As of June 6th my Connie is officially one year old. It’s been a great year of riding (14,000 miles!) and getting to know the bike better. The Concours is a complete departure from any bike I have owned. Because of that it’s been a learning experience for me. I’m happy to report that the bike and I are getting along famously. Like in all relationships there have been some compromises, but nothing that’s a deal breaker.
For me, the most dramatic difference between the Concours and the cruiser style bikes I’ve ridden in the past is the riding position. The Concours has classic sport bike riding ergonomics albeit more upright than the race-replica speed bikes. I have been delighted to discover that my body agrees well with this ridding position. It actually allows me to shift my weight around and the option of supporting myself with either my legs, trunk or arms. This freedom of movement has proved invaluable on long rides to reduce fatigue and increase my saddle time. One thing that I really miss from my H-D are the highway pegs for stretching my legs out in front me. There are options for that on the Connie that I’m looking into. I haven’t decided what the best approach will be yet.
I have made a few modifications that have even further amplified my comfort level. The first add-on was a set of Grip Puppies. The grips on the Concours are a bit smaller in diameter those on my H-D (or any another bike I’ve ridden) . The Grip Puppies not only increased the diameter of the grips but also add a bit of cushion.They went on easy and haven’t moved, even when soaked in a rain storm. Next I added a set of Handlebar Wedges from Murphs’ Kits. These aren’t exactly bar risers, though they do raise the bars about 1″ and bring them back about 3/4″. The main purpose as stated by Murphs is to move “the stanchion toward the steering bearing which elevates the handlebar ends about an inch and makes them more horizontal. It also brings them closer to the pilot a small amount. The effect is to remove some of the compound twist in your wrists.” With my ape like arms I thought full bar risers might put the bars to close to me so I went with the wedges and am very happy. I still have the stock seat and haven’t seen a need to replace it as of yet. The seat works just fine for me. I did flirt with a sheep skin seat cover from Aerostich for a bit (no sheep jokes!). It’s a little too much for daily riding but I still use it for longer, multi-day rides as it does allow more airflow than just the stock seat.
Of course who can resist adding onto their bike when there are so many options out there. I installed a Coocase S50 Astra topcase from Twisted Throttle with a back rest. I also replaced the plastic stock luggage rack with a metal one for greater support. I’ve really appreciated the extra storage. The topcase also matches the bikes look so closely that it’s hard to tell it didn’t come with the bike. The Stop/Running lights on the case also add more visibility on the back end which is always good to have. I mounted a weatherproof case from Biologic for my IPhone on the handlebars. The case is actually designed for bicycles but works great on the Concours. It allows me to have the phone mounted where I can see it for GPS navigation and to charge it while in the case. The case has performed well in the rain on many trips now. You can’t submerge it in water but it does keep the rain off while it’s on the bike. I think it’s a great compromise.
I’m planning two more modifications in the coming year. The first will be a taller windshield. At 6′ 2″ the stock screen is a little short and I have a hard time finding a spot where I don’t get a lot of buffeting. I think that a midsize screen like the Cee Bailey’s Euo Cut windshield will do the trick. This should allow me to keep the screen in a mid-height position that will cut the buffeting at the top of my head but still not be a drag on the aerodynamics of the bike. The other mod will be to add another power outlet. It’s a bit of a mystery to me why there’s a place for a second outlet in the dash on the Connie but it does not come from the factory with one. I’ve needed the second outlet on a few trips, mostly to charge other peoples devices, and think that adding it will be worthwhile.
My Connie has been in for the break-in (600 Miles) and one maintenance service (7,000 miles) so far. At the first maintenance service I replaced the very worn out stock Bridgestone Battlax tires with Michelin Pilot Road 3’s. It was very disappointing that the stock Bridgestone’s didn’t last more than 6,000 miles. So far (except for a puncture in the rear tire) the Pilot’s have been far superior in both wear and feel. Other than normal maintenance the Connie has been rock solid over this year and is getting ready for it’s 15,000 mile service.
Here’s to another great year of riding.