Letting it Out a Bit

Now that I have more than 500 miles on my Sporty, I’ve started to let the Dogs of War slip out a little bit. I took her over 60MPH for the first time today.

On the way to work, I kept taking her up to 65MPH, then dropping the throttle to back her off to 50, then rolling back on to 65. Then on the upward climb on the hills, roll onto the throttle full on in 5th gear until it winds up a bit, then release, to drop the RPMs back down. Assuming you break in a bike like you do a diesel truck, the point of the exercise is to start training the engine to both pull hard, and to pull a load.

I also took the bike out on the Interstate for the first time. Although tat was really an accident. I missed the turn for the 395 south, so I took the I-15 south for about two miles. I let her get up to 70 in fifth gear, and held it there for a few minutes, until I got to the first exit, then got back on the 395, slowing down to 55-60 MPH.

It was a bit of a windy day this afternoon, so the brief highway portion wasn’t all that fun, what with the gusts blowing me about a little bit. I took a lot of concentration on what I was doing to keep a steady path.

On the up side, though, it doesn’t look like I’ll have any problems with highway speeds. Or with passing. Even in fifth gear, the bike really responds to the throttle. That, by the way, is something I’ll need to keep an eye out for in the future. I don’t know where this bike wants to cruise on the highway yet, but I can tell you it’s somewhere north of 70MPH. I’m looking forward to finding out where that “sweet spot” is.

Unfortunately, I’ll bet the CHP is, too.

What I have noticed is that, after passing 500 miles, the vibration I noted earlier is really settling down. This is a bike that wants to cruise at a good clip, and as the engine breaks in, and smooths out, it seems like finding that cruising speed will be a lot less uncomfortable than I thought it would be.

I still think that a larger bike will have a smoother ride at highway speeds, but my Sporty is really starting to settle down now.

Another nice thing noticed in my 2-minute highway ride is that the drainage grooves didn’t really make the bike wander a lot. For those of you who don’t live in Southern California, our highway engineers decided that the best solution for the light rain drainage needed on Southern California highways would not be crowned roads(i.e. roads significantly higher in the center), but rather to cut drainage grooves about an inch apart in the asphalt, parallel to the direction of travel.

One of the problems this causes for motorcycles is that some tires really want to track along the rain grooves. And, since the rain grooves aren’t actually laid very straight, it makes the front tire tend to wobble. A lot. Fortunately this is mainly a problem with tires that have a single tread line in the middle of the tire. Harley-Davidson, thankfully, breaks up the rain grooves in the tire treads, so that nowhere around the tire is there a continuous groove.

Long story short, there was no rabbit chasing from the front tire on my short little stretch of I-15.

All in all: Good rides today.

Author: Dale Franks

Dale Franks is the former host of The Business Day, ”a daily, four-hour business and financial news program on KMNY Radio in Los Angeles. From 2002-2004, he was a contributor on military and international affairs for TechCentralStation.com. Currently, he a publisher and editor of the monthly political journal The New Libertarian, as well as an editor of the popular web log, Q and O. Dale served as a military police officer in the United States Air Force from 1984 to 1993, in variety of assignments both in the United States and Europe, where he also was assigned to the staff of the Headquarters of Allied Forces Central Europe. In addition to broadcasting, writing, and speaking on various topics, Dale has also been a long-time technical training instructor on a variety of computer software and technology subjects. Dale has also long been involved with information technology as an accomplished web designer, programmer, and technologist, serving as the corporate knowledge specialist for Microsoft Outlook at SAIC, the nation's largest employee-owned corporation. Additionally, he is the author of a number of software user guides used for classroom training by one of Southern California’'s premier computer training and consulting firms. His book, SLACKERNOMICS: Basic Economics for People Who Find Economics Boring, is available from Barnes & Noble.

1 thought on “Letting it Out a Bit”

  1. My first experience with rain grooves at speed scared the heck out of me! Never did get used to it, but I got comfortable enough when I realized I still had control of the bike, to just let the bike do what it was doing. It just felt like I was not in complete control, kinda like I was “floating” on the dry pavement. I’m glad to hear the Sporty handled it well. That bolsters my decision even more to get the bike. Thanks for posting this. It helps.

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