Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Extended Riding Season Cut Short

We have been enjoying an unusually mild fall here in Michigan that has extended the riding season deep into December. While I normally ride in the winter as long as the weather allows, it has been tough to get any winter riding in the last two years. Too many snow storms and freezing and thawing has made riding difficult the last two winters. I do not like riding after salt and chloride have been used to clear the roads, way too corrosive. Way too much of those two compounds spread around for my liking the last two years, does awful things to your bike.
The weather has nothing to do with my premature exit from winter riding this year. My doctor says I can still ride, just not my bike, but the crazy contraption pictured above. It's called a rollabout, and you use it to get around when you have an injury that you have to keep weight off of. After the wife brought it home and I got a look it, I won't be riding it either. Not unless I can mount a motor on it, it is a rental, so there will be none of that. It's heading back to the hospital supply. The photo pictured here is of my left foot. You see, my dumb ass went out and fractured my fifth metatarsal. I rolled my left foot as I walked out of a wet environment onto a painted porch with a fresh dusting of snow on it. I knew it wasn't good when I looked down and my foot was at a ninety degree angle to my leg and heard a sound like a twig snapping. Now all I have to look forward to is a six week vacation from work and a lot of sitting on my ass.
There is a silver lining in this black cloud though. I will have a lot of time to spend learning to play the blues. I have played the guitar for some years now and am basically a rhythm player. I have always wanted to learn scales and modes, this injury presents the perfect opportunity to head down that road. While I didn't get my VF1000R for Christmas, I did get a new Fender Telecoustic. I have to say, the timing of that gift could not have been better. It is a great addition to my Standard and Thinline Telecasters. So it looks like the only thing I'll be riding for a while is the couch, at least I have something to keep me busy.

Till Next Time...................

Saturday, December 24, 2011

How About A Duc For The Holidays

Even if it doesn't look like my Christmas wish isn't going to come true this year, at least I get to see a good friend get his stocking stuffed. My buddy Felix, A.K.A. Bayou Boy just picked himself up a '05 Ducati 999. He already owns a Road King and was considering giving it up in favor of the Duc. He called me to get my thoughts. I advised him while the Ducati is certainly a work of art, riding it is going to be a bit painful. Designed as a no holds barred track weapon, rider comfort is sacrificed for all out performance. I told him he may find this bike too uncomfortable after his Road King and Triumph Scrambler. So he kept the Road King and added the 999 to his stable. He decided this bike was just to sexy and too much of a bargain to pass up. So he now has the best of both worlds, a bike he can ride coast to coast in total comfort and a finely honed sporting tool at his beck and call. The styling of this bike was somewhat controversial, following the 916/998, which is considered by many to be the most striking Ducati design. Myself, I prefer the 999 looks over the 916/998. I would have a hard time keeping this bike out of my house. I would enjoy looking at it as much as riding it, I just love it's lines. For Felix, this bike is his first dip into the sport bike pool. I believe he is going to find this bike to be completely alien to ride at first. Not that he hasn't rode bikes like this, he hasn't lived with one yet. My guess, he will find it's combination of light weight, handling and power to be overwhelmingly addictive. He won't be alone when he ventures out, he has quite a few riding buddies who are Ducati owners. I am sure they will take him to the best roads they know to make his riding experience with his new mount a good one. Being that riding a sport bike will be a totally new riding experience to him after riding heavy metal all these years he told me he will send me a couple post relaying his thoughts on the bike. He is in for a totally new riding experience, and to me, that's a good thing. He chose to skip the frying pan and jump strait into the fire on this one. Will he like the heat of that fire, only time with the bike will tell. I think once he gets used to the riding position and different riding dynamics he will be hooked for good. Especially when he is presented with the right riding environment, maybe even a couple track days. I hope you love your 999 Felix, and I have to admit, I am jealous as hell.

Till Next time.......

Thursday, December 15, 2011

All I Want For Christmas is........

A VF1000R. With ten days left till Christmas, it looks like my wish will not be fulfilled this year. That is unless someone out there has grown tired of their 1000R and is willing to donate it to me. I'm not holding my breath though. The 1000R was not most sharply honed back road weapon of it's time. It is heavy,even in it's heyday, but still handled well at speed, although it's weight becomes more apparent at low speeds. It also was hampered by a stiff price tag for it's day. It was built in the guise of "FWS" HRC works bikes that Freddie Spencer, Mike Baldwin and Joey Dunlop were using to tear up the competition.
That bike was a beast, the road going version didn't quite live up to it's legend. It did have a bit of grunt though, pumping out around 122 hp. Also sports gear driven cams. The specs are as follows,
Engine...............................DOHC 4stroke 16 valve v4
Bore & stroke.................77 x 53.6 mm
Displacement...............998 cubic centimetres Compression Ratio........10.5 : 1
Carburetors.................4 x 36 mm cv type
Max Horsepower...........122 ps/10500 rpm
Max torque..................9.4 kg-m/8000 rpm
Ignition......................electronic advance
Transmission...............5 speed
Final Drive..................O ring lubrication sealed chain
Wheelbase..................1505 mm
Seat Height.................810 mm
Ground Clearance.......130 mm
Fuel Capacity.............25 L including 4.5 reserve Wheels......................NS-type aluminium Com Star
Tires.........................120/80 v16-v250,140/80 vr17-v25
Front suspension.......41mm 3way adj. rebound damping 155 mm travel
Rear suspension.........Pro-link 3way remote adj. rebound 123mm travel
Front Brakes..............duel floating disks with duel piston calipers
Rear Brakes...............ventilated discs with opposed piston calipers
Dry Weight................238 kg
I have been using craigspal to track down a suitable unit for the last few months. I can search All of Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Ohio at the same time with this program. Or the whole country if I care to. A couple have popped up on my radar, but were not the best examples. For a low production bike, they seem to pop up for sale round these parts more than one would expect. I can't really tell you why, but I have always lusted after this bike. It makes the hair on the back of my neck stand at attention, and gives me goose bumps I could remove ten coats of paint with.

Time is running out fast for Santa to slip one of these beauties under my tree. But I will continue my search until the right example shows up in my gun sight. Until then, I will be have to be content to feed my midlife hunger with the FJ.

Till Next Time............
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