Friday, July 23, 2010

Fork brace

I installed a fork brace on my V-Strom last night. It's a flat piece of metal with two holes on either side that attaches to the front forks just below the boundary between the inner and outer bars. It provides stability and keeps the forks from flexing in or out during turns or when riding in windy conditions.

Although I didn't notice a difference when riding to work this morning, it's supposed to improve turning and cornering performance and stability. The biggest benefit I hope to gain from it is stability when riding with heavy cross winds. From everything I read the improvement is dramatic.

I purchased my brace from "Richland Rick" (Google it), a guy in Richland, Washington that makes them himself. Cost was $80 plus $7 shipping. I received it the next day after placing my order (via PayPal, ick).

Update 8/2/2010:

After giving my bike a thorough work-out riding 160 miles to Detroit and back via twisty (but well-paved) forest service roads, I can say the fork brace makes the bike seem tighter and more solid in curves. It's not like going from a Harley to a sport bike in improvement, but it is definitely noticeable. What's even more noticeable, however, is the bike has become quite a bit more stable in windy conditions. Although I didn't experience a strong crosswind, I did follow other vehicles and the back blast is far less dramatic and head winds almost feel non-existent. The fork brace is definitely a worthwhile upgrade and should be standard equipment from the factory.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

To fish or ride?

I just got back from a fishing trip to Central Oregon. When driving through Redmond I saw BMW after BMW riding around town. Once I was south of town I saw them riding north on Highway 97, obviously part of the annual BMW MOA rally.

Back when I was self employed I went fishing a lot. I didn't have a motorcycle and taking the boat out to catch trout or kokanee was my biggest form of summer-time recreation. Once I started working full-time and got into riding motorcycles, my fishing activities got cut back dramatically.

This year I'm trying to strike a balance between fishing and riding. I've been on one big bike trip down to California and I've already been on one big fishing trip with another coming up. The fishing usually tapers off in the heat of August and low reservoir levels of September so maybe I'll get more time on two wheels during those months.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I dropped my bike

It's supposed to be hot today. I wanted to move my bike into a spot where it gets shady in mid-afternoon so the seat wouldn't be screaming hot when I leave at the end of the day. I hopped on and engaged the clutch, then started scooting it forward with my feet.

The problem is, I forgot to disengage the steering lock and the bike kept curving to the left. When it did that it leaned to the right and I was unable to stop it in time. It fell to the right onto the pavement and dumped me onto the ground as well. I did my best tae kwon do roll and was unharmed save for losing the bark at the end of my right pinky finger (WTF?)

The crunching sound my bike make was mortifying. The blow to my pride was the worst, however. I went inside and asked a buddy to come outside and help me get the bike upright. I put the small of my back to the seat and lifted while he held onto the handlebars and guided it.

Once back up I saw that the right sidecase was scuffed and scratched pretty bad but it didn't look like it was actually punctured. The bar-end on the handlebar was bent at an odd angle, too. Some gas spilled out as well (I filled the tank before arriving at work that morning). Other than that there didn't appear to be any other damage. After disengaging the steering lock and putting it into neutral I started it up.

If the bar end doesn't fall off it should be safe to ride home.

My pride received the most damage of the event.

Updated: Pics added...

[caption id="attachment_574" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Right handlebar bar-end"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_575" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Right hand guard"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_576" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Givi E21 right side case"][/caption]

Ripplebrook, good to see you my old friend!

After a fairly tiring holiday weekend (I end up spending the big holidays at home on domestic to-do projects, it seems) I managed to squeeze in a ride up the Clackamas River Highway to Ripplebrook ranger station and back Monday morning. There were quite a few other bikes heading up the river by the time I turned around and headed back toward home, including several V-Stroms.

It was difficult not to keep going toward Detroit. That's a 160 mile round trip and is one of my favorites. I didn't have enough gas and needed to get back home to get more stuff done around the house, so I u-turned at the Ripplebrook ranger station.

The weather was overcast and cool, perfect for riding. The pavement was in good shape and I only had to pass two slow cagers, a relative luxury.

This week it's supposed to be very hot in town yet despite all my grumbling and grousing about riding in the heat, I intend to commute on my bike as many days as possible. Thursday is supposed to be in the upper 90's so I'll probably take the air-conditioned cage to work that day.