Thursday, December 6, 2007

Seattle Int'l Motorcycle Show

Well, the Seattle International Motorcycle show came to town last week and I couldn't miss it. I was home alone last Friday so instead of going to the show alone, I decided to see if my dad wanted to go. It turned out that he was interested so he drove the 1.5 hours down from Sequim and off we went. The show opened @ 4pm and since we were a little early, we stopped by Pyramid Brewing and decided to see if their beer was as tasty as we remembered. I assure you, it was. After an early dinner and a tasty beverage, we walked next door to the Qwest Field convention center and entered a world of shiny new motorcycles.

The first display we saw as we entered was the sea of blue known as Yamaha. I immediately spotted the bike I've been interested in, the WR250R. I have been a little concerned about the tall seat heights on most of the dual sport bikes and I was curious how it would feel. As you can see from the posted picture of me on the WR, I had to tippy toe it a little. I still really liked the way it felt and I'm still hoping to take a test ride as soon as they're in the showroom floors. After I drooled a bit we headed off to see all the rest of the goodies. We went to the area where all the accessories were being hawked and neither one of us saw anything we absolutely couldn't live without. There were some cool vintage bikes scattered around the showroom and they were pretty interesting to look at. I kept thinking about how guys would race these old machines and it just looked to me like you'd have to be nuts to do it. I guess it was state of the art back then. What will people think about the bikes we ride now in 20 years?

We looked at cruisers and motocrossers and there were some cool bikes but every display we went to that had a dual sport machine, it was almost always surrounded by 3 or 4 people. It became evident that the dual sports must be the hot item this year. I know that I like them but I didn't realize that it was such a popular market. I was able to throw a leg over a couple other bikes like the Suzuki DR400 and the Honda CRF230L. I wasn't really impressed with the DR. The Honda was very comfortable due to the lower seat height but I'm wondering why they still have all the old school stuff on it??? I'm sure it's a great bike and I haven't ruled it out but the Yamaha is liquid cooled, fuel injected and has a nice digital speedometer/tripmeter that has features that can be used for enduro racing. The CRF is air cooled, carbureted and has the old analog speedo. I guess that's why it's about $1000 cheaper. I'll definitely have to ride them both to help decide which one I'd rather own.

After the show we headed back to "the Harbor" and hung out. It was a good afternoon with ol' Dad.

Friday, November 16, 2007

...and the water muddies a bit.

OK... since I last posted I decided to pose a question on the Adventure Rider forums and ask those who ride currently and are in tune with the motorcycle world, what they think I should be looking for in a bike. I figure these nice guys and girls are the ones to ask since they're much more knowledgeable than I am about the latest equipment and bikes. So far I've received quite a few good replies and I'm looking forward to more. I am 99% sure I'm going to start out with a smaller bike like a 250 or maybe a 400 instead of the 650 I had initially planned on. I'd hate to get too big of a bike and end up getting discouraged right off the bat because I wasn't having fun. After all, having fun is what this is all about right? I'd like to look at the Yamaha WR450 and WR250 and see what they are like. I also need to look at the Suzuki DR400 again and compare.
That's it for now. Soon I'll be joining the ranks of the riding community.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Big ideas... smaller bike.

Yes, it's been awhile since I've had anything to put on here but honestly, I don't think anyone even knows about this blog so it doesn't really matter.

I've been looking for used motorcycles on pretty much a daily basis. I mostly look on Craigslist and there have been an occasional "good deal". I really just haven't been ready to lay out the bucks just yet.

I am still in a quandry about the exact bike to get. I have recently added to the list of things I'd like to do with a motorcycle and now off-road racing / enduro races are among them. Since I have started entertaining the idea of racing, I decided to ask someone involved in racing to see what their suggestions might be about what bike to get. Well, "my" Honda 650 was not on the top of his list. In fact, he said it wouldn't even be very good in the woods here in western Washington. I assume because it's fairly big. He mentioned a few others like Husqvarna, KTM (his favorite), and a couple others. Honda wasn't on his short list and Kawasaki is apparently a bad word to him. I realize this is just one guy's opinion and he may be biased to a particular brand or whatever but I have to definitely consider that he's much more in tune with the off-road racing community and probably knows a thing or two just from experience.

In light of this information, I think I have decided to go with a smaller bike. I like the Suzuki DR400 but will need to ride it and do some more research. I have heard that Yamaha might be making their race bikes with the option of a street legal version. Something to consider. I am very interested, however, with the 2008 Honda CRF230L. It seems they've geared it such that it won't actually be that bad on the pavement. I don't plan to spend much time on the pavement but on occasion it'll be nice to not have the thing screaming bloody murder at 45 mph. I also like the lighter weight (50 lbs less than the 650). I'm not sure how it'll do in race trim but I guess that's something else to look into.

Well, that's about all for now, the time is drawing near when I'll actually have a motorcycle in the garage. till then...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

It was on the way...

On my way back from the doctor's office today... where I was getting my FAA flight physical completed, I decided to stop by Hinshaw's, the local motorcycle shop. It was on my way home and I just wanted to do a little browsing... As I entered the showroom I was immediately bombarded by visions of cruisers, ATVs, sport bikes, scooters and motocrossers. While I appreciate all motorcycles, I was focused on finding the bike I've been researching for the last couple weeks. It only took me a few seconds to locate "my" machine. I approached it quickly and was immediately impressed with how totally cool she looked. After the initial infatuation was over, I was then a bit intimidated with how incredibly tall it was. Holy crap, how I am I actually going to get on this thing and ride it with confidence? Since I'm only 5'-8" the Honda XR650L is a big machine for a short guy like me. I have read that there are suspension lowering kits and maybe that will be all I need? I really don't know. I still am sold on it's looks and the fact that it's a Honda (I rode Hondas since I was a kid) but I'm thinking I should ride a few different machines to see what feels the best. I guess we'll see.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Beginning...

Hello everyone, welcome to my blog. I have decided to start a chronicle of my motorcycle adventures and hopefully they will be worth your time. Here's the deal though, I currently don't have a motorcycle... this might be tough without one of those in the garage.

Here's the reason I'm starting this... I have recently become inspired to ride a "dual sport" motorcycle from the west coast of the United States to the east coast. This may not sound like any big deal, and maybe it won't be. But my plan is to traverse the entire US via dirt roads and trails only. NO PAVED ROADS! I don't know how feasible this plan is. It may be totally easy or it may be impossible... at this stage I really can only speculate. I'd be willing to bet that it's been done before so I don't have any illusions of being the first one to try, but I think it'd be a satisfying personal accomplishment, especially since I haven't been riding motorcycles much in the last 10 years. I did, however, grow up in the country riding dirt bikes for many years so I think I have the skills somewhere deep in me that just need to be resurrected. This trip will definitely take some time to prepare for. My intentions are to buy a bike in the next few months and begin a series of smaller adventures in order to prepare for this larger journey. I will do my best to keep this up to date and I'm hoping that by having a blog that people are (possibly) reading that it might keep me motivated to follow through with this.

One additional thing to this planned adventure is that I also want to try to raise money to donate to the National MS Society. My wife was diagnosed 6 years ago with the disease and I feel that maybe this could also be a way to help out a good cause. I'm not sure how well this will all work out but I'm looking forward to giving it a shot.

If anyone miraculously reads this and has any experience doing this sort of thing, please shoot me an email and say 'hi'.