I’d Forgotten How Much Winter SUCKS

Even in California riding a motorcycle in the winter is not for the faint of heart. While most of the state is free of snow, riding in the rain, wet and cold isn’t fun and games. Riding in the rain and getting wet is something I haven’t had to deal with much for the last several years since we’ve had drought conditions. Which means I had kind of forgotten how much it sucks. I don’t mind the occasional ride in the rain, but it’s not really something I want to do all the time. Unfortunately with all the rain we are getting  I don’t have a choice. I have to ride in the rain or not ride.


While not riding might seem like a perfectly reasonable thing to do, it’s hard to not ride when you love it so much, and made even harder if you happen to have a new motorcycle.

This is how it goes, you ride in the rain one day because you miss it so much. It sucks, so the next day or the next time it rains you drive. If you’re lucky it rains while you’re driving and you feel super clever for dodging a wet ride. If you’re unlucky you end up driving in the dry and hate it the entire time. There really is no torture like being in a car driving when you could have been on a motorcycle.

This starts a vicious circle. Since you missed a dry ride the next time rain looks iffy you ride. Since you’re riding now you are lucky if it’s dry and unlucky if it rains. When it rains you start over with the driving. Rinse and Repeat ad nauseam.

I just hope I make it until Spring still sane.

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Good Day on the Motorcycles

This past weekend I went for a ride for the first time with the new rider. Up until now I’ve spent most of the time sitting in a parking lot watching him ride in circles (big ovals and figure eights really).

It was a great ride.

I can’t take too much credit, but I think I can take some, with how well he did. No issues, just a fun ride on some good roads. Not as fun as you might think since with it being winter the roads were dirty and wet/damp, and it was cold. No matter what the conditions riding a motorcycle with friends is always fun.

I’m definitely looking forward to hopefully many more rides together.

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The Best Advice For Riding a Motorcycle

A post from a couple years ago, with advice that I got years before that. I came across it again and really felt it was worth sharing again.

Motorcycles and the Cynic

When I first started riding my motorcycle I ended up hanging out with a bunch of really cool people I met on the Ducati Monster Forums. I went on a few group rides with them and I crashed (very minor off road lowside) on the second one.

dmf_logo_header

It was a few months later that after a bunch of other riders in the group had crashed that a veteran member posted demanding that we stop crashing. How were we supposed to accomplish this?

Slow the fuck down.

It has stuck with me for all these years and over all is some of the best and most enduring pieces of advice I’ve ever received. I searched a bit for the original post from Spidey and have copied it in it’s entirety below. It has some other great advice in it, but the TL:DR version is “slow the fuck down”.

WAY TOO MUCH…

View original post 538 more words

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New Boots: Breaking them in

I got some new motorcycling boots for Christmas. My amazing Wife got me the Forma Adventure Boots.

I’m pretty excited about them.

I was so excited about the new boots Christmas morning I ran down and tried them out on the Hyperstrada while still in my Christmas PJs.

This is the first pair of mor enduro type boots I’ve ever worn/used. I’m of mixed feelings about if they are better or worse than the sporty boots I’ve worn previously.

In one really important way they are immediately better than my old boots, as tested this week, they are waterproof. Dry feet when you get to work is really nice.

Besides that (which would come with any new pair of boots) I like the way they support my ankles a lot more than my sportier boots, the stiffness these have means that putting a leg down at a stop sign feels like I’m really planting something significant out there. This confidence is great with Hyperstrada since the seat is several inches higher than the FrankenMonster’s was. The boots also have a thicker sole, which is nice since it makes the reach to the ground a little less. The thicker sole does however make it harder to shift. That much more to move around and get under the lever for those upshifts.

The only other bad thing is something that I’m hoping will go away once they break in. They pinch the top of my foot when I get on my toes, like when crouching down. Not something I do that often but it is annoying. In general they are really stiff still, with all the rain I haven’t been wearing them that much.

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An Important Skill: Putting your foot down

Many things you do while riding a motorcycle become second nature after a while. One of the things that takes a while and that can still catch me out occasionally is stopping a motorcycle. I don’t mean the act of braking, I mean the stopping without dropping the bike.

Most of the time it’s easy, you stop and you put a foot down, but this gets much more complicated on hills, gravel or any other uncertain surface. In fact every time I back my motorcycle out of my driveway I worry about dropping it.

If you’ve ridden a motorcycle long enough you know the situations that make this part hard. The motorcycle was moving, and if that momentum isn’t going exactly like you think or expect it can end up falling over on you. I know that some people get through life without ever dropping their motorcycle, but I know everyone has a moment that they almost do.

My advice to a new rider, passed along from another old timer, is plan your stops. Go slow, and pick out where your foot is going to be, and try and plan the stop as much as possible. I know it won’t always be possible, but practicing good behaviour and habits will help when it is an emergency or there is unexpected gravel (or gravity). It’s all about just keeping the Motorcycle rubber side down.

I’m not sure this picture does the driveway justice, but it’s reasonably steep, and so is the hill. The combination is less than fun every morning.

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Bucket List: 2017 or Goals for Motorcycling

Bucket List: 2017 Goals

When I first started writing my 2015 bucket list I was trying to write an actual bucket list, but settled for just a list of goals for the year. So in 2016 when I did the same thing I called it my bucket list, but really it’s just goals or New Year Resolutions for motorcycling if you will.

In an effort to be more accurate about what I’m actually doing I’m going to call it what it is. My 2017 Goals for Motorcycling.

I did pretty good on my 2016 Bucket list Goals, and this year I hope to move forward even more.

The first Goal is to keep doing the things I’ve been doing: Motorcycle Camping, Helping my brother work on his motorcycle (which I’ve gotten off to a bad start on), keeping the wife riding her motorcycle and getting all my friends up to speed on two wheels.

The next goal is to get better at doing all of those things.

The other things I’d like to do?

I really want to get the new motorcycle to a track day. The Hyperstrada is tons of fun, and it would be good to stretch it legs and test it’s limits in a nice controlled environment.

So to Sum up, the list of Goals this year:

  1. Keep doing the things I’m doing (Motorcycle Trips, Helping my Friends learn to ride, etc.)
  2. Do more of the above, and get better at doing those things.
  3. Do a track day with the Hyperstrada.

I want to keep working on this list. Feels like I should have more goals.

Skyline Highway or Highway 35 has some great views. I’m sure I’ll be riding it a bit this year.

 

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Motocynic on: Horse Power, How Much do you need? (revisited)

I’ve often wondered how much horsepower you really need on a motorcycle, in fact I wrote a while ago on this topic and decided that you really don’t need much more than 100hp. Now I own a motorcycle with more than 100 for a few months I’ve decided that I was right.

The Hyperstrada has a claimed 113 horsepower, and weighs less than 500lbs.  It’s properly fast, in fact it’s almost indecently fast.  Now more than ever I agree with what I wrote and 100 horsepower is definitely enough.

I can’t really say if it’s the perfect amount, but I suspect that for riding on the street I don’t need more. Although it’s not really the horsepower but the 72 ft/lbs torque that makes the Hyperstrada so much fun. That much power makes it delightful and easy to accelerate and even more fun when compared to my friends R6 which has more horsepower but makes much less torque. This again reinforces why it’s nice to buy a bike that’s designed to be ridden where and like you’ll actually ride it. Street bikes don’t need to make tons of horsepower way up in the revs where it’s hard to get. Making something like 70% of max torque at 3000 rpm is much nicer.

Even with the topcase it’s super fast.

 

Which brings us back to the original question. How much horsepower do you need on a motorcycle?

My thought on this is that you need just enough to make you happy. However keep in mind is that most likely what makes you happy is the torque. Which means a motorcycle designed for where you are going to ride it is most likely going to be best. Race Replicas are great for the track, but for the most fun on the street I prefer something designed for it.

 

 

 

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