One of the great things about riding a motorcycle is the tie that all motorcyclist enjoy. Yeah, I am one of those guys that waves, to every motorcycle rider I see, even if it is a guy on a scooter. Why, because I love the fact that a perfect stranger and I have something so close in common. Riding a motorcycle in modern times is not a necessity like it was in post war Europe or Japan, or as the cheapest means of transport like it was here in America. Instead you ride a motorcycle now, because you love it. You like to live life just a little bit different. I am not saying all people who ride are hard core bad ass people. I mean I am an elementary school teacher, but rather we live life by a different set of rules, and that unites us. You can almost always count on a fellow motorcyclist stoping to help you out if you are stuck, you can always count on another rider giving you parts or gear, for free, just because you need it and they got it. You can always count on at least one good story every time you stop and talk to someone.
I bring this up because just the other day I was getting on the IMS Triumph Tiger 800XC when a old man walks up to me and starts talking. I needed to get home, it had been a long day and my wife had to deal with a 4 year old and a 2 year old for the last 12 hours alone, so you can see my hurry. Well this particular old man had started the conversation by asking about the bike, saying he had seen me on the freeway and really wanted to talk to me about the bike and was glad that we ended up in the same place at the same time. When I explained to him the bike, the engine, and all the add ons, his smile just kept getting bigger. You see back when he was in college, one summer he bought a brand new, Triumph 650 Bonneville Twin Carb, and rode it from Pittsburgh up into Canada, along the Trans-Canadian Highway, down to LA in California. Seeing me on this Triumph really brought back those memories, it was almost as if he had just gotten of the bike in LA all over again. It was really something else to see this bond between the two of us. We had never meet before, and probably never will meet again, but I had found in this old man, and he in I, an instant friendship that you just don’t get with other people. Now, I have never done a ride like he mentioned, and it will probably never happen for me, but each time I swing a leg over that bike, each time I fire up that 800cc Triple and hear the purr of that exhaust, I am making memories that I will hold onto for a lifetime. And one day I will be that old man, telling some young kid about how I used to have this hopped up Triumph and how I rode it everywhere, off road and on. It will be at that point that I connect with a person in a way that I just wont be able to connect with someone who doesn’t ride. And that kid will do the same thing one day himself.
This kind of experience is something else, it is something that few understand, and it is something that I hope to pass on to generations to come.
So today, take the time and wave at a fellow rider, stop and talk for a minute, help them out on the side of the road, you never know when you will make a life long friend that you never had before. So go make a friend and get out and ride.
Yes, we get snow in southern california. Now it isn’t much and it isn’t often and it isn’t at the beach, but still we get some. Where most of the riding that I do is around 2,500+ foot elevation and the snow doesn’t really start till about 3,500 foot elevation it makes for some disappointing rides, where it starts off with nice tacky dirt and then after about a mile of great riding, BAM, snow and ice. So after a few months of this kind of riding, it finally cleared up so that I can get in a good ride. So off I went last Saturday to get in a quick ride. With my wife 38 weeks pregnant and a 2 year old at home I couldn’t be gone long but still in the end any ride is a good ride.
Now if you are a fan of our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/IMSproducts you will notice that most of the pictures are of a very specific bike, a 2003 XR650R. Now the reason for this is that this is the only bike that I own. We plan on including more bikes and locations in future entries but for now this is what we got to work with.
Now the bike is awesome, 680 big bore, HRC cam, derestricted intake and exhaust, Precision Concepts suspension, 3.2 gallon IMS dry break tank, BRP triple clamps, and Kenda Trackmaster II front tire and Kenda 270 rear tire with heavy duty tubes provided by MTA. And the best part is the bike is street legal. With these modification and my amateur riding level there is more then enough power and performance to get me into and out of trouble, and I love it.
Most of the trials around where I ride are in the Angelus Oaks/Big Bear area, if you have done the annual Big Bear Run then you know the stuff I am talking about. Today’s ride was a shorter more local ride but after not being able to ride for a while and with all the snow and melting snow the landscape was completely different. It could best be summed up in one word, ROCKS. Man they were everywhere, from marble size to bowling balls, I didn’t know there were even that many rocks period and they just got worse. I had decreased my normal riding pressure for dual sporting from 22 psi front and rear to 16 psi because the tires just wouldn’t grip. I know in rocks you want to run a little higher to avoid flats (and since I didn’t have any of my tools with me I should have left it) but the 270 is more of a street biased tire and the low psi helped. After dropping to the 16psi the bike was a different animal completely instead of sliding and slipping around the bike would grip, yes the street biased 270 was like a trials tire and in a straight line even with all the power I had on hand in the 680 motor it had a hard time breaking traction, it would even pull the front end up. I normally have a Trackmaster II on the rear as well, but I have been doing a lot more street commuting and I felt bad wearing out such an amazing tire on the asphalt. Plus anyone who has ridden a hot XR650R knows they go through rear tires like no bodies business. But the tubes supplied by MTA were awesome not only did it make it through 11 miles of rocks but they got me home doing 65mph+ on the street with out feeling like I was on a half flat tire.
Even though IMS offers two other tanks for the XR650R, both which are bigger at 4.6 and 7 gallons, I prefer the 3.2 for off road work since it is slimmer at the knees and when full doesn’t upset the balance of the bike. Back when I was commuting a lot more during the summer months I was running the bigger 4.6 gallon tank and when I do long dual sport rides I use that tank as well, but for sorter off road riding I prefer the smaller tank.
With all the changes that IMS is going to be making in the next few months in the social media arena I hope that those of you who read these blogs can get something out of them and the jumbled process that is my writing style. Feel free to leave comments and suggestions and keep your eyes peeled, there is much more exciting things to come.