Eighteen Years In The Making

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by BluRidgeRider, Aug 13, 2013.

  1. BluRidgeRider

    BluRidgeRider Long Rider Supporter

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    I began racing Wednesday nights at the Richmond State Fairgrounds. Richmond was a wonderful short track that was fashioned inside the horse show arena. The outside edges of the track were bordered by plywood sheets and the fan seating was just inches on the other side of those retaining walls. The smell of two-stroke oil burning and the dirt flying into the stands as the riders went by made it a very intimate place to watch flat track racing. It hosted some of the best, elbow banging racing I've ever seen.

    I did alright on my Montesa at Richmond, but never seemed to be able to get onto the podium. I later made the switch to a Bultaco Pursang, but in hind sight wished I had sorted out the jetting on that Montesa Capra. I didn't understand at the time how that overly rich jetting was affecting the Capra's performance (other than needing to change plugs often). I have thought about it often since then and I think that bike might have been perfectly suited to that short track at Richmond had it been properly jetted.

    I also became a Saturday night regular at Greens Raceway located in Disputana, Virginia. Greens was a much longer and faster track than Richmond and it was hard packed dirt. Richmond was loose dirt with multiple lines; Greens always formed into a groove.

    Montesa Capra at Greens Raceway

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    My buddies were all better riders than me and they immediately started winning races and advancing up in the ranks. I continued to race in the C class and be a middle-of-the-pack racer. I was a bit overweight and that certainly didn't help me running in the 125 class. But I never gave up and was determined to win a race through hard work.

    The final race of the 1973 season for Greens Raceway was scheduled for October 19 and was billed as the 'East Coast Championships'. A few weeks before that race, I had managed to finish third at Greens and was feeling much more comfortable on the bike. The week before the Championship race, Robert Dawson -- who had been winning the 125 C class lately -- proclaimed that he was "ready to win the Championship next week". He said it while standing right in front of me and said it like it was a fait accompli. In his mind, all he had to do was show up for his coronation.

    The night of the Championship, I finished second in my heat race which put me on the front line for the main event. In the final, I came off the line strong and was running in third place when we got to the first turn. I can't remember the name of the rider who was leading, but Robert Dawson was in second place. The race leader was fast down the straights, but Dawson and I were all over him in the turns. The leader kept looking back over his shoulder at us and I knew that he was getting nervous. Each time we went into the turns, Dawson would run to the leader's outside, but didn't have quite enough corner speed to make the pass. I stayed to the inside edge of Dawson and the race leader figuring one of them was bound to make a mistake. About halfway into the race, between the 3rd and 4th turns, the race leader lost his tire grip, went down and started sliding towards the outside edge of the track. Robert Dawson was right there on his outside and had no choice but to go wide to keep from getting gathered up in his spill. I rode through an opening on the inside big enough for a Peterbuilt truck and found myself in the lead. Dawson caught back up to me within a lap or two, but I rode a flawless race to the finish protecting my inside all the way and took the checkered flag.

    Parade Lap at the East Coast Championships

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    I learned one of the most valuable lessons of my life that day. Hard work and determination -- never giving up -- will absolutely make up for a lack of natural talent. There were better, lighter riders than me on the track that night, but I had worked hard, had never stopped believing I could win and kept my cool under pressure once I got into the lead.

    As for the Sand Field where I had worked to develop my powersliding technique, my buddies and I would occasionally go back to there in our cars and vans, circle up, synchronize our radios playing music and party. One night, one of my buddies had consumed too much beer and walked into the darkness on the edge of the field to relieve himself. When he didn't come back in a reasonable amount of time, we went looking for him. He had passed out while in mid-leak and lay there on the sand sound asleep with his zipper down and his anatomy still hanging out. We called it the 'Sand Snake' incident and we still make jokes about the infamous Sand Snake to this day.

    Numa
    #41
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  2. BluRidgeRider

    BluRidgeRider Long Rider Supporter

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    The folks at Carolina Adventure Cycles (CAC) installed the Race Tech fork and shock springs for me late last week. Race Tech did not have the exact weight fork springs in stock that I wanted -- they said they wouldn't have any more in that weight until late September -- so I ordered some a little lighter and had CAC replace the fork oil with a little heavier oil.

    I haven't had a chance to ride it much since then as I was out of town over the weekend, but it appears that it made a huge difference. When I sit on the bike with the side stand down, it no longer attempts to catapult me off the bike on the opposite side of the stand. The forks dive less under braking and it feels much better on the road. Can't wait to get it out on some fire roads to give the suspension a better test.

    Rear KLR shock with Race Tech spring.

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    Because it took most all of the sag out of the bike, it now sits higher. I placed an order for the low version of Sargent's World Sport Saddle to help my reach to the ground.

    Numa
    #42
  3. parallaxbill

    parallaxbill Mid-Carolina ADVR Supporter

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    Same results I got Numa. Nobody likes the way the stand tries to pitch you off on the stock setup. The Racetech springs turned my KLR into a different bike thst feels much better on and off road.
    #43
  4. BluRidgeRider

    BluRidgeRider Long Rider Supporter

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    I have been working as time permits to install accessories on the KLR.

    Venison dicer/headlight protector.

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    I decided to use the permanent mounts versus the quarter turn quick disconnect mounts on the Hepco-Becker racks. I don't think I would want to remove the racks that often and the permanent mounting hardware offers a little extra security.

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    These Caribou bags are the Pelican Storm-based 35 liter bags.

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    Here they are from the rear.

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    Here's a full profile shot.

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    The whole Caribou/Hepco-Becker/Pelican package looks to be very rugged. I like the fact that you don't have to use a key each time to open the saddlebags. You can lock them if you want, but -- unlike the Givi E360 bags on my V-Strom -- you don't have to use a key every time you open these bags. The locks for the mounts and saddlebags are keyed alike.

    My Sargent saddle is supposed to arrive tomorrow. Still don't have the SW-Motech skid plate yet. It is supposed to arrive from Germany at Twisted Throttle's location on August 8 and then they'll ship it to me. I'm hoping it will arrive in time for me to get it installed before my son and I leave on our trip.

    Numa
    #44
  5. longrides1

    longrides1 Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Skagit Valley Washington USA
    My son got a 2008 Versys from a fellow inmate last week, and I rode it home 462 miles since he doesn't have his endorsment.

    I liked it very nimble easy handling bike, plus a great begginer bike for anybody wanting in at a lower price point.


    #45
  6. BluRidgeRider

    BluRidgeRider Long Rider Supporter

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    My Sargent World Sport seat arrived earlier this week while I was in Atlanta. I installed it on the KLR Wednesday evening after I got back in town.

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    Here's how it looks on the bike.

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    Rode the KLR today for the first time since installing the new seat and saddlebags. Just rode a short distance to the office this morning, but I took a 50 mile round trip ride to our district office over in Oakboro this afternoon to attend a meeting. The Race Tech suspension and seat upgrades have made a profound difference in how comfortable I feel on this KLR. I hope to get a chance to log some more substantial miles on Sunday afternoon, but my initial impression is that the Sargent saddle -- just like the Race Tech springs -- was worth every penny spent.

    Numa
    #46
  7. BluRidgeRider

    BluRidgeRider Long Rider Supporter

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    Roger from Caribou Luggage saw photos of my Caribou-equipped KLR on AdvRider and contacted me about using some of them on the Caribou website.
    A small photo of my bike can be seen on the "What Fits My Bike\Kawasaki KLR650 2008 and Newer" page and two small photos of it appear on the
    KLR Pelican Storm 35L page as shown below.

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    Just two weeks away from my second annual multi-day trip with Numa Jr. Getting more excited by the day. I'm just hoping that the good folks from Twisted
    Throttle will come through with delivering my backordered SW-Motech Skid Plate so that I can install it in time for our trip. We have some dirt/gravel fire roads
    included in this year's route and I'll feel a whole lot more relaxed after replacing the plastic Kawasaki OEM plate with the 4mm thick SW-Motech aluminum
    skid plate.

    Numa
    #47
    beachz likes this.
  8. BluRidgeRider

    BluRidgeRider Long Rider Supporter

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    A little over a week until we depart on this year's ride. Looks like I'll be using the factory, plastic skid plate for this trip. Twisted Throttle tells me the shipment of SW-Motech skid plates from Germany has been delayed. I looked into a few other possibilities, but decided to wait for the SW-Motech plate. It's the one I really want and I'm sure that it'll work with the new style SW-Motech crash bars that I have on my KLR.

    Took a short ride on Sunday up towards the mountains and shot a little video while riding on Old NC 18. It was my first ride on a twisty road since getting the KLR pretty well set up like I want it. I recently made a shoe mount for my GoPro camera to get a little different perspective and gave it a try on Sunday.

    Here is about one minute of video to show you how it looks. Notice the chain moving, the countershaft turning, the swingarm and rear shock working. You will see my buddy Alan riding behind me on his Suzuki DR650 at times.



    Numa
    #48
  9. BluRidgeRider

    BluRidgeRider Long Rider Supporter

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    Numa Jr had planned to change the oil, adjust the chain and give the V-Strom a check over on Sunday. His work schedule had prevented him from riding it lately and the V-Strom had sat for a while in the garage back in Maryland. It was not on a trickle charger and the battery had run down a bit.

    We he attempted to start it on Sunday to warm the oil, the battery quickly ran down before the bike started. My brother put it on the charger over night and they tried it again on Monday with the same result. I think it fouled the plugs a bit on the Sunday attempt and there wasn't sufficient charge to clear the plugs on the Monday attempt.

    I suggested they charge it again over night and try starting it on Tuesday with the charger still connected and on the jump start setting. I was holding my breath thinking we might have to call off the trip. I could not postpone the trip to the next weekend due to work commitments. Here we were two days before scheduled departure and they couldn't get the bike to start.

    My brother called me Tuesday afternoon with good news. He had the bike running fine and was changing the oil. Numa Jr got a late start on Thursday, but arrived in Monroe, NC on Thursday evening.

    I had the KLR ready with fresh oil, chain adjusted, chain oiled and tires properly inflated. All of the accessories were installed except for the SW-Motech skid plate which is still MIA. The plastic OEM plate will have to do for this trip. Shouldn't be a problem as we won't be doing any real serious off road; just giving Numa Jr a chance to try out a full size bike in dirt/gravel on fire roads.

    Numa
    #49
  10. BluRidgeRider

    BluRidgeRider Long Rider Supporter

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    My wonderful wife has a broken ankle and has been unable to drive for the past couple of weeks. I was feeling guilty about leaving on this trip with her at home and unable to drive. But she was insistent that we go ahead with our plans. The day before we are scheduled to leave the doctor clears her to drive if she uses a special ankle brace. She decides to drive to Chesapeake, Virginia to spend the weekend with my oldest daughter, our son-in-law and our new grandson. And bingo, just like that, my son and I have a guilt-free pass for three days to ride in the mountains.

    It's Friday morning and the weather report continues to show a beautiful forecast for the entire weekend. My son keeps late hours and is not one to roll out of bed at the crack of dawn. He wants to get a few things done -- including buying some sun glasses -- before we depart. We finally get the bikes loaded and ready to roll. It's close to 11:00 AM when we head out of Monroe.

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    We take Newtown Rd over through Marvin and into South Carolina where we fill our tanks with good, inexpensive South Carolina petrol. We run up Route 160 through Rock Hill, cross Lake Wylie and head north on Route 274. A short hop west on Route 27 gets us over to Route 18 and we veer onto Old NC 18 for the roller coaster run into Morganton. Old NC 18 is always a treat and it gives Numa Jr. a chance begin getting back into the groove of riding in the twisties.

    We roll into Morganton and check into the Hampton Inn where we lighten our load. Numa Jr. completely removes the saddlebags and topcase from the V-Strom. The only off-road riding he has experienced is on a Yamaha XT225 when he was first learning. This will be his first off-road experience on a full size bike and his first off-road riding in the mountains. He's a little apprehensive and wants to lighten the bike as much as possible.

    I leave my new Caribou saddlebags mounted to carry camera equipment, tools and water for both of us. My Wolfman waterproof bag contains my clothes, cell phone/iPad chargers, etc. I remove it from the luggage rack and leave it the hotel room. Numa Jr's apprehension and our late start cause me to re-think my original choice for his first off-road ride. I decide to make the ride up Table Rock Rd to Jonas Ridge instead of riding up Maple Grove Church Rd. My son handles the ascent to Table Rock extremely well and experiments with standing and siting riding positions as we make our way up the mountain.

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    We stop to top off our gas tanks at Jonas Ridge and then run west across Route 183 to Famous Louise's for dinner. My son orders a barbeque plate and I decide on baby back ribs. Both meals are excellent and the service is great as is always the case at Louise's.

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    It's getting late so we retrace our route across 183, ride down Rt. 181 -- stopping by the Brown Mountain overlook for a view and photos -- and then continue south back into Morganton.

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    Back at the hotel, the clerk agrees to let us leave the bikes parked under the entranceway roof for the night.

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    Riding boots and long pants off; flip flops and shorts on; cold sodas and cigars in hand; we head to the swimming pool area to relax and discuss the day's events. I have one of my favorite Romeo Y Julieta Reserva Real Toros and Numa Jr. enjoys a more full-bodied Drew Estates Herrera Esteli. Over cigars, Numa Jr. says he loved the off-roading and starts talking about scheduling another trip back down so that we can focus entirely on off-roading. This is going great!

    It's late when we turn in for the night. Tomorrow the plan is to ride all on tarmac, but things don't always go entirely according to plan.

    Numa
    #50
  11. JoeyBones

    JoeyBones Encouraging Entropy

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    That's a nice pic right there!

    Since you are quite the cigar enthusiast, perhaps we should look into the MotoDiscovery tours of Cuba one of these days...

    :evil
    #51
  12. pieeye

    pieeye Go Far...Get Lost

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    Loving it Numa!

    Great time making memories with your Son......Priceless!
    #52
  13. BluRidgeRider

    BluRidgeRider Long Rider Supporter

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    #53
  14. BluRidgeRider

    BluRidgeRider Long Rider Supporter

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    That sounds like a great trip! I hear the photo opportunities in Cuba are plentiful and the night life is very entertaining. 2016? Let's talk about it Thursday night at Hawthorne's.

    Numa
    #54
  15. BluRidgeRider

    BluRidgeRider Long Rider Supporter

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    I'm glad you're enjoying it.

    By the time I really got into long distance motorcycle touring, my father was getting on up in years. He had undergone surgery for a knee replacement on one leg and he had to have a bone fused in his ankle on the other side. He didn't feel like he had sufficient strength to balance a motorcycle. My mother told me some time later that, even though Dad worried much about my brother and me riding motorcycles, he confided in her that he would've given anything to have been able to join us on our motorcycle adventures.

    I'm going to do this with my son as often he wants and for as long as I can. But now that my son is riding, I do finally "get" how much my father worried about my brother and me.

    Numa
    #55
  16. parallaxbill

    parallaxbill Mid-Carolina ADVR Supporter

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    Riding with one's son is truly a blessing. l'm greatful my son talked me into getting into riding last year. My dad just turned 88 and the only activities he would share with me were fishing and golf. He held great disdain for motorcycles and those that rode them. :-(
    #56
  17. BluRidgeRider

    BluRidgeRider Long Rider Supporter

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    You're very fortunate that your son lives so close and that you can ride with him on a regular basis. I mentioned to my son several times last weekend, that if he lived in Charlotte, he could go riding in the mountains every weekend.

    Your Dad is apparently a very good judge of character. As a group, we are a disreputable lot!

    Numa
    #57
  18. BluRidgeRider

    BluRidgeRider Long Rider Supporter

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    Saturday dawned to another picture perfect day. Before the sun set at the end of the day, we completed one of the single best days of riding I have ever experienced. With rain gear snuggly ensconced in stuff sacks and stowed in our saddlebags, we headed west on Route 70 to Marion. Still on Route 70 and now just west of town, we headed up Route 80 towards the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP). We stopped by the dam at the foot of Lake Tahoma to shoot a couple of photos and mount the GoPro on the KLR.

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    Numa Jr. led the way up Route 80 to the scenic overlook on Route 80 next to the BRP. Blind Kenny was set up shooting photos in a turn before we reached the top, so we decided to run back down the mountain and make another pass to be sure we he got some good photos. I turned into a driveway at the bottom to make a U-turn and Numa Jr. followed my lead. The driveway intersected with Route 80 at a steep angle and young Jr. lost his balance resulting in a low speed tip-over on the V-Strom. My first concern was to make sure that Numa Jr was alright (he was fine, if not a little embarassed) and then we stood the bike upright to assess the damage. The bike had gone down on its left side and the end of the clutch lever was broken off. The turn signal housing was also damaged, but the turn signal bulb continued to work fine. The SW-Motech crash bars functioned as designed and protected the expensive body work and gas tank.

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    I know what you must be thinking, "He just told me this was one of his best days ever riding and then he tells me his son had a tip-over and damaged his beloved V-Strom. He must've had some very rough days on a motorcycle." Not at all. The way I look at it, my son just continued his motorcycle education and he wasn't hurt. Eighty bucks worth of parts and a little touchup paint on the crash bars and it'll look as good as new. Best of all, it didn't damage anything that would prevent us from continuing our ride.

    We made the run back up the mountain and await the results to see if Blind Kenny captured us at our best. The traffic from Route 70 up Route 80 to the BRP was pretty heavy. It was Saturday morning and the sport bike and "Loud Pipes Save Lives" crowds were out in force around the BRP. (A group of Electra-Glide riders stopped at the overlook and they looked like their bikes probably averaged roughly 35 miles per gallon of chrome polish.)

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    When we continued north on Route 80, the traffic just seemed to evaporate. We rode unencumbered up Route 80 and across Route 226 into Bakersville for lunch at Helen's.

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    After lunch we rode up Route 261 to Carvers Gap, paid our fee (Opa) and rode to the top of Roan Mountain for a look.

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    We even made a new friend at the top of the mountain.

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    Numa Jr. confiscated the GoPro at that point and moved it over to the RAM mounts on the V-Strom. He would keep it for the rest of the trip and he shot some video at various points along the way.

    We continued north -- now in Tennessee -- and descended the mountain on Route 143. Routes US-19E, 173 and 107 took us southwest over to Unicoi and then south to the intersection with TN-395. We followed TN-395 southeast and crossed the border back into North Carolina where it became NC-197. We would follow Route 197 all the way until it looped back west and intersected with I-26 just north of Asheville.

    Our good luck with no traffic continued all the way until we got to Asheville. We got behind some cages each time we went through a small town, but every time we headed up into the mountains, one-by-one the cages would turn off just before the road got interesting.

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    Numa Jr. decided that he's not quite an Iron Butt candidate yet. Here he's standing to relieve the pain. We decided that, for now at least, he's more of a Brass Ass.

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    Nice views in the valleys along the route.

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    By this point in the ride, young Junior was getting very comfortable with the mountains and was dragging footpegs around almost every corner. I could hear him behind me every time we went into a sharp turn. As we continued on Route 197 we came into a section that had a series of particularly tight corners. We were riding at a sporting pace through those corners and crested a knoll only to find out -- without any sign to warn us -- that the tarmac ended and the road simply turned to gravel. Don't know if the project manager mishandled that road construction and ran out of funds (apparently he didn't even have enough left for a sign) or if we had just crossed into a new election district controlled by the minority party, but it sure came as a surprise to both of us.

    I hit the brakes to scrub some speed and let off of them just as I made the transition to gravel. Numa Jr. saw me brake and he got into the brakes hard locking up the rear tire on the pavement before he got to the gravel. We both got stopped just fine and had a good laugh. He had the GoPro running at the time (I will post some video later) and captured the rear tire squealing on the sound track.

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    I didn't measure it, but I'm guessing we rode approximately 10 miles on gravel before it turned back to pavement. We followed that to I-26 and then made the quick run down to the hotel in Asheville. The folks at the Best Western granted our request to leave the bikes under the entrance roof, so we had our second night without having to put covers on the motorcycles.

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    Dinner at Bonefish Grill was tasty and then we headed to the motel pool for another evening of cold drinks, cigars and conversation. I enjoyed a Paul Garmirian Artisan's Selection No. 2 and Numa Jr. had a Drew Estates Liga Privada Unico Feral Flying Pig. After that, it was lights out.

    Numa
    #58
  19. BluRidgeRider

    BluRidgeRider Long Rider Supporter

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    #59
  20. BluRidgeRider

    BluRidgeRider Long Rider Supporter

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    Here is a short video clip -- less than 1 minute -- of us riding on NC Route 197 when the pavement turns to gravel with no warning. Listen towards the end of the clip and you'll hear Numa Jr. lock up the rear wheel on the V-Strom.



    Numa
    #60