kriega

9 Days Til Christmas, Kriega R20 Backpack

The Kriega R20 Backpack is one of my favorite moto accessories. I've never worn any other backpack that was this comfortable to ride with. Fits my frame perfectly, not too small and not too big, just right for daily essentials like lunch, a change of shoes and an ipad and a small purse. If you want something for a 2-3 day weekend then an R25 is in order. But for the daily commuter, this is a must.

And today only, Revzilla is having a 10% off Kriega Sale. How convenient!

 

Ride Report, West Virginia. Again!

At the top of Skyline Drive

At the top of Skyline Drive

What can I say? I love West Virginia. I never thought I'd say that, but when it comes to finding heavenly, twisty roads, I can't help it. 

My husband and I went on a 5 day vacation from Philly to West Virginia a few weeks ago, leaving on Sunday and returning Thursday that week. Here are a few highlights!  

Stopping somewhere in Washington DC by the Potomac on our way down.

Stopping somewhere in Washington DC by the Potomac on our way down.

When we left on Sunday, May 8th, we had a rather late start. I won't even bother to share the ride route. We pretty much slabbed  drove through Washington DC and stopped briefly to take some pictures before heading into Arlington. Since we started so late we decided to stay the night just outside DC at the Hampton Inn Gainesville-Haymarket

I'd highly recommend it, very motorcycle friendly, clean and just overall a very nice place to stay (I usually try to stay at smoke-free hotels, because I just can't stand the smell of smoking hotels). Unfortunately someone left the microwave on or something, and we had a 4:30am wake up call. Luckily, it only lasted about 20 minutes and we were able to get back to sleep. Zzzzzzz. 

The weather was raining on and off Monday, so we headed out late and just decided to head south, towards the border of West Virginia and Virginia. Looking at the radar reports, we tried to go just below the storm paths so we could at least find some dry, twisty roads. Oh and along the way we found tasty Mexican food! Who knew there were delicious, authentic Mexican restaurants in Virginia? We stopped at La Michoacana Taqueria & Restaurant. Delicious! 

mexican_virginia.jpg

So we headed out and we aimed for Waynesboro, VA. When we stopped to take a look at hotels, we found a room in Staunton, VA at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel. It was beautiful, and we got their Stay 2 Nights and Save Promo. 

Staunton is a really lovely town with a lot of history including an old train station and wonderfully preserved downtown. 

Staunton at night. My husband sure knows how to take photos. 

Staunton at night. My husband sure knows how to take photos. 

Easy parking at the hotel in their garage. I just love how these two look side by side. 

Easy parking at the hotel in their garage. I just love how these two look side by side. 

So we decided to camp out in Staunton and just looked at the maps every day to figure out which way we thought we wanted to go. 

Tuesday was our first day of explorations. The weather was crummy in the early morning so we waited until the rain passed a bit more before heading out. We found some fun scenery including a rickety bridge that you aren't supposed to ride across. So we didn't. 

As we rode off, we found even more scenery, including some horses who didn't seem to mind as we pulled over to take photos next to them. I tried to coax them away from lunch but they just weren't interested. :(

I don't know how, but he manages to get the timing just right on these sometimes. I guess I was stretching...

I don't know how, but he manages to get the timing just right on these sometimes. I guess I was stretching...

I think the horse is looking at us like we're crazy. 

I think the horse is looking at us like we're crazy. 

One of the coolest things we saw a few times were abandoned buildings like this old service station. These photos just don't do this building justice. It was so pretty in person, eerie and stunning at the same time.  

ridereport_wva2 7.jpg
We didn't get to go inside, but I was able to get a photo through the windows. 

We didn't get to go inside, but I was able to get a photo through the windows. 

Evan poses!

Evan poses!

And another abandoned garage. Way creepier. 

And another abandoned garage. Way creepier. 

Since the weather wasn't that cooperative most of the time, we did some very simple routes, nothing fancy. But some of the best riding on this coast lives here: 

Staunton to West Virginia and Back. 

Staunton to West Virginia and Back. 

We were trying to find some cool covered bridges, but we only found this one which we weren't able to actually drive through. It was called Humpback Covered Bridge in Covington. 

So all we could do was take selfies. 

I highly recommend lunch in Marlinton at the Greenbrier Grill. Tasty, inexpensive and outdoor seating. 

We took 39 back mostly, such a fantastic road. I'll warn you, these roads are twisty so should always take those easy if you're not immediately comfortable. I practically live to ride these roads, I just wish they were closer :(

My friend Tamela recommended Route 311, just south of Covington but unfortunately I somehow got us off track and never got to ride it. It also looked amazing. 

The next day we played around 39 and 250 again. 250 is probably my favorite road on the East Coast so far. 

Unfortunately we didn't get video of 250 because of the crappy weather that day, but in case you missed it, here's a short video my husband shot on his GoPro, Swivit Mount and Gimbal. We finally had some clearing weather and was able to get some beautiful shots while on 39 or 84, I can't remember which road this is. It's mixed in with some footage of Skyline drive as well, but there are bits and pieces of WVA in here. 

Getting all the equipment ready to film. If you've never heard of  Swivit.com , check them out. Their adjustable mount is unique, and was the first of its kind. 

Getting all the equipment ready to film. If you've never heard of Swivit.com, check them out. Their adjustable mount is unique, and was the first of its kind. 

With the Swivit, he was able to get shots like this one, because you can move the camera on the fly. (We were going maybe 15mph, and there was zero traffic!)

With the Swivit, he was able to get shots like this one, because you can move the camera on the fly. (We were going maybe 15mph, and there was zero traffic!)

 I don't know why but we decided to slab it back from Staunton to Philly on Thursday. Although we had an early start, we took the scenic route up Skyline Drive. Since the hubby had never ridden through it before, we thought we'd take a look! Twas foggy on and off. If you watch the video, the tunnel is at the end.

After a bit of fog, we finally got to some clear parts of the mountain. And yes, the speed limit is 35mph. We were following the limits pretty closely, but it was a very quiet day on Skyline so we were lucky enough to have little or not traffic at times. And no performance awards :)

The coolest stop we made was at Fort Johnson. Such a cool, crazy story from the Civil War. I didn't get to climb the entire trail, but I did get to the first tier. Since moving to an older city such as Philadelphia, I am fascinated and constantly amazed by the history that I encounter everywhere I go. Virginia was no exception. So crazy to think that a war was fought on this mountain, where we now stand and take scenic photos. 

Steps to the first level of trenches. 

Steps to the first level of trenches. 

A long line of trench!

A long line of trench!

We even met some fellow motorcyclists who were passing through. 

We even met some fellow motorcyclists who were passing through. 

And then we had to say goodbye! 

We used our Sena SMH10R's to communicate with eachother the entire week and they performed quite well. I used the Garmin quite a bit, along with my music and I forgot to recharge it one night so it died after a second full day. Just by habit, we recharge our headsets every night but you really don't have to. You should be able to get 2 full days; although we don't have our channels open the entire time. We go back and forth between chatting or keeping the channel open for 10-15 minutes, then back to our own music while I listen for Garmin directions at the same time. 

If you're curious as to how that all worked for me, read my review of the Garmin Zumo 390LM here

 

Until next time, West Virginia.... until next time..... 

Until next time, West Virginia.... until next time..... 

Cool Reflective Accessories for Your Motorcycle

rydesafe reflective decals bicycles motorcycles helmets Woo hoo! Reflective stuff! Ok, maybe I'm the only nerd that gets excited about bright objects. But I like wearing black when it comes to my motorcycle gear. I look good in it too, what can I say? :P But I know that I need to somehow make up for all the darkness with some bright reflectives to stay visible and safe as possible. So here's a few accessories I like that can help you too.

Wearing Hi-Viz Yellow or Orange is certainly a great way to be seen by more people. There's no guarantee that you'll be seen by every person, but certainly reduces the risks in my opinion. However, for me, the bright color isn't enough for riding at night.

It doesn't matter how bright your clothes are if they aren't reflective, I really believe in lots of reflective pieces so when light hits you it reflects.

So here are 3 reflective accessories that I wanted to share that I really think are cool to use.

1/ Reflective Decals, RydeSafe

"RydeSafe Reflective Decals are cut from an engineering-grade “conspicuity film” which contains microscopic glass spheres that reflect light back to its source. So no matter what direction the light is coming from, our stickers reflect it back. In the case of a pair of headlights, RydeSafe Reflective Decals reflect it right back to the driver’s eyes resulting in a more visible and thus safer user." - rydesafe.com

IMG_8540IMG_8541

They have a few different shape / pattern options. I opted for the chain links (white) and the modular kit (purple). I found mine on Amazon but you can buy them directly on their website as well. (Unfortunately they're still running an old promo code from October on the main page, so they're not on sale).

Even if you don't like these, just hop on eBay or Google and you'll find your favorite sports teams, animals, shapes, motorcycle manufacturers and more in the form of reflective decals. You're sure to find something you want to wear!

2/ Reflective Vests

There are a lot of vest options on the market. I still love my Spectrum vests, although they did close their business this past year.  The previous owner told me that it should be back next year under new management. They used a really really bright reflective tape that was Coast Guard worthy. If I do have to ride at night, I always wear my vest!

Spectrum Vest in Regular Light IMG_2643

You'll find a lot of different vests to choose from, including options from the bicycling world. But as a motorcyclist I would try to find a vest that uses CE / EN Certified Fabrics (less likely to fade) and 3M Scotchlite Reflective Tape (even more visible, durable). These materials make a much brighter difference at highway speeds.

 

3/ Reflective Paracord

reflective paracord

I just found these on Amazon from Paracord Planet. These photos show how reflective this rope really is. I love the idea of making a dog leash out of it. I shared it with my fabulous dogsitter so she could use it too :)

reflective_paracord

reflective_paracord2

 

I bought neon yellow and purple. My plan is to weave them together somehow and then run them through the loops on the top of my Kriega R20 Backpack since the logos are the only reflective pieces. Sometimes I ride home at night with my backpack on so I want to add as much reflective as I can!

Kriega R20 Backpack

4/ 3M Reflective Tape

3M Reflective Tape Roll

I bought a roll of this on Amazon so I could make my own patterns for my last helmets. I found a ton of rolls in various colors and widths there too.

I've also started a Pinterest board to collect these ideas; check them out here.

If you have any cool reflective accessories that you like using, please share!

Kriega R20 Backpack

Kriega R20 Backpack  

More Birthday Loot! I forgot to post my birthday backpack; this cute Kriega R20. I currently have the R25 which I do love, but I'll admit it's a bit big on me.

For my birthday, my wonderful friend Dimitry bought me the R20. I love it! The only thing I want to change is the mostly black exterior. So I hopped onto Amazon and found reflective paracord, who knew such a thing existed?

reflective paracord

I bought yellow and purple. I'm going to weave them together and make a little rope that runs through the loops on the top of the backpack (which are mainly there for you to add the 5 or 10L packs for extra storage).

Whooop!

Now I'll have some more visibility from the back (and some cute color!) while riding. I'll have a full review posted soon as well.

Thanks Kriega for making such a great little bag for me to play with.

Riding the Infamous Dragon

killboypic_dragon3_2015_web  

I had a blast this last week riding to the 10th Annual Womens Sportbike Rally. The Dragon was fun, but Highway 28 was even better :)  Thanks to Killboy.com for sponsoring the rally and getting this pic for me!

Stay tuned for a ride report of my longest riding trip ever, 2,000+ miles.

Out At The Women's Sportbike Rally

I'm out riding this week through the Virginia and North Carolina Mountains! I'm headed to the women's Sportbike rally at deals gap, so please say hi if you're going to be there. Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to see more pics of me and Goldie carving it up in these beautiful mountains.

 

On my way to the Blue Ridge mountains

Saddleman Tail Bag for your Sportbike

Saddlemen Sport Tunnel Tail Bag triumph speed triple daytona street triple I definitely see the value in a tailbag that has top access, since my Kriega packs don't. 

This Saddlemen Sport Tunnel Tail Bag looks like a cool tailbag if you have a tiny rear seat like on a Speed Triple, Daytona 675 or similar. A customer came in recently and purchased one for her Daytona 675. It looks like the straps work under the seat so if you don't have any mount points below, this should work well.

Another bag I recommend for top access is the Cortech Super 2.0 Tail Bag (available in 14L or 24L), but you do need external mount points to attach this to your seat. Cortech also offers an optional rain cover if you choose the larger 24L option.

cortech super 2.0 tailbag

Bike Review 2012 Triumph Street Triple R

goldie_sunflowers As you may have noticed from my most recent social media posts, I am in LOVE with my new-to-me motorbike. It's the best one I've owned and ridden so far. 

Background

Before I start, I want to give you background info. It's good to know where the reviewer is coming from, so you can get a handle on what his/her experience is on bikes in general:

  • 5'3", 130lbs. 28.5" true inseam
  • Most recent rides: '06 SV650, '03 SV650S (both stock)
  • My bike ownership history; none of my bikes have been lowered because I value my ground clearance and lean angle
  • All the bikes I've ever ridden but not necessarily owned

So as you can see, this isn't a first bike for me. I would also NEVER recommend this is as a first bike. I'm not saying it can't be done, because some of you are reading this and have already purchased one as your first. What you didn't realize is this bike is not just a 675cc, it's a 675cc triple with 105 hp! That's 30+ horsepower over any 650cc twins or 4-cyl bikes (ninja 650, sv650, fz6, etc).

The curb weight is 416lbs, and the center gravity is quite low since the tank is rather skinny on top. This was my beef with the husband's sPeed Triple. Although I really love that bike it's too topheavy for my taste and as a result I was on my tiptoes and one flat left which even for me doesn't make me feel as good as I do on mine.

I purchased this beauty from good ole' Craigslist with just 4,995 miles on it, which is where I purchased my last SV. Although I was looking at various dealerships, I never saw one that I could afford. I guess it was just meant to be, because I found this one in early February. However, I didn't have the money to pay for it until late March! Lucky me.

 

Past vs. Present

I often see the question of comparison between this bike and the ever popular SV650/SV650S. Having been a previous owner of both models, I can absolutely tell you without a doubt that this bike trumps anything the SV line ever offered. The additional cost of which took me about 6 months to save up for. But it was worth every.stinking.penny.

2003_suzuki_sv650s_livermoreCA

it's me!

I certainly enjoyed the 6 years I spent on both of my last SVs, but I'm sooooo much happier on this beast. Many folks will tell you that an upgraded suspension on the SV makes it a worthy ride. True, I could've spent ~$1,500 and upgraded the stock suspension. But, after spending ~1,000 miles on my husband's Triumph I knew I wanted one of my own!

Here are a few of the things that I have gained from upgrading:

  • More power (30% increase from ~70hp to ~100hp) at the same weight as an SV!
  • Smoother throttle response especially when rolling off the throttle. The SV throttle is twitchy as hell when you roll on or off, since it lunges quickly if you don't roll off softly.
  • Suspension. Fully adjustable, although it's set up for a heavier man, it still feels much smoother and more stable going over bumps. The rebound is far slower, so it doesn't bounce up and down so much.
  • Seat. Much better for long distance, my flat butt is much happier after a 300+ mile day of riding.

Going from a V-Twin to a 3-Cylinder engine is definitely different as well. This bike needs to rev at higher rpm's so I need to work on delayed shifting since I'm still used to shifting at lower rpm's. Since it redlines at 14,000, it's definitely an adjustment for me to wait a little longer before the upshift. One cool feature is the gear shift indicator lights. Since I can't take a picture of this while riding, I drew a yellow arrow where the gear shift indicator lights will show up depending on how you program them. I find this to be tremendously helpful as I get used to the way this engine powers up.

2012_triumph_street_tripleR_gear_shift

Height

I know many of you may be wondering about height. Well if you've read any of my past articles in the Too Short To Ride section of my blog, you know that I just don't care that the seat height on this bike is 31.7". For me, it's a lightweight bike at ~415lbs so it doesn't feel as tall. The nice thing is that it doesn't feel top heavy to me, and the tank isn't very wide on top. No wider than where the turn signal and engine cut off switch sit on the handlebars. I have to emphasize that it doesn't feel top heavy to Me, because I've been through really annoying top heavy bikes like the Z750s.

2012_triumph_streettripleR_selfie

But it feels just like the SV in terms of weight. I can't really tell the difference. I think it's ~0.25"-0.5" lower but hardly noticeable. Since my husband bought his sPeed Triple last summer, I had been taking it for day rides and even a quick overnight to NY. That bike has the same seat height as mine, but since the seat is sloped a bit, it forces me up on my tiptoes. Whereas my bike lets me plant two balls of my feet where I'm most comfortable. The engine is also larger too, so the overall weight is ~470lbs.

2006 Triumph Speed Triple

It's amazing how light a bike can feel after you've been riding something heavier and taller.

Since then, I've also added these insoles from Amazon to my Sidi Boots in order to get more height. Luckily my Sidis are a half size too big, so they fit in really well. As you can see the full insole comes with 2 add'l pieces for the heel. You don't have to wear all of them. In fact I only wear the main insole and one of the extensions. Although they don't make both of my feet flat they simply allow me to put my left foot down flat without shifting my butt off the side, a little more convenient. :)

riding motorcycles with lifted insoles

Twisties

As far as throwing her into corners, it definitely feels more solid and planted. One thing that really drove me to get this bike was that I didn't want to sacrifice the flickability of getting the SV650S into a corner. I feel like the STR drops quickly without me having to do very much work. I definitely need to spend more time with her in the twisties to improve my timing when it comes to entry speed and leaning but it feels so familiar and easy to work with.

killboypic_dragon3_2015_web

I still need to take her to get the suspension set up for my weight, because it's a bit stiff for my taste in the rear. But I can still feel the difference all the way through the turn from braking beforehand to accelerating out of it. The tires are still stock as well, Pirelli Diablo Corsas front and rear. They feel different from Michelin Pilot Powers (what I'm used to), but not worse.

I must mention the tires are still Pirelli Diablo Corsas. The previous owner didn't change them from when he purchased the bike originally and I haven't either since they have plenty of tread. I figure I'll need to swap out for my favorite Michelin Pilot Power 3's next Spring. As of September 2015, I've upgraded them and they're amazing! I also took Goldie on her first track day at New Jersey Motorsports Park (my husband came too :D), which I highly recommend. It was great to get to know her a little better and increase my confidence a bit from where it was due to my accident.

trackday triumph speed triple street triple R 

 

Long Distance

This is Not a touring bike. But, some of us aren't ready to call it a day and buy an F700Gs. Frankly, I don't know if I'll ever be ready for that. I'm still in love with twisty riding, and I can't imagine being as happy on a touring bike in my size. I also would be sad to lose the *power*. Once again my husband is right, it's very hard to drop back down to something less powerful when you're used to 100+ hp.

2012_triumph_street_tripleR

For now I'm making it work for me. The biggest impact for me is the lack of windscreen. Although to be fair, the SV650S barely had one anyhow. As with any bike lacking a windscreen or fairing, prepare to be whipped around a bit and with a strong headwind. It was especially tiring when I rode for 3 hours on the highway in the pouring rain (150 miles). That was NOT fun. I was exhausted when I got to my hotel that afternoon, it felt like I'd ridden all day in 100 degree heat.

At least my booty is more comfortable. The seat is a vast improvement over the SV stock seats. Holy smokes, I can ride a good half day without going numb. Granted, I have a very flat one so that definitely doesn't help. But, this seat is noticeably more comfortable most likely because of how much wider it is.

triumph_street_triple_kriega

With the Kriega Packs loaded on the rear, I've got 40 liters of space. This is plenty of room for me on a 4-6 day trip. But I try to pack light and never camp. I love big, comfy beds and hot showers, what can I say?If you're planning on camping, you'll probably need a Givi top box as well. And I never travel far without a tankbag to give me just that extra bit of storage space.

I would also add that overall mileage on this bike isn't that much less than the SV650. I think my record on the SV was 200miles on a tank before it was fully dry. On this one, I can do about 180. I haven't pushed it to the edge but I got 170 miles with ~3/4 gallon left. The tank size is virtually the same, but sadly fuel economy goes down with the extra power.

For even more comfort in colder temps, I've installed Oxford Heaterz Premium Grips and a lead to wear my WarmnSafe 65W Heated liner. A quick warning about installing the Oxfords. You'll have to shave down the throttle tube (it's plastic) so the grips can fit over the handgrip. You only have to do this on the throttle side.  There's plenty of power for these two accessories, but I'm not sure how much additional power is available for fancier headlights or turn signals which might be future upgrades.

sena_smh10R_shoei_qwest

Speaking of upgrades, here's my short wishlist:

  • FP Racing shorty levers
  • Better headlights: not a high priority
  • Sargent seat: not a super high priority
  • Ram mount: most parts ordered, just need to get the proper iPhone holder Done!
  • SW Motech Kobra Handguards with integrated turn signals: WANT this so bad. But there's a questionable issue as to whether it'll fit my bike or not. Must do more research.
  • Reflective rim tape: I loved having the red reflective tape on the SV, so I definitely want some on this bike. I'm thinking black reflective.
  • Rear fender eliminator: I love the look of a fenderless rear but I DON'T want to give up the visibility from my turn signals. So I guess I need to find some bright turn signals as well! Goldie 2.0 has a Rizoma setup.

Phew, that's a long list of farkles. Add to that the sad realization my Shoei is 5 years old this June. Urgh. Time for another upgrade :D

I love my new bike, I can't express that enough. If you're looking for an upgrade from a sub500cc bike prepare for something that isn't quite what you're expecting with the additional power from this deceptive "middleweight".

But if you've decided to end your relationship with your SV650 / Ninja 650 / FZ6, then it might just be exactly what you're looking for.

Update!

Unfortunately, a month after I wrote my review, I totaled Goldie 1.0. But the really really good news is that I was able to acquire an identical Goldie 2.0 which is the exact same bike, same year, same color. The pictures of me on the Dragon above and doing my track day is with Goldie 2.0. 

I wanted to mention that in August 2015, I was able to drop 18lbs of weight from the bike by adding a Competition Werkes low mount exhaust:

2012_triumph_streettriple_competitionwerkes gp cobra black

 

I also removed the rear footpeg mounts and subsequently have a lighter bike along with a much cooler butt! Those high mount exhausts were blowing so much hot air on my thighs/butt, they were killing me. After just 5 minutes of engine warmup, they would be blowing so much height underneath my seat. Not so bad in the Fall/Winter but miserable in the Summer. I felt a huge difference in warmer weather and it's far more comfortable to ride with especially on longer trips. I highly recommend it!

 

Ride Report to West Virginia

2012_triumph_street_tripleR A couple weeks ago I took a nice 4 day, 965 mile trip to West Virginia and back. It was shorter than I expected, but I had a great time anyway. All I can say is I LOVEEEEE my bike! (and WV)

Sunday

So my plan was leave Sunday early afternoon, ride for 3 glorious days in W. VA and then come home Thursday. I knew that there was going to be a very rainy day, possibly Wednesday so I of course wore my Rev'it Legacy Gore-Tex suit for the trip. I decided to wear my Gear 2' pants down there since it was pretty nice out and I packed my Legacy pants into one of the US-10 packs.

In preparation for the trip, I actually purchased 2 fantastic upgrades. The first one was the Sena SMH-10R Bluetooth Headset. I wanted a better unit than my SMH5, but not a bigger one. I love the slim look and feel of the unit and am still in the process of finishing my review. Check out what I have so far here and stay tuned for an update on my social feeds and a blog post when it's ready.

The second upgrade was a pair of Rukka Apollo Gore-Tex Xtrafit gloves. I've never owned a pair of Gore-Tex gloves, because I could never find anything that fits me right. These are especially amazing because they're not winter gloves, they're simply leather street gloves with a bonded Gore-Tex membrane! That's right, they completely bond the membrane to the leather so you have a clean, lightweight glove that isn't bulky or heavy. It's the perfect arrangement for wet, hot, summer riding. Both performed beautifully, especially when I got caught in a heavy downpour for 150 miles on the freeway.

sena_smh10Rrukka_apollo_goretex_gloves

Now let's talk about the fun stuff. The Riding!

Oh My God. West Virginia feels like home for me; my long lost motorcycle home. So many twists and turns, curves, uphill/downhill, everything I want and need when I go riding. I CAN'T wait to go back so I've already planned another trip for mid June. I was supposed to meet my good friend Tamela Rich Sunday night at a beautiful bed and breakfast in the mountains of the Monongahela National Forest. It's located right in the middle of the most heavenly roads I've seen on the East coast.

highway 250 west virginia from philly

250 is downright heavenly. It's too bad I had to ride in pitch black darkness. I left so late (1pm) that by the time I got to 250 it was ~8pm. :-( Nothing like riding twisties in total darkness. So it took me a couple hours to ride what would've been an hour in daylight. I tried to grab a couple pics along the way when I could. I believe this is right before I turned onto 84.

triumph street triple west veirgini

It was still a great ride and I enjoyed every minute. I even dodged a possum that decided to visit the middle of my lane. I rolled in to a lovely white building with bright lights (which was great given how remote and dark it was). Gotta love a hotel that has perfect motorcycle parking.

The Inn at Mountain Quest in Marlinton, VA

inn_mountain_quest_marlinton_va (1)

I had no idea what I would be getting to until I woke up that morning to this glorious view from my room:

inn_mountain_quest_marlinton_va (1)

It was so quiet, calm and downright peaceful. We were the only ones there that night since everyone had left earlier that day. It just worked out that previous visitors had left and no one else was checking in until the later in the week. If you and your moto-loving partner are looking for a relaxing riding weekend, my friend Tamela is hosting a moto retreat in the 2nd week of June called Ride to Reboot.  My hubby and I will be there, hopefully we'll see you there! Here are a few pics of the ranch I snapped before I left.

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The next morning my friend Tamela and I headed South.

Following Tamela on the short gravel road as we leave Mountain Quest. There's a small bridge just past where she stopped, it's a little creaky so I found standing on my pegs helped make that bumpy section feel a little smoother.

inn_mountain_quest_marlinton_va 3

Monday

On Monday afternoon Tamela and I headed out towards Oak Hill, WV. She's on her BMW F650GS and of course I'm on my Street Triple R. From the Inn, we headed North on 92, East on 66, then South on 219/55 to Slaty Fork. There's a really cool spot called Sharp's Country Store that we had to stop at and check out. I guess it used to be a service station so there are cool old gas pumps, and some knick knacks in the window. During business hours you can walk through the store and buy a few souvenirs. Unfortunately they're closed on Mondays!

slatyfork_westvirginia 5  slatyfork_westvirginia 3 slatyfork_westvirginia 2

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Sadly, this is where my report gets a little sad. After this, we headed towards lunch in Marlinton, WV. It was in town that my bike died at a stop light. Everything just shut off. I thought I dumped my clutch but in fact, my bike turned off. Luckily it was right in front of the gas station so I pulled in and tried to troubleshoot. I didn't see anything visibly wrong on the battery so I put my luggage and seat back on and then tried to start it again. Nothing was turning on, no lights, nothing. After about 10 minutes, she started up again. I let it run for about 5 minutes and it didn't die so I figured it wasn't too major. So off we went to our final destination, Oak Hill WV.

I believe this is the ride route we took. "G" is Marlinton. "H" is the hotel. I believe we stopped somewhere along 41 to take some cute pictures of ourselves and our bikes.

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I can't help it, I love selfies. Especially when my friends are in them! If you don't know Tamela, read her story. She's an incredible woman who's ridden across the country more than a few times. Travel is her middle name, so check her out.

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We booked a room at the Holiday Lodge Oak Hill. Thanks to the lodge for allowing us to park right outside the front door :)

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Tuesday

Sadly, Monday was the best riding I was able to get in all week. The next morning, I was spooked out from the electrical issue so I decided to head home Wednesday :-(. I tried calling a local dealer but they were too busy to see me so I decided to leave a day early. Tamela headed home that morning, and I decided to head to Harrisonburg, WV for the night. Then it would only be a ~6 hour journey home on Wednesday.

I booked a room at the Country Inn & Suites (my favorite hotel chain) and headed that way in the pouring rain. It rained like crazy but only on Tuesday! I've never ridden that long in the rain before: 150 miles, 3.5 hours. Since it was pouring I averaged about 55-60mph. The temperature wasn't too chilly (high 50s, low 60s) but I didn't want to risk another electrical issue so I didn't use my heated liner.

I did get a little wet sadly, even though I was decked out in head to toe Gore-Tex. Here's what I wore:

I've always said that wearing anything Gore-Tex is the only way to truly stay dry. And even if you don't stay dry you have that lifetime guarantee! The only caveat is that you must be the original owner of the product, for them to verify the history of the item. It makes sense, if you bought something secondhand how do they know the original owner didn't screw something up? So I wasn't able to warranty my Ladystars, because I scored them on eBay hardly worn a few years ago. But since I only paid ~$90 for them, I'm not going to worry about it. I may just have to buy a brand new pair at some point. :D

I also get a little wet on my left sleeve because I wore my sleeve over my gloves instead of inside. I thought the velcro was snug enough to keep water out, but I guess not going 65mph on the freeway. The other spot I got wet was right above my left butt cheek. I was wearing my heated jacket liner and I think the bottom of the liner got wet and seeped up inside. I'm going to try and ride in the pouring rain again soon so I can test this theory out. Otherwise, I will definitely be contacting Gore-Tex for a warranty claim.

I forgot to mention of course, that all of my Kriega packs came with me as they work beautifully on naked bikes like mine. They also performed perfectly in the pouring rain.

The Sena headset is NOT waterproof. It's water resistant so if you get stuck in the rain it'll be okay. Turns out the unit is far more robust than Sena says because it actually held up for 3 hours in the pouring rain, on the freeway! But the battery died on me the next day. So both parts survived the journey but the next day when I rode home, it shut off without warning and wouldn't stay on for more than a few seconds. Luckily, I bought a dual pack so my husband could upgrade his unit as well. So I stole his battery for the time being and replaced it. The unit has worked perfectly since then.

Thank you Sena for making a unit that is practically waterproof! I was scared that I ruined the main unit, but the battery was a small sacrifice :D

Wednesday

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The next morning, when I went to start up the bike it wouldn't start. So I took the seat off and tightened the battery terminal, it was a tiny bit loose. After that she started right up! The rest of my ride home was uneventful, as I slabbed it home on the Interstates to get back before dark.

Long Distance on a Street Triple

I have to say that although the STR isn't a long distance tourer, I definitely enjoyed the ride. Since I'm used to touring on the SV's, this is a welcome upgrade. It's definitely not something that works as well as say, an FZ1 or F800GS. But in comparison to my SV's, it's fabulous. The added horsepower is nice, and certainly noticeable especially while jumping on the freeway. But I really appreciate the suspension and handling. It's smooth, responsive and not too twitchy at the throttle. One thing I read in many reviews of this bike is that in 2012 they adjusted the throttle response so it's a smoother transition when rolling off and on.

The stock seat is great and far more comfortable. I can go a solid hour before my booty starts to complain and I have to pull over. But as with any naked bike with a minimal windscreen, any substantial riding in high winds is tiring. When I was riding in the rain it was terribly windy. I was exhausted as if I'd ridden all day in 100 degree heat. I pulled over about 3-4 times to keep up with the added fatigue along with being wet and chilly. No fun.

As I've always recommended in the past, I definitely appreciated my Techspec Gripster Pads for a little extra grip and stability against the tank. Other than that, I had nothing else to help me along. I logged a little under 1,000 miles and would've happily ridden another 500-600 if everything went the way I'd planned. Originally, I was going to spend Wednesday riding in the mountains and then take the slow route home Thursday. Oh well. I've already started planning routes for June!

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Thanks for reading, look for a full ride review of the STR soon.

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Also check out Moterrific for Episode 64, for an audio version of this ride report!

Reviews TBD:

Ride Report - Northern PA to NY

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I still need to replace my rear tire, and the man is out of town til Thursday. So what's a wife to do? Take the Triumph out for a spin in a new direction that I hadn't explored before, North! I decided to try and shoot for RT 97, Hawk's Nest, a popular destination for local motorcyclists.  I decided to send Benny to his awesome dogsitter, and try a solo overnight so I could try to ride as far north as I could. Since I have Sunday and Monday off, I tried to start Sunday morning. I had a rather late start and ended up not leaving until 11am. As a result I only got about 150-180 miles (my goal was closer to 300) in but still had a fabulous time!

As always, I used one of the Kriega packs, the 20-Liter since I wanted to have enough supplies for the night. Remember to fully pack your Kriega so it cinches down easier. I scribbled down my ride route and off I went.

Oh and for the record, I'm NOT keeping my husband's bike. Just borrowing until I swap that damn tire. I have decided however, that I will be selling the SV and buying a gently used Street Triple next spring :D. An R model if I can find one I can afford, fingers crossed.

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I had a really late start Sunday (~11am) so I didn't quite hit the roads I wanted to. Here's the route I wanted to do but once I got to 15 I had to keep going and take the obvious route to get there before deer o'clock. Did you know that Pennsylvania has one of the highest deer collision rates in the country? Eek!

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Before I got to Chester, PA I did have a nice detour through Black River Park because of tremendous traffic heading into Chester. It was at least a mile of bumper to bumper. And the last thing I wanted was to sit there clutching on this tall, heavy beast. So I made a right turn and followed another guy on an R6 who was obviously hoping to do the same. I got to this funky intersection (after riding some goaty, unpaved roads to get there!):

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After awhile I stopped for lunch at Hilltop Deli & Catering in High Bridge, NJ at 513 and Cregar Road. I had a tasty BLT and a nice view of my ride. Sandwiches were inexpensive and delicious. A lovely family ran the place, dad making sandwiches and mom running the place with their teenage kids working the counter. Love it!

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The rest of my ride to the border was rather uneventful. I found a room for the night at the Red Carpet Inn, nothing fancy but clean and inexpensive ($78/night+tax). I picked this location so I could ride further up north in the morning.

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The next morning, I headed West on 6 and then went north on 97. I underestimated how cool it was going to be, given that it was 8am. I also wanted to get back home before rush hour, since traffic can be heinous heading into Philly. Being a California girl, I certainly had high expectations. I would say that 97 is definitely a lovely road and worth the trip if you've never ridden that way before and are looking for scenic routes. The road is certainly twisty but nothing highly technical (think switchback and hairpins with changing elevation). I did manage to get a few pretty pictures on this cute little bridge:

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At the end of the bridge was a very goaty, gravel filled road with a sign that basically said Go Away. Something about needing permits if you go beyond this point. So like a good girl, I hopped off the bike and did a 3 point turn to get back on the bridge back to 97.

I had a crazy ride planned but with the chillier weather I decided to get back home sooner than later. I turned around at 41/Barryville and took a rather direct route home that Google suggested, avoiding the Interstate.

Riding without winter gloves and no heated anything definitely pushed my limits as far as what I could bear. I'm a weather wimp and was definitely missing my heated accessories. Of course I was wearing head to toe Schampa underneath, a windstopper vest and my awesome Rev'it suit. It was just barely enough to keep me fairly warm but I really could've used some heat! The temps were mid 40s to low 50s, definitely colder than I'm used to without my creature comforts.

I MUST redo this ride once I install my heated liner. There appear to be some amazing roads further north which definitely require a much earlier start to accomplish more than 400 miles in 2 days.