As I was all ATGATT dressed up leaving work this week one of the women in the office commented that I had a nice "outfit" on. Hehe. I love thinking of it as an outfit. Yellow lid, red jacket, black pants and boots. I'm so cool.
So I've considering giving into an impulse and getting a real dual sport. I miss the F650GS that I used to have. There's something about simplicity in a thumper that would be nice to have again. Love the FJR, it's my daily rider, my war hammer, into rush hour downtown traffic each day and it does what I want it to well. I've been thinking once it's warmer and the days are long it'd be nice to poke off into the woods and follow a trail somewhere. It might be only in my head though. The last time I did that on the F650GS all I could think of is what if I crash, how am I going to walk out of here. I need a buddy willing to crash with me I suppose. Maybe it's time to join a club or something. Or jsut get a 1200GS and join the thousands of others that never take theirs off road.
I finally bit the bullet and got new tires for the FJR. the old ones where at the end of their life and because I commute everyday, in any weather (expect snow!) the expense was worth it. I did save a $175 tire/wheel removal fee and took the wheels off myself. Somewhat nerve racking, as there's no room for failure with motorcycle wheels, but I wanted to have the skill, and save the money. I shopped for tires online, but my local shop mounts and balances them for free (on wheels off the bike) when you buy from them, so there I was buying local. Today I'm going to hand scrub the tires with a scotch-brite pad (not sure if it works, but it can't hurt) and take it really easy for the next couple hundred miles to break them in. Oh, if you're curious I went French. I'm trying out the Michelin Pilot Roads.
I just had the fork springs changed in the FJR, put 2004 springs in my 2003 model, and it's making a big difference. It's a lot more accurate in it's feedback, and almost never as compressed. Anyways, the tech at the shop - that took all my budgeted fun money for the rest of the month - mentioned that I need tires too. I knew that, but this makes it official. Oddly I've been unable to so far find a really great source for tire reviews for bikes. Forums are good, but scattered most of the time. No matter what this time next month I'll have new shoes on the FJR. Driving everyday in rush hour traffic, in downdown Seattle, often in the rain, means a commitment to the good rubber. I have to say, I've been eyeballin' the Avon Storm ST or the Michelin Pilot Road 2, so maybe it'll come down to what the local shop has in stock.
It's interesting how one's tastes change. I used to lust after the Honda GB500 Tourist Trophy, back in the day when it came out (here's one on eBay for $4500 now). I would hunt them down and ponder ways to get it shipped to where I was, or because I was mostly broke I'd run small equations on the back of envelopes to see how I could eek out some form of monthly payment. I still think it's a beautiful machine, and I love that Honda gave it life, from concept. However, I clearly have more gray hair showing and maybe that makes me apply more weight to the other parts of actually owning a bike, comfort, power, safety, etc. Not that I'm complaining, just interested in how my desires have changed. If I thought about it there'd be a long line of once lusted after bikes, maybe I'll list those out in a later blog.
Wish I would have known they needed the help, I would have pitched a few dollars their way and bought some stuff. Maybe not a bike, but some boots or helmet or something. Sad to see a good bike dealer disappear. University Honda/Yamaha (Sound Rider article here) was close to my office (downtown) and best yet, they were down to earth good people who knew all about bikes and had a good vibe going on. Heck, they had a family dog that hung out in the store. I miss the shop already. The next best one is Renton Motor Sports, but even though I'm sure they're nice people they tend to cater to the young and way too fast crowd. Then again, they're still in business so who's got the better idea?
Another thing I think I'm going to work on this year is a jacket that has awesome visibility. Something better than the gray one I have now. It'll be hard to find the right one, I'm a stickler for a great fit, and most importantly I carry a ton of stuff with me in my pockets when I ride so I need lots-o-pockets. A few gate/garage door openers, paperwork, duct tape, extra keys, bandanna, stuff like that. I recently saw this Joe Rocket Ballistic 7.0 that looked nice and was received well by the reviewers, plus I like the checkers. Still looking though, hard to find just the right mix of colors and style with utility.
Today it got up to 50 degrees, and you know what the means...everyone that rides in the good weather came out today. Saw more bikes today than I've seen in a long time. Even rode in a tiny pack (3 including me) for a bit along the beach. I've been suffering through the dark and rain, and wet all winter and I'm starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Another sure sign the warm is on the way (ok, it'll still be another 2 months away) is I'm looking at bikes again. It's the annual selection of the fittest. So far this year, I've started eyeballing the classic and underrated BMW R1200R, or R1150R. Everyone is out, and it's good to see you all.