Tag Archives: Motorcycles.

I think I want this bike.

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.

Kawasaki Ninja 300

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!

Time for me to give it up.

I rode my ZX-11 in to work this morning.   When I first got on it at Ogre Ranch, my knees protested, but when I hit the highway, I didn’t care.  It felt so good to be on the Ninja again… It was like being born again.  Of course, I always feel that way when I hit the highway on this bike.

By the time I hit Vernal, my knees were staging a protest and it was a bit awkward getting off the machine.  That’s not good.  By the end of the work day, my knees were giving me hell.  Getting my right foot on the peg was difficult.  I was half way home when I finally was able to yank it up by my pant leg.  Once I pulled into Ogre Ranch, getting that foot back off the peg was not happening.  I almost dumped the bike because of it. I’m not yet ready to give up Riding. I’m just going to have to give up Sport Bikes. My knees can only bend so far now. Cruisers and Enduros, I can still do. But Warp Speed Land Rockets – Not so much. In all seriousness – This is really freaking depressing for me. I can’t tell you how much I’ve loved this ZX-11. It’s been my favorite vehicle out of everything I’ve ever owned. And I can’t even get my feet on the pegs anymore.  This is killing me.

I’m going to have to sell it or trade it.

3,000 Cash or a Trade for something with All Wheel Drive that gets decent fuel economy, or some sort of “Hot Hatch” with front wheel drive.

Sunday Ride

Hit Red Cloud Loop, just North of Vernal.  I was looking for an alleged Ghost Town that is up there someplace.  I didn’t find it, but I think I know where it is now, and will hit it next weekend. I didn’t get to do a lot of pictures because I was White Knuckling the whole way, going quickly, and just taking it in and enjoying the experience.  On the way out, exiting above Maeser, this is the route down.  The views were spectacular.  I had to stop and take a pic a couple places on the way down.

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Monday’s Motorcycle: Adventure Bikes

This nails it for me.  Watch this…

And this one…

This captures something inside me like nothing else… Screaming Warp Speed is fun. But this is a Lifetime thing. I could spend the rest of my life doing this. Adventure Touring. Looking at all the options out there, there are many great ones. The Triumph Tiger, The V-Strom, and others. But that goofy looking KTM has some appeal to me. I don’t know which one would be the best of the best. Probably the BMW, but it’s size and weight is intimidating to me. I am most comfortable on the Liter bikes. So that 990 Adventure is what I’m leaning to.
It’s about the Freedom, guys. Other bikes do the Cool. The Thrill. The Speed. And they are all great. But these big Enduros do the Freedom.

KTM To Work

Do to the requirement of attending our monthly team meeting at the Range today, I opted to ride the KTM.  The Range is not Sport Bike Friendly.  Not at all.  It’s not even Car Friendly.  It’s 4X4 friendly for sure… So the KTM went to work with me.

I like it.  Due to the use of Off Road Cogs instead of actual Tires, it did have an abundance of vibration.  But that was expected.  It’s very different through the curves, the way these sorts of machines lean.   I like the riding position and the fact that its so much easier to stand up on the pegs.  It’s odd standing up on the highway… but fun.  I only went tops 67 MPH and not my usual Warp Factor 9, but it didn’t feel like I was going slow.  It’s just a fun machine.  I got used to the bike more… and coming home on it I was much more confident and comfortable.  I liked it even more.

I also liked the fact that I was able to say to myself, “Hey, where does that little turn off go?”  So I took it… went over a couple hills and across a field and back onto the highway.   NICE!  That is the exact thing I wanted an Enduro for.  I can go anywhere on it.  I love that.  It’s not smooth pavement only.  I am digging this Enduro thing.  The Two Wheeled Jeep thing.  It’s addicting.  I find myself daydreaming about where I can go and explore.  I’ve gone up to Paradise Lake a couple times… and it’s fun.  But I want to take it further.  Go explore some Ghost Towns.  Go up to the tops of some of these mountains around here.  And I will.

An Enduro is liberating.  It really is.

Ride to work… Get a Ride home.

I hate it when my Wife is Right.  Grrr…

This morning, she said, “You shouldn’t ride, I’ll give you a lift in.”

Oh no… I’m big tough biker… I can ride!!!  *Beats Chest*

Let me back up and give you some background here.  Saturday night my right knee really starting hurting.  Sunday morning, I woke up to a knee that would not bend. Pain.  Lots of pain.  Gout attack in the knee.  So I was on the couch or in bed all day.  Same story with Monday.  Same with Tuesday… but Tuesday night it was getting better.  Today, Wednesday morning I felt pretty good again.  “I can ride!” I said, and watched he drive into town in the Explorer as I put on my helmet.  Got a leg over the ZX-11, backed it up no problem.   Rolled forward… Oh Crap.  I can’t get my foot on the peg.  So I rode all the way into town with my right foot off the peg.  That’s not easy, but I couldn’t get it on the peg.  My knee wouldn’t bend.

I pull into work… Wife pulls in after me.  Having seen my foot hanging of course.  She did not say “Told you so.”  She knew she didn’t have to.   I hate it when she’s right.

After work…. my knee was killing me.  My left knee even started hurting.  So I limped the bike over to my Sister In Law’s, and parked it.  Called her up and she came and got me.

When we got home I looked at her and said “I can ride the KTM to work tomorrow… I can stand up on the pegs.”  Oh man… she was pissed!

BTW – I don’t need any Gout advice.  My hell every time I say Gout I get every form of home remedy suggestion and that’s about as annoying as my wife being right.  So… stuff that jazz.  I’m going to see the Bonesaw tomorrow.  Maybe get some Cortisone injections.

Oh, if anyone has a Can Am Spyder they are willing to trade for a ZX-11… Yeah, I’ll trade you right now.  Next week?  I don’t know, but right now I’d trade you.

Dudes, I seriously would not wish Gout pain on anyone… not even those few people still alive that I call my enemies.  Gout pain is insidious.  It’s basically God saying “I don’t like you.”  It hurts on a level that you just don’t understand unless you’ve had it.  No, I’m serious.  I’ve been shot.  Stabbed.  I’ve broken many bones.  I’d opt for another Gun Shot Wound over Gout Pain.   Because with Gout – there is nothing you can do about it.  There is no Position of Comfort, especially in the Knee.  In a Toe or Ankle, Gout is Hideous shit.  In the knee…. No… That’s God punishing you for something.  That’s a taste of Torment from Hell.  OTC Pain Meds… They don’t work unless you Combo them Up.  And when you do that, you have to be careful.

Horrifying

Went for a ride on the KTM… this time I went and hit dirt.  About five miles on sand, dirt, gravel, and rocks.

I have to be honest, this was absolutely horrifying.  It was the scariest thing I’ve ever done.  No, seriously… out of everything I’ve ever done – this was the scariest.  I got to a point where I overlook Highway 40, and I had to stop to take a breather.  I was drenched in sweat and my heart was racing!  Oh man.   At one point, it felt like my hair was on fire and my balls were on fire… and I glanced down… I was only doing 28 MPH.  Oh Man!

But I survived, didn’t face plant.  Kept the bike up.  Coming back I was able to open it up some more… went faster.  Caught a bit of air.  It was scary and thrilling.

I got my Enduro Bike

I’ve wanted an Enduro for years.  And I’ve wanted a second bike to add to the Ogre Ranch Stables.  Finally brought it home.  It’s a KTM 525 MXC… I’ve probably mentioned it before.  Well, the deal is done and the bike is mine now.

The bike is in brand new – seriously, like it’s never been ridden, brand new condition with a ton of upgrades.  First thing I have got to do to it though… is lower this beast.  It’s tall.  I’m talking, big time, Shaq Attack altitude.   To give some perspective, here it is with my Superhawk…

The bikes were parked almost completely side by side, with the Rear Tires up on the concrete pad… The KTM is a big machine.  My ZX-11 isn’t much bigger than the Hawk was in physical size, and the KTM is just dwarfing it.  The riding position is very much upright.  It’s like a Culture Shock Whiplash riding this thing.  Of course, the hard part is getting it going… and by that I mean getting up on it. I’m about 2 inches too short for it, or so it feels.  The bike was set up for Desert Racing, which it never had a chance to do, so it’s in Desert Attack Mode right now.   Yeah, that’s going to have to be changed a bit.  I need it in more “Dual Sport” mode.   She’s Street Legal as she sits now, lights and everything… good to go.  But Tires and Suspension are set for Baja 1000.

The big question:  Why?

Man, I don’t know.  I just always wanted an Enduro.  I’ve been attracted to Adventure Touring.  Go freaking anywhere.  Up trails that disappear over mountains.  That kinda stuff.  Now I have the machine… I need to go do it.  It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.

The biggest thing I got to get over is riding on Dirt.  I’ll be honest… it scares the shit out of me.  I’ve not had good luck on dirt and gravel and such.  So this is me overcoming my fear of Earth.  Once I can do that – I’ll be in a much better place psychologically when it comes to riding, regardless of what I am on.