Monday, October 8, 2007

Mine for yours.

After a 2nd track day with the 2002 Triumph Thunderbird, I was completely convinced that this triple was not the bike for me. I mean, in the past year I've had alot of fun with it. It's torquey as hell, it has top-end pull, it never leaves you wanting more power...

...but it's heavy, it has just a tad too much rake (for the track, anyway), and it's tough to practice proper body positioning on it with the low seat and stock footpeg locations. It seemed that, if I wanted to progress and get the most out of my track day experiences, I needed something sportier. At least this was where I stood after our Team ProMotion track day early September, 2007.

Fast-forward to early October, and I'm now the proud owner of a 2001 Suzuki SV650S. A Triumph-lusting resident of State College, PA offered to trade his SV650S for my TBird. After some Blue-booking and decision making, we agreed to a trade: his Suzuki plus $300 for my Triumph.

We lived over 300 miles apart, so we met at a Sheetz in McConnelsburg, PA - halfway between us. M came with me on her Ninjette, and we made our way through some back-country roads to our Sunday bike trade.

Lack of cell phone reception on-site made the meet-up a little rough, but within an hour of our appointment, we were all at Sheetz looking the bikes over. Between cups of coffee to warm up (it was a brisk morning), we test drove each other's bikes and made the trade.

M and I took our last look at the Triumph, and we high-tailed it back home - this time I was on a blue Suzuki with handlebar risers and a fairing. Crazy.

It was an interesting experience - to trade. Especially when the round trip was about 260 miles. The differences between 2 bikes really jump right up at you when you spend so much time on each one back-to-back.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Riding With Lenses

Oakley Minute Rx Sunglasses

I've seen @ least a few people like myself - who ride with glasses. I guess if you need to wear corrective lenses, you have 3 options: wear glasses, wear contacts, or get LASIK. I've had my bout with contacts (the contacts won, so to speak), so contacts are a no-go for me. I also avoid surgery if at all possible, so LASIK is not really an option. That leaves frames.

So I've been wearing eyeglasses for my entire riding history, and my specs definitely do not cover peripheral vision. Actually, they don't even come close. And I recently read about an accident in which a rider's glasses snapped and nearly cut his eye. So resilient frames with a facial contour seemed in order.

I decided it was time for a drastic (read expensive) solution to my riding eyewear, and where better to turn than Oakley? Exactly.

So to get to the point, I am now the proud owner of an Oakley pair of "Minute" Rx sunglasses. The verdict? I'm speechless. I can easily rant for 4 paragraphs about why I love these glasses, but let me give the summary: They are clear, they kill all glare, they cover virtually my entire viewing range (I turn my eyeballs now, not my head), and they fit under my helment with ease. I'm impressed in every sense of the word, and I will always own a pair of Oakley Rx sunglasses from now on. No question about it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

New bars - new bike!

2002 Triumph Thunderbird

Tommaselli Condor Adjustable Bars

The Thunderbird can definitely be classified as a "standard" in the motorcycle world. Rather vertical sitting position, handle bars bent toward for ease-of-reach, and foot pegs right underneath you (not behind or in front of you).

I decided to give the Tommaselli Condor bars a try. The adjustable Condor bars came up alot at the Triumph Rat forum, and most of the reviews seemed to be on the good side. I got the impression that it was an easy way to get the clip-on experience without actually retro-fitting clip-ons to the T-Bird.


I gave in to curiosity and tried them out. After 3 rides, I think I can say that it changes the riding experience completely. I now ride right up against the gas tank, leaning much further forward to operate the motorcycle. This is a pretty serious change of posture, compared with the relaxed, up-right experience I had with the stock bars. It is much more like riding a sport bike, except that the gas tank feels like it's in the way of the experience...

My final verdict is that I like them. When adjusted properly, my wrists find a much more comfortable home than they did with the stock bars. Otherwise, it's something to get used to. When riding hard, the Condor bars seem to promote a decent riding position. When sitting in traffic, it's less than ideal. But I think I like 'em.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Where's the love?

1995 Kawasaki Ninja 250

...1st in line at a red light - left-hand lane waiting for the green arrow. Cars are passing by us as their light says 'go.'

-"Nice scooter!"

Some punk yells this at us. Car full of high school/college kids with all the windows down and the sunroof open. Wow, that one hurt.

Obviously he knows something about motorcycles if he can recognize our unmarked Ninja 250. Is this the impression motorcyclists have about the Ninjette? That it's some kind of "scooter" (read with a negative connotation)? I guess some do. It's a shame when something as serious as riding becomes a pissing contest...

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


2002 Triumph Thunderbird (not Sport)

Pirelli Sport Demons

Triumph OEM Off-road pipes

I'm happy with it. Found some of its weaknesses at my 1st track day, found some strengths during the last Deal's Gap trip. In the short term I see different pipes, rear sets, and handle bars. We'll try that and see how it goes.