What happened?

Paul’s triple-black R1200GS & my F800GS Adventure in Tulameen.
Aug 2016.

It’s been one heck of a riding season.

We started the season with a 2015 BMW F800GS Adventure, a 2007 F650GS, and an FZ-09. We added a 2016 R1200GS to the pack and sold the 650 and 900. I took on the F800 GSA from Paul, as he found and fell in love with the “triple black” 1200.

We ended the season with one motorcycle: the R1200 GS.

On September 11th I crashed my F800 GSA on an offroad ride and broke my tibia and fibula. The bike was written off; almost anything that could be broken on it was damaged, from the front rims, the dash, radiator, exhaust…I think the seat and 3 out of 4 footpegs may have been intact. The bike didn’t even make it to 10,000km before being destroyed.

I’m now back to work and working on rehabilitation for my leg. I should be able to ride again in the spring; the question is what am I going to ride?

I don’t see myself being able to dirtbike next season, nor will I be doing what we were doing when I crashed. I do enjoy the mellow off road rides that Paul and I did. Between my broken leg and bad knee (on the same side!) I think anything mellow is a good idea.

I still want a dual-purpose or adventure bike. The question is which one? Dual-purpose bikes tend to be lighter, but are built more like dirtbikes so they’re sometimes not as comfortable for long highway stretches. ADV bikes can do the type of off road riding I’m interested in and can ride all day on the highway but they tend to be heavy.

Weight aside, I think the ADV bikes are closer to what I want. I do more on-road riding than off. I’m concerned about the weight though; if I go that route I need something really well-balanced like the R1200GS (as opposed to the F800GSA; it’s nearly the same weight but feels heavier because the weight is up higher).

I do really like the look of the new Honda CRF250 Rally.

 

I know it’s “only” a 250 (it has the same engine as the CRF250Ls that we use at PRS) but it’s much less expensive than other options, it’s light, it’s be fun to ride, and it looks awesome.

I have a spreadsheet (seriously, check it out) of the bikes I’m considering. The 2017 Vancouver Motorcycle Show is coming up so I’m planning to spend a lot of time sitting on bikes and thinking about what I want. It’s crazy, but I think it’s between the CRF Rally, the Africa Twin, and the F800 GS.

OH MY GOD. I just checked out Honda Canada’s page to get links and the Africa Twin comes in the HRC tricolour this year!!!!!!!

Seriously, this is the closest I’ll ever come to an attainable dream bike.

Well, you can throw out all of my sound, reasoned arguments. I jokingly (?) said to Paul in the summer that if the HRC tricolour becomes available I’ll be running to the dealership to slap a deposit on it.

Seriously, I’ve been pining over pictures of this bike since it came out. This is the universe telling me that I crashed so I could have a tricolour Africa Twin.

Okay, not really but the timing is pretty good. 

Poor Paul. This is all he’s going to hear about for the next…ever.

Enduro riding & the Duffy Lake Loop

A couple of weeks ago we went through PRS’ Enduro course again on the actual course site. I’ve had trouble with enduro riding initially, but oddly enough just before our training day Kramer had seen some footage of enduro riders competing while sitting down. We worked on some ways for me to ease the pain in my knee by sitting with different posture, weight distribution, and foot position.

One thing that isn’t helping me stand up is the F650GS. It’s just not a big/tall enough bike for me. I stood up on the F800GSA and didn’t have nearly as much trouble. The handlebars on the 650 are too far away from me so I can’t get a good standing position, and it makes it too easy for me to accidentally grab the throttle. The footpegs on the 800 are also wider (they’re actually enduro footpegs) so I have better foot position and my knees aren’t banging into the gas tank. Nothing on the 650 is very adjustable so it’s very difficult to change the controls to suit my long arms and legs.

The saving grace for the 650 is its light weight. I fell hard three times: once during hill climbing, once trying to recover from a stall on a hill (I went about it exactly the wrong way), and once at the foot of a steeper hill trying to make space between me and the rider in front. I sprained my hand and wrist pretty badly, but it’s mostly recovered now. I slept on it funny two nights this week which hasn’t helped. I’m sure Kramer was pleased that I was riding the lightest of our motorcycles as he had to help me and the bike up each time.

Last week Paul and I rode our BMWs around the Duffy Lake Loop. The 650 did well; we weren’t pushing hard. I’m used to riding it on the road now, although I still go for the imaginary sixth gear pretty often.

Later this week we’re going to ride up to Tulameen to visit my Mom and Gerald and try some new things out off road.

Cross post

From I love the sport that hates me, posted at Laurie Elaine:

This is not the first time that I’ve considered that motorcycling is not a sport that I’m cut out for. The amount of time it takes me to be able to learn how to grow my skills is incredible compared to almost anything else I’ve ever tried. It’s humbling and discouraging.

 

2016 Motorcycle show

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost time for the show again and another year at Pacific Riding School. While I’m not in the market for a new bike, there are some that I’m looking forward to checking out at the show, as well as some accessories:

Honda's new ADV bike.
Honda’s new ADV bike.

Honda Africa Twin

The last thing I need is a big ADV bike, but I love the look of this machine, and the early reviews have been very positive. If you know me at all you know that it’s the white, blue, and red HRC paint scheme that calls to me. (You also probably know that I LOVE the old school original Africa Twin and I’d much prefer one of them).

Red. Trellis. Frame.
Red. Trellis. Frame.

Ducati Hypermotard 939

I’ve loved this (completely unpractical) bike for years. That Ducati growl, that red trellis frame. It’s been updated this year from an 821cc to a 937cc engine but for me and this bike it’s all about the look, feel, and sound.

It looks fast.
It looks fast.

Ducati Panigale 959

Another bike in a list of “bikes I’ll [probably] never own”, the new Panigale looks gorgeous. It boasts the “first Euro 4 homologated Superquadro” engine (yeah, I had to look it up too: the name comes from it’s hugely over-square cylinder design). Euro 4 is a new emissions standard, so essentially Ducati is saying that they’ve built the first production Euro 4 compliant Superquadro engine. Whatever. I’m sure it looks and sounds amazing!

A lot of plastic for a naked bike.
A lot of plastic for a naked bike.

Kawasaki Z800 

This bike has been out in Europe for at least two years. It’s not exactly my cup of tea; I just want to compare it to my beloved FZ8.

 

 

Arai XD4 helmet

I’m really hoping the Arai techs are at the show again this year. I need a new helmet and I’m trying to decide what I want. I need an ADV or dirtbike helmet. I’ve tried the XD4 on once as it’s tough to find my size in stock (XS or S). Everything was great except where it sat on my neck under my ears. I have trigger points there and I’m not sure if I could tolerate wearing the helmet for an extended period of time. The Arai techfit me for a street helmet two years ago and determined that the Defiant in XS fits my head shape.

I like the Flare Blue and Diamante Black/White. I’d also consider a white one that I customize with deals. Tokidoki helmet!

Bell Qualifier DLX helmet

love my Cerwinske Star Carbon and its Transitions visor, but the helmet is now five years old and ready to be put out to pasture. It looks as though the Qualifier DLX is the “new” Star (i.e. the top-end helmet). The weight is nearly the same and it comes with a Transitions visor. I know it would be terrible for visibility, but I like the Rally Matte Titanium

Bell Moto-9 Carbon & MX-9 Adventure helmets

I have my PRS Bell street helmet that I haven’t used, so I could keep it for the street and get a dirt bike lid for off-road stuff.

AGV AX-8 Dual EVO helmet

An on/off-road ADV helmet to consider.

Bought a dirt bike

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Me, on what would become our dirt bike on Alouette Lake.

Paul and I recently bought a dirt bike from a friend and lead instructor at PRS. It’s a Honda CRF 230. At some point we’ll get another one (because we don’t share well both want to learn how to ride dirt bikes). We have to sell the FZ-09 first though. Luckily Ambrose has room to keep the bike for us so it doesn’t get stolen….

It’s the same bike he let me use to dirt bike this fall. Paul and I still need to finish outfitting ourselves with gear; we both need boots, helmets, and better gloves and I need knee pads and armored shorts.

Now all I need is a Suzuki to be able to say that I’ve owned a bike from all of the Japanese manufacturers.

MotoGP Valencia: (not really) over it

Manymany words have been written about the events at the last two rounds of MotoGP. I’m not sure what I can add to them that other people haven’t said already and more eloquently than I can.

Do  I think that Marc Marquez helped Jorge Lorenzo win the title? Yes and no. Do I think he was fucking with Rossi? Absolutely. Was it wrong? It’s hard to say. Certainly a lot of former and current racers seem to think so.

Was Rossi wrong? Calling out Marquez before the Malaysian GP was meant to draw Dorna’s attention to Marquez’s behaviour but it also seemed to enrage Marquez. Rossi likely would have had plausible deniability had he not looked at Marc three times before running him wide.

Dorna did  more interfering than anyone in this championship. By doing nothing after Philip Island and Sepang but then reading the riot act to the riders before Valencia Dorna set the stage for the final act. Marquez rode an unusually clean and unagressive race. Could he have overtaken Lorenzo? It’s impossible to say. Lorenzo ran a smooth, fast pace from the start, but Marquez didn’t attck him; he only attacked Pedrosa after Pedrosa (amazingly) closed the gap between them and passed Marquez for second place.

Through all of this I have lost respect for Jorge Lorenzo. He’s always been a bit hard to like, but there’s no denying he’s is a gifted rider, certainly one of the best. But by inserting himself into this drama repeatly he looks like an ass. Marquez came out looking like a spoiled child. I had started to warm to him this year seeing him struggle in the first third of the season. I told Paul after brooding on the race all day yesterday that Marquez’s actions made me feel as betrayed as Obi-Wan Kenobi did after Anakin turned to the Dark Side. Marquez was supposed to be the Chosen One, the next great rider.

I did gain a lot more respect for Dani Pedrosa; respect that has been growing since I watched Mark Neale’s Hitting the Apex and watching Dani’s return to form after undergoing potentially career-ending surgery to fix his arm pump. I’ve never been a Pedrosa fan, but that’s changing.

The harsh reality of being such an invested fan are the highs and lows that you ride. In my mind this was going to be a fairytale season for Vale but it didn’t end up coming true. I’ve been a Rossi fan since 1998 and ulimately I’m very disppointed.

I know that I shouldn’t let the shenanigans of the last two races colour the entire year, which was amazing. I also know that this isn’t over, ans when the lights go out to start the race in Qatar next March we’ll see what the next chapter of this new rivalry brings.

Between watching Hitting the Apex and the “handbag swinging” between the Italians and the Spainards I really miss Marco Simoncelli. He would have made this extra interesting without a doubt.

MotoGP Sepang: more bad blood

Rossi speaking to the press at Sepang.
Rossi speaking to the press at Sepang. Photo from MotoGP.com

 

Valentino Rossi never does anything without thinking it through. He is clinical and calculating. I cannot figure out what his comments to the Italian press in Sepang about Marc Marquez are meant to do. Rattle Marquez? Get under his skin and make him upset? Rossi says that he feels Marquez would prefer that Jorge Lorenzo wins the 2015 title, and that Marquez is purposely interfering with his effort to secure his tenth championship.

Supposedly, Marquez grew up idolising Rossi, which the reporter brought up. But the old GOAT had this to say:

…here we must make a clarification: did he really idolise me? Did he really have my poster at home? I’m not so sure. I’d like to go back in time and see.

He also added:

He is angry at me for a personal matter. Although he never said it, he thinks that in Argentina I made him crash; and then at Assen he is still thinking about the last chicane, in his head he feels he should have won that race. Since then he has been angry and thinking like a child: I do not win, but you do not win either.

I don’t think that I’ve ever heard a rider speak so openly about a rivalry since Rossi and Biaggi in the 500cc two-stroke days.

I don’t know what’s going on in Rossi’s head, but this season has been one of the most exciting in MotoGP for a long time. I really want Rossi to with his tenth title. Two more rounds to go…

#ForzaVale

MotoGP Aragon: blood in the water

We know who the shark is
We know who the shark is. Photo from AGV Helmets. 

The lead between Rossi and Lorenzo is down to 14 points after Aragon. Lorenzo rode a classic race and easily won, with Rossi finishing in third. His fight with Pedrosa was awesome, but it looked like the Yamaha lacked power to keep Rossi in front after passing Pedrosa’s Repsol Honda.

After the race in parc ferme Lorenzo put his hand on top of his helmet like a shark fin. There’s a reason why the shark on Rossi’s helmet at Misano was blue.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when Marc Marquez went down on the second lap; I haven’t seen such an expression of rage (at himself) like that in a long time. I used to think that he had horseshoes up his ass from the things he used to get away with over the past two years; it looks like he may be returning to a regular state of luck. This is his fifth crash this season, which is why he’s out of the title race.

Standings after Aragon round.
Standings after Aragon round. Image from MotoGP.com

We were discussing the championship at Pacific Riding School yesterday, and one of the students said that he feels that if Rossi doesn’t win the title this year he won;t have another chance. I’m not sure if I completely agree, but it will be harder next year. Although the new tire manufacturer (Michelin) next season may even things out. Who knows what that’s going to be like, or what bikes they’ll work work well with?

I’m hoping for some more rainy flag-to-flag races before the season is up. they shake things up and result in crazy situations.

GOAT fairytales

From www.motogp.com
From www.motogp.com

Has it been ordained that Rossi is going to win the title this year? After the events at San Marino it seems like it.

I can’t remember the last time there was a flag-to-flag race with two bike changes. Changeable weather and an unpredictable surface played havoc with the riders and teams abilities to choose tires. (Bridgestone didn’t even know how the wets would last and recommended going with the soft option to be safe).

All weekend Lorenzo was the man to beat, and I was worried that Rossi’s slim 11-point lead would be cut or that Lorenzo would end up leading the points race. When it started to rain I thought that Rossi might have it in the bag. (I also wondered what the hell Bradley Smith was doing staying out on slicks!)

When it started to dry and Smith’s times started to climb I was yelling at him to pit and change bikes. The Ducatis, open class, and the rest of the grid came in and out with their slicks on. What was he doing?! Marquez went in and I thought for sure the Yamaha boys would follow; Lorenzo’s pit board indicated that he should go in. But they both went by again. On the next lap Lorenzo came in and the commentators (and I) thought that it would take a miracle for Rossi to salvage the race. The rain tires were visibly chunking over the dry tarmac. As Rossi’s times dipped Marquez and Lorenzo’s climbed.

"Crashes defeat weak people, but inspire tough people." @Lorenzo99
“Crashes defeat weak people, but inspire tough people.” @Lorenzo99

The next image was a Movistar Yamaha on its side in a gravel trap.Heart in my throat I thought that the damaged rain tires had finally been pushed beyond their limit and Rossi was out. Next thing I heard was a roar from the crowd as the camera panned out and we saw Lorenzo on his knees in the gravel.

A miracle was delivered. All Rossi had to do was finish the race and he’d increase his points lead on his teammate. He could have increased it by more than the 23 it’s at now had he come in earlier, but considering how things looked to be going, retaining the lead going to the next round isn’t bad at all.

It is the year of the GOAT. I believe it.