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Monthly Archives: May 2011

Morning Ride: Miles 153 – 281

I pulled out of the garage with the sun just coming up and mist still hanging in the trees. The Ninja slipped out onto the road and I was off for a four hour ride (three hour tour?). This is the first time I’ve had a chance to go on a long ride and I was looking forward to seeing just how comfortable the saddle and the ergos really are.

My first stop was just a short hop from my house to get some water and a little snack for breakfast. It was going to be a hot day with the temperature already at 70 degrees and it was only 6:00 am. I had a great chat with a local rider about the bike, the blog and riding in general. He was drawn in by the Ninja’s good looks, the California plates and possibly the guy in the yellow helmet wearing an H-D mesh jacket (me). This isn’t the first time this has happened in just the few days that I’ve been riding the Ninja. Other riders have asked about her and wanted to know more. Good thing I read all those reviews and spec sheets. After my morning snack I was off down Rt. 17 to meet up with Blue Ridge Mountain Rd which snakes it’s way up and over Mt. Weather. The elevation and tree lined road were much appreciated in the morning heat.

From Blue Ridge Mountain Rd I connected to Rt 7 for a just a second before turning onto Snickersville Turnpike, a long meandering road that passes through the heart of Virginia Horse country. Usually I’d take the turnpike all the way to Rt. 50 but I decided to turn off at New Ford Rd. and drive through St. Louis (VA) just for fun. Coming out on Rt. 50 I made my way to Middleburg and stopped for a stretch. One hour in the saddle is pretty much my limit so far on the bike. The seating position is good from the waist up. I get no strain on my back, arms or wrists from the seat to handlebars setup. Below the waist is a different situation. The seat is pretty firm and does allow me to move around a good bit which helps but I need to develop some riding callouses or I need to get a seat pad. The foot pegs are another area that, if I were able, I’d change. Sacrificing some lean angle for a little more room would be appreciated. However walking around for ten minuets every hour does the trick too.

After my stop in Middleburg I jumped on Rt 626 to The Plains where I picked up Rt. 55 to Front Royal. Route 55 is another long sweeping road that I love to lose myself on. The ride from The Plains to Front Royal has just the right amount of sweeping turns and rolling hills. There are roads close to my neck of the woods that have tighter turns and more of them but I’m still courting Ms. Betty and we haven’t gotten there yet. We will, and I think she’s ready, but I’m not … not yet. From Front Royal I took Rt. 522 to Rt 211 all the way back to Warrenton.

All in all it was a nice ride with maybe a few more stops than I would normally have taken. Fun and spirited as I expected. I think I’m going to like this bike.

 

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Ice Cream Run: Miles 128 -153

After a day of yard work I was able to sneak out for a short ride this evening.  Mostly I needed to get gas for a longer ride I’m going on tomorrow morning, but I also took a little detour.  More on that later, first for the fuel up. I made it 136 miles before needing to fill up the bike for the first time putting me at 33 mpg so far.  I’m hoping that number goes up as I get used to the bike and how to ride it better.  I plan on keeping a running tally of my fuel ups at the site fuelly.com.  You can review the stats at http://www.fuelly.com/driver/redkamel/ninja-1000.     

Now for the fun part.  I wanted to pick up a treat for my wife and me on the way home and thought ice cream would fit the bill nicely after a long day of hot yard work.  Before I left the house I put a small cooler inside my tail bag with a cool pack.  When I got to Cold Stone Creamery and picked up my order I simply put it in the cooler, zipped up the tail bag and rode home.  As I said before, I think the tail bag will do the trick, and tonight it did very well indeed.

 

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Gearing Up: Miles 128

A sunny and not too hot Saturday.  What else could I possibly do but go for a long ride … oh, that’s right, yard work.  All the rain in Virginia that has prevented me from riding this week also prevented me from getting my yard work done so that I could ride all weekend.  Still I had to fiddle with the bike a little, it is all shiny and new.  I attached my Tour Master tail bag and Moto Fizz tank bag.  I think these will do well to provide some storage.  I’ll see if I can sneak in a little ride tomorrow, even if it’s just to the store.  You know, to test out the bags.     

 

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Delivery: Miles 1 – 128

Arriving at Manassas Honda Kawasaki Suzuki this morning I was greeted by the very friendly and curious sales staff.  After talking about the Ninja 1000 experience and the bike itself I filled out the paperwork, had a run through of the bike, and then I was handed the keys.  My first obstacle to overcome was to get my lap top bag strapped to back seat.  Once that was accomplished I was ready to go.

Right off the bat, there are many things so drastically different from my Harley, that I think I’ve got the next months’ worth of blog posts all ready to go. I’ll spare you the details for now, but there’s going to be a lot to write about.  My first impression is that this is a really smooth and easy to ride bike.  I took the really long way into work.  Several cars were gracious enough to drive slowly in front of me, allowing me the time I needed to get used to the power delivery, shifting and even to adjust the mirrors.  About 25 -30 miles into the ride I was feeling pretty comfortable with the bike in general, but It’s going to take some time to become proficient in shifting and to get used to the throttle and the lean angle that are possible.

I will say this though, I’ve read a lot of reviews of bikes over the years and there’s a phrase that, being a Harley owner, I’ve never understood.  It goes something like this “…bike XXX is a little buzzy when you …” I always laughed at this because if you’ve ever pulled up next to a Harley at a stoplight and looked at the handle bars or the engine you understand how much these bikes shimmy and shake at idle. So, when I read that this bike was “buzzy” around 75 I wanted to see how that compared to the Harley ‘stoplight shake’. It didn’t.  That’s the short answer.  I actually had to strain to feel the buzz … any buzz … at all. In fact the bike was so glass smooth at idle that I had to keep checking the tach at the first few stop lights to see if it was still on or if I’d stalled it out.

One last thing I had to get used to that I think no one else in the N1K 10 will, is that the mirrors and windshield don’t move when you turn the handle bars!  This totally threw me the first few turns (the first being out of the dealers parking lot) I took.  I am so used to the fork mounted front fairing on the H-D that I was taken totally by surprise when the mirrors and windshield didn’t move on the Ninja when I turned the handlebars.  Now, rationally I knew they wouldn’t, but instinctively I guess my mind just expected that they would like they have for the past 3 years I’ve been on the H-D.

I expect to be writing a lot more about the differences between the Ninja and my bike, but I’ll also be writing about the Ninja and where her and I get to go.  Oh, and I’m very excited the my Ninja is all black.  All of my bikes have been black.  They’ve also all been named Betty (long story that I’m sure I’ll get to in a future post … maybe).  So the Ninja, since we’re just dating for a while, will be Miss Betty … we’ll see if things get less formal as we get to know each other.

~Stay Safe~

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2011 in Ninja 1000 Experience

 

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Cycle World Kawasaki Ninja 1000 Experience

On April 20th while looking through my email I came across one that drew my attention. The subject of the email was “Cycle World and Kawasaki have selected YOU!”. I immediately had visions of opening the email and seeing an Uncle Sam type ad with a man in big red, white and blue hat pointing a finger at me and declaring (in large font) what a great deal I could get on XXX bike from Kawasaki because I’d been a long time subscriber of Cycle World. I was perplexed to see a logo with the words Cycle World Ninja 1000 Experience and the words “Congratulations”. As I read further it wasn’t a sales ad, it was an opportunity to become a gust contributor for Cycle World and a test rider for the new 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 1000. The idea is to test ride the Ninja 1000 for 90 days and write about my experiences. I’ve always thought riding bikes and writing about them would be the dream job. I downloaded the entry form, I’ll admit with a little skepticism, and with a small prayer I sent off my entry form. Fast forward to May 12 when I opened my email and saw the subject “CONGRATULATIONS!! You have been selected as a Cycle World Contributor for the Ninja 1000 Experience.” I read the letter several times to make sure that this wasn’t the next stage in a twelve step process, it turned out it wasn’t it was the real deal.

So at this point I’m waiting with seven of the ten other guest contributors for our bikes to arrive and to start enjoying the “experience” for ourselves. Two of the ten have already received their Ninja 1000’s and are making me really anxious to get mine. I’m crossing my fingers and hoping for good news next week.

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2011 in Ninja 1000 Experience

 

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