Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Beyond the Valley of Return From Vacation

The ride back to Denver was remarkable only because it was so unremarkable. There was no drama to speak of; no flat tires, mechanical problems, weirdness from other drivers or, even, bad weather. I saw a lot of storms on the horizon, but only got rained on for about 5 minutes. I stopped, put on my rain suit, rode about 5 minutes, then stopped and took the rainsuit off.

I spent the night in Topeka, then cruised on in to Denver on Sunday. During that part of the trip, though, there was one remarkable thing: my wrists and shoulders were killing me.

The Trident is set up for canyon carving (at least, as much as a big heavy bike like the Trident can be set up for that), with racing catridge emulators in the forks and the preload/compression damping on high at the back. Expansion joints, cracks and other pavement irregularities come right up through the handlebars and to your arms as you ride. Seven years ago, when I built this bike up into its current configuration, that didn't really affect me. Now, however, it does.

Combine that with my concerns about the age of the bike, and you'll understand that I solidified my decision to buy a bike more suited to travel. While I had originally thought I might get a Triumph Tiger, I decided to go with a Japanese brand so that I can find a dealer almost anywhere, if I need one while on a trip. Triumph dealers are relatively rare (especially down South), and Suzuki dealers are not.

So, I decided to look for a V-Strom (DL 1000). There were 4 or 5 interesting examples on Craigslist, so I shot off some emails. The one I ended up buying was actually in my neighborhood, about a half-mile away.

It is almost totally stock, mechanically, but has a number of accessories that I wanted: hard bags, top trunk, center stand, engine guards and folding highway pegs.

The fellow I bought it from was the original owner. He told me that 13,000 of the 14,000+ miles on the bike were from 3 long trips. This appealed to me, since that means it hasn't been creeping along in stop-and-go traffic on a regular basis.

The rear bags are waterproof, with an o-ring seal around the perimeter of the lid.

Aaaah! A bug-eyed alien! Japanese styling can be pretty interesting, at times. I think it looks pretty good, but definitely different from the Trident.

The view from the cockpit.
I may drop the shield down to the lower position and see how that affects the air flow. Right now, the windshield is in the upper position, and I get a bit of helmet buffeting at highway speeds. Lowering it might make it better, might make it worse. We'll see...

Popping the highway pegs down gives me a few alternate leg positions (both feet down, both feet up, left up/right down, right up/left down).

The Givi top box is pretty roomy. My size XL full-face helmet fits with room to spare.

Two or three minutes work, with no tools required, and the bags are off.

That slims the look down, quite a bit.

And, the bags become luggage, once off the bike. Only the Givi lacks a carry handle, but that isn't too big of a deal. (EDIT: Actually, the Givi bag has a built-in grip, just not a strap handle.)

Even with the bags off, the big Suzi makes the Trident look...well...diminutive. That's a good trick, as the Trident is not a small bike by any means.

But the BoneShaker looms over them both, like the Eiffel tower over barges along the Seine.
Now, I need to make a couple of long trips and make sure the bike is how I want it. It has the original seat on it, and I may want to get a Corbin like I have on the Trident. Anyway, the reason I went ahead and got the bike, now, is that I want it sorted and I want to be comfortable with it before I ride two days to Tennessee on it, next summer.



At 10:52 PM , Blogger Apertome said...

Woah, that's quite a bike! Congrats on the new ride, I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

At 6:18 AM , Blogger frankenbiker said...

Nice bike Jon!It ought to be much more comfortable on long rides.Did you know that "Strom" means current in German?I'm not sure what that has to do with the bike I just thought that I'd throw it in there.

At 4:11 PM , Anonymous Richard said...

Like the bike Jon, it looks great. Hows the business going? I saw that you've just been making commuters lately. That market a little more lucrative?

At 4:28 PM , Blogger Jon said...


I don't know if "lucrative" is the word. But, there is certainly more demand for commuters than fixed-gears, right now. Probably has a lot to do with the glut of cheap new fixed-gears in the bike shops.

At 10:49 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Godzilla SMASH London. Ok, it does not have the same ring a Tokyo, but you get the idea!


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