is going to be a very popular model, as well as the Sport version

#474             2005 BMW R 1150R   #ZJ66168

  • An exceedingly odd bike
  • Matt lime green and matt black – which I like, ironically
  • Flat and wide bars require a leaned forward position
  • Home-crafted aluminum mounts for a… windshield?
  • Handy saddlebags heavily scuffed by careless boots
  • Sidestand is hard to see and reach
  • Heavier clutch pull than would be acceptable today
  • Probably works well after a lot of acclimatization
  • 4 way flasher light glows red at all times – disconcerting
  • Much less impressive than I thought it would be
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Motorcycles I Have Ridden Part IX

#433 – 457

Dave Preston:                                           Motorcycles Ridden Log

As of January 1st 2011:                                  8 owned –  424  tested = 432 total

#433             BMW R1200RT                  demo

  • “Ostra Grey Metallic Matte” paint –dark silver but also dark bronze depending on light – does not seem to show dirt at all
  • Love the rear mirrors under the bars – work very well
  • Heated grips and heated seat
  • Cruise control
  • Tall seat – even in the “low” position.
  • Rational and utterly utile saddlebags design
  • Supremely capable – it endears with each mile

#434             2007 Yamaha V-Star 11000 Silverado  #A010879     $5,490

  • Lovely silver pearl with blue tint paint
  • Stock pipes
  • Mustang saddle  (with great back support).  Yamaha bags, backrest and windshield, and floorboards
  • Rocker shift is a pleasure few understand
  • 5 speed trans – but could get away with 4
  • Shaft drive
  • New tires
  • 10,023 miles

#435             2011 BMW 800R                         demo

  • Optional red white and blue paint scheme really works on this
  • Optional low seat is too low for me
  • Legs too cramped – also because of the seat
  • Comparisons to my Speed Triple are glaring, and include Much better technology – ABS, temp gauge, heated grips, etc
  • More power low, less power high
  • Lighter
  • Feels more stable on brakes
  • Better (stock) sound
  • First truly awesome design ridden for this year – amazing motorcycle

#436             2011 BMW K 1300S          demo

  • Blah off-white paint not for me, but perhaps some like it
  • Addictive power, and a great gearbox
  • Tremendous levels of technology
  • Comfy for what it is, but not all that comfy at the end of the day

#437`            2011 BMW G 650 GS                   demo

  • Textbook case of styling – same bike as last year but
  • Much “gnarlier” bodywork
  • Cool dark anodized wheels
  • LOOKS far more capable than the previous model

#438             2011 BMW K 1300S  #ZV94087                       “company bike”

  • Red and black.  Red tail section like all but one of them (?)
  • Forgot how much I like big power everywhere
  • Expanding bags to be installed
  • No center stand or tank bag this time
  • Ended up (by fall) as OK but not inspiring

#439             2012 BMW K 1600 GTL                         demo

  • Very dark blue
  • Full kit – side bags and tail trunk
  • Accessory Velcro map case (Keith)
  • Rewrites the rules for large touring bikes
  • “Low” seat is standard – higher one no-cost option
  • Mode switch ala S 1000RR
  • Menu switch accesses multiple choices on screen
  • Needs 10 minutes of acclimatization before use for controls
  • Engine so smooth the ear thinks that 2,000rpm is 6,000rpm
  • Ridden on a day that set records for rainfall – a month of May rain in one day!
  • Makes a terrific sound from 6,000 rpm up – but you might be too busy to enjoy it

#440             2011 BMW R 1200 GS

  • Standard issue bike.
  • Forgot to check seat height first – oh my!

#441             2011 BMW R 1200 RTP

  • Police spec R 1200 RT
  • Black and white
  • Rear seat pod and backrest is cool but not really available
  • Two extra “rings” of buttons for various police functions – not all working
  • But the siren does – found out inadvertently in the garage
  • Seat not bad – rode for 2 hours at a stretch
  • Put on 175 miles working the tires and breaks as much as possible
  • Blue rear running lights are on all the time
  • Stout crash bars and siren carrier
  • Strobe pods look like mirrors at first
  • “Info” button freezes speedo
  • Amusing responses from others, especially the speeding Porsche!

#442             2011  BMW F 800 GS –   Chris Johnson’s of WMST

  • Large panniers with WMST graphics
  • Two laps at the WSP “high speed” facility in Shelton

#443             2011(?) Kawasaki Ninja 250 Roadracer

  • Owned by Chris Johnson of WMST
  • No speedo, odo, mirrors, sidestand, or muffler
  • All fun, no power
  • Nice paint and graphics
  • Two more laps of video from WSP facility in Shelton

#444             2008 Aprilia Tuono #5000902                        $ 7,990

  • 3,793 miles
  • ASV Aluminum levers
  • Matte grey  (OK), various graphics (OK), and blue wheels (what the?)
  • Aftermarket exhaust by – unknown
  • Snarky and temperamental when cold
  • Exhaust system leaks until hot
  • Turn signal and horn button too close together
  • Hand vibration – a lot
  • Stonking power, great brakes, great sound
  • More of a hooligan than the Speed Triple

#445             BMW R 1150 RT                          used

  • Ridden down to service for a UBI
  • Overpadded seats
  • Servo brakes are not good with ignition off OR on
  • One of the few motorcycles I hated within 5  feet

#446             2012 BMW K 1600 GT  demonstrator

  • Most impressive bike since the Speed Triple I purchased
  • Off white color is not the best
  • Sound IS the best – not an M3 but, but – Jag XKE race car!
  • Endless torque and smoothness – often in 5th when I thought third
  • Ergos are nice – windshield up for higher speeds to lower noise
  • 5 position heated grips and seat
  • Radio and other exterannia
  • Progressive but very powerful brakes
  • 3 modes –   rain, road, and “dynamic” – which I preferred
  • Massive saddlebags
  • A bit heavy and  awkward in town, but on the road – other states beckon
  • Shaft drive a bonus – AND a center stand
  • I would want the TPM and the driving lights
  • Candy maroon, please!

#447             ’09 Honda ST 1300   #700148   miles?

  • Interesting contrast to the BMW K 1600 GT
  • MUCH smaller
  • Better low speed handling
  • Less ‘gravitas’
  • Stiff throttle linkage
  • Candy maroon paint is gorgeous
  • Add on aftermarket cruiser control
  • Shaft drive – yes!
  • “sponge” grips are not an improvement
  • Smaller and narrower saddle bags
  • Probably the best model Honda makes

#448             2012 BMW R 1200 GS  demo ZX52181  (demo)

  • The Swiss Army knife of motorcycles
  • So much more comfortable than the Adv
  • With a low seat it would be very useful for me
  • Ideally placed windshield in nice and quiet.
  • ESA – although I could not tell much difference

#449             2011 BMW R 1200 GS Adventure ZX 66923

  • 200 mile ride to break it in for a customer
  • Windscreen fully up, but I did not change it
  • ESA, but I could not tell the difference
  • Driving lights a nice safety feature
  • Humongous fuel tank is nice
  • But makes is more top heavy
  • My legs are just too short – the entire ride is lived in fear of the next stop
  • A low seat would help – but probably not enough

#450             2012 BMW 800 GS demo  (ZV03926)  demo

  • Dark titanium matte grey/black color really works on this bike
  • Does not have the oil check feature
  • Such a terrific “squirt” bike
  • Almost a keeper for me, but just a tad too tall and not luggage capacity
  • Needs a center stand and a Remus exhaust and a tank bag and…
  • Close as is, but with the dirt tires – no

#451             2004 BMW R 1150 R

  • Interesting light blue tint to windshield
  • Rich’s seat is comfy, but perhaps too wide for those short of leg.
  • Clutch pull harder than it should be to me
  • Cool knurled shifter – stock?
  • Hand guards can get in the way of clutch and glove

#452             Used BMW F 650 GS

  • Cool black paint
  • Silver bags give it s “tuxedo” look
  • Front brake seems abysmally weak
  • The usual dearth of power

#453             Used MotoQuest F 650 GS

  • Beat to death and put away wet repeatedly
  • Detailed, but even pros can only do so much
  • Knobby tires give a very uncertain ride
  • Bag mounts intrude on rear calf room
  • Probably good for its intended use – not a good buy used

#454             Bob Grimm’s used BMW R 1200 S

  • Custom seat (BMW option) is hard and awkward
  • Very stiff throttle
  • Needs steering head bearings
  • Handles like a truck, and yet the steering is easier than I would have thought
  • Pretty shockingly bad compared to the newer models of my experience

#455             2001 BMW R 1150 R

  • Reset odometer know  –  back to the old days
  • Really low seat makes the pegs pretty high
  • Clutch lever adjusted all the way out
  • Low growl from exhaust is nice – stock?
  • Windshield and bags –  nice sport tourer!

#456             2012 BMW F 800 GS demo                    #ZV03926

  • Graphite
  • Nice spoke wheels
  • Street tires
  • 249 miles – still breaking in
  • Later “farkled” by Altrider

#457             2008    Suzuki DL 1000 V-Strom  9440 miles   $6,200

  • Black and gray
  • Extreme level of aftermarket improvements – heated grips, Givi bags, Givi adjustable windscreen, luggage rack platform, crash bars, etc
  • Engine makes a terrific sound
  • Clutch pull seems heavy
  • Lower seat than a BMW R
  • Great commuter or cross country mount – with some off-road capabilit
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Motorcycles I Have Ridden Part VIII

#408 – 432  (Change from Cycle Barn employment to Ride West BMW)

Dave Preston:                                           Motorcycles Ridden Log

As of January 1st 2010:                                  8 owned –  399  tested = 407 total

#408             BMW K1300S  demo                            ZV93483

  • Color  is wet ash and does not inspire
  • BUT does not show dirt either
  • Demo ridden from 2040 miles to 2500 and beyond
  • Terrific dash – all the info you need, and none you do not
  • ABS, traction control, AND suspension adjusts 9 ways
  • 175 hp
  • Heated grips, self cancelling signals
  • Tire pressure read-out can be a reassuring safety feature
  • Insanely expensive $1900 Akropovich slip on

#409             BMW K1300GT                                               Demo

  • Particularly nice candy maroon paint
  • Full instruments, and easier to read than K1300S
  • Ohmygod power of course – sound is about the same
  • Adjustable windshield would be nice in really foul weather
  • Bigger bags of course
  • More front end feel than I would have thought
  • Best sport tourer ever
  • But – just loses out to the K1300S for me
  • 6 months later –   I think I prefer it!

#410            BMW F800ST                                                            Demo

  • Lovely champagne paint
  • Belt drive
  • I like the right hip fuel filler
  • Leg room too little for me
  • Truly dumb turn signals would take a long time to get used to
  • Engine does not impress – until you rev it
  • Very tall gears, so you have to work it into the upper rpm ranges
  • Flimsy kill switch?
  • Impeccable handling
  • Center stand
  • Probably a terrific first bike
  • Instruments good  (gear indicator, etc) but not as comprehensive as the larger models

#411             BMW F800GS                                                  Demo

  • MUCH more like it!   Off white paint with black spoke rims – yum
  • Akrapovic pipe helps enormously
  • Man-sized ergos
  • Really a hard seat
  • Center stand
  • Flimsy kill switch?
  • Still dumb turn signals but self cancelling over 30mpg
  • Feels like a hooligan all the time – but also could go anywhere
  • Twin disc front brakes
  • Chain for off-road use
  • Could be my only bike for ten years easily
  • Great good fun!

#412    BMW R1200 GS                                             Demo

  • I can see why everyone loves these but me – not so much
  • Insipid blue paint
  • Screen rattles at low speed
  • Did not want to go into first
  • Handles really well – especially corner entry
  • Akrapovic exhaust – but I could not tell that
  • Dumb turn signals
  • Shaft drive and a center stand
  • Comfy seat

#413   BMW  G650 GS                                               Demo

  • Snarky red paint
  • 650 single – and it does shake a bit
  • Comfy ergos – down in the bike but with lots of leg room
  • “normal” turn signals and heftier kill switch
  • Center stand and luggage rack
  • Single disc and chain drive

#414   BMW  F650   GS                                              Demo

  • Same 800cc engine as the F800GS but different cams and FI
  • Why?
  • Single disc
  • Insipid gray blue
  • Center stand
  • Flimsy kills switch
  • “650” (800cc) engine is a corker in this application also
  • Light handling – one disk is probably enough
  • Chain drives seems an anachronism
  • Better instrument panel with gear indicator
  • Less of a luggage rack
  • Heated grips and center stand

#415   BMW GS 1200A                                               Demo

  • Not a motorcycle, but a tank!
  • Sheer size and height is intimidating
  • Turns in well –  fully equipped
  • Dumb turnsignals a turn-off
  • I am not man enough for this bike!

#416   BMW R1200R                                        Demo

  • Looking cool in graphite matt paint
  • Not enough leg room – but had the short seat!
  • Needs a small windshield
  • Motor is adequate
  • Lower seat height than a Speed Triple, and turns in better – but will lose out everywhere else.
  • Rode it HARD later at a cornering school at Pacific Raceways and loved it!
  • Terrific feel on the brakes

#419   BMW S1000RR                            demo

  • Utterly iconic – a game changer
  • Size of a 600 CBR –  turtle fur throat tube a bad idea – could not move my head
  • Rain mode a great place to start – sport mode even better
  • Reminds me of several bikes at the same time – Triumph 600, Kawasaki ZX12R,  Muzzy Raptor – and better then all of them.
  • NO storage space
  • No fuel gauge
  • No heated grips
  • Gear indicator
  • Mode switch
  • Various track day timers, shift lights, etc
  • Shifting and ride are both buttery smooth
  • Graphite black one has cool magnesium look swingarm
  • THE bike of 2010

#420   2010 BMW K1300S                               orange (“my” bike)

  • Hard to believe…
  • Smokes on start after being washed
  • Comfy, fast, orange, great brakes, orange, lots of tech, orange
  • centerstand, tinted screen, and saddlebags
  • Akrapovic maybe the demo it was on was ready to be sold
  • Most capable bike ever
  • 24k if I were purchasing it
  • Terrific tank bag
  • Slighly rubbery clutch on take-off
  • Can have a bit of trouble finding neutral
  • No cruise control
  • Probably the best bike I have ever ridden

#421   2009 BMW 1200 LT   (new – Keith Thye’s company bike)

  • Initially massive beyond belief
  • Hydraulic center stand AND reverse
  • How does key fob work?
  • Windshield adjustment very effective
  • Only 5 speeds and that’s all it needs
  • Low speed handling is a marvel
  • Easiest large bike to turn around ever
  • Comfy – once you hunch your butt back

#422    BMW R1200 GS     with ADV rider accessories                            Demo

  • I am starting to like these!  Hmmmm
  • Off white paint is OK on these
  • Impressive farkles that add safety, crashworthiness and utility
  • Handles really well – especially corner entry
  • Stock exhaust?  Looks like it, but sounds terrific
  • Dumb turn signals also
  • Shaft drive and a center stand
  • Comfy seat

#423   2010 BMW R 1200 R/T                 demo  ZW18081

  • Pale blue does not appeal, and yet
  • Awesome practicality and Swiss Army knife utility
  • Seat adjusts to two heights, plus a low seat (-2”)
  • Stereo radio dial is a cool piece of engineering
  • Electric windshield, and heated grips AND seat
  • Amazing handling
  • Huge bags – enormous range
  • Terrific mirrors in the fairing below the bars
  • Shaft drive, 6 speeds, center stand
  • Bars appear narrow –  very nice
  • Cruise control – huzzah!
  • Friendly personality
  • Passes the 10 year test very easily.

#424   2006   BMW K1200S                    #8409           used bike  $10,990

  • Smoked silver looks cool, with lighter silver wheels
  • Different and more engaging engine character
  • Dumb turn signals
  • Optional (?) center stand
  • 20k
  • Bar risers make it really comfy
  • LED tail light sets off warning light
  • Other than the turn signals – I prefer it to the K1300!

#425   Kymco scooter demo

  • 500cc and CTV clutch makes a very utile machine
  • Top box can hold two large bags of ice – barely
  • Leg space seemed kind of cramped

#426             BMW F800GS                              South Sound Demo

  • Just like ours – but it counts as a test ride!
  • Pitch dark, rain, riding to the motel – low fuel light on –  ah the good times.
  • Conti TKC 80s!
  • Knobbies – squirmy!

#427   BMW  F650   GS                                              South Sound Demo

  • Same 800cc engine as the F800GS but different cams and FI
  • Really cool iceberg silver metallic paint
  •  “650” (800cc) engine is a corker in this application also
  • Light handling – one disk is probably enough
  • Chain drives seems an anachronism
  • Better instrument panel with gear indicator
  • Less of a luggage rack
  • Heated grips and center stand

#428             Paul Bullard R 1200 GS

  • Humongous padded seat – Rich’s
  • Filthy, but then it just did Sasquatch
  • Almost 40,000 miles
  • Missing right mirror gave me a start
  • Tippy toes, but capable for sure
  • 2nd ride – now with panniers and top box –  even tippier, and in the rain, and on a new front tire!

#429             BMW F 800 GS  demo # ZVO 2555

  • Once again, weird tall feeling – not Contis but different – Pirelli Scorpion Trails –  not knobbies at all but felt really tall
  • Orange and black is nice
  • Over 2000 miles but still feels stiff and jerky – or is it me?

#430             ‘06 Yamaha FZ 6  used bike        17+ K miles                     $4,990

  • Nice candy maroon pipe
  • High black twin pipes –  why?  Styling only –  good in gloss black
  • Instrument panel trickier than needed
  • Red pinstripes on gloss black wheels are a nice “custom” touch
  • Very easy to ride – light clutch – 11k redline engine
  • Comfy and seems to be eager for adventure
  • Crash bungs – appears not to have been dropped
  • Tires OK  – front is 75% gone
  • very impressive!

#431             2008 BMW K1200 GT                 ZN47662   $15,200

  • Amazing bike – gorgeous in dark metallic gray
  • 28,000 and a bit miles
  • Fresh engine  (why?)
  • Grabby snatchy clutch when cold
  • Heated grips and seat
  • Standard windshield, which is smaller than the one used now
  • Does not appear to get dirty
  • Favorite bike of the year
  • We have two others – one with ghost checkered flags on the fairing that is exceptionally cool

#432             2011 BMW F 650 GS           New Demo   #ZW91591

  • Lava orange looks good on this bike as well
  • 800cc twin with the power of a 650 – but
  • Tractable and extremely easy to ride
  • Heated grips a real asset
  • Seat is rock hard so far – but it is the LOW SEAT version!
  • Brakes are bedding in, but are scary at first – no feel or power – I sill want double discs
  • Light and agile – great for commuting
  • Chain drive and no center stand are downers
  • Love the right side “hip” fuel filler
  • Transmission is terrific
  • Greatest errand running bike ever!

 

 

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Motorcycles I Have Ridden Part VII

#359 – 407

Dave Preston:                                           Motorcycles Ridden Log

As of January 1st of 2009:                     8 owned –  350  tested = 358 total

#359             Triumph Legend 900                                       (Josepha)

  • Forgot to note the mileage
  • Ergonomically designed for Josepha –  Rich’s seat too far forward, windshield too low
  • Right mirror vibrates  (Bent Bike) left one does not  (Triumph)
  • Nice little analog clock on handlebars
  • Only 5 speeds
  • Fabulous sound from new Triumph accessory pipes
  • Lustrous candy green paint
  • A terrific bike that can do anything

#360             2009 Harley-Davidson Road King  Rental #21   #642350

  • Pewter Pearl paint is classy
  • 3 miles!
  • Seat seems wider and more padded- good for long comfort but not as easy to get feet down at stops, etc.
  • White walls, driving lights, saddlebags, self-canceling signals, AND cruise control – take that, Japanese competition!
  • Rode it again in July with 11,000 miles – shifting much improved

#361             2009 Kawasaki Versys               (parking lot)

  • Cool bike in a great color –  loud green
  • High seat height could be a problem
  • The Swiss Army Knife of motorcycles – do it all for little

#362             2008 0r 2009 Kawasaki 500 Vulcan  (parking lot)

  • Candy maroon
  • Issues with runability – choke on lots of revs, choke off nuthin
  • Very old school ergos
  • Really all anyone needs if looks and style are not an issue

#363             2008 Kawasaki Concours 14  (parking lot)

  • Dark silver
  • VERY nice seating position
  • Huge saddlebags
  • Good mirrors and a nice side stand tab – details that count
  • Dumb key fob and do I need tire monitors, but…
  • I want one!

#364, 365, 366     2009 Honda CRF 230L (three from lower to upper building)

  • Street legal small and inoffensive dirt bike
  • 230cc air cooled single
  • Light and agile, choke and side stand
  • Probably all I would need for quite some time
  • Rear shock too soft for my bulk
  • Not to be confused with CRF 250R – water cooled 250cc with twin exhausts  (loud) and a lot of power, brakes, and suspension. Kick start
  • CRF 250X is a trail bike with the big engine, spark arrestor, but no lights or starter.
  • I think I will stay bland for now!

#367             2009 Honda CRF 450 R                                            $7,895

  • OMG!  Absolute power, and no weight
  • WAY too much for a beginner
  • I would enjoy playing on perhaps a 250R, but this is just far too much for a beginner.
  • No electric start, no side stand, no neutral light, no instruments – pure racing technology
  • Shows just how far dirt technology has come in the past few decades.  Awesome is the only word.

#368             2008 Honda 1800 VTX

  • Handlebar does not seem as grossly wide as the one I rode a few years ago
  • Much smoother than a comparable Harley – too smooth in fact
  • Big and bold, but perhaps too big for functional use in most situations
  • Exhaust note not the thrill it was a few years ago
  • Does what it does perfectly – who wants a bike to do that?
  • Various versions of fenders – but none exciting enough for me to keep straight

#369             2009 Harley-Davidson Softtail Deluxe       Rental breakin

  • Black and chrome with whitewalls and chrome spokes – lovely
  • Driving lights, but no cruise control on this one
  • Small chrome luggage rack is attractive and functional
  • Backrest for the passenger
  • Modest power, low and short seat
  • Only one front disc, and you can tell
  • Surprisingly comfy for a bike that is too small for me

#370             2008 Kawasaki KRF 750 SideX Side  in Red

  • Side by side 2X2 or 4WD with a full roll cage
  • Easy to learn to operate
  • Shakes and judders
  • Needs about three times as much power to be fun
  • Probably very practical if used as intended on a farm, etc.
  • Has a trailer hitch
  • Red color does not really work well for a utilitarian vehicle

# 371            2009 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Rental Break-In

  • Dark metallic charcoal color is subdued and very nice
  • Amazing instrument cluster –  what are all these for? Air pressure in rear shocks, oil pressure, fuel level, electrics, etc.
  • DUMB design – keyless fob but you need the key to put in fuel
  • Handles better than last year?  Can’t tell m’self
  • Chopped and tinted windshield works very well!
  • Hard saddlebags – but I think I am learning how they work!
  • A radio has no place on a motorcycle – period.
  • Miss the running lights of the Road King, but still
  • VERY comfortable

#372             2009 Harley-Davidson FLSTC  (Soft Tail Classic) rental break-in

  • Pewter Pearl
  • Saddlebags with fake conches and fringe do not inspire
  • Windshield is a  good idea
  • Black and BROWN leather strap décor down tank is unfortunate
  • BUT – raised rear seat makes a rider backrest – VERY comfy
  • Large floorboards are not really forward controls.
  • Fairly high handlebars with the seat combine for really the most comfy seating position I think I have experienced.
  • Can ride in the rain or dark with visor up- windshield is perfect

#373   2009 Harley-Davidson Road King  #63991  rental

  • Candy apple red with pewter panels and gold accents – wow!
  • What’s that noise?  Brakes?  Misaligned drive belt?
  • Immediately better handling over Softail is noticed
  • White walls work on this bike
  • Favorite saddlebags are large and easy to use
  • Backrest and crash bars as fitted to all rentals make for a nice package
  • Love the driving lights

#374   2008 Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic

  • 13,079 miles
  • Incredible candy apple red paint
  • All the mod cons you could want
  • Why did it feel so comfortable and controllable?
  • I have always hated these –  did it change or have I?

#375   2009 Hyosung Comet 250ccf MSF training bike

  • Four stroke V-twin engine
  • Seat to pegs dimension a little short
  • Brakes adequate
  • Handling OK
  • Power weak
  • Excellent training bike, but too small too weak and perhaps too flimsy for long term ownership

#376   20098 Piaggio MP3 250

  • Most unusual bike I will ride this year?
  • Seat to pegs dimension a little short
  • Emergency brake (!) handle comes out of “dash”
  • Keyless entry to underseat storage – VAST storage
  • Flashing yellow “brake NOT locked light is weird”
  • Yellow light beams steady when locked – releases immediately
  • Center stand but no sidestand.
  • Handling is “different,” as you might expect. First owner never got used to it and traded it for a more standard scooter.
  • Great brakes in the wet – twice the contact patch. Fun to play Noriuki Haga – last of the late brakers!
  • Panic stop in the rain was a no-brainer with two front wheels
  • The two front wheels jostle up an down as you ride, giving it an odd rocking sensation, which is why the owner traded it in
  • 120 on the speedo – oh – it’s in KPH!

#377   Yamaha Road Star XV 19 CTW Stratoliner #001029                    $12,999

  • Low miles – under 1000 when I started
  • Ultra posh cruiser – tall windshield, leatherette bags, chrome, chrome, and more chrome
  • Long low and heavy
  • Tricked out white tail lights
  • Custom? Seat in two tone maroon and black
  • Maroon, black, and chrome, chrome, chrome
  • Really like the wheels – silver and nicely done
  • Details abound and bespeak a lot of thought
  • Teardrop folding floorboards – although they did not scrape
  • Starter sounds like it is working a Boeing Stratoliner plane!
  • Relaxing to ride

#388   2009 Harley-Davidson Road King  (rental #22)

  • Lovely turquoise and green
  • Backrest, cruise control, bags, windshield, driving lights
  • Very 50’s in look – horizontal color break on tank helps this
  • Lovely motorcycle

#389   2007 Victory Vegas  #000776          $11,999

  • 1564 miles – how do people do that?  Sell before the 1st oil change
  • Lovely blue and white with silver pin stripes – somewhat of a Foose paint job
  • 6 speeds, including overdrive – transmission
  • Victory optional windshield with ghost etched flames
  • Great sound accelerating – quiet at a steady speed.
  • Front tire low – or chopperesque geometry?
  • 100hp  engine – good power once warmed up
  • Carbs – who knew?
  • No rear seat, no luggage – but could be added
  • Harder clutch pull, but better brake feel than a Harley
  • Foot pegs rubbers shot in 1500 miles?
  • $11,999 is a lot, or not, for what this can do?

#390             2008 Yamaha FJR 1300 #005915   $11,599

  • Gloss black and 500 miles!
  • Incredible value
  • Saturn booster engine – great brakes
  • Electric windshield very effective
  • Movable side panels for heat flow control
  • Adjustable seat and suspension
  • Bags OK to use
  • Curiously uninvolving – much like a GSX-R 1000
  • 6 speed trans would be expected, although the 5 it has are 3 more than it needs
  • Immediate clutch caused me to stall once
  • Comfy for the long haul
  • Almost bought it!

#391   2007 Ducati GT 1000       #005975                                     $8,399

  • First Ducati (ever) I would consider owning!
  • Comfiest seat on any Ducati ever, and maybe on any bike
  • Termignoni pipes – yes!
  • Bar end mirrors and almost drag bar
  • Red is the only color
  • Bikini fairing 1/5 the size of a Speed Triple
  • No ability to carry a tank bag (fiberglass) OR tail bag (no hooks, etc)?
  • Great power – even great brakes
  • A little cramped, actually – meant for short legs
  • Every ride – short or long – would be an experience
  • Contrast to the FJR
  • Not as great a ride as my Speed Triple

#392   2009 Harley-Davidson Road King          #655544                 rental

  • All black – with white walls – a tuxedo of a motorcycle
  • Black paint seems to show wear too easily for 2010 miles
  • Rode to Renton and back the first day of rain in 30 days –  very relaxing and confidence inspiring.

#393   2009 Triumph Thunderbird  demo

  • Blue and white – awesome appearance
  • Lots of torque – and the engine is very “friendly” in character
  • Impressive roll-on power, and a terrific burble in the stock pipes on decel
  • Belt drive good for 60,000 miles
  • Comfortable seat and ergos
  •  Lots of available accessories
  • Tasteful amount of chrome
  • I REALLY want one!  Pretty much the first cruiser I could see owning

#394   2009 Triumph Street Triple R  demo

  • Flat grey not my thing – nor the orange
  • Arrow pipe sounds awesome
  • Quick revving and lots of power –  inadvertent wheelie
  • Makes my Speed Triple feel like a bus!
  • Seat peg to seat length a bit tight
  • Accessory seat and adjustable suspension are probably worth the extra dosh
  • Brilliant design

#395   2009 Black Bonneville demo

  • Black with nice gold logos
  • Seems a bit dull by comparison with the others
  • Shifter does not work well with my boots
  • Engine sounds choked by stock exhaust – probably is
  • Excellent mirrors
  • Actually very good choice for leading demo rides!

#396   2009 Tiger demo

  • Wow – this is really orange!
  • First one I have ridden with brake pedal I can use
  • Infinitely comfy – wants to be ridden for days
  • Magic engine – character, power, sound – it’s all good

#397   2009 Bonneville T100 demo

  • Green with cream stripes
  • Different handlebars and grips
  • Desperately needs pipes
  • Just a lovely all around motorcycle

#398   2009  Bonneville SE

  • Almost painfully pretty
  • Spoked mag wheels
  • Also needs pipes
  • Same handlebars as black bonne
  • Actually a bit of a let down after lusting over it for months!

#399   2010 Triumph Thunderbird demo

  • Black
  • Shorty pipes – louder but not necessarily better

#400   2009 Triumph Bonneville Scrambler demo

  • Matte dark green
  • Arrow pipe makes all the difference
  • Crossbar pad and headlight grill for style
  • VERY nimble
  • Such fun it was hard to bring it back!

#401   2009 Triumph Rocket III Tourer demo

  • Blue, light blue, white, and chrome
  • Narrower rear tire for better handling
  • Saddlebags and backrest and windshield
  • Love the backrest when I can remember to relax and use it.
  • Just too much mass for my taste
  • Highway pegs on crashbars will not stay folded up

#402   2009 Triumph Rocket III Demo

  • Maroon, with Jardine pipes
  • Really cool maroon flyscreen
  • The sound – OMG the sound!
  • All engine, all the time!

#403   2009 Triumph Bonneville America demo

  • Blue, light blue, gold pinstripes
  • TOA pipes? Think so?
  • Beach bars
  • Pleasant, but…

#404   2009 Triumph Speedmaster demo

  • Accessory mirrors could not be adjusted to my liking
  • Black
  • Pipes, I think
  • Once again, as in every Speedmaster I have ridden, way better than it has any right to be

#405   2008 Harley-Davidson FLSTC  (Soft Tail Classic)  #060562           $16, 495

  • 7600 miles
  • Maroon and red
  • Windshield, whitewalls and driving lights and bags and a backrest
  • No cruise control or crash bars other extras.
  • Saddlebags with chrome studs on bags and seat
  • Trans does not shift all that well – still stiff after 7500 miles?
  • Really not my cup of tea – hurts my back as well
  • Footboards do not fold up very well!

#406   2009 Kawasaki Versys               #033080                 $6,599

  • 1087 miles – what is up with that?
  • Favorite green color
  • Accessory small tail trunk (Givi?) and Kawi seat – lower
  • Accessory (Kawasaki?)  adjustable wind flip on windshield
  • Nice mechanical character – does not need a pipe
  • Very friendly personality
  • Too LOW geared?  Never get down to 1st!
  • Fuel gauge and light
  • Relaxing and comfortable to ride
  • Great brakes
  • A fantastic design – passed the ten year test

#407             Harley-Davidson FLHRC  (Road King)  #654045   $13,799

  • Nice shade of medium candy blue
  • Windshield and bags as de riguer for Road Kings
  • Highway pegs on the crash bars
  • 15k miles
  • Vance and Hines pipes are ALMOST too loud – but awesome!

 

 

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