Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Italian Test

This past weekend I attended the Italian test event at Spirit Motorcycles in San Jose to familiarize myself with the Moto Guzzi Models and ride one Aprilia model I haven't ridden before. I love these events as it enables me to widen my motorcycle experience base which helps when advising and procuring motorcycles in the wild. I had never ridden a Moto Guzzi prior to this and it was interesting to compare the three models back to back to back.

First up I rode the beautiful "custom" Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer. The initial side to side vibration upon startup was something I hadn't experienced before on a motorcycle as the engine layout is unique to the brand. The Roamer was easy to ride, had a low seat height, decent power, and was most comfortable on the highway. Unfortunately this was my least favorite of the bunch due to the forward foot controls, the front 19" wheel, and the gearing which all make for a less than ideal street bike, but a decent highway cruiser. 

Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer
Next up was the dark themed Moto Guzzi V7 Stone. The V7 was instantly a better bike to ride for me as the bars, seat, and foot controls all combine for a very neutral, upright riding position. The gearing was perfect for city riding and gave a bike a more fun demeanor while enjoying the back and forth twisties. The one drawback for this bike is the lack of a tachometer which does come on other versions of the V7, but I'm not sure why it wasn't included on a bike like this. Overall I think this is a great bike for the money as you get a something unique with Italian styling and it's fun to ride.

Moto Guzzi V7 Stone
The last Moto Guzzi I rode was the best overall package, the most expensive, and my choice for the best model Moto Guzzi sells right now, the V85TT. I think the bike looks great, especially in the color scheme I rode, but not everyone at this event liked the look. Subjectivity aside it was a great bike to ride. Sure it doesn't have fully electronic or even adjustable high end suspension, but what it does have works great on the road. There was no dirt involved on the ride so I can't speak on that ability, however I'm willing to bet 90% of owners won't be taking this bike off road anyway. The size is perfect, not big and heavy like the larger 1000cc+ adventure bikes out there, and not too small and underpowered like the latest 300-500cc powered adventure bikes. It has a nicely designed TFT dash that was really easy to read and didn't leave me yearning for a mechanical tach like most electronic dash's do these days. The only downside I saw on this bike was the tubed tire setup which would only be an issue if you were doing some off road adventuring.

Moto Guzzi V85TT "Evocative"
Last bike I rode was the most exciting for sure. The Aprilia Shiver 900 is a model I have't ridden before and it was a lot of fun! This would be the perfect bike to terrorize the city streets with occasional rides through the mountains. I'm sure the aggressive ergo's would wear you down after a few hours, but the excitement that comes with each twist of the wrist would more than make up for it!  In touring mode it's really easy to ride around and is a tame docile machine. Switch to sport and it turns into a beast! the slightest over throttle and the front wheel is lifting towards the sky. I probably wouldn't but this as my sole bike, but it would make a fun addition to a garage with a few other tools in the shed.

Aprilia Shiver 900

Thursday, August 22, 2019

IronHorse

This morning I had the chance to get this American made IronHorse chopper back up and running again! It need an overhaul of the ignition and fuel systems from sitting for years, but I was able to complete that and get it running pretty quickly!


Friday, July 5, 2019

Versys Prep

The Versys has a new owner inbound Monday so I wanted to prep the bike for his arrival which included adjusting, cleaning, and lubing the chain. 

Chain slack was slightly above max tolerance.
Removed the factory side Givi for better access.
A little heat to remove cotter pin 
Adjusted to 1in of slack per Kawasaki
The old screwdriver in the chain while tightening the axel nut

After adjustment it was cleaned with WD

Motul chain paste applied to clean chain and wiped off excess

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Demo Day

I was really intrigued with the new 650 twin Royal Enfield motorcycles so I signed up for their demo event in NorCal June 22nd. The main reasons I wanted to check them out are the classic looks, small size, cheap price, and they seem like a perfect city run about bike. A 3 year warranty also helps dispel any build quality concerns.

The demo was held at Spirit Motorcycles in San Jose which I've never ventured to before, but I was impressed at the size, layout, and brands they have there. I was able to ride both the Interceptor and the Continental GT, but missed my turn on the Himalayan because I was on the Indian FTR 1200! My initial impression is that both bikes are easy to ride, and would be excellent bikes for beginner riders to learn on, grow on, and ride for the entire 3 year warranty term. Even with my 25 years of riding experience I had fun on the 20 minute Demo ride! The GT looks really cool, but the Interceptor ergonomics make it the one to buy in my opinion.
Royal Enfield Showroom @ Spirit
Demo Bikes Lined up and Ultra Cool AMA Champion Melissa Paris Leading the Rides (seen on the right in purple/Camo)
Lot's of People Showed up to the Event, and why not, Free Food!


The highlight of the day for me was the Indian FTR1200 ride! Man, what can I say other than I was blown away by how fun this bike was. Sure, the heat from the bike was burning my legs and the fuel economy seems ridiculous, but the sheer hooligan fun factor is immensely overwhelming. If you want to tear up the city streets this is the bike to do it on! I'm gonna be keeping my eyes open for a used one this winter!

FTR 1200 Display @ Spirit Motorcycles

Cockpit of the FTR I Hooned

Yes, it was hot! 97 Degrees and the Indian was Blowing Engine Heat on me to Boot!

You are reading that right, 77 miles of range left on a nearly full tank!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Versys 12v Outlet

Spent a little time adding a 12v outlet to the factory location today. The previous owner had already added the OEM relay to connect the Oxford handwarmers so I wired the outlet through the same relay so it would only be powered when the key is on. 

My only two mods so far, 12v outlet and the quadlock mount for my iPhone.

Heres the behind the dash look where you can see the OEM relay on the left, the Oxford handwarmer wiring bottom center and the outlet on the right. Since this is a 2017 model it has the gear indicater integrated into the dash so it’s missing the harness for the gear indicator add on which I was going to use for the outlet. Fortunately the plug that harness attached to remained taped up to the main harness so I tapped into that. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Jenius Buy 2017 Kawasaki Versys 650LT

Just bought a 2017 Kawasaki Versys 650LT over the weekend all the way from Reno, NV and rode it back home to San Francisco. I got an amazing deal on the bike especially considering it only has 3500 miles, has an extended warranty to 2023, Oxford heated grips, and OEM handguards! It has a custom vinyl wrap that kinda reminds me of a police bike, but it’s growing on me. I’ve already put over 350 miles on the bike over the last 4 days! I wanted one of these for our “American Adventure” last year, but couldn’t find the right deal.

The Kawasaki Versys 650LT is a Jenius Buy because of it’s implied versatility! It eats up highway miles effortlessly, at 50+ MPG, and with a 5.5 gallon tank it can go well over 200 miles on a tank! The suspension is plush to absorb the rough city streets and is adjustable front and rear with an “on the fly” adjuster on the rear shock for when the occasional passenger jumps on or you load up the luggage. Quick release, OEM, Givi luggage easily fits everything you could want to bring with you and it has 2 helmet hooks! ABS front and rear and the quick adjust OEM front windscreen finish of a Jenius package. 



Wednesday, May 22, 2019

2 Stroke Extravaganza 2019

This past weekend, May 18 & 19th, the Bats took part in the annual 2 Stroke Extravaganza. We have made a point of going every year and the last couple years we have increased our presence on both the ride and at the show. For this years event we brought down 6 bikes from the Bats stables so we rented a big trailer to haul everything down. Marcus has the biggest, baddest truck so he is head of logistics for the Bats.

Here is the “Beast” that hauled six of our motorcycles down from the bay area including all our gear and luggage. The 800+ Ft lbs of torque made the trailer feel like we just threw a bag of potato chips in the back, but the length was tricky to navigate at times


 Let me preface this by saying I am inherently biased in my opinion, but this is the best motorcycle event held on the west coast! Sure you can spend lots of money on entry and lodging for the Quail Motorcycle Gathering to putt around on a “parade” ride and drool over beautiful, never ridden, garage queens or bid $10’s of thousands on more motorcycle porn that you will never ride, but that’s not real motorcycle culture. That’s for people who find motorcycles interesting and have money to waste on vehicles as “art” instead of their intended purpose. 


The 2 Stroke Extravaganza on the other hand is motorcycle culture at its purest. It’s dozens of enthusiasts with a passion for two stroke motorcycles coming together to ride, enjoy, buy, and sell some of the best motorcycles ever made (more bias :-) The range of enthusiasts who attend spans the spectrum of baby boomers, hardcore restorers, 60’s & 70’s, hipster 80's riders, 90's-00's racers, and Gen Xers who don’t have a two stroke yet, but find them fascinating.
    

Ride meet up spot. Lot's of trucks and trailers!
The meet up for the Saturday 115 mile ride brought out lots of sweet bikes you will rarely ever see on the street. This was the longest ride we’ve been on in quite some time, but our little 70, 85, and 125’s all were able to keep up with the 250’s, 500’s, and 750 triples through the mountains. The ride leader was on a really clean rz350 with brand new top ends so the pace wasn’t too fast on the way up, but coming back down the mountains he certainly picked up the pace a bit and only two of us were able to maintain the speed through the twisties. Fortunately for the rest of the group there was a chase truck with a trailer, in case of breakdown, and a sweep rider aboard the RZV 500.

The three Bats bikes lined up next to the sweep RZV 500


Pretty good turnout for a real ride through the mountains at TT speed and a questionable weather forecast. Halfway point of the ride we stopped to fill up our bikes and more importantly our stomachs. Yes there were a couple 4 strokers that joined the ride too! 

My Aprilia RS50 that was built specifically for this ride developed a bad fork seal leak on the way back. At least I have a year to get it right before the next Extravaganza!

Sunday was show time and although it was raining on and off the morning of, there was still a decent amount of attendees.  


 We got to the show an hour early so we would have a prime spot right at the front and set up our double EZ-UP Bat cave. We brought a 2001 Honda HRC RS250, 2003 Derbi Motard, 2006 Aprilia RS125, and a couple of Aprilia RS50’s.

My Aprilia RS50 “TT” managed an award for 2nd best exotic bike even with the leaky fork seal!

 A rarely seen $130k ex-Keanu Reeves Suter 500cc beast was on display.


A little video of the Smoke Out!