Let’s just get it over with. This is the best bike I have ever had. It does everything. It has everything. It goes anywhere. It has it down low, up high, in between, on dirt, on the freeway, for commuting, for touring, for racing and for anything else I have missed out.
This bold statement really comes to light after doing a bit of all the above on it. I’ve been on dirt, through water, up mountains, over dales. In beaming hot Aussie sun and in the harsh bitter winter chill that Melbourne does so well. The only thing I havent done is take it on the track but I know she’d be just fine at that too (if I had leathers and some bigger kahunas).
I have not been able to fault it. I haven’t dropped it and I haven’t had any seriously scary moments on it where that inner voice goes ‘oh shit’ and I think that says a lot about the bikes technical make-up and general hi-spec build.
I have found my preferred riding settings for all conditions at a simple blip of a button, I keep it mostly in Sport mode but in the wet I crank it down to Urban and really appreciate the different throttle mapping and eased-off bhp. It works so incredibly well I tip my hat to the folk in Bologna. I had doubts and even though they call me ‘techno-boy’ I was dubious about this much technology on a motorcycle. I’ve never even had ABS before.
I also keep the suspension setting on two-up, and I find if I am going to really get stuck into the twisties I crank that up to its highest setting two-up with luggage. It just stiffens the suspension up, jacks up the back and keeps the front tighter so there is less dip under hard braking. I prefer the higher seating position as well. It all fits nicely. I actually really enjoy showing people how the whole bike goes up and down between the settings too. Show-off.
I’ve ordered a Sargent Performance Seat but as they are hand-made I have a few weeks to go before that arrives and I think that is the key thing you really need to address with the stock model. It’s an ugly seat and after a few hours, not that comfortable.
I’ve also got a set of bar-raisers from the MTS 1200 Grand Turismo model and I think I will be just that bit more comfortable overall, currently my arms feel weird at the height they are but when I sat on the GT it felt perfect which was definitely down to the extra height the risers had the bars at.
So we got out for a run into the Macedon Ranges today and I saw this lurking in a bush.
Pretty sure that’s a Triceratops.
I took the opportunity to take one of the tear-out maps from ‘The Australian Motorcyclist’ along for the blast and followed one of the suggested ‘Victorian Goldfields Ride’. If you haven’t checked that mag out yet by the way, you should. It’s a really good read and I think the tear out maps are an awesome idea. They are printed on nice thick card and each route is nicely plotted out in thick lines so it’s pretty easy to keep in your front pocket for quick stop checks.
There are some pretty nice roads for a short blast out of the city, and it took me in a direction and on roads I had never ridden before so I was pretty pleased with the whole day. Got pretty chilly up near the top of Mt Macedon though with the gauge showing all of 7 degrees at one point! Brr!
As you climb up the hill (I love climbing hills, it’s my favourite ride of all time) from Blackwood to Trentham there is a nice pull off at the Trentham Falls which has public toilets and a good walk way down to the falls. Very pretty countryside.
The roads were pretty rugged in places, plenty of driftwood and leaves on the road, lots of wet dark corners covered up by overhanging trees but all worth the ride. I quite like stopping for a cuppa at the Mt Macedon Cafe in the main street there, rustic home-grown kinda feeling place and a nice warm atmosphere.
A good day, around 200km overall and just what the doctor ordered on a bleak looking Sunday.
So the bike is awesome, I’m feeling awesome about it and there isn’t a whole lot on my list apart from learning to master it.
I have been thinking about blinging up a few bits, some oggy knobs (more for crash protection than bling) and I also saw a pic of a bike on Ducati.ms that had the red pin stripes on the wheels which added a nice splash of colour. That could be done later on.
I have also recently (finally) added an iPhone holder on the bars and it has already paid its meagre $45 asking price in navigation, but it has led to another problem I’d like to solve. Power. I need to get power to that damn stupid phone which will drain a battery in half a day, less if you use it for nav. The power outlet is a stupid wee socket thing, so not your regular cigarette lighter output, but I have got the adapter so I have been thinking about a way to get that sort of semi permanently attached. The other option is to just cable tie it up neatly and lead it back up under the back seat. There, I could house the charger and then put the phone in there for charging while riding, but that means I can’t use it while riding for nav. First world problems.
I’m also thinking about a set of the Alt Rider crash bars and some secondary LED lights but I am thinking that might make it look a bit of a bulky war-machine rather than the svelte machine she is.
I am pretty sure if it goes over that those crash bars would reduce quite a lot of damage so function over fashion will probably see me make the right decision in the end.
Still clocking up the miles on the new Shoei GT-Air before I do my full review but let me tell you that is one slick lid. If you are in the market for a new helmet currently and the Shoei fits your noggin, make sure you check one out.