twisties

Mesmerizing Video of a Rider Mastering the Machine

It doesn't matter what you ride. Watch this video and you'll learn a thing or two about riding your motorcycle, I guarantee it. Smooth lines, perfect setups, a wonderful pace and exquisite technique. I found myself sitting on my couch leaning left and right to see if I could keep up with him.... ;-)

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..... 

Video of Riding Motorcycles in (West) Virginia

Last week, me and my husband went for a fabulous vacation down South to Virginia / West Virginia. A ride report is coming soon. In the meantime, check out this short video of one of our afternoon rides through the mountains. 

Wish I could take credit for the amazing video editing, sound production, camera work and post production. All the credit goes to my husband, founder and CTO of this company. 

Thanks for watching! Stay tuned for a ride report. 

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, Highway 1 CA

  paper maps tankbag motorcycles highway 1 cambria

Last weekend I took a long weekend trip to Cambria, CA along the central coast. Needless to say it was a fantastic weekend of riding and having fun with my fellow women riders. I also got to ride the infamous Rossi's Driveway.

My 2 girlfriends and I rode down Highway 1 at a leisurely pace on Thursday and then we took some sweet roads Friday and Saturday.

Friday - Rossi's Driveway

From Cambria, we took the following route: http://goo.gl/maps/m6sz9

It was a hair under 130 miles all together and took us about 6 hours to complete the whole loop. We had a couple of pitstops and took our time on the Driveway, riding it back and forth a couple times because it's a short Highway.

If you look at the map, point F to H is Highway 229 aka Rossi's Driveway. Why do they call it this you ask? Well, I think this pic pretty much sums it up:

Rossi's Driveway aka Highway 229 california twisties motorcycles

Imagine a road, so perfectly paved (just like a track) with barely any traffic. Short, tight twisties and no dirt, potholes, rocks, or gravel ahead of you. No hairpins/switchbacks, just beautiful twisties.

I must admit, however, the 2-way traffic was a little worrysome at times so I didn't get to fully enjoy this road the way I wanted to. But it was beautifully paved and allowed for some really nice lines when I could see the next 2-3 twisties ahead.

But it was smooth and my tires responded well to the warm pavement. (best tires ever, btw)

rossi's driveway california highway 229

girlyride 9

 

rossi's driveway california highway 229

 

Sadly it was almost 100 degrees while we were out there, but I was extremely comfortable under my leathers, thanks to 2 important accessories:

1. Icebreaker merino baselayers - written review coming. You can also listen to my review on Episode 20 of Moterrific.com 

2. Revit Challenger cooling vest insert

I never would've made it without these two. I feel like I have the perfect riding outfit for summer and look forward to a couple more rides before Fall!

Almost 100 degrees!

 

 

Saturday - Nacimiento-Fergusson Road

I tried to find other pics of this road, but I think this one really shows the main reason why you want to ride up it and over the mountain.

Hwy 1 CA, Nacimiento Fergusson Road motorcycles twisties

This was a much shorter, simpler route. We went north on Highway 1 from Cambria and turned right at Nacimiento Fergusson Road in Big Sur. It's right before the Kirk Creek Campground.

The road takes you from sea level all the way up to the top of the mountain, towards Fort Liggett.  It's not a long ride, but great for some sight seeing or just a quick detour to extend the ride home up or down Hwy 1.

http://goo.gl/BBNfvj

girlyride 20

Once you ride through the clearing, there's a large paved space on the right before heading further east to Jolon Road which eventually takes you Highway 101.

After we took some group pics we went right back the way we came, west to Highway 1 and then south back to Cambria. It was a beautiful, HOT afternoon but somehow we had a really great time.

 

Funny convo with a customer today.

Me and my SV on my first track day back in 2011, sans mirrors and headlights.

Me and my SV on my first track day back in 2011, sans mirrors and headlights.

A funny convo I had at Scuderia West when someone saw me with my bike. 

Him: What do you ride? 

Me: an SV650s

Him: Oh cool, that was my first bike

Me: Yeah, it's my 3rd

Him: It was a good little bike

Me: I love it, it's taught me so much and is the best bike I've had so far. I've learned body positioning on it. 

Him: What's that? 

Me: Guess you still need to figure that out!

New Women's Sportbike Group - Meetup.com

If you're not familiar with meetup.com, it's a great site to find people with similar interests, whether it's crafting, motorcycling or camping.

I'm a member of several meetup groups, mostly motorcycle related. Okay ALL motorcycle related! I typically ride with one meetup group, a co-ed intermediate/advanced riding group made up of mostly sportbike/dual sport riders.

Sometimes, we wish more female riders would come with us on rides.

So my friend (the cofounder of that group) and I decided to start a new riding group for women only.  You don't have to be on a sportbike to join as long as you love riding twisties!

This meetup is San Mateo based, so we'll be riding mostly along the coast, through Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties.

All experience levels are welcome so Join Us!