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Messages - Dan

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Michigan State Police are testing Yamaha's new FJR's as police bikes.  Get some lights and stickers on yours and join the fun.

"The Michigan State Police tested the FJR1300P back in October, where it achieved a top-speed of 143 miles-per-hour, a 0-60mph time of under four-seconds, and a 0-100mph time of 9.2-seconds. The big two-wheeler also had a 60-0mph braking distance of 142.9 feet. Among other bikes being tested were models from Harley, BMW, and, interestingly enough, Zero Motorcycles. The FJR actually beat all other police-spec bikes tested in the speed and acceleration runs, though didn’t do quite as hot in the braking distance department."

General Motorcycle Discussion / Re: Best retro bike? 2018 Kawasaki Z900
« on: December 06, 2017, 11:13:39 AM »
The problem with all those adventure bikes is they give you a 0° forward lean angle when you want about 10°.  I'm riding a bike with no lean now and I can tell you for me it becomes uncomfortable in the middle back after about 45 minutes.  The leg room on the adventure bikes is great, though, I agree.

I'm not sure about the Versys 1000 but I can confirm that many owners of the Versys 650 complain that the seat is angled too far forward.  Most that don't like do a "washer mod", simply add a few washers at the front mounting point evens out the lean.  I was used to riding a Ninja 650 so didn't find the lean angle of the seat to be a problem on my Versys.

I guess mediocrity was a strong term. 

You know though, I think I know what you meant just a little internet chatting on my part.  Rather than mediocrity I think a better word to use is compromise.  Do-it-all bikes tend to make more compromises to get a wider appeal.  We'll give you power but it won't be as blistering as a superbike, it will be more comfortable but not cush like a GoldWing or laid back as a cruiser, great handling but not as precise as a sportbike, long travel suspension but not really an adventure bike.  That to me is a Tracer.

Do-it-all is a relative term.  For me, the FJR is a do-it-all bike because of how I ride and I certainly don't think it is mediocre.  I don't feel the need to run the FJR without luggage even.  I don't have the slightest desire for a second or different bike. 

I'd go demo one of these.  My perceptions could be all wrong.  I'd like to take the new Goldwing out for a spin too.

Tim, I can't even picture you on a different bike, to me it's like Yamaha called you up one day and asked exactly what you would want and they built the bike to your specs.

While the FJR may be a do-it-all for you it is definitely a sport touring bike in the classic sense.  Not some odd combination of like the Tracer or even the Versys.

General Motorcycle Discussion / Re: You'e got $5k...what do you buy?
« on: December 04, 2017, 02:40:36 PM »
I don't know... how much does it cost to add onto a garage?

You need another zero.

Like this, $05,000?  :naughty:

General Motorcycle Discussion / Re: You'e got $5k...what do you buy?
« on: December 04, 2017, 11:07:18 AM »
I don't know... how much does it cost to add onto a garage?


The saddle bags for the tracer are entirely too small...

Those are good points, Pants.  I could live with the smaller cases though I do appreciate the larger cases on the Versys.  The old FJ09's could use the FJR bags and fortunately for those models they used the same color schemes as the FJR, not certain about the Tracer and agree, paying more for a replacement part on an up-spec bike is a bad deal.  In theory you could sell the Tracer bags to an FJ09 or base Tracer owner to help offset the cost if it were important enough.

Range is important to me as well even though on the east coast there are few places where it is critical.  My Nighthawk 650 would get around 150 on a good day using reserve, my Ninja 650's best was around 192 miles but 175 was more typical and the Versys to date gets around 220 with lots left in the tank.  The fuel gauge on the Versys is the work of the Devil, constantly changing after the first bar goes down.  Theoretically the Versys 650 has a 300+ mile range.  Having said all that, I'm okay with 200 miles.

I don't necessarily agree that a do-it-all bike equates to mediocrity.  I would not call the FJ09 or the new Tracer mediocre compared to other modern bikes.

I think the Versys 1000LT is a fine bike and know a few riders who own them.  My biggest turn off for the the big Versys is it's size, in particular the longer wheelbase and to some degree the weight.  The new Tracer has the same overall size and weight to the Versys 650 and that appeals to me more.  A similar bike that I do like is the Multistrada 950, rode one last year on a very spirited test ride.

The good thing, Yamaha is usually around the New England area three times a year with factory test rides.  I'll give one a go and see if it is agreeable.  I remember when I rode the FJ09 I never loved it.  Could not quite pin it down, it just didn't feel right in the saddle.  I gave it about three different test rides and while I liked it more each time it never won me over the way the Versys 650 has.


The FJ-09 I think was  $11k, I doubt this will be much different...

I agree, DF, it would have been if they made a smaller displacement FJR. That’s what I was looking for originally. There are smaller weight options with full on touring packs. Honda Interceptor, BMW R1200 RS and the R1200 R, BMW F800GT, Kawasaki Ninja 1000.  You could even get an FZ6 or FZ6r and add hard luggage.

I don’t agree that it is an adventure tourer.  It’s tallish but the tires, rims, suspension and peg position are all street bike.

The GT version is quite a bit different, it comes with luggage, TFT display, heated grips, cruise control, quick shifter and upgraded suspension.

By the way, it’s easier to reach the ground on the Yamaha than it is on my Versys even though the seat height is approximately the same.

Stupid Royal Enfield, too.

I was visiting Milwaukee over the Thanksgiving holiday and was quite surprised to find a Royal Enfield boutique store/dealership in the downtown Third Ward district.  I really like their bikes and super cheap for new machines.


I just bought my Versys last year but I am completely drawn by the updated FJ-09, now called by it's Euro name, Tracer 900.  And in particular the Tracer 900 GT.

It has all the right updates and cosmetic tweaks to really get my attention.  Taller windscreen, better seat, narrower bars, a few updates to the plastics and a sexy TFT display.

Has a factory centerstand as standard and a nifty DC outlet and gear position indicator, same as last year.  Plus it has a whole lot more horses coming from a triple motor... nifty!

Negatives, it's sure to be pricey, $12k at least.  The luggage is still smaller than the Versys meaning it won't store a full face helmet.  Probably fuel range isn't as good as the Versys either.  The Versys is paid for and modified to suit me currently.  I'm sure thinking of how I can trade or sell my Ninja 650 and Versys for this refreshed Yamaha.

And because my eye tends to stray I'm also looking at the BMW R1200 R and new Kawasaki 900 RS... they would each need luggage and a windscreen for me.  The BMW has it factory luggage, the Kawi probably needs aftermarket cases or soft bags.

Stupid Yamaha.

Your Ride Reports / Re: Hogback Mountain
« on: October 24, 2017, 07:00:01 AM »
Pretty close for me.

Maybe I'll see you on the road some time.

Your Ride Reports / Re: Hogback Mountain
« on: October 22, 2017, 08:42:37 PM »
Boston eh?  I'm up on the border in Haverhill, MA.
Since the millenium or so I've been hanging with a group I met through Sohc/4, our local forum was recently hacked and I started up a Google group to keep things going.!forum/newenglandhondaguys

If that link (from my phone sorry) doesn't work,  just search NEHondaGuys.

I live in Stoneham specifically, we are not too far apart. Maybe we could meet for a ride on e day.

Your Ride Reports / Re: Hogback Mountain
« on: October 22, 2017, 08:42:38 AM »
Clearview, do you ride that area often?  It's a small hike for me to get there from the Boston area. Not too far but the traffic coming back is usually exhausting.

Your Ride Reports / Re: Hurricane Mountain Road or an Ode to Design Flaw
« on: October 22, 2017, 08:38:30 AM »
My favorite route is riding rt16 all the way up to Errol, NH,  then take a right on rt26 to Newry, Maine then take rt2 back to Gotham, NH and home again on 16 south.
Its a great loop and I highly recommend it. [size=78%] [/size]

I'll give that route a try, probably next season.

Your Ride Reports / Re: Hurricane Mountain Road or an Ode to Design Flaw
« on: October 21, 2017, 06:58:49 PM »
That's an epic ride.
Thanks for sharing.

Thanks alan, I love it up there.  East to west and then north up Franconia Notch Parkway and loop around to Crawford Notch. Great views and great roads.

Your Ride Reports / Hogback Mountain
« on: October 20, 2017, 04:38:58 PM »

I took a break from work yesterday and looked for Fall colors and some interesting roads.  Got a little bit of each.  My ride went across Massachusetts along HWY 2 with a nice ride along the Quabbin Reservoir and a few brief stops.  I then rode farther west through the Pioneer Valley to the town of Erving for a nice lunch at an antique shop named the Freight Station that also had a lunch counter.  Pushed further west after lunch until HWY 112 and rode that north to Vermont and connected to HWY 9 and looped back east with another stop at the grand lookout of Hogback Mountain.  Quite a few people enjoying the view.  Speaking of views, here are a few photos from the trip.

Thought I had the rest stop to myself and then some dude in red pick-up truck rolls into the parking lot and ruins my photo.

I got a new iPhone and have been playing around with the panorama feature.  This is looking east over the Quabbin Reservoir.  I know you can't see the water in this photo, it would be off to the right or south from this vantage point.

Lunch at the Freight Station antique shop.  This tuna salad sandwich has more calories than their burger.  It was good.

The antique shop was huge and in one corner they had a bunch of guitars.

The view from Hogback Mountain overlooking the forest to the southeast.

The guardrail along the overlook is cluttered with stickers and graffiti.

Days are getting shorter and the sun was getting a bit low in the sky so I hustled myself home along HWY 2.  About a two and a half hour ride from Hogback mountain back to home.

Hope I get some more days to ride this year... it's always hit and miss with the weather and available time.

Stablemates / Re: The 650's Get a Peculiar Friend
« on: September 15, 2017, 12:09:30 PM »
Does it not charge the same way a prius does when you hit the brakes?  We use to have a prius and when you hit the brakes, the pads don't even touch the rotors unless you really hit them or are already basically stopped.  It uses that energy to charge the battery. 

Yep.  It's called regenerative braking or regen.  On the Smart you simply let off the accelerator and it that energy gets sent back to the battery.  You can change the display to a graphic that will show power from battery and power to battery.  There is also an instrument cluster that does it.  Lot's of graphics to flip through on the cluster, Serena's favorite is the eco score, best it 100, she has got in the low 90's a few times and it bugs her a lot when she doesn't do well.

Stablemates / Re: The 650's Get a Peculiar Friend
« on: September 13, 2017, 10:19:59 AM »
One other thing to mention about electrics in general are charging stations.  Depending where you live you can find remote charging stations, some are free, some have a small cost associated with use.

The New England area has quite a few and most seem to be free to use.  Of course charging takes some time but if you stop for lunch or dinner an hour of charge on a level 2 station can get a Smart Car around 20 to 30 miles.

Stablemates / Re: The 650's Get a Peculiar Friend
« on: September 13, 2017, 10:05:18 AM »
I understand Smart is fixing the trans for the latest versions.  I know, not an electric, but I imagine it's the same car except for the drivetrain.

From what I've been told by my salesman the transmission lag has been fixed with the 453 gas model, which you can still get in the US brand new.  All future Smart cars will be electric from 2017 and on in the US and Norway.  The transmission isn't an issue on the electric as it is a single speed direct drive.

or a gasoline equivalent "fuel mileage" of 106.8 mpg!!!!

^^^^^ THAT has got my attention.

It looks like you can buy that car for about $17,500 after the federal tax incentive, and before sales tax/title/license.  That compares fairly close to the cost of a sub-compact/mini gasoline car.

In 6-8 years, you have to buy about $4,000 in batteries, but I wonder how that offsets to the cost of gas engine maintenance?

It would appear that the electric vehicle is becoming more affordable and competitive to the conventional drivetrain.  Without the tax incentive, I don't think so.  But the numbers are much closer than even 2-3 years ago.

It's not only the reduced cost in fuel, an electric car has very little maintenance.  There is no oil to change, no transmission, fuel lines.  For the Smart I have three wear items, the brakes, tires and a filter that gets replaced every four years.

Eventually subsidies and rebates will disappear, by then manufacture of electric cars should be more efficient.  Our car is the top of the line, Prime model, don't let that fool you, it isn't all that decked out but still pricey.  I think it was $27k total.  We leased it rather than buying it so Mercedes gets the fed tax credit but we get a reduced price on our lease.  We do get the Massachusetts state rebate of $2500 plus I traded our Mazda 3 in on the deal.  We paid well under $3k for three years with a one time lease payment.  We did the lease with the thinking that electric tech will be changing so much in a few years that owning a niche car would be a financial burden for resell.

The Smart's battery is warrantied for eight years, obviously with a three year lease it will never be a worry.  At the end of eight years it is said that the range would degrade and the car would lose some power, how much is uncertain.

Like I wrote earlier, if I were wanting a more traditional car I would get the Chevy Bolt, with all the incentives in MA a top of the line model can be had for $23k which is a sweet deal once you start tallying up all the value added costs of maintenance and gas.

Here is another fun video of the Smart car with it's crazy tight turning radius:

Stablemates / Re: The 650's Get a Peculiar Friend
« on: September 12, 2017, 05:03:05 PM »
The hood space is next to nothing.  Leaves much more room inside, I imagine.

Are those vehicles crash tested, and if so, how do they fare compared to a comparable sized petro vehicle?

What about insurance cost, again comparably speaking?

Did you have to make any modifications to your home electrical in order to house the charger?  If you wanted to take a short over night trip, is there a portable charger you can bring?  Or does it always carry the charger with it?

Finally, how many kilowatts of electricity does it take to charge the batteries fully from dead?  IOW - what is the effective fuel cost for your 80-100 miles of range?

I like the green - it looks like a fun car to drive.  I was never in the market for an electric car, but unlike MA, Louisiana offers little to no tax incentives for these.  Go figure - we dig holes for oil....

I forget the crash rating but it's very high, there are many YouTube videos showing crash tests.

The insurance cost is nearly identical to my old Mazda 3 for sake of comparison.

We didn't have to make any changes to our home electrical. The portable, included charging cord comes with the car and plugs into a typical socket. Charging to full takes about twelve hours. You can install a 240 volt EVSE around $700 to get the car to charge to full in under three hours.  From what I've read it's much cheaper than gas but I forget the ratio, less than a third I think.  It has a 17Kw battery.

It is fun to drive, the motor is over the rear axle so the front hood only has a few fluid reservoirs. Because of this they have more room to rotate the front tires in a turn. I believe it is a less than seven meter turning radius, you can literally do a u-turn in a narrow two lane road.  Lotsa torque off the line and will be most cars for the first ten meters or so but then it fizzles out.

Stablemates / Re: The 650's Get a Peculiar Friend
« on: September 12, 2017, 12:48:51 PM »
With any electric car an in particular the Smart car you have to rethink how you drive.  Not a lot but a little, in particular the planning.  Not so much the range, which is limiting but the fact that it will take hours to recharge the battery.  The Smart car is billed as a city car so it's range is rather anemic with an average of 80 miles, we have been getting a little more.  Reported max range is about 100 miles.  In winter the range will most likely drop to 60 miles once you start running the heater and the cold starts to sap the battery.  That's more than okay for us as I work from home and Serena's commute is about twenty miles round trip.  We can top it off at night or every other night and possibly every third night and be okay.

There are much better electric cars available right now and with tax incentives and rebates it may be cheaper than a traditional car.  If I wanted a more normal car I would have purchased a Chevy Bolt, it has a range of 240 miles, seats five and is quite nicely finished.  While it's a $40k car in Massachusetts you can get a Federal tax credit of $7500, state rebate of $2500 and we have a local dealer taking $6500 off list, no haggling making the final price in the low $20k's.  Still spendy sure but it's a great little car with fantastic range.

Smart cars are tough to get now, Mercedes who owns Smart sells electric only now and cut the dealerships to large cities only for obvious reasons.

Yes, the 453 model which is the most current model and the one that Serena and I purchased is very roomy inside.  I guarantee even a guy of your height would not feel cramped inside, it's bigger inside than a lot of traditional cars.  It's a great second car and cheap to own and run.

Stablemates / The 650's Get a Peculiar Friend
« on: September 12, 2017, 07:08:24 AM »
So I've been trying to sell my 2012 Ninja all summer long and had a few tire kickers and one serious offer but that was it.  I thought I may have to sell it for next to nothing to make room for my car in the garage this winter.  Turns out I no longer need to worry about space in the garage.  Say hello to my little friend...

A 2017 all electric drive Smart Car

Everything now fits in the garage!

About the same size as the Ninja, lengthwise anyway.

I know it's not a bike but it allows me to keep two bikes in the garage... maybe three if I plan the space a little better.  It's kinda strange driving an electric car and getting used to it's peculiarities but it's been fun so far.  Far roomier on the interior than it looks, matter of fact if you were sitting in the car you would have no idea that it is so small unless you looked behind you and saw the rear window.

We still have a gas powered car for long trips so this is a nice addition for us and it works great fitting into tiny parking spaces in the congested greater Boston area.

Stablemates / Re: My Prior (MC) Love Interest was....
« on: September 12, 2017, 06:55:09 AM »
VFR's of all stripes are such beautiful bikes.  I used to worry about my Nighthawk 650 in Boston traffic jams.  Thought it might overheat because it was air-cooled, never happened even on crazy hot days with traffic at a standstill.

General Motorcycle Discussion / Re: Mods for My Versys (photos fixed)
« on: August 27, 2017, 12:11:24 PM »

Report card for my mods.

On my trip up to the White Mountains yesterday I got to use a few of the mods quite a bit.

The Denali mini Soundbomb.  I was cut off on the road twice so in anger I gave a blat of the horn.  In one instance the driver either ignored or didn't hear my horn, in the other he saw but decided he wanted my lane anyway.  Grade C.

The SW Motech over the clocks GPS mount.  This is really well made, nothing feels cheap and it holds the gps over the gauges just like it's billed.  Two issues with the first being the gps bounces up and down to such a degree that the screen is extremely hard to read.  This could be because my older Zumo 550 is so heavy that the mount just isn't rigid enough.  The bouncing only occurs at low city speeds when the bike is in low revs.  The vibes from the engine transmits through the bike and the mount and it's like watching a basketball.  Problem is, that's when you need a gps the most, in a city getting to an address.  On the highway it's just fine.  Second problem is sun glare on the gps screen.  You can adjust the angle of the gps but on the Versys if you adjust it too low it covers the tachometer.  You can make the case that a tach is not really needed I use mine a great deal and it bothers me when the top half is covered.  Grade B

Puig Fender Extender.  Rode the bike over some dirt and gravel roads up in New Hampshire.  I felt good knowing that the radiator was somewhat protected from stones being thrown up.  Grade A

Heated Grips.  It was chilly in the morning, low 50's and I decided to wear my mesh jacket and gloves with lots of layers as it was to warm up later in the day.  The heated grips worked like a charm, with 5 different settings it was easy to find one that did the trick.  A side issue, once your hands are warm you realize how cold other parts of your body are feeling.  Also, if you don't wrap your fingers on the grips they don't get warm.  I keep my index fingers off the grips when I ride, never really knew that until I had heated grips.  Grade B

12 volt adapter.  Haven't used it yet.  Grade N/A

Your Ride Reports / Hurricane Mountain Road or an Ode to Design Flaw
« on: August 27, 2017, 07:44:21 AM »

Last year a few Design Flaw, Naske and a few others came out to New England for a very small rally.  We had great weather except on the last day so we never got to ride Hurricane Mountain Road... Tim had specifically mentioned this route to me and it stuck in my head.  So this year I took a Saturday and rode up through the White Mountains in New Hampshire and visited some old haunts on my new bike and at the end of the day found Hurricane Mountain Road and got to see what all the fuss was about.

I've have gone past this shop countless times and today decided to stop.  It's full of odd and old items, I suppose some may be considered antiques but others are just flat out strange like an old-timey slot machine with The Force Awakens graphics on the header and wheels.  If you're in the area (it's on the east end of the Kancamagus Highway) stop in just for the weirdness.

Close up of the Swift River.  The water has finally come down a bit, it was very fast and deep this spring and early summer.

At the top of the Kancamagus Highway.  As mountain highways go it isn't very high, just under 3,000 feet of elevation.  Still some amazing views.

A good number of riders out today.  I saw a large Harley rally and there were decent sized groups of them prowling around.

I've been up in this area a lot and have some favorite places to stop and eat.  Tried something new this time, Nachos Cafe in Lincoln.  The salsa was awful, tasted like stewed tomatoes.  Saw a few folks adding hot sauce to the salsa  My tacos on the other hand were excellent, they were so good I ate them before I thought to take a photo.

Once again I stopped by the Basin.  It's a natural shaped bowl formation made by rushing water.  It's a neat area along the Fraconia Notch Parkway with easy parking and a brief pleasant walk through the forest.

The Cog Railway.  These old trains are set up alongside the road as advertising for the still functioning train that travels up to the top of Mount Washington.

Here we are at the beginning of the descent at Crawford Notch.  Some some sharp twists and turns before it turns into sweepers as you make your way down the slope.


The scenic view overlooking Crawford Notch.

The Versys alongside a Saco Lake.

Here it is, the beginning of Hurricane Mountain Road.  Just north of North Conway you can find the entrance.  If you look at a map you won't be too impressed or intimidated.  A few twists and turns is all it looks like.  The experience is quite different, large vehicles and trucks are warned not to use the road and it is barred for passage in winter.  The road itself is quite narrow, maybe a standard lane and a little more wide.  It's twistier than the map suggests and it's steep in places with a lot of undulating whoop-de-doos as you ascend from the west.  The quality of the road itself is good to fair.  Not really any potholes but lots of ripples and cracks and off camber in places.  The ripples can really mess up your tracking through a turn so you have to stay alert.

I traveled the east to west route.  As I stated the road is very narrow and there is no shoulder for the most part.  At the very peak there is a gravel driveway and parking lot for hikers.  At one neat spot you pass through a very small clearing and can see the state of Maine stretching out as far as the eye can see, it's an amazing view.  Sadly there was no place to pull over to get that photo, not that it would turn out too well with my camera.

A good example of the road.

The Versys parked along one of the few flat spots along Hurricane Mountain Road

It was a great day in the saddle and my first time riding the Versys all day.  Glad I got to give Hurricane Mountain Road a try, it's a neat stretch of road but kinda short.  Hope you enjoyed the ride!

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