Tuesday, March 10, 2009

2009 Yamaha FZ6

In our search for an upright-sitting standard bike that Heather and I can swap back and forth, we came across the FZ6. It wasn't too tall; she could sit on it comfortably with feet firmly planted. The bike utilizes a handlebar rather than the clip-on's you see on most sport bikes, and the sitting position was not overly aggressive. I was really looking forward to riding this bike and the Triumph Street Triple at Bike Week to see if the Yamaha was as fun on the street as it looked on paper.

For starters, riding the FZ6 after the Street Triple was not a fair comparison. I'll try to remain objective while describing the Fizzer, but the honest truth is I'm biased. The Triumph just did everything better and was a more exhilarating yet comfortable ride.

I'm approximately 5 foot 10 and was able to stand with my feet flat on the ground and butt almost off the seat. While riding, my right foot felt stretched... if I kept my foot in a natural feeling position it kept pressing down on the brake. Keeping it raised enough to avoid the brake felt awkward and uncomfortable. I finally solved the problem by resting my toes on the peg and ignoring the rear brake altogether. Hey, it only provides 25% or so of the stopping power anyway, right?

Handling was adequate; the rear shock has an adjustable preload and the front is non-adjustable. We never got into a curve that felt like it was pushing the suspension to its limits, but also never really got exciting, either.

The FZ6 redlines at 1400 rpm, which hit right around 62 mph in first gear. Acceleration was... adequate. That seems to be the recurring word with the FZ6- adequate. Maybe it's because I rode a more exciting motorcycle first, maybe I was just underwhelmed after expecting more than the bike delivered.

The FZ6 is not a bad motorcycle, and the $7,290 MSRP vs $9,499 for the Street Triple R reflects how unfair a comparison this really is. I almost feel the need to apologize to the FZ6 for not liking it more. It handles better than a cruiser, accelerates better than a beginner bike, and does a decent job as basic two wheeled transportation.

I find myself giving a resounding "Eh, you could do worse."


Monday, March 9, 2009

Scenes from Main Street

A handful of pics from Saturday...

Yes, a kid on a mini-chopper. Rode past at least 4 cops that we could see, no telling how many before he got to us or after he passed.

Segway Cops! Probably chasing a 9 year old on a mini-bike.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

2009 Kawasaki Concours

I haven't really ever been interested in a touring bike. I'd ridden my father's Ultra Classic just to see what it was like, but will admit a tourer just didn't light my candle. However, a buddy who owns a Goldwing, a Concours, and a Busa had some good things to say about the sport tourer and peaked my interest enough to give it a try.

Though the Concours felt wide when I sat on it, my feet were able to sit flat on the ground, no tip toes or stretching. With my feet on the pegs it was a very comfortable, upright position. There's a world of features on this bike, including a push button adjustable wind screen, tire pressure indicator and gear indicator. All the gauges were within easy view without a lot of head movement. The luggage was large enough to fit a full face helmet, and removed from the bike in seconds. While looking at the big, chunky key and thinking how uncomfortable it would be to carry around in a pocket, the key fob was explained. The bike won't start unless the key fob is in close proximity, making the key more of an ignition switch that can be safely left on the bike. There's a center stand, but with the Concours' shaft drive eliminating the need to clean a chain the stand seems superfluous. I started to consider the possiblilities of a sportbike with luggage to use as a daily rider, room to carry paperwork & laptop and a few groceries on the way home. The windscreen could be completely lowered and the bags removed if desired. Hmmm...

Once we got on the road, though, my consideration started to wan. Calling it a sportbike with luggage is being a bit generous. It was quick, yes, sportier than I had expected but not hooligan quick. At slow speeds leaving the staging area the throttle seemed on/off, difficult to find and maintain my desired speed smoothly. The bike felt quite stable and at the stoplight I was able to play the balance game with neither foot touching the ground for several seconds.

After we got up to speed on the street the Concours was a joy to ride, very responsive and not shy of curves. I found myself doing 75 in 2nd gear but shifted up through the other four for puttering purposes. In the turns our group leader would hang back then slingshot forward, giving us a chance to lean in and play which the Concours does very well.

I may not want it for a daily rider but the Concours 14 was a lot of fun, and would make for a great bike on an extended commute or long trip. A friend tells me of a co-worker who rides his every day from Gainesville to Jacksonville, which is just the kind of commute we're talking about.

Now I'm kind of jealous.


Saturday, February 28, 2009

2009 Triumph Street Triple R

I rode a Speed Triple some time back and was very impressed, but lamented how much power it had. Power is a good thing, but the Speed Triple would get me arrested if it was my daily rider. Who could resist that much temptation every day?

With that in mind I’ve been wanting to get my hands on the 675cc Street Triple. This year Triumph added an adjustable suspension and called it the Street Triple R. The short review: one day I will own this bike.

The long review: Before riding I checked out the sitting position and features. In motorcycle boots I was easily able to stand up with my feet flat on the ground (I'm 5'10" in stocking feet). The sitting position is upright and comfortable. There's a lock releasing the seat, providing access to a very small storage area and no helmet locks. After a brief search I even asked one of the factory reps about a helmet lock, and it was his only complaint. Apparently they've been sending feedback up the chain for years, asking for helmet locks to no avail.

Another nice feature was the gear indicator, something I've come to appreciate on the GSX-R. Any of us who've searched for 7th gear or lost count somewhere in the middle could find this handy. Stainless brake lines come standard, and during the safety brief the leader warned us that we could stop these bikes with two fingers (didn't the MSF course tell us not to do that?).

The route was a nice mix of turns and straight aways, and the leader led a spirited ride. The Street Triple was quick and nimble, fun in the corners and accelerating nicely through the gears without that feeling of unused potential. Ok, maybe some unused potential (it was a demo ride on public streets, after all) but not the "can we please get on the interstate so I can get above 2nd gear???" vibe I'd been dealing with. Just a quick glance down showed 70 in 3rd gear, not redlined. (Just for comparison the Gixxer 750 hit 92 and climbing in 2nd.) The dual disc front brakes stopped the bike quickly but at slow speeds trying the rear brake on it's own I barely slowed. Rather weak, weaker than alot, but the rear kept the bike stable and avoided an endo. The rear brake is not non-functional, and really it feels like nitpicking to find a small flaw on an otherwise incredible machine.

So in summary, this is an exciting naked motorcycle that's a beauty to look at and to ride. There's little storage but Triumph makes tank and tail bag accessories. A great little bike which will one day be in our garage.


Don't See That Every Day

Do two V-Twins make a W-4?

This is not an antique. Ridley, the folks who make automatic transmission motorcycles, are bringing back the motorized bicycle. One of these was breezing through the crowd, and for the life of me, though I don't want one, it just seems cute. Available with 50cc or 70cc engines.

An actual Ural on the actual road. I've heard about them twice, once from a buddy who's a fanatic and future owner, and once from a TAC officer in a rare moment of humanity. Neat features of these bikes: the sidecar is powered, not just the rear wheel of the bike. Also it was designed for use in rural areas, far away from any bike shops, and can be worked on without any special tools. This one's owner says you still need to be a bit handy, but was quite pleased with his.

I just love how they incorporated the brake light into the painting.


Bike Week 2009

Rode down to Daytona from Jacksonville on the Gixxer, just a straight shot down 95 in an attempt to get to the Speedway before all the demo rides were filled. My two biggest priorities for the day were the Triumph Street Triple and Yamaha FZR 6. I love the Speed Triple but felt it was more power than I’d use on a daily basis, same as the Z1000 and for that matter the Gixxer. Fast bikes are great when you can go fast but just frustrating and borderline boring when forced to go slow, and for too long I haven’t been utilizing the Gixxer’s 750 cc’s for more than short bursts to get around traffic. So today’s goal was to look at a few smaller displacement sporty-ish bikes with an upright riding position, something Heather and I could swap back and forth comfortably.

I parked close to the Yamaha tent and walked up with helmet in hand. The demo bikes were parked on the service road, the tents were up, the tables and chairs set, but the merchandise was still being put out and there were the random preparation activities that hinted the factory area wasn’t ready. Just to be sure, I asked someone when the demo rides start. “Not until 8 tomorrow. Pretty much everybody is just setting up now.” I asked if helping set up would get me some seat time on a V-Max, but no such luck. I walked past the Suzuki, Honda, Buell, and Aprilia (Aprilia!!!) tents with as much luck. Honda brought a bunch of Civics to a motorcycle rally, which begs the questions who is in charge of marketing and shouldn’t they have unloaded a few motorcycles first.

Thank God for Kawasaki. They were open for business, had short lines, and let me sign up for two bikes at the same time, a Concours and a Versys.
While waiting for my appointment time with Kawi I walked to the other side of the Speedway and was able to sign up for a Triumph as well.

Killing time at a bike rally is no chore at all. I love people watching and motorcycle watching. I saw four generations of women walking together; great grandmother walking with a cane, grandmother, and mother pushing daughter in a stroller. The sight of those four wandering about highlighted how family friendly Bike Week can be.

Then I was reminded how family friendly it can not be. Walking past one of the many parking areas I heard a guy yell “Lord, I wanna see some TITTIES!!!” It was pretty loud, so of course I looked in the direction of the noise. My curiosity was rewarded with “Not yours, bro. No offense, but not yours.” We all had a good laugh. And I walked away wondering if I have man-boobs.

At the end of the ride home I tried a few new stretches Heather taught me. In addition to the usual (neck rotations, elongation stretch, hamstring stretch standing, calf stretch, etc.) I placed a doubled over pillow under my back and lay there for 30 seconds at a time. After three sets I switched to something I don’t know the name of but think of as a Double Diamond. Laying down flat on the floor put the soles of your feet together and raise them into the shape of a diamond, like a groin stretch seated except you’re laying down. This is supposed to release the muscles in the lower back. To help circulation I create a second diamond shape with my arms over my head, again for three sets, about 30 seconds each.

Really, I don’t have man-boobs. Really.


Friday, February 27, 2009

It *Almost* Sounds Dirty

Some time ago I wrote an article on motorcycle maintenance for one of those 'article-whores inventory' websites. Nothing fancy, I didn't get paid for it, it was just another article I can put into my portfolio.

Well, I was searching for some other information and found, via Google of course (gotta love Google, where was it when I was in elementary school having to write papers?) a copy of that article that was translated into Greek.

Yes, Greek. Why Greek, I don't know, that's another mystery for the world right up there with Banker's Hours (I mean, really, 9 am to 4 pm?) and putting nuts into chocolate (Seriously? why mess up chocolate like that?).

Anyway, I digress.

So, since I wanted to see what my article on oil changes said when it was translated in to Greek and then back into English, I clicked on that handy little 'translate' button. And what I found seems rather silly and nonsensical at times and rather dirty with innuendos at others.

Here, see for yourself:

The coverage of the smaller things can be lent to a better spin on your motorcycle.

With a new meter roses, a fabric, and the owner's manual available, to speed my motorcycle with a mild sense of concern. What I do here I am a girl who wins the car for oil changes, and then only when I remember.

This is different. Guide his hands up, so also to acknowledge to know my machine in an effort to improve performance. With a motorcycle can have access to the oil itself, in a control to keep order. Oil, gas, tires, chains.

Substance covered in the Motorcycle Safety Foundation * class training, substance to be tested before each round to keep us on the road. The launch at a glance, decide that the wheels look good, are fairly robust and in good shape.

The break in the meter diploelenchontas the manufacturer's recommendations on sidewall shows that the pressure is in the order. I have heard of the stalks covers cash / valve roses will turn colors if you take the pressure too low, which sounds like an excellent idea.

In practice, however, are apotharrynmenoi on a motorcycle because the weight will wear the valve stem faster. The thin stalks appear, no remarkable tear or wear rubber in roads to be careful, so check the tires on the mental list. Initiation of the chain, because I sit right here.

No twisting the connections sfinchtike is not just a few weeks ago to examine the distance in miles and it seems like it should. The recommendation is to add the lubricant oil every 500 miles or so, right after a round in the lubricant oil can work together within the chain cools down, keeping the steady traffic from the main drying out.

What it takes is frowsy pollutant that attracts so much fat! The kerosene cleans quickly, removing the grime, and there are other products that will work equally well without the hard results of gasoline. The teeth seem to alyssotrochous well, a nice settlement in furrows that give a solid grip while adding fat to the lower loop points and fees in the chain.

While the chain keeps turning roses, and the wheels keep turning roses, gas and oil keep the machinery moving. The manual will offer the best octane fuel to keep the machine to capacity. And like most people, I discovered my tank and capacity reservation by myself, so I know exactly now how many miles I can go before fuel is supplied.

The oil will keep the engine from seizing on to dress and protect the moving parts inside, like a lubricant oil in the chain. The oil filter seems quite easy to access for an oil change and after a few seconds, find the level meter and check the levels. I am glad to see that my bike works well with the levels at this time, so note to me that I can change the oil in the other a few miles.

One less hour of the night my basic test and maintenance will help prevent the types of disasters or explosions grinding below the road. Changes such as the introduction of air and scarves, or the carburettor settings will add more strength to ensure a machine. By leaving a great feeling in my next round I know that basically covered so I can relax and enjoy the round.

From: Heather Francell

About the author

The Heather Francell independent writer for Indocquent.com. the Indocquent.com is an online resource that allows businesses and individuals to promote their products and services in 20,000 cities in over 200 countries around the world.

Well, I was entertained... how about you? (What is sfinchtike anyway?)