Friday, September 23, 2011

Bonding With Max

One would think with all the San Francisco posts I've put up lately that we haven't been doing much riding. Not so.

For the last three weekends we've gone riding. I now have more miles on Max in the 6 months I've had it than I did on the TU the entire year I had it.

On September 4th we took a ride over to the coast for chowder. We went with our friends Josh and Meg. Meg had not done the Alsea Falls route to Waldport before so it was a good day for it.

(Troubadour and Josh with the bikes)

(Lucy and Max)

(Troubadour at Alsea Falls - testing the water)

It was a great day for riding although it was chilly at the coast. It was also the long weekend so there were a lot of people around and a long wait for lunch. The service and food at the Rogue in Newport was the worst we've ever experienced and we won't be back. Needless to say no food porn from that ride.

* * * * * * * *

The following weekend was a group ride with our local motorcycle forum. It had been a while since we joined a group ride so we gave up Saturday morning coffee in lieu of hanging with the group. Turns out a lot of other riders had the same idea.

(North and South groups meet in Alpine)

I think there were a total of 27 bikes so we broke into 3 groups; Speedy group, medium group, and a group of newer riders. Troubadour and I had radios and both knew the route so we volunteered to lead/sweep the newbie group. I am used to lagging behind a large group, but volunteering to sweep, especially newer riders was a first for me.

Once again we did Alsea Falls and then took Highway 34 to the coast. A sense of deja vu from the previous weekend. We made one stop on the way over. We parked in two areas looking for shade.

(Quick break at a rest area on Hwy 34)

From there we continued to Waldport where we took a break and ate our picnic lunches. We also layered on some thermal gear. It was darn chilly at the coast. We then took Highway 101 down to Florence where we stopped at the Fred Meyer for fuel and a break.

(Fred Meyer in Florence)

From Florence we headed inland. Stopped to take thermal liners out about 15 miles in and continued the long way past Triangle Lake. We stopped one more time before the groups split into different directions. Some heading North, South, and East to get home.

(Weigh scales on Hwy 36 by Cheshire)

* * * * * * * *

Last Sunday found us on an all day adventure with Josh and Meg again. Left the house at 8 am, fuelled up and met them in Cheshire at 9 am in chilly 42˚F weather. I must admit I had the rain liners and quilted thermal liners in my Rev'it jacket and pants. I also wore yoga pants under the overpants and two shirts under the jacket. I was warm enough. Thank goodness for heated grips too.

(Meet up at Dari Mart in Cheshire)

From Cheshire we made our way South on Territorial highway and then turned East towards Cottage Grove and Dorena where we stopped for a snack and a rest break.

(Troubadour hamming for the camera in Dorena)

Just past Dorena we made a right turn and headed South onto a forestry road, which eventually turned into a one lane chip seal road up into the mountains. It was deserted and full of twisties - just perfect. We stopped at a fork in the road for another break and a check of the map.

I set up the camera with the gorilla tripod to get a group shot. If only I'd found something taller than the road to put it on.

From there we headed down the mountain and encountered some road construction full of nice soft deep gravel. We all made it through safely, although Max did a little fishtailing on the first section. I think there were 5 sections in all.

We popped out onto Highway 138 and headed West into Glide where we stopped for petrol and to take off some layers and liners. Damn the valley had warmed up. We then took more back roads into Sutherlin and Oakland where we stopped for lunch.

One of the main purposes for the ride was to go to Tolly's Restaurant. An old historic soda fountain type of place. Unfortunately we did not beat the tax man and it was closed. Seized for non payment of taxes.

(Tolly's in Oakland)


Luckily there was a deli across the street.

(Veggie sandwich on rye with a really salty pickle)

We were en route to the peacocks we'd seen the last time we were through this way. When he heard where we were heading, the man that owned the deli gave us some bread to feed the peacocks.

The peacocks loved the bread and even the babies came out to play.

(This one wasn't amused - we'd ran out of bread)

Back on the road we headed North then West into Yoncalla and North again to Drain. From Drain we headed towards I-5 so that we could meet up with Territorial once again. We were thinking we needed ice cream. A stop near Loraine to check the GPS and get directions from a local and we were heading to Creswell on Hamm Rd. Wow, what an awesome set of twisties with nice smooth pavement.

Once in Creswell we found the Old Time Scoops. What a great little find this place turned out to be. And deserted on a Saturday evening too.

(My coffee espresso chip ice cream - this is a single)

(Troubadour had the Huckleberry Cheesecake Ice Cream)

(Josh opted for the butterscotch Sundae - the pic doesn't do the size justice)

For some reason I didn't get a picture of Meg's bowl of ice cream. Next time.

With our bellies full we headed back the direction we came. The twisty road beckoned one more time. At one point in a 15 mph corner I glanced down at my speedometer and it read 35 mph indicated. This was a highlight for me. My cornering has really improved this summer and I hope to keep that momentum going and keep improving.

We were hoping to make it home before dark but the ice cream stop put us a little behind. Priorities you know. Our last half hour was in the dark but luckily it was a straight shot and Troubadour could lead the way.

We left the house at 8 am that morning and arrived home at 8 pm that night. It was an awesome day and I have to admit one of the best we've had on two wheels. It was full of sunshine, twisty deserted roads and good company with a great sense of humor. Josh and Meg were great riding partners and we look forward to our next adventure with them.

* * * * * * * *

I have been noticing a few things in regards to Max as I put more miles on it......

1) I find it really handles nicely around corners and is much smoother than the TU was especially at highway speeds with a headwind. Crosswinds are more manageable as well.

2) I am getting the handlebars sorted out as I was getting right forearm/wrist pain. The original position seemed to be a little off so we raised them a bit. Turned them forward, not bar risers. We did this before the Wolf Creek trip. They seemed to be better but my hands were falling asleep because they were a little higher. Before the Crater Lake trip we lowered them back down and actually put them a smidgen lower than stock. Still a little discomfort but not as bad. I am thinking because the seat angles me forward and with the bumpy roads I am always pushing against my wrists to hold myself up even though I try to use my core muscles. Either that or it is the vibration.

3) The suspension is quite stiff and throws me around a lot on bumps. Something I never really noticed with the TU.

4) The throttle is a little snatchy at low speeds. First and second gear are particularly bad with the fuel injection. You need to be really gentle in rolling on and off the throttle. This is most noticeable when trying to adjust your hands on the grips at low speeds. I am getting used to it and often don't notice it except when adjusting my grip. I am sure it looks funny as it lurches.

Don't get my wrong. I love the bike. I love the look, the fit and finish and love having power ready at the throttle when needed. I am just trying to get it all sorted out as it is still fairly new. Did I mention I love the bike?

- Au Revoir

" Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit." ~ Peter Ustinov


  1. Trobairitz:

    you both sure have been busy, sort of world travellers, so many adventures in a short time. It looks like you are much more comfortable on Max, not afraid to try new roads and corner faster.

    If you are enjoying yourselves time flies. You don't even realize how many hours you have been riding. You just wish it didn't have to end

    Riding the Wet Coast

  2. I'm glad to hear about the miles your putting on Max. It sounds like you are coming to know your bike and its quirks. Good luck sorting out the bars and riding position. I'm sure it will come together for you.

  3. I don't know. It may take a couple more long trips to really build the bond. This "work" thing really gets in the way doesn't it? ;-)

    Sounds like you are having a great time getting to know your new bike. And no fair with the great food shots. I'm in the land of "camp food"...


  4. Trobairitz:
    Great that you're enjoying Max so much - a very good choice of motorcycle. You might actually be talking about the Street Triple in a couple of respects. It also has a snatchy throttle in the low gears. This has lessened during ownership (17000 km now). Whether I've simply got used to it and have compensated accordingly or whether it has genuinely improved, I simply don't know.

    Suspension - just the same as the Triple. Almost certainly because the OEM rear shocks are built to a price with poor rebound and compression damping. I couldn't believe the difference when I put a top of the line Penske unit on my Blackbird - better handling, soaked up the bumps and averaged 2000 km better rear tyre life. I'll be doing the same for the Triple next year.

  5. Trobairitz you sound like you have found your zen with Max. Great pictures! I look forward to the time that I am experiencing different routes and longer distances. Watch that you don't develop carpal tunnel in your wrists. Great pictures. The icecream looked yummy. It seems there is a lot of food involved with motorcycling.

  6. Thought about you the other day. We had a bike that looked just like ( ok, mostly like ) Max in an ART class.

    It has been neat watching you turn into a more rugged and confident rider as time goes on. May you jump far, Grasshopper!

  7. @Bobskoot - It hindsight it does seem that we have been busy this year. That is a good thing.

    @CircleBlue - It is nice to know Max's quirks and it is nice to have some more miles on it. The weekend trips this summer really helped.

    @Richard - Yes, this work thing really does get in the way. Why is it we work 5 days with 2 off. 4 on and 3 off sounds much better. Oh, and trust me, camp food is better than what we got at the Rogue.

    @Geoff - I really debated between the Street Triple and the Gladius. It is interesting that some of the quirks are the same on them. I chose the Gladius as I thought it might be more newbie/novice friendly and managed to get it for $3k less than a Striple.

    @Dar - I worry about carpal tunnel as my day job is a legal assistant - all day every day on the computer. I do have an ergonomic keyboard and mouse so hopefully that will help. My mom and grandma both have had surgery for it and that doesn't bode well if it is hereditary to be susceptible to it. And yes, lots of food involved in motorcycling. We have to ride somewhere.

    @Irondad - I wonder what kind of bike it was that looked kind of like Max. Thanks for the encouragement with my riding. Now if I can just break that pesky habit of not putting my feet down. I admit, I've picked up the bad habits of others of rolling through stops. Not a good thing.

  8. Three wonderful trips! Why is it that I never think to stop for ice cream?!?! After describing your experiences between TU and Max, it sounds like you are increasing your skills greatly and having fun doing it. Keep up the fun rides!

  9. @BeemnerGirl - I am increasing my skill and comfort level, which is a good thing. Hoping to get even more riding in when the weather holds this fall or next year.