somewhat daily mutterings

/Motorcycling I'm an FJR1300

Or, so says the survey. This is fine by me, since that's a bike I often consider buying (sorry Goblin).

Yamaha FJR1300
You scored -3 moxie, 8 zeal, and -1 pomp!
You have the characteristics of a master street rider. On the way to work, your love for riding sometimes leads you to take the long way. The 50-miles-of-back-roads long way. You live for the perfect road, and plan vacations around riding.

You need a bike that can handle your addiction to the twisties as well as comfortably carry two on a weekend trip through the mountains. Your bike is the FJR1300. Can I borrow it someday?




My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
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You scored higher than 2% on moxie
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You scored higher than 72% on zeal
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You scored higher than 13% on pomp
Link: The Motorcycle Personality Test written by iocaine on OkCupid Free Online Dating

Posted: Fri Jun 17 19:52:39 -0700 2005

/Motorcycling Test Riding the R1200ST

Today offered up the most perfect riding weather imaginable — 70-75o and partly cloudy. So, I suited up and headed out on The Goblin to run a couple of errands, and more importantly, to visit my BMW dealership. Mainly I wanted to check out the new Schuberth helmet (the C2), and to maybe sit on a few bikes. However, as it often goes, the salesman saw me sitting on an R1200ST and immediately said "wanna ride it?". Uh yeah.

My first impression upon mounting the bike is that of lightness. The bodywork takes up a decent amount of space, and gives the bike the look of heft. However, when bringing it off the sidestand I was amazed at how light it felt. It feels very much like an R1100S (more on that to come).

No matter how many times I ride an R-bike, I'm always a little surprised by how they feel and sound taking off from a stop. This time was no different. The bike felt as though it was really lugging at the beginning, and then settled into the familiar boxer drone. I suppose my throttle hand is conditioned to a four-cylinder takeoff, so perhaps I just need to feed the two-bangers more go juice when getting underway. However, once underway, I was happily reminded of what I like about R-bike engines — they never feel or sound as though they're working, and they always offer up great torque.

I immediately felt a little cramped on the ST. The rearview mirrors seemed as though they were sitting on top of my shoulders, and the legroom felt tight. I assume that the seat hight is adjustable, and was likely in the lower position, so I won't hold that against the bike. I also eventually got fairly used to the mirror position. What it comes down to is that the bike has a very "short" front-end (like the R1100S), while my bike definitely does not. This short front end translates into a very light-handling bike, but not squirrely in the least.

The suspension was taut and did a great job over the sometimes very bumpy pavement of the Denver Tech Center, where I do my test rides. A couple of spins through my favorite section of the DTC left me with that familiar point-and-shoot feeling that the R1100S always gives me. The acceleration was great. The R engine is so unflappable and calm, I bumped into the soft rev-limiter once, in first gear, and it totally surprised me. The torque of the engine is great, and the gearing is good (I think I'd like a lower first). I spent most of my time in the DTC in second gear. It almost seems as if BMW could ship it with no gearbox — they could just set it to 2nd at the factory. That's something that makes R-bikes great city bikes, in my opinion.

Something else I've noticed about the new crop of BMWs is that they seem to have perfected the art of the motorcyle seat. Both the ST and the K1200S have very comfortable seats that don't look as though they should be. The seats have just the right amount of firm padding, but not so much that it gets in the way of your legs. When I remounted my K1100RS the seat felt like a beanbag chair by comparison. Matter of fact, this is one of the few times when I've ridden a newer bike, and my K1100RS felt positively antique when I got back on. Uh oh.

Even though it may seem as though I really loved this bike, I actually didn't. I was left feeling that it was "nice". I don't know why, exactly. Perhaps the lightness, which should be a positive attribute, turned me off. I'm sure the cramped leg room had something to do with my overall feeling about the bike, even though I said I wouldn't hold that against it. I'll have to ride one again with the seat properly adjusted, for sure.

Ups

  • Great, flexible engine
  • Comfortable seat
  • Mostly good looks

Downs

  • Stupid, hard to read, oval speedometer, with a poorly chosen font for the numbers
  • Ugly headlight (to me, anyway)
  • Maybe not enough legroom
  • Typical noisy BMW power brakes

Posted: Sat Jun 11 15:06:28 -0700 2005

/Cycling 2005 Elephant Rock Ride Report

Simply stated, this was the best E-Rock I've experienced. The weather was absolutely perfect. We started around 7:00 with the temperature around 40o. By mid-ride it was partly cloudy and in the mid-70s. The wind was probably around 10 mph from the South, which made for a slightly harder ride "out" and an easy ride "back". We really couldn't have asked for better.

Only two stretches of the 65 mile course are any good for serious pacelines. One stretch, of around 10 miles, starts at around the 15 mile mark. It's a nice southbound flat with Pike's Peak impressively visible ahead and just to the right. Brian, Jason, and I developed a paceline of around 10-12 folks for most of this section. I didn't have the computer mounted on my bike this year, so I have no idea of our pace, although Jason mentioned that we were doing around 19 mph at one point. The second good stretch is the last 8-10 miles, most of which is along frontage road. This section varies from flat to a slight downhill. This is the section where I usually light the afterburners (relatively speaking), and go all-out, taking no prisoners. Again, I didn't have my bike computer, but Brian says we were doing around 26-27 mph in this section. We had a small group of around five riders in tow.

I was also more comfortable on this ride than in previous years. Over the last few years, the balls of my feet seem to have gotten much more sensitive to riding, to the point where it feels as though they're on fire under certain conditions. I've narrowed this down to the pressure of hard efforts, such as climbing out of the saddle, which puts undue pressure on my feet (I'm pretty heavy, unfortunately). So, on this E-Rock I made a conscious effort to stay in the saddle more on climbs. In previous years, I'd have had to sit down at Palmer Lake and take my shoes off to massage my feet. This year, I had no such requirement.

Posted: Fri Jun 10 07:13:47 -0700 2005

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