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 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.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


I took a trip up to the Spruce Creek Rod and Gun Club, near State College, PA. One of my accounting firm Partners is a member, and invited me. The club was begun after the Civil War by a Pennsylvania vet who wanted a place to get away from it all. In the 1900s, they built the clubhouse, which stands to this day.

Loading the bike up was a little nerve wracking, especially with the fly rods. Never having done this before, the haphazard appearance of the rods sticking out created a mild discomfort, but slower riding and a less spirited pace at the beginning alleviated this.

And then the throttle cracked open and the Multi came to life. What should have been a 2 hour ride turned into a 4 hour extravaganza. The roads became twistier as the miles unfolded, and some of the best roads in Pennsylvania appeared. Trees, rivers, twists, turns, Sky - this ride had everything. And, not a picture was taken.

We fished and fished, and I caught 4 trout (that's all), but they included the largest brook trout I have ever caught (a nineteen inch fatty) and this beautiful 18 inch rainbow.

I honestly forgot how much I loved to fish, and I am ready to do it more, again.