Friday, April 5, 2013

Touch Down

As mentioned in a previous post, I recently picked up a new motorcycle.  For the last couple years my garage contained a V-Rod and a KLR-650.  Very different bikes, but both great machines.  The particular model of V-Rod was the VRSCR, or Street Rod.  (Harley has terrible names for many of their models)  It was only made for a couple years, and probably the best handling bike Harley ever made.  It didn't really catch on, Americans didn't appreciate things like dual Brembo brakes up front and a taller suspension that handled better than other V-Rods.  Well, in 2006 and 2007 they didn't.  But I loved that bike.  It handled like a bike that was much lighter, and had an engine that was seriously fast, even when carrying a passenger.

But, I get the urge to try different things once in a while, so I'm selling the V-Rod and picked up a new bike.  I haven't even put 200 miles on the new one, but I'm impressed with the handling so far.  HD has come a long way since the last Softail I owned, a 2001 model.  This bike turns quite well.  The brakes are strong, but seriously mushy, something I plan to remedy in short order.   But even putting as few of miles as I have on it, I'm using most of the tire.  I think this is a bike where I'll be using the whole width of the tire.  No chicken strips for me!

But part of learning a new bike is learning how it corners, and figuring out what touches down first.  If you ride a bagger you barely get into a turn before the floorboards drag.  On my KLR (with very tall suspension putting the seat height at 36") I've never touched anything down in a turn, I'm not sure the knobbies I have on it are capable of that sort of lean angle before they wash out.  But some bikes will touch down a peg, or the muffler, or the kickstand when you hit their lean limits.  On my V-Rod the first thing to touch down was your foot.  The first time that happened it was rather shocking.

The new bike is the same, only a different part of my foot.  Since this bike has forward controls, the first thing to touch down is my heel.  That's more comfortable than my V-Rod scraping the ball of my foot (well, boot) just when the turn was getting interesting.  The heel scraping isn't so bad.  I'm curious if I switch out to mid controls if I'll get some additional turning ability before I scrape something.  It's certainly food for thought.

One day I'll get some pictures up of the bike.  I've been playing around with the stock exhaust, and I'm pleased with the result so far, especially for the cost.

Stay safe out there!

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