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What are you thankful for?

So Thanksgiving has passed now, and Christmas is coming along very soon.  It is a great time of year to sit and reflect on what we have to be thankful for.  Over here on the Central Coast the winter is pretty mild, we don’t have to pack our bikes up because of the snow, or convert them into snow mobile type machines.  Instead we are pretty lucky to get to ride all year long.  Now since I am a school teacher I was thankful to get the entire week of Thanksgiving off and took the opportunity to ride down Highway 1 from Monterey to Pismo Beach (while my wife took our daughters the faster way on the 101) to meet Scott Wright, the owner of IMS, for a Thanksgiving getaway with my family.  I of course was riding the IMS Triumph Tiger 800XC and was hoping to get some time at the Oceano Dunes, and was not disappointed.

First off the road riding section.  WOW, I am very thankful of the men and women that put countless hours of time into crafting what has got to be one of the most amazing stretches of road in California.  The most beautiful sections of road were from Monterey to about Cambria.  It was tight, twisty, forest, ocean, cliffs, and just all together amazing views and roads.  The opportunity to pass slower moving traffic is not as abundant as I would have liked, but it is times like that I still found something to be thankful for because it allowed me a chance to just really admire the views and enjoy the scenery.

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After about 3 and a half hours of amazing riding I arrived in Pismo.  Spending time with family is always something to be grateful for, and after an amazing dinner I followed Scott out to Oceano Dunes for some riding and a impromptu photo shoot.  The bike tracked great in the sand.  I didn’t go into any of the deep stuff out in the dunes, staying primarily on the compact wet stuff near the water.  I was very thankful for the GPR Steering Stabilizer as it helped in the few rough spots, or where the sand was a little softer.

GPR Stabilizer was a great help.

GPR Stabilizer was a great help.

Love the panniers.

Love the panniers.

Excellent Grip.

Excellent Grip.

Best view of the day.

Best view of the day.

The sand was perfect for riding.

The sand was perfect for riding.

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End of the day rider and bike.

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Beautiful sunset, just one more thing to be thankful for.

IMG_7192 IMG_7187End of the day, there is a lot to be thankful for.  Your adventure ride doesn’t have to be a 6 month tour to South America from Alaska, it can be something as simple as a ride down the coast for Thanksgiving, and a cruise on the beach.  Thankfulness is a frame of mind, don’t let other things get in the way, and if you have time, just get out and ride.


The 1%

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.

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Clean bike, no bags, looks kind of naked.

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.

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Start of the ride, lose, downhill, cars. Good combination.

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.

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Beautiful Day.

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Beginning of the good stuff. Those tracks in the middle were left by a kid on a CR250R, that got dropped off to ride.

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.

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Messing around with my Panoramic setting on my iPhone Camera.

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Recent rains means this little creek had some water in it finally.

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Bike on a bridge.

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Throwing roost like this was all to easy and actually very controllable. Who needs traction control?

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With the recent rain we have had here on the coast, the plants can finally start to grow back.

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.

Almost done.

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F800GS rider.

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Another F800GS rider.

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Making his friend jealous on his brand new 1200GSA.

Dirty bike parked outside swanky Carmel Plaza Shopping Center in beautiful Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA.

What Adventure is really all about.


And We Are Off!

So yesterday was a big day, not only was it Father’s Day but it marked the start of the Two Day ride from Yucaipa to Ouray, CO.  Overall things went great.  No accidents, no dehydration, no problems.  The Klim Jackets and Pants did great.  Now nothing aside from true A/C is going to keep you from feeling hot in the 100 degree weather that we experienced riding through Barstow to Vegas.  But once you unzipped the jackets a few inches, and opened up all the vents, it did a really good job getting decent airflow regardless of the model (Overland, Traverse and Badlands Pro).  Our Camel Backs full of ice helped to keep us hydrated by providing a constant trickle of cold water and helped keep our backs cool as well.  The SIDI boots were incredibly comfortable, and the Gore Tec lining did as advertised, and keeper our feet dry and fairly sweat free.  The KLIM helmet did a great job.  An open face helmet at highway speed does have some drawbacks, namely wind noise and things hitting your face at 65mph plus hurts, but it did give you extra air flow to keep your head from sweating to much.  And a good set of headphones or ear plugs do wonders at reducing the wind noise.  Our Seat Concepts seats were worth every penny, after a 6 hour plus ride, those of us lucky enough to have the Seat Concepts seats felt a lot better then those that did not, and could have easily done a few more hours.

Lastly the new IMS ADV 1 foot pegs were great, they gave us a huge platform to move our feet around while seated, giving us the much needed room to move to avoid leg cramps and general discomfort, and the extra leverage they provided really did wonders in the dirt.  I leave you with a few snap shots of the ride, and not to worry, there will be plenty more to come.

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New Projects in the Works

Well things here are IMS are getting exciting.  As of now we have come out with a new tank for the CRF450R

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The CRF250L

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The TE/TC/TXC449/511

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As well as the Beta 300/450RR tank.

ImageSo all in all it has been quite the exciting 5 months.  IMS is working full steam ahead doing what we do best, and that is make tanks and make them well.  But now we have ventured out into new and exciting territory, the side by side, or UTV.  Since it first came out the RZR has dominated the UTV scene, fast, handles great, and can take up to 4 people in style.  But like all race machines it seems to suffer from one major flaw, fairly low MPG.  Now maybe stock it isn’t to bad, but if you are like the guys that work at IMS, you can leave it stock for long.  Engine mods make more speed, but speed burns more gas, and for some of the extreme turbo RZRs out there I have heard of people getting as low as 7.5 MPG.  So what do you do when you only got a 7.5 gallon tank and that kind of MPG, most of us have had to resort to the good ole gas can, or just not ride for very long.  The gas can seems ok, but after seeing pictures like this

Imagekind of makes me think that that extra can of fuel on a bed that can get pretty hot due to exhaust and turbo heat might not be a great idea.  So that just leaves you with short rides.  Let figure this out, if you got a full decked out turbo RZR and get 7.5 MPG and a 7.5 gallon tank that means you have, at best, 56.25 miles of riding.  That means no later then 28.125 miles you have to turn around and head back.  And when you have a machine with that kind of power and speed you are looking at a very very short riding day.  On top of that you can not get any further then 28.125 miles away from camp, not a whole lot of exploring.

There is a third option now coming out, and IMS has it.  We are currently working on a auxiliary tank (so an easy install) that will increase the total fuel capacity of the RZR to 12-13 gallons.  Since the tank will be installed near the stock tank, it is in just as safe a place as the stock tank.  We know people have been asking for this tank for a while and we are pleased to announce that we are finally doing it.  It still has at least 30 days till production but we will keep you posted as to when it is available and the total gallons you will get.  We hope you guys are as excited as we are.

Here are a few pics to help you out.

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Taking out the Trash

Ok, I am not going on a rant here.  I just wanted to talk about something that was near and dear to my heart as well as to many off road riders out there.  That is the trails that we ride and the trash that we find.  This is prompted by a recent ride I did on one of my favorite trail systems.  I was just riding along getting near the end of the trail where it hits the road, when I crossed this beautiful little stream.  Now recently I have decided that I was going to try to become a professional “Free Camera App iPhone Photo Taker” so I stopped to take a picture with my XR in the middle of a stream, because that would look cool.  Anyway here I was taking pictures walking around my Dual Sport when I walked up the stream a little to get a more dramatic shot when I looked over and saw it, a nice little collection of trash (primarily water bottles and a few miscellaneous other things).  This really made me sad, and at first I was just going to leave, after all I had nothing to carry the trash in to properly dispose of it, but at the last second before I left I decided to take a picture and post it up here, hoping to raise awareness to this problem.

 

A few months ago I had posted a picture of my mountain bike on a local ride I did and commented on how so many trails that had been formed by off road riders had been shut down and how if we don’t figure out how to fix it more and more will continue to get shut down.  I see things like this and honestly can understand why.  This area is absolutely beautiful, (as this photo hopefully shows) and if you look not too closely you can see the first bit of trash that caught my eye laying on the bank in front of my bike, a little white trash bag.

 

Now I said I wasn’t going to rant, and I am not.  I realize that just a few days before this ride was a holiday weekend and there was a lot of campers, and maybe someone was riding out of this trail with a bag full of trash and it got caught and ripped open and they didn’t notice.  Who knows, all I can say is that it was there and if we don’t take care of our trails then eventually they will get shut down, and I totally understand.  Who wants their trails to look like this.

 

It is true that every once in awhile I do find cool things on the trail, once I found the remains of a car front seat set up so that whoever sat there got an amazing sunset view, (when I found it it was just a rusted bunch of metal but I could see the potential) and I understand that, it was right near a campsite.  (If you want to read about some really neat trail finds click here http://www.thumpertalk.com/topic/847470-weirdcreepy-things-youve-found-on-the-trail/)  All I am trying to say is if you pack it in, pack it out.  Like I learned in sixth grade Science and Conservation Camp, (yes I was that kid still kind of am) “Take only photos, leave only footprints.”  Keep it safe and ride clean.  

So to conclude what do you guys think we should do to keep our trails clean and open for years to come?

 


Credit where credit is due.

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.  

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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.