Okay, so the KTM is so far doing just fine in the snow. Save for the small “Endurance” LCD dash/trip computer… which died on me. So I have no speedo or Odometer… which is no big deal.
The bike handles as I expected it too in the snow, or even a little better. This is what I like about the KTM, the stability. Other bikes, when they lose traction, just seem to say “Oh to hell with it.” The KTM seems to fight to find traction anywhere. Standing on the pegs, you can just let the bike squirm around under you, hunting for some grip. The cold didn’t even bother me. Thanks to the combo of the moose-ears and the long johns, it’s not so bad.
This is a case of “If it’s stupid, but works, then it isn’t stupid.” It looks stupid. But it works. Very well. Normally on my ride to work I’ll lose feeling in my hands even before half way there. Now, it’s not a bother. The Moose Ears are actually my name for them… they are actually ATV Handlebar Mittens from an outfit called “Classic” that makes lots of ATV stuff. Never thought I’d buy anything from them, as I don’t have an ATV. But I was lookinat the ATV area of Basin Sports and was straightening things out there and I had this set that was the last pair and kinda in the way. I thought “Hell, I should just buy them to get rid of them.” And then I thought, “Hell yeah, I should buy them!” The Mittens look like Moose Ears, so that’s what I call them. They are a huge help. I’d rather have a set of Hippo Hands, as they are made for Motorcycles. These Classics are made for ATV’s. There is a difference. But the Moose Ears cost me 10 bucks, so I’ll call it good.
I am optimistic about my chances of surviving the Winter now. Every other Rider that I know of has now parked it for the remainder of the season. I am the only one left on two wheels that I’ve seen in the last week. I think I’m kinda nuts here… but then again, if certain things hadn’t happened that did happen, what would have happened was that would be driving a 2006 F-150 Crew Cab right now. Black. With a lift. Four Wheel Drive. And a heater. Oh well.
I keep going back and forth between the KTM 990 Supermoto and the 990 Adventure R models. It’s not like I have any hard on for KTM, as I had one and blew the engine the first month I had it. Since I’ve sold the ZX-11, I am without a Long Range bike and this makes me feel like I’ve had my wings clipped. Reason I sold it is due to my knees, but the position on these 990′s is one that I can still do… I sat on a 990 Adventure R, and it’s doable for me. Some of the other ADV bikes, not so much. I’m not sure about the position on the Supermoto though, I’ll have to find one first. The peg position is the same, but the seat height plays a factor here too.
I’m also thinking about turning my 525 MXC into a Supermoto. Primarily for better On Road riding as this KTM is now my Daily Rider. I don’t need Knobbies for the Highway.
I got there a couple minutes too late. I wanted that sunset light on the cabin, but it went just a touch too low and the bike is in shadow instead of lit like I wanted. But that old cabin still looks cool.
This is just off Hwy 121 in Lapoint. If you are on Highway 40 and turn north to connect to 121, hang a Left at Shirley’s and this place will be about a half mile down the highway on the Right. It’s older than it looks.
I’m feeling myself being pulled more and more into Adventure Riding. I’m not talking Trials or MX… but being able to go anywhere. Especially out of my Comfort Zone. It’s been said that Life begins outside of your comfort zone, and I’ve found this to be true. Riding an Enduro type machine is liberating. The Max Velocity riding is cool on a Sport, but at any given moment Johnny Law could shut you down and lock you up and you aint riding anything anymore for a long long time. Last time I rode off of pavement I was sweating, breathing hard, and shaking because I was scared shitless. But then I stopped and looked around and saw where I was… how far I had come… and it was amazing.
I’d like a longer range Adventure Bike… a Twin instead of a Single. Something in the Liter Class, or around there. 800 or larger we’ll say. Such a bike would be the last one I’d ever buy.
I don’t know exactly what this is… But it’s a KTM dirt bike of some sort, rebuilt as Cafe Racer. I don’t know why I find this so appealing. I really don’t. I love Cafe bikes, but mostly those built on big brutal and thuggish engines. Not angry little Singles. I bet this would be an absolute blast to ride.
Cafe bikes continue to turn my head more than anything else. This is in spite of the fact that I couldn’t even put my feet on the pegs right now. My right leg remains uncooperative thanks to a knee that refuses to bend.
Speaking of KTM… My own is ready to be picked up again. I just have to wait till Tuesday because they are not open on Monday and I couldn’t get in there to get it Saturday. We’ll see. It will be very nice to have my Wheels under me again. While I can’t ride my ZX-11, I can ride the KTM thanks to the position of the foot pegs. I already miss my ZX-11 a lot. It’s parked in front of Ogre Ranch, sipping on a Battery Tender, waiting for me to come play. People who don’t Ride, just don’t understand this. ”Just get a car.” They say. What they are really saying “I totally don’t get Motorcycles.” And that’s fine…. you don’t have to get it. Just please shut the fuck up then, okay? Riding is… like Flying. Next time you go to the Zoo take a close look at the Eagles there on their perches. They can’t Soar like they used to… they are Tethered. That’s how I feel when I look at my ZX-11. I feel like that Eagle that can’t fly.
I hate this. I seriously do love this bike but I’ve finally accepted that my leg is not going to let me ride it anymore. Last time I rode it to work, it hurt far too much. After a long day on my feet, the ride home and the cold combined to put me into physical shock from the pain. I have a very unusually high pain tolerance level, and this was beyond it. I made it home, got the kickstand down, and damn near fell off the bike.
I just can’t ride it anymore. I love this motorcycle and it’s going to kill me to see it go. But I just can’t do a Sports Bike anymore.
I will entertain reasonable offers for sale, but would prefer trade for another motorcycle such as a Cruiser with a fat engine and more importantly, forward foot controls.
There is no feeling like finding the perfect body position, leaning the bike over… you have the perfect entry speed… and you find that perfect line. You and your bike are one and you cut the apex like a Neurosurgeon. The aches and pains from a long day at work are far behind you. You don’t feel your age anymore. You just feel the Speed and the Road, and the Revs of the Engine as you look through the turn at what’s out there. The tires are gripping, but at that hairy edge… but you roll on the throttle and bust out of the curve like a Patriot Missile, just almost kissing the outside of the lane. The perfect line.
There is no other feeling like it. None.
I had that Perfect Line tonight. My God it was amazing! My knee had been hurting bad. But then suddenly… I didn’t feel it anymore. Lost in the unadulterated thrill of murdering that apex and I could feel the front tire raise off the ground at the exit. It was like a beautiful High that I wish you guys could have felt. I wish you could have been there!
The BMW F800GS. The littler brother to the big Beemers Obi Wan and his buddy Charlie rode around the world on. For me, the bigger 1200 is just a bit too big, where as the 800 seems “Just Right”.
I saw this bike in a parking lot in SLC while Gundoc and I grabbed a quick bite before we turned around and went back up to the range. I believe this to be the F800GS, but I could be wrong… But it’s the 800 that I’ve been studying. Autoblog has a good article on it, here.
“Why not just make your KTM into a bike like that?”
Because that’s not possible. My KTM is a single cylinder thumper for one, and the Beemer makes almost twice as much raw power. This makes it more suitable for longer range rides. Softer seat and a larger fuel tank are also better for a longer range ride. Also, the KTM has a habit of saying “Okay, let’s just run completely out of gas… right… now!” So some sort of fuel indication would be great, like on the BMW. A windscreen, heated grips, ABS, an actual trip computer. Things like that make for a more comfortable machine.
Kawi has come out with a Ninja 300. Full on for no other reason than to give Honda the middle finger.
You see, for just about forever Kawi has done the Ninja 250. Really the only 250CC Class Option for a Sport Bike for the last few Eons. Then recently Honda rolled out a CBR 250. And it’s a nice little bike. A bit underpowered compared to the Ninja it’s trying to compete with, but riders are saying it’s an all around better bike thanks to upgraded tech and handling, yada yada yada.
Well, Kawi is a bit Type A in the personality department, so they didn’t take this laying down. They trotted out a new beast altogether instead of doing a massive redo on the Ninja 250. They rolled out the Ninja 300. It’s 16% heavier than the CBR 250… but playing with a full 50% more horsepower. Better handling is not going to help the Mini-CBR, as the Ninja 300 is still as Flickable as a Butterfly Knife.
This soundly puts Kawasaki back on top of the performance leadership board. Honda has nothing that can match it and they were pretty much taken by surprise by this.
Here’s the thing… It’s cheap too. For 5 Grand, you couldn’t have more fun even if you spent a week in Thialand and you paid the Catholic Church off for the Endulgences.
Kawis are not just about rip-snorting aggression… Yes, they accel at that, but until you crack the whip, they can be very docile daily commuters that turn in high Miles Per Gallon numbers that make them very economically feasible. And insurance is cheap on them if you stay away from Tickets and Teenagers.
Honestly however, I’d have rather have seen Kawi roll out something more along the lines of splitting the difference between the 250 and the 600. Like a 450 maybe. Using one of their power plants from one of their dirtbike lines. Dirtbike engines are more compact, lighter weight, and seem to be a lot more pissed off about not constantly tearing shit up. That’s what they do. They tear shit up. Putting that sort of Honey Badger inside a Ninja body would truly be a thing of evil.
To make matters even more potentially interesting is that many of the Cycle Co.’s are considering bringing back the Two Stroke. With modern Engine Tech being applied to the Two Cycle power plant, they are able to make the engines far more powerful, fuel efficient, and much much cleaner. My Yamaha was an RD400 Daytona Special… a Street Legal 2 Stroke that ate Ninja 600′s and other bigger sport bikes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and in between meal snacks. And it was just a little 400. Sure it drank oil and blew blue smoke like it was a steam powered train… but dayum… You couldn’t shift it without picking up the front tire. It would hit 80 before you could take a full breath. I had to put all my weight over the front tire to keep it down even if I rolled on the throttle hard. And that was Old 2 Stroke Tech. I can’t imagine a 450 or 500 with new electronic fuel injection and all the goodies.
Wait. Yes, yes I can imagine that… and I want that. Full on Tazmanian Devil all the time. How fun would that be?
Come on, Kawi… Give me that Ninja 450 Two Stroke!