There's nothing like riding a taller, heavier bike to help you remember what it was like to learn to ride a motorcycle for the first time... A few months ago, my husband bought this beautiful bike; a 2007 Triumph Speed Triple. It's completely stock, as far as the suspension and it's totally set up for his height and weight (5'10", 210lbs). Definitely not designed for someone of my size!
When I set out for a long day ride on Sunday, I had to forego riding my trusty steed, because it wasn't holding any air in the rear tire. I found a couple of cuts on the surface of the tire so I was worried that it wouldn't be very safe for an 8 hour ride. I was a little worried about taking his bike out since it was only my 3rd time riding this Speed Triple. The first time I took it I only rode to work which was a 15 minute ride to and from home. The second time was a few miles further to the Suzuki dealer for an oil filter. Piece of cake compared to an 8 hour, 270 mile day ride.
This bike is 1/2" taller than my SV (31.5" v. 32.1") that I have to wear my Daytonas, which give me maximum vertical height. It also weighs another ~30lbs so it's more top heavy as well. I definitely wanted to have as much stability as possible since I hadn't ridden his bike this much before. Due to the way the bike's engine is situated, I find myself sitting up much higher too. It reminded me of driving my dad's '82 Suburban back in college when I was used to driving my little '90 Honda Accord.
It definitely reminded me of the first time I rode our first motorcycle, a 2004 Kawasaki Ninja 250. It felt heavy, awkward, and tall. Ha! If only I could travel back in time and tell the woman in this picture what she was was in for:
I found myself doing things a little differently so that I could maintain control of the bike at all times. (I was terrified of dropping it, I just knew that my husband would be *very* sad if that happened) So I tried to be extremely strategic and conscious at all times of how I was riding, stopping and parking. Since I can only flat foot with my left ( I can barely get two toes down), that meant extremely smooth braking and making sure that I didn't stop on any weird slopes that my left foot couldn't reach. I also found myself using curbs to my advantage, especially at the gas station for filling up. Left foot on the curb, right foot on the rear brake. For some reason, I kept forgetting to kick back my sidestand before shifting into 1st gear. Rookie move!
I also had to jump off the bike every time to park it since it was a little harder to back up with one foot due to the extra height. Fine by me, since I do it all the time with my SV unless the pavement is perfectly flat. There were also a couple times where I couldn't just follow my friend Brian into the parking lot. The first pic above, for example, I parked the bike there after he rode into the parking lot to the right which was *all* gravel. Although, later in the day we met a brief gravel road and I miraculously made my way through it.
So my natural inseam is 28.5". This bike is 32.1" inches; almost 4 full inches of additional height than my own inseam. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone was SO worth it, I had a blast and CAN'T WAIT to go riding again with it. (although my husband may disagree.... heheh).
After awhile, I felt far more confident, and more importantly I was having SO MUCH FUN. Damn, this bike is evil. Because all you can do the whole time is scream in your helmet; "Wheeeeeeeeeeeee!" I can't be trusted on a liter bike, so I'll definitely be getting new tires on the SV soon to make sure I keep my driving record as clean as possible :D.
If you're looking for a fun, semi twisty route outside of Philly, take a look at the route my friend and I took to Shamokin, about 275 miles round trip.