A Few Rides Later…

Today’s number: 17

Here’s my bike:

 Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS  In case you haven’t been reading my other motorcycle blogs, it’s a Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS (affectionately referred to as a “Weestrom” in reference to the larger 1000cc version of the same bike). In case you’re wondering, it’s considered a “dual sport” bike, but it’s mostly built for road (as opposed to “dirt”) use. It’s a fuel-injected, chain driven bike with a 2 cylinder 650cc engine. It’s also got ABS brakes which should, hopefully, prevent wheel lockups and “endos” (see video below for definition):

So, I’ve been riding now for about a week and a half or so. I’ve put in about 120 miles during that time. Alot of this has been around my neighborhood, but I’ve also ventured out to work and out to some faster “country lanes” where I could go 45 mph or so. I’ve yet to make it to the highway.

At this point, I feel pretty comfortable dealing with the mechanics of the bike: shifting, braking, turning on (and off) turn indicators. I can take a ride and focus on traffic and crash avoidance instead of the operation of the bike.

I am still working on being “smooth”: shifting well, taking turns with a good “apex”, stopping effectively. I know that I still need to work on slow-speed maneuvering. Last weekend I dropped the bike while trying to perform slow-speed figure eights inside a 20′x40′ rectangle. I know the broken parts cost $50 but I’ve yet to hear what my dealer will want for labor. Although I’m bummed about dropping the bike, I’m glad to have gotten it out of the way as everyone ends up dropping a bike sooner or later.

Tomorrow, I get the rest of my bike’s accessories installed: grip heaters, hand protectors, a centerstand and a touring seat. I’ll give it a couple of weeks and then I’ll order my crash bars and luggage system (maybe a skid plate, too). Finally, somewhere down the line I want to add some electronics (tunes + communications).

I take my safety class this week and hope to have my endorsement next week. This will mostly mean that I can ride at night without breaking any laws and that my insurance company will be happy.

My next challenges are highway driving and taking some longer trips. That and, of course, slow speed figure eights.

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