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Friday, 23 June 2017

Speedy Wheels

It's been awhile since I updated here. Not a lot going on with regards to all things two-wheeled with a motor. The poor Guzzi has been collecting dust in the garage since getting back from New Jersey in May.

Lately I have been spending a lot more time in hotel rooms than at home. Work has been crazy busy and somehow I have ended up on the "being gone for a week at a time"cycle, and not a motorcycle.

Oh, and we haven't exactly had the best spring weather wise. It's been cool, rainy and foggy. Kinda like my bike ride to New Jersey this year. Those rare nice days that we did have were taken up with backyard renovations. A necessary evil if you want the missus off your back in the summer so you're free to ride, surf, windsurf, etc.

If you remember my back tire on the Goose was toast after the Jersey trip. I wouldn't dare ride on it further than the bike shop to get it replaced.

My buddy Tim owns MotoSport Plus, the Yamaha, Suzuki dealer, and he was able to get me a new Pirelli Sport Demon at a smokin' deal. Thanks Timmy.

Yesterday was a real nice day, sunny and 25C so I finally got around to dropping the Goose off at MSP. I never had an appointment so I figured it would be an all day affair, thinking the service techs would replace the tire when they got a chance. I rode the bike around the back of the shop, and they told me to take it right in the service bay. Sweet.

Lucky enough the service tech had worked on Guzzi's before and was familiar with the shaft drive and what was involved in taking the wheel off. Sweeter.

One of the salesmen, Scott asked me if I'd be interested in taking out a GSX-S1000F instead of waiting around. So let me think.........instead of hanging around the showroom, even though it is filled with lots of nice bikes to look and sit on, I could go out and enjoy this beauty of day on rocketship with wheels. Ummm. YA!

It's been quite awhile since I rode anything other than a V-twin. This fire breathing 4-cylinder that has, you guessed it 999cc, putting out 145hp and 78ft/lbs of torque. All that power hauling a measly 472lbs across the tarmac.

I would never had admitted to Scott, but I was a little intimidated by this thing. The Vstrom 1000 had a smudge under 100hp, and it by no means was fast. The Goose has a whopping 50hp, it's a torquey little thing, but it by no means will get you in trouble.

I threw my leg over the bike, and quickly realized that this was not your typical sport bike. To be completely honest I knew next to nothing about the bike. Read a small article about it a couple of years ago when Rob Harris of CMG test rode it. The GSX is not my typical kinda ride.

I was expecting typical sport bike ergos. But when I grabbed the handlebars I quickly noticed that one, they weren't clip ons, and two they were in a comfortable position. The foot pegs were also comfortably placed. I wasn't hunched up with my feet under my arse. It was a sporty position but

The GSX has ABS and selectable levels of traction control. I didn't play with it, or get an explanation of how it works. I cycled through the settings with the mode controller next to the left handgrip and figured out Level 3 was max TCS, so I left it there. I believe they call that the wimpy rider, or rain mode.

I pushed the starter and the four cylinders roared to life. It didn't really roar, the bike is pretty quiet, it does have a pretty mean low key rumble coming from the stock pipe that announces to the world that this thing can haul the mail.

I tentatively rode across the parking lot, and pulled out into the busy traffic of Rothesay Avenue. The bike was comfortable right from the get go, however shifting from 1st to 2nd was lurchy. If that's even a word. At first I was wondering if it was me getting used to clutch sensitivity or what I thought was an overly sensitive throttle. It didn't take much twisting of the wrist to get the ponies going.

Other than that first to second gear lurchiness it was quite easy to ride at slow speed in city traffic. The bike felt light and maneuverable, as I weaved myself through the two lanes of traffic.

I headed out to Mispec Beach, it's a nice quiet, twisty road that has it's share of bumps, and potholes. Good way to see how the suspension works. The Gixxer soaked up the worst of the bumps and never really lost it's composure, although the pace wasn't fast. There were no jarring impacts, not like some of the ones I have had on the Goose.

The whole time I had been riding this thing I had the feeling that I was trying the restrain a fire breathing dragon. The Gixxer wanted to run, and run fast.

I hit the onramp to the Mackay Highway and let the ponies go, fack!!!!! this thing goes. It reminded me of my old CBR600F4, but a whole lot faster. The acceleration was crazy, and I could see getting addicted to this very fast. Even in 6th gear cruising on the highway, a quick twist of the throttle leapfrogs this thing from a sedate law abiding 120 to 180 in a heartbeat. Literally.

After about an hour what really surprised me the most was how comfortable and user friendly this bike was. The soul of super bike with realistic, comfortable ergos. The small windscreen provided pretty good protection too, and no helmet buffeting at highway speeds.

Throw some luggage on this bad boy, and you've got a pretty decent sport touring bike.

Would I buy one? Nah, it's just not me anymore. I'm too old for that kinda shit now. I like the slow life now. I was pretty happy to get back on the Guzzi again.