The penguin's motorcycling and Jeep blog

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Two Ravens
I bought a new pair of leather gloves with gel palms and knuckle protectors today, then took the Wee-strom for a ride. Forgot my camera, alas (not the only thing I forgot). Anyhow, I rode it in a loop, from South SF Bay to CA 17 to Santa Cruz then along CA 1 to Half Moon Bay, then back over the mountain and home again. Some things I figured out along the way:
  • The Madstad bracket and the OEM windshield makes a nice combination when it's all the way down and tilted all the way back. There's no buffeting and side winds just make the bike flop left and right a little, they don't move the bike around on the highway. There's plenty of air flow to help keep cool on a hot day like today, but there's no wind blast making things uncomfortable.
  • The highway pegs mounted on the Pat Walsh guards (courtesy of some slightly shorter mounting bolts from Orchard Supply Hardware, the ones that came with the pegs were a little too long to work without the bracket) work great. These particular pegs are very heavy and have rubber insulating pieces. The location of the pegs is perfect for stretching out when on the road, without putting you into an uncomfortable position.
  • The Suzuki gel seat is just too darned hard! Folks say that the Corbin seat is hard. My Corbin seat on my KLR broke in just fine, it's not hard, it's just firm. So anyhow, I have a Sargent seat on order (the Corbin for the V-Strom is too tall for me). The seat is shaped right, it would be comfortable if it wasn't so darned hard, but I think the only way it would be a good seat would be to take the cover off, remove the gel insert, and replace it with some firm foam that shapes to your butt like memory foam. Not to mention that the gel will roast your 'nads if you leave the seat out in the sun!
  • The Rox adjustable risers rock. My handlebars are *exactly* where I want them to be. I can lean forward into a semi-sportbike position and still have good control, I can relax upright and put my feet up on the highway pegs and the bars are just there, in the exact right location.
  • I need to get some of that motocross underwear. It's like bicycle shorts, except not as long in the legs and without that padding that keeps your 'nads wet on a motorcycle (since the tank blocks the air to the 'nads). Regular underwear simply has the seams in the wrong friggin' place to be comfortable for long rides on a motorcycle...
  • The BMW electrical plug for the GPS crapped out *again*. This is two long rides I've taken, and two rides that the GPS wiring went AWOL. I think I'm just going to hard-wire the bloody thing, this is getting ridiculous.
  • The Black Raven is a sweetheart of a motorcycle. She heels over into a bank without any complaints, holds her bank without a problem, and comes back upright with no problem. She's a bit fat and heavy to flick as easily as a sportbike but she handles fine for a bike of her heft. And that 90 degree V-twin engine is just sweet, sweet, sweet.
  • Still to do: Put on the automatic chain oiler (a must for long-distance travel especially in the rain), put on the side Powerlet outlet for use with the heated vest, put on the heated grips, and maybe install electronic cruise control. Maybe. I'm not convinced yet, electronic cruise control on a motorcycle is like that damned Powerlet plug for my GPS, something is always vibrating loose and making it quit and then it's just a pile of parts taking up space until you get to a garage somewhere so that you can diagnose it.
In the meantime, I need to take the Jeep to the car-wash to have last fall's dirt washed off of it and last falls' dirt vacuumed out of its carpets (its annual car wash, yippee!) and get some new windshield wiper blades front and back to the thing. A penguin's chores never seem to end...

-- Badtux the Ridin' Penguin


Gordon said...

Whatcha buildin' there, Bwana? A Sport Bagger?

BadTux said...

Pretty much, Gordo. I want something economical that I can put multi-thousand-mile trips on without feeling like I been beat to shit. I thought about getting a big bagger, but a) those things are too damned expensive, b) they're clumsy as hell in the city for commuting, and c) they burn too much gas, you have to bang a V-Strom 650 hard to make it get less than 50mpg, a big bagger will get around 40mpg max if you take it easy. And let's face it, you just don't need a 6 cylinder engine, 900 pounds of bike, a reverse gear, and an airbag to be as comfortable on a motorcycle as you're likely to get...

So far I'm pretty pleased with the V-Strom 650. And if the Sargent seat doesn't work out, I'll eBay it and see if I can get a local auto upholstery shop to take the gel insert out of the Suzuki seat and put a firm foam in its place... even a firm foam has more "give" to it than that brick-hard gel has.

- Badtux the Long Distance Penguin