Here we go again

Well, we're back to the chilly weather again, summer is mostly a memory and I feel like starting up a hibernation cycle.  The last couple of days have been our typical fall weather...windy and rainy.  Neither of which makes for a very enjoyable ride.

Seeing blue skies and sun this morning made for a mixed bag of feelings due to the frost warning we've had in effect for the last two nights.  But it made for a nice ride to work regardless.  The old thermometer read 2C (35F) so I found myself going back to an old routine...layers.  All in all it wasn't too bad, the sun kept me warm for the most part and it was an invigorating ride because of the chill.

I both enjoy and hate this time of the season.  It's beautiful and at no other time do you see colours of this sort in nature.  The cool crisp mornings have a "new" feel to them and each day seems like a new adventure.  The hate part?  Essentially, summer is dying and soon we'll be covered in a monochrome blanket that makes even thinking about going outside a chore.

Hopefully the winter will be a short and mild one and at most I'll be off the bike for a mere three months.  There, that's a pleasant thought to hold onto.

How I spent 09/09/09

In short, I travelled around 200 KMs and didn't burn any of my own gas.

In long form, I headed over to the local Harley dealer to get in on the "Test Our Metal" demo day for the 2010 models.  There is no better way to spend a beautiful sunny day then to ride a bunch of different bikes at no cost to yourself.  It's like a free brothel....whoa...hang on, gotta think about that...

The day started at 9am with registration and perusing of the bikes.  There were nine rides in total, but I was only able to get out on eight of them.  All the good bikes were spoken for by the time I got there for the first run.  That didn't matter much, though.  I got to ride on every bike I wanted to try.

To start with, me and Joey tried the Road King as we wanted to know if this would be the next step for us.

The seat was quite comfortable for both me and Joey, but I didn't like the riding position.  I'm not sure if it was the seat, the handle bar position, the floor boards (hated them) or a combination of all of them.  It felt like I was being push forward the whole time riding and all my weight was on my hands.  I also figured out that I really don't like the "wall" style windows.  Other then those things, the bike itself was great to ride.  Very smooth, very powerful.  I didn't put it through it's paces due to Joey being on the back, but it did track very well in the turns and was way more responsive then I expected.  Throttle and clutch reacted near instantly which really took me off guard.  I quickly found out that all the bikes were like that.  I wonder if that's because they are new or are all H-Ds like that?

Next up was the Dyna Wide Glide.  Joey had to head off to work, so it was time for me to play on anything I could get my ass on.

Aside from having issues with finding the kickstand afterward, WOW...what an amazing ride!  Smooth, powerful, responsive and a reasonably comfortable seat.  The low center of gravity on this ride made it so easy to cut through corners and scrape...things.  I have no idea what I was scrapping, but damn I could get this bike low!  I'm not sure what Joey would think of that passenger seat, but I would definitely love to have one of these in my stable.

The third ride was a Night Rod Special.

Holy crap...there just wasn't enough road for this thing and the speed limits were taunting me!  Before starting off, the ride director came up to me and asked if I ever rode a bike with a wide tire before, which I hadn't.  He suggested taking it easy in the first couple of turns to get used to it.  He also said, "If you really want to enjoy this bike, keep the revs around 4 and 5 thousand."  Then he smiled at me.  So I did both.  The seating position was an exaggerated "flying C" which felt okay until the first pothole.  After that, I was in a fair amount of pain which I relieved by cranking the throttle.  The guy was right.  Between 4 and 5 grand, this bike wakes the hell up!  It would take no time to catch up to whoever was in front of me, but then I'd have to back off again.  I didn't find anything different with a wide back tire, maybe I would have to ride it for a few days before really noticing anything.  I'd never be able to ride one of these consistently though...I have enough back problems.  Oh, and to really enjoy this bike, you need an oval track...seriously.

Next up, the Fat Boy Lo.

I forgot to take a shot of it, so I stole one off the Internet.

The Night Rod wrenched my back, this bike just decided to beat the crap out of me.  Excellent riding position, but damn this thing is rough.  Every bump in the road shocked through the bike and into me.  I'm not sure if that's because of how they set up the shocks or if it's because of how low it actually is.  Come to think of it, there probably isn't a lot of travel room for the suspension.  Aside from that, I could easily go with this one or another Fat Boy.  Damn near perfect riding position.  Very easy to sling into corners and maneuver at low speed.

For the fifth ride, a Street Glide.

I can see why this bike is so popular in my area.  Also, I'm in love with the bat wing fairing.  It's so effective in keeping the wind away from your chest that it has to be experienced.  The wall type windshield on the Road King acted like...well a wall.  The wind hits it, goes around and there's tons of buffeting around you.  The bat wing seems to cut through the wind and keep you in a pocket just behind it.  There was still some minor buffeting around the top of my head, but that was perfectly acceptable.

The ride position was dead on and very comfortable (aside from some back pain...damn you Night Rod).  Unlike the Road King, I barely noticed the floor boards here.  As a matter of fact, it seemed like I was using pegs for the whole ride.  It would seem that the design of the floor boards help a lot as these were swept more forward then the ones on the Road King.  Oh, and once I figured out the stereo (didn't take long) I was in bliss.  Just a really fun bike that's easy to throw into turns.  It's heavy though and I required a bit of help backing it into position once done.

The next ride was taken on the suggestion of several of the riders there.  The Cross Bones.

I'm glad I took this one after all the punishment to my back.  Double the shocks equal double the comfort.  Combine that with the mini apes and you've got a fun cushy ride.  Very comfortable and it literally rolls into turns.  I found myself giggling like a school boy while riding this bike, it's just that fun.  The seat is kind of awkward when you are sitting still, but once you're riding it fits perfectly.  The only drawback is the fact that you are sitting straight up in the wind, so you take it all.

My final "new" ride of the day was the Road Glide.

This bike really surprised me.  It's big and it looks like something you should take it easy on.  The ride director came over to me and with a smile said, "Be aggressive in the turns with this one."  So, like before, I took his advice and I'm glad I did.  This bike handles like a spinning top in turns.  It's balanced extremely well and I found myself swinging it around like the Wide Glide.  Once again, the riding position was dead on and the fairing blocked a fair amount of the wind.  Not quite as much as the bat wing, but it was still a comfortable ride.

Having the stereo at the top of the fairing is great as you don't have to look down very far to see things.  The hand controls for it are identical to the Street Glide and at the flick of a thumb you can change volume with very little distraction.  The fixed fairing for the 2010 model is quite different and almost made for a bit of a disaster on my ride.  When heading out to the street with the pack, my mind thought the bike was going straight even though I was turning.  Minor panic, but nothing bad happened and it didn't take long to get used to.

There was one ride left of the day, so I took the Dyna Wide Glide out for another fun filled spin.

All in all, it was a hell of a day and I left with a renewed appreciation for Harley Davidson motorcycles.  I love the standardized control scheme and how responsive the bikes are.

The drawback of the day?  When I hopped back on my bike, I thought there was something wrong with it.  The throttle was sluggish and the clutch was a hard squeeze.

It will be a while, but my next bike will be a Harley Davidson.  I've got my rides in and my top three bikes, so now I just wait and mull things over in my head.


Shadow Phantom? I like the name and I like the looks. It almost seems like it was put out there as competition for the 883 Iron. Both are meant to be blacked out affordable cruisers with that bobbed and minimalist look. And I thought I wouldn't see anything from Honda that would impress me again. I've always loved the Shadow line and to see it slowly give way to the VTX made me cringe. I've never liked the VTX's styling and hated the demo rides I've had on them.

(courtesy of Honda)

2010 Honda Shadow Phantom Specifications:

Model: VT750C2A
Engine Type: 745cc liquid-cooled 52° V-twin
Bore and Stroke: 79mm x 76mm
Compression ratio: 9.6:1
Valve Train: SOHC; three valves per cylinder
Induction: PGM-FI with automatic enrichment circuit, one 34mm throttle body
Ignition: CD with electronic advance, two spark plugs per cylinder
Transmission: Wide-ratio five-speed
Final Drive: Shaft


41mm fork; 4.6 inches travel
Rear: Dual shocks with five-position spring preload adjustability; 3.5 inches travel

Front: Single 296mm disc with twin-piston caliper
Rear: Drum


Rear: 160/80-15

Wheelbase: 64.5 inches
Rake (Caster angle): 34o
Trail: 161mm (6.3 inches)
Seat Height: 25.7 inches
Fuel Capacity: 3.9 gallons, including 0.9-gallon reserve
Colors: Black
Curb Weight*: 549 pounds
*Includes all standard equipment, required fluids and full tank of fuel--ready to ride.

Gotta say...hate the rear drum brake, but I do like the bike.

Sons of Anarchy

Tomorrow night...must watch...


Okay, I admit that I beat myself up about dropping my bike...a lot.  Calling it an amateur mistake and thinking myself stupid for doing it.  Let's just say that my ego got the better of me.  I'm fine about it now, but I was a limping (twisted foot) bear for a couple of days after the incident.

Yesterday I read the post on Road Grits Cafe about the "Cherry Drop".  Genius naming, by the way.  And it made me realize how stupid those thoughts I had are.  Everyone has their moment and that day was one of mine.  The one line in his post that jumps out is, "LACK OF FOCUS AND ENVIRONMENT DISTRACTION".  That day was a result of lack of focus on my part.  I was distracted by thoughts other then my motorcycle and I had tried riding with tunes again.  Both of those things led to me not watching what I was doing and dropping Selene.

Really, there is no other excuse then that.  Any time that something like this has happened, it's been the result of me not focusing on what I'm doing.  Whether parking or riding, your focus needs to be on piloting that bike.  Once you are off, feel free to do as many things at once as you wish.

Focus brothers and sisters, your life is in your own hands while riding.  Make sure your mind is all about that.

September 1st...ugh...

Can you feel it?  The impending doom that is the end of riding season?  Well, at least the end for us that actually experience winter.  I know I'll be doing my usual "push riding season as far as I can", but I'm gonna miss those hot summer days.  I'm working on getting something to help out with the cold while riding, but it will be a while before that pans out.

It's September and I'm wondering where the hell my summer went.  I remember everything that we did, but it feels like it all happened in one day.  I guess that's the joy/pain of having a summer full of things to do.  You enjoy it and remember it, but it goes oh so quickly.

We had our trip to the midst of a hurricane that didn't really happen.  Bill was fore cast to pummel the Maritimes, but barely did anything.  We had beautiful weather the whole trip and only got wet because of the late evening fog as we rolled back into town.  The wind was a battle on the way back and Joey thought we were goners a couple of times...ah the joys of solid rims.  No matter though, it was an awesome trip made better with the accompaniment of friends.  And the Confederation Bridge?  What a blast to ride across!

After that it's been work for the club and getting to the events that I can.  It's odd to look past September and see months with no bike events.  Man...winter is going to be boring.

In other news, I dropped my bike again.  No excuses, just lost my footing in a parking lot.  Thankfully no one was around.  Once again my left saddle bag took the brunt of the damage.  It's all scratched up and will have to be left for the winter to get repaired.  We just can't afford to get it done right now.

Two upcoming things that I'm looking forward to in September though?  Sons of Anarchy starts up next week so there is some quality motorcycle oriented TV watching right there.  The day after that premieres our local Harley Davidson dealer is having a Test Our Metal demo day.  I think that will be an early day...I want to get my butt in the seat of one of those Road Kings.  You I can further cement into my head that I want one.