Success: First long road trip

Ending mileage: 29,390

Camping near Grand Coulee Dam

While this is primarily a maintenance blog I think it’s OK to share how well this bike did on it’s first serious road trip, an overnighter covering more than 500 miles.  This bike, while being the runt of the litter, performed very well with only a few minor mechanical issues.

  • The clutch lever bolt backed out because there wasn’t a backing nut. Fortunately another rider had a locking nut that I could use.
  • The speedometer cable came loose at the instrument because I had failed to tighten it enough when I replaced the rubber surrounds.
  • After two days of riding, the rear shock pressure had bled down a bit.  I started the trip at 40 psi,  I was down to 30 psi at the start of day two.  I probably should have started at 50-60 psi because of all of the gear, and I’m not a small guy.  70 psi is the max.

We started out with six bikes, but two of the riders dropped out when a 2006 Triumph had a starter failure and then lost it’s little computerized mind.  This 36 year old bike was the oldest in the group by far.  The next oldest was the ’96 BMW, 15 years newer.

Even loaded down with camping gear I was able to keep up with the other riders except in one mountain pass where, at 4500 feet, power was lacking and I couldn’t keep up with the next larger bike, a fuel-injected 650.  There I fell behind a bit because I didn’t have enough zoom left to safely pass some large RV’s while simultaneously climbing up a steep grade.

The National Cycle fairing performed very well.  I have it tilted back to where there’s no pressure on my chest, but my helmet is riding in smooth air.  There wasn’t any serious buffeting at any of the speeds we were traveling, but I did have to clear my helmet visor of bugs several times.

The bike was very comfortable;  I really wasn’t sore after two days of riding.  The Cramp-buster helped prevent a sore wrist.  A throttle lock would have been useless on this trip because of all of the twisty roads we were on.

I usually managed something close to 50 mpg for the trip.  Not bad given that I had to use a little more right-hand wrist action to keep up with the larger bikes.