Sunday, November 22, 2015

Rugged, part 2.

You may remember the aluminium panniers we got for our R100GS a while back. Marco and Witold also have them on their Beemers and we're all very impressed with the quality and durability of these. We've all gone for slightly different options, so no two sets are alike.

What's in that cardboard box then? Well, I got a very small refund from my previous Sportster's third party insurance, back when it was stolen, and at first I thought I'd just put it towards the Honda's insurance, but then I thought "you know what, screw it":

While I normally detest plastic top boxes (particularly ubiquitous on those two-wheeled automobiles called scooters), I do like this one because it's a custom-made aluminium case, made to measure so all of this can fit in it:

That's the complete tent, sleeping bag and self-inflating pad, plus a small bag for a change of clothes and a few necessities - all you need for a motocamping weekend.

Fitting it to the Honda was straightforward, using the bike's carrier plate (which was an absolutely perfect fit) and existing attachment points, I just marked some reference points, drilled through and bolted everything down using a few washers under the bolt heads. I'll probably revisit this at some point and include some spacers for extra sturdiness.

While I admit it does seem a bit weird, I wouldn't say it's disproportionate: the wide-angle lens makes it look far bigger than it actually is. I don't mind the way it looks, it can be removed with a singe tool in a matter of minutes and allows me to carry what I need with no hassle.

The thing that most surprised me is how well it fits on the bike: it "slots" in on the carrier plate at the front, doesn't extend beyond the rear edge of the plate, doesn't make the bike any wider, and the height of it is very nicely proportionate to the rest of the box, and the bike. After all, this Honda is a very narrow, small motorcycle.

There is also a bracket to carry a 2lt. jerry can, always useful whether it be engine oil or petrol (or, motor oil or gas...).

However, there was one small defect, possibly due to the parcel being banged around during transport, two cracks on one side, which dad had welded up by a local shop in Aprilia, who did an excellent job:

Saturday, November 7, 2015

This is my new Sportster.

well, I don't really know how else to say this... I went and got myself another Sportster.

Crazy? Probably. Irrational? Completely. Prudent and reposnsible? Well, an argument could be made that these things hold their value well, and, in the case of this particular model, I have a feeling they will re-value with time.

But, hear me when I say that this motorcycle delivers one of the most intense, G-pulling riding experiences I've ever come across.

You feel this one in your guts and in your shoulder sockets, because it wants to rip your arms off.

It is a long, long way away from my beloved previous Sportster. Why? Well, the 2001 Sportster 1200S is very special because although it is essentially the same model I had, on the 'S' variant produced between 2000 and 2003 especially, virtually everything had been seriously upgraded at the factory:

there is fully adjustable suspension front and rear, an oil cooler, improved brakes, a more efficient oil pump, better clocks, cool cast alloy wheels, hotter cams with new high-contact ratio gears for quieter engine operation, a better flywheel, an improved ignition system (single fire), higher compression ported heads with bigger valves and DUAL FREAKIN' SPARK PLUGS! (these are actually the aptly named "Thunderstorm" heads that were fitted to Buell bikes) In addition, the previous owner has fitted an unrestricted Screamin' Eagle (Oh Harley, you can be so cheesy...) air filter and the legendary Vance & Hines performance exhaust system, all working together to produce a sound that is hard to believe.

Regrettably, all this grunt comes at the expense of one feature that played no small role in making my previous Sportster such a wonderful machine: the autopilot.
On the other bike, you could just get on and think "go home" and you'd wake up safe and sound in your bed. With this one, you had better be 100% awake, focused and fully engaged, or it will sock you in the chops.

A big thank you to Marco who helped me pick up the bike from the dealership today.

Friday, November 6, 2015

This is gonna be good...