Sunday, November 06, 2016

Ruh-Roh! I Think We Have a Problem

I noticed a strong gas smell when I walked into the garage last night. My first thought was that it was coming from the Ducati. A quick sniff-test and closer inspection revealed what I feared. There was gasoline on the side of the bike, and it appeared it was dripping down from behind the fairing onto the frame.

Now, I am no expert, but I know enough to know that leaking fuel on a motorcycle engine (or any engine, really) is NOT a good thing. Let's just say we'd like to avoid any infernal entanglements. 

I took the seats off and it appears the culprit appears to be where this hose goes into the fuel tank. 

Again, not being a mechanic, I went to the trusty, rusty Intarwebz and found that this is the fuel sensor. And, apparently, this leak is a not-uncommon problem for the Multistrada

Now, it's off to the Intarwebz to see what's to be done...

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Exploration

One of my favorite things about riding is the lack of agenda it usually has. I see roads that, when I've been in the car, I've asked myself, "I wonder where that road goes?" When I am riding, I get to answer that question. It just never seems worth it to explore in the cage in the same that it does on two wheels.

Similarly, I stop to take a look at things a lot when I am riding. I never even think to do that when I am in the car, much less do it.


Thursday, November 03, 2016

Autumnal Joy

Sometimes, you just have to get out and ride...
...and ride...
...and ride.

Know what I mean, jellybean?


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Shoei - New Helmet & Visor

A couple of months ago, I was looking for a part for my helmet, and was surprised when the dealership from whom I bought it informed me the helmet was more than 5 years old. Apparently, the common guideline is to pick up a new one every five years because riding, dinging, sun, and general use lead to a breakdown that, after the half-decade mark, renders the melon shield less protective than the day you buy it.

So, off I went to try on lids. I bought a new helmet after trying on dozens of brands and styles. I ended up going with a Shoei because, for me, the crown fit properly in a large, and it expands outward to accomodate my broader (read as: fat) face. They also have a reputation for being quieter helmets, which is a huge plus, especially on the Multistrada, which has an equal reputation for being LOUD!

Riding with the helmet, I found it was much quieter than my HJC composite. I do miss the ability to flip it up and chat at red lights and stop signs, but it's a minor inconvenience. I love pinlock, a feature that allows me to insert a clear shield inside the visor that prevents/reduces fogging. I still get minor fogging because I ride with my glasses on, but it only happens in very cool weather at a standstill, and clears up immediately once I start rolling. This is due to the EXCELLENT ventilation of the helmet, a feature I had not considered fully when I was buying, but really came to appreciate at the end of this summer.

I also just installed a gold visor. This shield reduces the glare from really bright areas and enhances the areas in shade.

I took a ride along the Susquehanna River and through some roads I know to be challenging for the shadows that fall on them, just to see how much better this shield was, and the difference was remarkable. Riding on sun-dappled roads, which are very common in Pennsylvania due to trees overhanging and lining our roads, this visor is absolutely fantastic. It has the effect of leveling out the light and dark contrasting areas, so I can see it all much more clearly.

It has already made me a much more confident rider because my vision is so much better. This setup is not cheap, but for me it was worth it.

 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Michaux

Took a long-cut through Michaux State Forest (160+ miles) to get a sammich....in Maryland. It was absolutely perfect.

I don't think there is a thing I would have changed about this day.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Vision

"It is in looking that we see." 

Look left...

Look right...

...find a corkscrew twisted road...

...dappled by sunlight.

Some will look for God here...

...but isn't He big enough to also be found here...

...and here?

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Test Ride - FJR1300

After riding the BMW RT and Can-Am (Brad did not enjoy this "bike" - it just never felt sure-footed, and he felt like he was going to get bounced off of it), we returned to Wenger's. I thought it would be fun to see what else they had, and go out one more time giving Brad a chance with the BMW. As fortune would have it, there was a Yamaha FJR 1300, one of the bikes I had on my list to try...so I did!

I was surprised by the feel of the FJR. First, it was more compact than I thought, and rode considerably lower than the BMW or my Ducati. The reach to the bars is considerably longer, creating a more stretched out position. It all works, but I have to think some adjustments would be necessary to make it comfortable for all day riding.

The bike has tons of power. It's not as abrupt as the Ducati, rolling on smoothly, where the Ducati is like the Millenium Falcon making the jump to hyperspace when you twist your wrist. The FJR rolls up to speed, QUICKLY and smoothly. I liked the screen in the lowest position, but a taller screen would be required to provide the same protection as the BMW for longer touring. Still, it is light years ahead of the Ducati.

I am kind of bummed they don't have a top box for this bike. Seriously? It's a sport tourer. Aftermarket editions are available, of course, but this is just silly. Also, no sixth gear until this year? That is, like the absence of a top box, two-parts puzzling and one-part absurd. The FJR comes with shaft drive (losing the chain would be great) .

I liked this bike. A lot! I would really like to take it out for a much longer ride and really put it through its paces.

Afterwards, we went to Fresca in town, on Carol's advice. We were not disappointed with quantity, though freezer-fries I could have lived without. Great day all around!

Test ride - BMW R1200RT

I rode out to Myerstown, PA with my buddy Brad to test ride a couple of bikes. I like the Ducati Multistrada I am currently riding, but after 4 shields and 3 helmets with no relief from the buffeting and noise, I am beginning to despair. I have a Cee Bailey (read as: Barn Door) windscreen on the way, but thought I would hop on and try a couple of other possible future contenders out. 

Off we went, riding the back roads of Southcentral PA to Wenger's, an independent motorcycle shop. They are not an authorized dealer for any one brand, and they carry a little bit of everything. They are also, incidentally, one of the largest Can-Am resalers in the country. We got to the shop and met Carol. It quickly turned into one of the nicest motorcycle shop experiences ever. They were super friendly and they WANTED us to ride bikes. I picked a BMW R1200RT and Brad hopped on a Can Am Spyder.

The BMW had a great rider position, even more comfortable than my Ducati. The triangle was relaxed, with everything right where you would expect it to be, except the turn signals, which BMW puts one on each of the handlebars (instead of a single switch on the left handlebar). It had a Corbin seat which was hard, but afforded a lot of room to move around, especially fore and aft. It had highway pegs and MondMoto Bullet lights (had them on my Triumph and loved them) to light up the road at night and make me more visible in the daytime. The bike had a great luggage package, too - I like theirs!

The RT shines on the road. I have never been on a bike that returns to its natural, upright position as quickly as this one. Going into corners was great, but winding on the throttle and rolling out of them was even better. It just carved in the corners, inspiring more and more confidence with each dive into the twistier. This bike made me realize everything I am doing with my hands to counter steer, pushing on one side while pulling on the other. Additionally, the brakes might be the best brakes ever put on a bike. They were that good!

Wind protection on the BMW was incredible, and the electric shield worked flawlessly. With the shield all the way down, the wind hit just below my chin; all the way up, and I was wrapped in a cone of near silence. This is an all-day-long sport tourer, and that comfort and protection stands in stark contrast to my Ducati. 

However, the acceleration was just adequate, and I wish the bike had more power, more torque, and more room to the redline. The bike has a buzzy feel to it, as opposed to the grunt of a v-twin. I have a buddy who loves the BMW brand and assures me proper chipping and exhaust can really add to the oomph-factor of the RT. The lack of torque is honestly enough to turn me off of ownership of this bike, so I am curious to know what the tweaks bring to the party.