Versys the offroad

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by billybumbler, Apr 16, 2013.

  1. billybumbler

    billybumbler Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    17
    Update: A new adventure on page 2
    Another new adventure on page 3


    It is, perhaps, vainglorious of me to post my ride report in here. Most of this forum is filled with people riding across Antarctica, jumping Goldwings over collapsed bridge, and taking photos with some sort of actual camera. My report is nothing more than a humble day trip around Los Angeles. So be forewarned, if you are looking for the good stuff, this isn't it. While the route is not exactly a secret, it is an excellent ride for any one in southern California. It is also my hope this will give back for all the enjoyment I have had reading other's ride reports.

    If there is any positive feedback I'll post further reports in this same thread. Otherwise I'll just fade away into the Erebus sea of obscurity. As a note I'm on a free photobucket account, and new to this whole posting things online business. Hence, I'm not sure how quickly I'll burn through the bandwidth allotment. So, if you notice something saying it's been exceeded, feel free to send me a PM (once I get a PM I'll edit this so people don't have to wonder if they are the first or thousandths person).

    Meet Bumblebee.
    [​IMG]

    Bumblebee was purchased while I was away visiting some family. I had no plans or intention to buy a bike, but I walked into a store, and bargained the salesman down to something I would have been stupid to pass up. They needed to sell the 2012 in order to get the 2013s, and I needed to pay less than the bike is worth. Everyone went home happy, or at least I did, which is really all I care about. It's important to understand my wife was in no way consulted before, during or after the purchase. I just sent her a picture of the bike with the word, "Surprise!" She quickly responded back, "I shall call it Bumblebee." I wasn't crazy about the name, Yellowjacket, for example, would have been much better, but we all decided once a woman names something she will probably let you keep it. To be honest I wasn't worried. She talks tough, and once said I have a body like a melted candle, but she is about 100 pounds and an amateur pugilist at best. Had it come to fisticuffs over the bike I believe I would have been victorious.

    This weekend I had intended to take the bike out to San Bernardino to explore its off-road capabilities on the myriad trails out there. Unfortunately I had to work on Saturday, and I ended up just hanging out with my wife Sunday morning, and figured it was a bit late to ride all the way out there. I decided just to do something closer and head up I-5 to 14, take Placerita Canyon to Little Tujunga, hit 210 and circle back around. If you ask google it looks like this:
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    (aka https://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=...A;FSnSCQId8jnw-A&t=w&mra=mi&mrsp=9&sz=13&z=11 )

    This was my first stop up on Placerita Canyon. Very nice view, and only about 20-30 minutes from downtown Los Angeles. This is similar to other rides through Angeles National Forest I've taken, so I basically expected most of the ride to be like this. I had no idea how much better it was going to get.
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    At approximately C on the Google map I turned into this little area looking for some action.
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    Suddenly I happened upon this little dirt section. Basically it ran a few hundred feet and looped back to the road. The photo doesn't do it justice. It was significantly steeper and more uneven than it looks (seriously). For a guy who is used to a 200lbs dirtbike with 12 inches of travel and knobby tires this seemed precarious. Nevertheless Bumblebee easily scaled it. Coming down was actually harder because I didn't feel up to my dirtbike method of going down hills (put it in 3rd gear and just roll down). I believe this is at point D on the Google map.
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    Here it is from another angle. Seriously, it was worse than it looks (ok maybe not).
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    I continued up the trail. Absolutely incredible view. I had no idea it would get this good.
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    Going up more I found an even steeper trail leading off to who knows where?
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    Following the trail up I found this weird patch of sod. I guess someone tried to make a little putting course or something that didn't go so well. Point E on the map if you'd like to check out this awesome bit of grass.
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    Holy smeg! The views from up here were incredible. No wonder someone wanted to do some putting. Down there you can see much of Los Angeles. Fun trivia: if you were to add up all the left hand turn signals in LA it would come out to three.
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    Isn't it magnificent? You might think I'm a professional photographer using some high end equipment, but actually I just point my phone in the general direction of what I want to photograph and tap the clicky-thing. I don't even look at the results until I get home (protip--iPhoto has a secret enhance button that helps out a lot).

    This is from the same spot. I don't recall the smog looking so bad when I was up there, but the camera doesn't lie (as evidenced by pictures of my "melted candle" body).
    [​IMG]

    After some more off roading I ran into this single track. Again the photo doesn't do it justice, and my Versys is bone stock (unless you count my sweet saddle bags), including the very smooth, very slick tires. The right side of the single track had a bit of a gulch I was worried about sliding into. But if I did not press forward I would have to backtrack 15, maybe even 20 feet. The choice was clear.
    [​IMG]

    Man, I almost went down on that one (sorry I didn't get a picture of that).

    At the top I found this view. It was incredible, especially looking through the trees. I have been through a number of places in Angeles Forest, but this is my favorite so far. Assuming my Googlefu is accurate, this is point F.
    [​IMG]

    There is a fire oppression station at the top too. Next time I will see if I can go through the station to fire roads beyond.
    [​IMG]

    I rode back down to Little Tujunga. After all that dirt and rocks I decided to do a thorough tire inspection before getting back onto the twisties. I'm confident anyone who drove by probably thought I actually knew something about checking tires. I added a pressure gauge to the mental list of things I never get around to putting into my saddlebags.
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    Tire looks fine!

    Here is a weird little bridge. It's hard to tell but those support things are wood. I suppose this picture is basically worthless since it doesn't actually show how weird it is.
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    Absolutely awesome winding sections. Unforunately I did not get any pictures of winding roads. Considering how slow I ride (particularly since I was worried about the tires from all the rocks), the twisties are not what you might call the highlight for me, so the urge to take a picture just didn't pop up. But I can guarantee anyone would enjoy riding them. Almost no traffic the entire time.

    Continuing down Little T I found a Wildlife Sanctuary. I was not aware I was in the wild, but it was good knowing I have a safe place to go if anything goes bad.
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    In the parking lot I noted a huge pile of some sort of gravely substance... quite possibly gravel, but I didn't exactly major in earth science.
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    Some more awesome twisties and then it was back to the freeway. I really hate riding Los Angeles freeways. It's hard to enjoy being on the bike when half the people on the freeway are texting their friends and potentially my life away. Still it was an awesome ride, and fairly quick, even with all my stops. One of my goals on these shorter rides is to figure out problems and solutions before I start doing longer rides. For example, something tells me I need to figure out a more efficient way of taking pictures. Currently to photograph something I have to stop, turn off the bike, take off my glove, struggle with pocket zipper, pull out the phone, take pictures, put phone away, struggle with zipper, put glove back on, restart bike, and leave.

    Hope you enjoyed. Ride safe.
    #1
  2. Rutabaga

    Rutabaga Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    737
    Location:
    Southeast Lower Carolina
    Enjoyed it very much. Nice new toy.
    #2
  3. mdsnitc

    mdsnitc Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2012
    Oddometer:
    327
    Location:
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Nice bike, Nice report, Nice pics.
    #3
  4. engineman

    engineman Been here awhile

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    Sep 26, 2012
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    425
    Location:
    Eastern Iowa
    Nice report. Thanks

    Sent from my SCH-R530U using Tapatalk 2
    #4
  5. Rob.G

    Rob.G Mostly Harmless

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    Fulltiming in an RV! Currently NW Oregon
    Nice! I've done that same ride a few times on my DR650. It's a great area. I used to live in Van Nuys, btw... right by the airport.

    Which dealer did you get the bike from?

    Rob
    #5
  6. tread55

    tread55 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    Oddometer:
    48
    Location:
    Greensboro, NC
    Great report! Humble, humorous and informative. Thanks for sharing.
    #6
  7. steve_k

    steve_k Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,068
    Location:
    Seattle area
    Nice bike!
    #7
  8. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    Oddometer:
    806
    Location:
    Darnestown, MD
    Great way to initiate your new bike!

    Cheers,
    #8
  9. zandesiro

    zandesiro In rust we trust....

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2010
    Oddometer:
    857
    Location:
    Polygyros, Greece...
    Thank for sharing your ride with us....:clap

    But i would like to see and the Versys in those nice scenery photos not only the landscapes!!:evil
    #9
  10. Easyrider Jay

    Easyrider Jay n00b

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2011
    Oddometer:
    124
    Location:
    Irvine, CA
    Thank you for great report.
    #10
  11. billybumbler

    billybumbler Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    17
    Wow, I was half expecting people to boo me off the forum, but I'm glad people enjoyed the report. Heck, I'm glad you even took the time to read it.


    A fantastic idea. If anyone asks me, I'm going to say I thought of it entirely on my own while driving home from work today.



    Hmmm, that is suspiciously close to my starting point.

    I took a long hard look at the DR, but I decided I'd be doing way more street riding since I don't know any adventure riders. Great bike though.

    I got Bumblebee at East Bay Motorsports, which is in Fremont (or thereabouts). I've bought from them before, and they have always been willing to go significantly lower than any other dealer. And they have never tried any cheap tactics or super high pressure. By cheap tactics I mean things like agreeing to an "out the door" price, and then presenting paperwork with a different price hoping you won't notice, or, for a car trade in, taking your keys to inspect the car and refusing to give them back until you've bought something. I have no affiliation with them, btw, but having dealt with very skeezy car/bikesalesmen I can appreciate their more humane practices. YMMV, but I've heard good things about them from other people as well.
    #11
  12. jmcg

    jmcg Turpinated..

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    462
    Location:
    The Dandenong Ranges, Vic
    Yeah, I'll add my voice to the chorus.

    Really enjoyed your report and pics.

    Your humour is great :D

    Lookin' forward to the next instalment.

    Thanks,

    JM.
    #12
  13. Rob.G

    Rob.G Mostly Harmless

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2010
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    2,328
    Location:
    Fulltiming in an RV! Currently NW Oregon
    I lived in the RV park there off of Balboa for a few months while down there. I had been in Valencia before that, and Redlands before that. Now I'm back in Oregon again. I'd love to be back in SoCal, but the cost of living there, and the insane taxes just make it unpalatable.

    The Versys is a nice bike. There are quite a few Versys owners on this site. A friend in Orange County had one for a few years, but sold it recently when he got a new Tiger 800XC.

    Rob
    #13
  14. jdfog2

    jdfog2 Been here awhile

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    Apr 15, 2012
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    West Central Indiana
    #14
  15. Rob.G

    Rob.G Mostly Harmless

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2010
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    2,328
    Location:
    Fulltiming in an RV! Currently NW Oregon
    #15
  16. Keithert

    Keithert Long timer

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    Location:
    NW suburbs of Chicago, IL
    Nice report. I am very jealous of you people that live near decent riding areas!
    #16
  17. GSAragazzi

    GSAragazzi Long timer

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    The Purgatory of Suburbia
    Plus 1on both counts!
    #17
  18. BackRoadNomad

    BackRoadNomad Wandering around

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2004
    Oddometer:
    357
    Location:
    St. Bethlehem, Tennessee
    I enjoyed your ride report and photos. I own a 2008 Versys and seek out gravel and dirt roads to photograph the real American landscape. I detest interstates. At 6280 miles in two years, I just replaced the O.E.M. tires with Pirelli Scorpion Trails tires. Airing them down from the recommended tire pressure sure instills more confidence over unimproved terrain.
    #18
  19. billybumbler

    billybumbler Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    17
    That stinks not having good stuff around. I hope I always live near mountains. Unless you go pure dirt I think mountains are essential to good rides.
    #19
  20. billybumbler

    billybumbler Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    17
    Another Versys trail ride? Come! Let us be brothers henceforth, and fight for the right as one.



    PS: Thanks for the tip about the tires. I have been thinking about getting some all terrain tires. Also I have been thinking about learning how to put on new tires.






    Sorry, sometimes I cannot resist movie quotes.
    #20