After the ride to Colorado and back the IMS Triumph Tiger 800XC has been regulated to what 99% of all motorcycles do, commuter duty. Since the ride I have moved back to Monterey CA where I teach at a elementary school 21 miles away from home. In the last few months over 2,000 slab miles have been put on the bike, and I have learned a few things. One of them being, even though TKC80 tires are phenomenal in the dirt, and grip really well on the road, they suck on mileage. After the 2,000 some odd miles of commuter duty the tires are over half way gone. I learned that on the street I can almost drag the pegs with out any trouble in a fast corner. I learned that even though the bike may be advertised at 45mpg, 38mpg-40mpg in stop and go normal everyday traffic is what is really going to happen. I also learned that having a bike like this isn’t just about big adventures, but the 1% of the time that you get to really just ride, and that 1% is what it is all about.
On Sunday I finally got a chance to do that. About 20 miles from my house, on Highway 1 is Bixby Bridge, the most photographed feature on the West Coast, and just north of the Bridge is a 11 mile dirt road called Old Coast Road. At one time this was the only way people could get from Big Sur to the Monterey Penninsula, and is now open to all street legal vehicles. I have ridden it before on a older IMS dual sported XR600R, with 90/10 street/dirt tires. But now I had the right bike, with the right tires, and all the time I needed to just enjoy it.
I usually have Touratech 45L bags on the bike, but for this ride I took them off, and I suited up in my full KLIM gear, and SIDI boots. I have not worn all this gear since the ride to Colorado and I forgot how nice it really was (I normally just wear the jacket when I commute). Since I was going to be meeting my wife after the ride, I had jeans on under the pants, and a normal shirt on under my KLIM Jersey and Jacket. The pants and jacket kept me warm during the cool morning fog here on the Central Coast, and when the sun came out they unzipped and ventilated really well. The TKC80 tires, even though the back was over half gone, still gripped really well, especially after I dropped the pressure from the high street pressure of 36-38psi down to about 18psi in the front, and 22psi in the rear. After that they stuck like glue, I could corner as hard as I was comfortable with and brake with confidence, even with ABS causing a few pucker moments in the loose stuff.
The first part of the ride is a lose gravel downhill dry section. Since this road is a street legal vehicle road, you have to keep your eyes open for the random truck or SUV. Coming behind me at the beginning of the ride was a guy in a SUV following a little to close behind me. This did cause a little bit of a rush and I over cooked a corner and with the ABS almost slide into the ditch on the side of the road. After that I simply pulled over and let the SUV pass, aired down the tires, and just had a blast.
As I moved deeper inland and further into the forest the ground got wetter and the grip just got better. I come from riding a dual sport XR650R, and to be honest once the Tiger got moving it felt almost the same. Only the sound of the engine was different. The power that the Tiger was addictive, the linear way that the power just came on and kept coming on, was amazing. There was a direct connection between your right hand and the rear tire, and how much you slide is completely up to you.
One thing I love about Old Coast Road is that along the way you see that people have build and still live in houses hidden deep in the mountains. The area is absolutely beautiful, and with the recent rain, the plant life is amazing. Near the end of the ride I stopped at a point that over looks the ocean and Highway 1 to take a few pictures. During my little break, a small group of maybe a half a dozen riders on F800GS bikes came riding by. While I was there another guy stopped at the same point, in a brand new 1200GSA on it’s maiden voyage. He said he was taking a picture to send to a friend to make him jealous. This is when it hit me. Yeah 99% of these Adventure Bikes will spend 99% of their time on the road, commuting back and forth. Most of the guys who own one of these bikes is in a similar life situation as I am, kids, wife, regularly scheduled job, bills, the whole lot. We can’t just drop everything, travel from Alaska to South American and then on to Africa, up to Russia, Europe and back home. But it is the times like this when we get to ride with our buddies, or make our friends jealous, or just get away, it is these times, these 1% times, that make riding what it is. It is these times that help define this Adventure we call life.
In life change is inevitable. The same is true for technology of every kind. As time goes on things change, sometimes it is good, sometimes not so much. If we look at the advancement of Dirt Bikes, we have moved from 500lb Harley Davison Hardtails,
to slightly lighter BSA and Triumph Desert sleds,
to dual shock Japanese dirt bikes,
to the current crop of ultra light, single shock, single cylinder, 300 foot jumping dirt bikes.
At this point we could ask the question is there really anywhere else to go? Is all that is left to do just small changes in frame and engines? We can look at the new Honda CRF450R, a great bike, but is it really all that much different then all the other dirt bikes out there. The basics are the same, some things got moved around but is it the same leap forward that the dual shock to single shock was? Is it the same as moving from no rear suspension at all on old Harleys to the 3-4 inches that Triumph had?
The big question as I see it is what happens when a company is truly innovative? I look at the Husky TE449/511. Husky decided to throw out the rule book and make something different (yes I know they stole it from BMW but just hang with me). The gas tank in the back, the sprocket on the same pivot as the swing arm, air box in the front. Now David Knight couldn’t ride the thing, but is that because it is truly bad or is it because most of us that ride were brought up on more traditional bikes that have different handling characteristics? Take a kid with no other riding experience and natural talent (like Knight), teach him to ride solely on a Husky TE449 and you would have an award winning champion on a “impossible” bike. And what doesn’t work in racing may work in other things, like Dual Sport riding.
Yamaha has been one of the chief innovators of things that work that are different, such as one of the first mass produced single shock dirt bikes, and now they have the backwards engine. Yeah it is different then other bikes, it steers with the front wheel more, but is that necessarily a bad thing? With the new crop of riders coming up that have not been riding a “normal” bike their whole lives, maybe now is the time to try something new? I love innovation, it is one of the things that makes America great, we embrace and encourage new ideas. Before we decide if something isn’t good just because it is different, maybe we should try it out, give it a shot, todays “weird” is tomorrows normal.
Ok so lately I know I haven’t been talking about off road riding directly and with the weather being amazing and riding conditions being perfect I should be but bear with me just a little longer, I am waiting on our second baby to be born (any day now) so I am “riding’ on my computer so to speak. But as I was cruising the internet, I came across this article http://www.asphaltandrubber.com/racing/motogp-summary-sunday-american-gp-2013/#more-42249 Now I love off road but I am also a huge MotoGP fan and try to keep tabs on what is going on. Jumps and dirt are cool but so is 200mph with your elbows and knees dragging the ground. Anyways I think it is appropriate to mention that this new rider, Marc Marquez, has now taken the place of Freddie Spencer as both the youngest rider ever to take a premier class pole, and the youngest rider ever to win a premier class Grand Prix.
This took place at the inaugural round of MotoGP at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. The most interesting part was that he had a harder rear tire, so less traction but longer wearing, and had a front end problem but still managed to pass Pedrosa, a 8 season veteran, and broke a record standing since 1982. Pretty cool huh. It is really neat to see when young talent comes out and sets new records and establishes himself right out of the gate. Now something is to be said of hardwork and dedication, 99% of people in this world will not get anywhere with out it, but in the rare instances when human development takes a leap and you end up with almost freakishly skilled people, like Tiger Wood, or Michael Jordan, you have to set back and says “Wow” . In these cases I feel that these people need to be recognized for what they can do. No I do not recommend idolizing these people because even the best of people fail, and if you put your hope and faith into something temporal it will let you down. As Marc’s dad says ““What you have to remember is that one day, a rider will come along and beat Marc’s record. And from that day on, nobody will remember it was Marc who once held the record,” But still as the title says Credit where credit is due, congratulations Marc and many more wins to come.
|Riverside, California – April 3, 2013 – IMS Products is proud to announce the arrival of the much-anticipated extended capacity tank for the 2013 Honda CRF450R model. IMS continues to offer quality aftermarket fuel tanks for riders who want reliable extra mileage from their tanks.The Honda CRF450R tank boasts a capacity of 3.2 gallons, more than a gallon larger than the stock tank.
The IMS Honda CRF450R tank was developed with racers such as Thad Duvall, JCR, and Litz Racing, as well as the recreational rider in mind. The 450 tank is available immediately in both black and natural colors.
This tank is available in black and natural colors, and can be ordered directly from IMS and its affiliated dealers. The tanks are also offered with either the IMS dry break system or the traditional screw top. For more information, visit www.imsproducts.com.