Sometimes it is tough to find new road to check out, especially when you are limited by how hot it is going to be in four hours! Last weekend I rallied the boys and we simply picked some roads that looked cool on Google Maps… I suppose a nice feature to suggest to Google would be a different color for PAVED roads! What you see before you is a three mile stretch of a twisty, “I thought it would be cool,” road that we tackled this past weekend:
Needless to say, it was a little stressful riding a bike that is not really mine, nor does it have knobby tires, down a twisty gravel road. On this journey we had Olive (my Ninja 1000), a Honda 1000 RR, a Suzuki SV 650, a Yamaha R6, and a Ducati Monster. There were a few of us that took the gravel confidently, yet cautiously... some of the others didn’t fare as well. I have to rave again about the body positioning of the Ninja 1000, it was easy to maneuver, while standing up dirtbike style; which is the best way to approach an unknown gravel section. Bike, body positioning, and rider skill made all the difference in the world on this trip, a few came up short. I won’t name any names, but let’s just say I had to rub it in and remark, “maybe you should ride like a girl?”
Regardless of how well Olive and I did on this gutsy gravel experience, the boys will always outperform us in one area…
August 8, 2011
Day 79 – Too far for too long.
I have been on the road, and unfortunately I couldn’t take Olive, although I certainly wish that I could have. Have you ever had the opportunity to visit Whistler, British Columbia in Canada? The beauty is that of which you would see in a movie, it was incredible. Unfortunately, I was there for work, so most of my exploration had to be done in the evenings, but what I saw during the day was lots of motorcycle riders!” Luuuuucky,” I would say to them and ask about their rides; there were even a few Ninja 1000 owners in the group. These three fellows (not riding together) all had similar rave reviews of this motorcycle; comfortable, fun, and more than they expected! Now that I am back to Olive it is time to twist the throttle, is has been too long and my time with her is coming to an end.
July 11, 2011
Day 51 – Testing the limits
Let’s face it, motorcycles like to go fast. I like to go fast. The problem here is that police and other law enforcement officials simply don’t appreciate riders trying to push the limits of their ability or their machines on the street; for that I am thankful, it would be utter chaos if we were free to twist the wrist without limits. Part of the reason motorcyclists often get a bad reputation is because some riders let their excitement or their need for speed get the best or them; why not take that desire to a race track and see what you really can do?
The Ninja 1000 can easily do over 80 mph in the first gear, she sits nicely at 85 while cruising down the highway, to say the least I have had to watch my speedometer closely. On every ride I find myself wanting to test Olive a little more; commuting to school and work doesn’t necessarily push the limits of what the bike can really do. I have been on several good rides throughout Tennessee and Georgia and I report nothing but positive feedback from the Ninja 1000. I am, however, curious about gearing; one specific road called Hog Pen Gap (I have no idea why it is named this) had so many switchbacks that I literally stayed in first gear the whole time. I hate first gear; I typically try to avoid using it on my race bikes and just gear the machine accordingly. Regardless, I am looking forward to comparing the Ninja 1000’s street attributes and the transition to the track. It is on the race track, without any distractions, that changes can be made to a motorcycle and the rider can actually feel the difference. Know of a track day in the Southeast? Let me know if you’re riding and I will try to get out there.
My last race on a Kawasaki ZX-6, Barber Motorsports Park. Brandon Bones Photography.
June 27, 2011
Day 37 – It’s the little things.
We often purchase bikes based on reviews or initial impressions, but there are often little things that we over-look or do not realize until we have spent some time on the bike. The Ninja 1000 has a few of those that I wanted to point out today. The first of which I have already talked about in a previous video, the adjustable wind screen; what an amazing idea. This is extremely convenient on long highway rides; I wonder now how I ever lived without this?
Let me start off the next point by first saying, not all mirrors are created equal. The Ninja 1000’s cat-eye shaped beauties are very adjustable and you can actually see in wide view, which is really what you need if you are spending a lot of time on the highways. More often than not you have to dip, duck, or hunch to see what is behind you; for me it has always been easier to just look over my shoulder. That is until now!
I have to admit a small discovery that I was a little disappointed with is that there is very limited adjustability in the brake and clutch levers. I typically like to have the levers rotated a little further forward/down, which keeps my elbows up and my body in my most comfortable position. This isn’t possible for the brake side, due to the positioning of the reservoir and an alignment pin. I am certain this could be changed with a small modification, but I will wait until Olive is mine to do anything like that.
If you ride a lot, pretty soon your bike will start to show areas of wear, one of these areas is always where your knees rub the bikes frame or fairings. On the Ninja 1000, Kawasaki has put a nice rubberized coating on the frame; which is not only providing grip, but it is protecting the surface. I love this idea!
Last but not least, the Ninja 1000 comes with two guards (or are they handles?) on either side of the passenger seat.
If you are packing up and hitting the road, these provide a perfect attachment point for your bungee straps. I would suspect that these may also serve to protect the tail section in one of those unsuspected tip-over’s. Purely speculation here, as I do not intend to test my theory! Then again, maybe Kawasaki is providing handles for the rider; could these be Jason Britton inspired handles?
June 20, 2011
Day 30 – How low can you go?
A while back I touched on the seat height of Olive, which for me has never really been a problem with any street bike, but this can be a real concern for a lot of riders. Not just women either, there are many guys that have to be conscience about when and where they come to a stop. One of the girls that I met at the annual Women’s Sportbike Rally in Tennessee made a comment about Olive and her seat height, so I thought this may be a good thing to discuss today.
The Ninja 1000’s seat height comes in at 32.3 inches and I have an inseam of 33, which means when I am in my Sidi boots I can stand flat footed. I know I am one of the lucky ones, because this is not the case for a lot of riders. I decided to ask the ladies of the Sportbike Rally what they ride and if seat height was a factor and almost 23% of them said that it was a concern and many of them have had their bikes lowered. There are several different ways to lower a motorcycle, but they are not all beneficial to the handling and the performance of the bike. The geometry of a motorcycle is very important to how the suspension works in different environments. I am going to dive a little deeper into this concern and ask a few of the suspension guru’s that I know; but considering that rider weight can considerably change suspension performance, I don’t think you want just anyone lowering your motorcycle.
June 15, 2011 Day 25 – Sunshine and spare parts.
Have you guys checked out the price of plane tickets lately? It’s unreal, I know gas prices are affecting how much driving have I have been doing, but it seems it may also be affecting how much flying I will be doing as well. As a responsible employee of Leatt Corporation, I certainly don’t want to waste money on inflated ticket prices. What I am getting at here is that I have a trip coming up to West Virginia; for a GNCC round in Snowshoe… I have heard great things about the roads that connect Canton, Georgia and Snowshoe, West Virginia.
I certainly have the storage requirements to carry what I need for this trip, so that really isn’t a concern; what I need is an interesting journey. I have no desire to “iron butt” a nine hour ride on straight or flat highways. Here is Google’s suggestion of how to get there; what do you think? Do you know of any roads along the way that I simply much check out? Shoot me an email via Facebook!
June 12, 2011
Day 23 – Sunshine and spare parts.
We all wait for the weekends so we can do what we like for an extended period of time, am I right? Then we carefully make our plans based on weather, time, and what's going on. With a list of to do's for the weekend, I had to get an early start on Saturday to get Olive on the road before the afternoon thunderstorm. I mentioned in an earlier post that carrying my "stuff" has always been a challenge, so I went ahead and mounted a SH-48 SHAD hard case on Olive.
SHAD is a Spanish company that is distributed around the world; what this means is that the instructions come in several different languages and the mounting system is designed for several different motorcycles. After my initial look at the parts and the instructions I was a little intimidated, but to my excitement, I had this luggage system installed in about thirty minutes and I was on my way. There were a few "extra" pieces lying around but I have deduced they must be for other motorcycle applications, since my set-up is sturdy and functioning properly (fingers crossed).
Saturday was a day for running errands and a trip to the gym, carefully watching the sky for the imminent storms to dump on me. I don't mind riding in the rain so much, but I do really dislike wearing rain gear when it is 90 degrees outside, not fun. What I have found excellent about having this case on the bike is that I can take my gear off and lock it up while attending an event, shopping, or at work. No more lugging gear around, awesome.
June 10, 2011
Day 21 – Nothing good!
It has been a bad week for riding, to say the least. First of all, I have been hobbling around like an old woman since Tuesday; my little fender bender left me a little tense. On top of that, work and school have kept me busy during the best riding times, due to the Georgia heat index. Regrettably, I have no good stories to share… With that being said, tomorrow is Saturday!
June 8, 2011
Day 19 - Zombie attack!
Yesterday was another hot day in Georgia and I needed to make a quick run to the bank, I opted for the truck rather than the bike because of the heat (101 degrees) and I thought I may run by the grocery store on the way home. Besides I had Olive surrounded by tools, parts, directions, and my SHAD cases that were to be installed.
So there I was, sitting in traffic minding my own business, when *WHAMO* I get smashed onto from behind. An instant later I hit the Honda Pilot in front of me, ouch. After wriggling around enough to unlock the seatbelt, I quickly got out of the truck to ensure everyone was OK and assess the damage. Luckily, my 89 Ford Ranger (affectionately called the Danger Ranger) faired pretty well, I can’t say the same for the other two vehicles. The jack hole that hit me emerged from his minivan, slowly and stiffly, like some creature you would see in a Resident Evil movie. He proceeded to tell us that, “he hit the gas instead of the brake,” and that “he probably shouldn’t be driving.” That’s for sure, where do zombies get there license anyway? Apparently they don’t, he was arrested for no insurance and no license (allegedly). Perhaps I am being a little harsh on this old guy, but missing teeth, oozing sores, mumbles, and a foul odor scream Zombie to me. For a minute I felt sorry for him, and then I thought of my fateful decision just thirty minutes prior. I am glad I wasn’t on Olive; this grill could have been firmly attached to me instead of my Danger Ranger.
June 6, 2011
Day 17 - Junk in my trunk.
The tricky part about riding a motorcycle is trying to figure out where to put all your stuff, and if you are anything like me, you have a lot of stuff. Sometimes my food for the day needs it own bag, then there is my gym stuff, oh, and then my work stuff. So where does it all get put? Not in this trunk:
There aren’t too many motorcycles anymore that offer much for storage compartments, probably because there are so many great options out there for back packs, tank bags, and hard cases these days; they feel they don’t really need that as a feature. The trick is finding some way to carry all your loot, yet not making your bike too heavy or giving yourself neck and shoulder problems (try wearing a 20 pound back pack on a bike for any length of time). Considering I am riding my Ninja as much as I can, I really need something that can hold enough stuff to get me through the day. I also need a case that will lock, so I don’t have to take it will me every time I need to run into a store quickly or pay for my fuel. It is far too time consuming to take a tank bag on and off every time, but I would be crazy to leave my personal belongings out of sight in downtown Atlanta…. Man, if someone stole my granola bar and I got hungry, heads would roll! Seriously though, I often have my laptop or camera equipment with me; I needed a durable, large, and locking case. Tonight I install the SHAD SH-48, stay tuned!
June 3, 2011
Day 14 – Without her for a day!
Early this morning we took Olive to Cycle Nation of Canton to get the 600 miles service done. Mike, one of their lead mechanics, explains a little about what the “600 Miles Service” actually is and why it is important. Of course, while the bike is as the shop my SHAD hard cases arrive! Yippee, it’s like Christmas….
While I’m reading installation instructions Mike will be working hard to get Olive back to me today!
June 2, 2011
Day 13 – The wild windscreen!
There are so many great things about this motorcycle, but here is one cool feature that I checked out for the first time this past weekend.
May 31, 2011
Day 12 – Confession! I skipped class tonight to take Olive to her first bike night; I was far too tired from the weekend to actually pay attention in class. Can you believe that in Georgia at 8 pm it is still 90 degrees outside? The marvels of modern moto gear saved the day; I rolled out dressed To the Nines with every vent open. I even considered leaving my fly down for extra ventilation but I decided against it since they usually have a photographer on staff. Regardless of the temperature it was a nice night to be out and see everyone; we have thunderstorms rolling in tomorrow so it’ll be the perfect day for the 600 mile service (and catching up on homework).
May 30, 2011
Day 8, 9, 10 and 11 – Bikes, boats and boards!
What and amazing Memorial Day weekend, I wish that I could have gotten the footage to prove all the fun that Olive and I had. We took a nice journey up to North Georgia and southern Tennessee, moto-ing alongside the Georgia Cup Cyclists. I have to give them credit, it was hot and all up hill; I was glad to be on the bike. We rode for about 5 hours covering over 300 miles, and yes, we took the Contour camera…. But I forgot to empty the SD card before we left, so I guess we will have to go up there again real soon to document the awesomeness. Despite the fact that I didn’t get photographic evidence, I can tell you that it was amazing, and Olive and I “clicked.” I have been enjoying this bike since day one, but like on any motorcycle it takes some time to get into the groove, often my daily commuting doesn’t give me enough time on the bike to actually allow that to happen.
Along with the big ride, we took an evening to meet up with some friends at the movies, and even spend some time at the lake. The great part about riding the bike to the lake is that parking is always a snap! I tossed all my gear in my buddies’ truck and showed up after a little morning moto…. Ninja life is good.
May 26, 2011
Day 7 – Storms=Prep Time
Today was crazy! Very hot and humid during the morning and then another huge Georgia thunderstorm, hail and all; needless to say, Olive stayed in the garage. Since Memorial Day weekend is just a few days away I figured it would be a good time to give the bike a little inspection, just to be sure that everything is ready for the weekend. We have a big group ride planned that will probably take us into Tennessee and North Carolina. Olive has just less than 600 miles on her at this point, so after the weekend she will be going in for the first recommended service, back to see the boys at Cycle Nation of Canton.
Tires, chain, fluid levels all were perfect, which I had expected, so before the actual ride all I have to do is set tire air pressure and I will be on my way. I had to chuckle when I compared Olive’s rear tire to my other bike; I hope she’s is ready:
May 25, 2011
Day 6 – Nature vs. Machine
It was a beautiful commute to school today; check out my welcoming party:
May 24, 2011
Day 5 – Lights, camera, action!
I don’t know anything about video editing, but I just received this great Contour camera in the mail, I guess it is time to learn. Check out my first crack and a movie starring Olive:
May 23, 2011
Day 4 – I knew I hated Monday’s for a reason!
Why would anyone with a brand new Ninja 1000 in the garage hate a Monday? Because I have work and school and unfortunately I didn’t get to take the bike out today, but I did pull her out of the garage because I have been thinking about something all day and I hope that my pictures show what I am talking about.
Yesterday, I mentioned that I have primarily ridden on the track for the last few years, which is an incredibly good time, but track bikes are set up differently. The track or race bike body positioning is great for a ride where you are constantly moving, but try spending over 45 minutes in this position on a straight road or sitting in traffic when you are constantly clutching and braking.
Anyone with shoulder, wrist, back, knee, or ankle concerns really should consider this when looking for a bike; the types of angles you see below can make a difference at the end of a 100 mile day. Oh… In case you were wondering, this isn’t my riding attire!
May 22, 2011
Day 3 – Be explosive.
I have been riding motorcycles for quite a while now, but I have to admit that I am a little rusty when it comes to riding on the street. Sounds a little crazy right? Please let me explain. I have been primarily riding on the track, whether it is for a WERA race event or a practice track day, and on the track there are many things you don’t really worry about. There is no oncoming traffic, no traffic lights, no animals dashing in front of you, no lights, no keys, and no kickstands! Is it a bad thing that I look at every road and evaluate the race line? With that being said, today’s ride with Olive was fantastic but I had a momentary relapse in my street smarts.
I didn’t go far; it was about 90 degrees before I got on the road and since I refuse to ride without head-to-toe gear, I knew I wasn’t hydrated enough for a long ride. Just north of my house is highway 52 that rolls through Fort Mountain State Park; 27 miles of beautiful scenery, elevation changes, and exhilarating twisties. In an attempt to get an action shot Matt (my hubby) got on the gas a little so that he could set up for a picture, we played leap frog a few times for different shots, but it turns out we need to work on the camera settings a little!
One of the times I was giving Matt a head start, to setup for a picture, I decided to pull over, put the kickstand down, and eat a granola bar. Perhaps I should be a little more selective in my rest-stops; about half-way through my delicious lemon zest Luna bar Olive decides she’s ready to get going. The bike begins to roll forward, in an instant the kickstand springs up… Holy smokes… I’m doing a one legged motorcycle squat with a Luna bar in my mouth! There was one thing going through my mind, it was my crossfit coach yelling, “be EXPLOSIVE Teri Lynn!”
Don’t worry, Olive survived without a scratch and she didn’t even touch the ground. I may have blown a gasket saving her, but I now know that I could pick it up if I ever needed (knock on wood). This isn’t a heavy bike at all and another great advantage of the Ninja 1000 is the seat height. I can actually straddle the bike and stand flat-footed, which is very confidence inspiring and opens the door to so many more riders. On a side note: Thank you Crossfit Addiction for making me do all those tire flips, preparing me for today. Thank you Kawasaki and Cycle World for facilitating these adventures, (after reading this they’re thinking… Who picked this chick?)
May 21, 2011
Day 2 – Crunching the numbers
Let’s face it, gas prices are probably going to get higher as the summer goes on, so it is my intent to ride Olive-the Ninja 1000 as much as humanly possible. I typically drive a Ford Ranger that gets about 16 miles to the gallon and on an average week I will drive about 220 miles, give or take. For the Danger Ranger I use the 87 Octane, I am not sure if he’d know what to do with the high-end stuff. My fuel consumption, with current prices, is about $55 bucks a week. Now, with Olive getting strictly premium fuel the price per gallon is going up, yet I am still going to save money. Initial fuel savings looks to be about $25 a week… At the end of 90 days I will have saved $321 and if I were to continue for a year, it would save me $1300. So let me get this straight; I am having a blast and I am saving money? Perfect.
Since I travel to school, to the gym, to different accounts for work, I need to get some way to carry my goodies while riding. I was a little concerned when I started looking for luggage for the Ninja 1000, since it is a new design. Without too much trouble though, I found some and hopefully they are on their way to me as I type this; stay tuned for the installation. For now, I have a couple ICON tank bags that are doing the trick. Luckily, the Ninja 1000 has an all metal gas tank, so all four of the magnetic pads are able to hold it in place. So many of the newer model motorcycles have started putting the airbox up in the tank area, rendering the magnets useless… This is the first time I have been able to use these tank bags since 2005!
May 20, 2011
Day 1 – That New Bike Smell
There are a few smells that awaken my senses; coffee in the morning, a freshly printed newspaper, and the smell of a brand new motorcycle. Thanks to Cycle World Magazine and Kawasaki, the latter of the three was made possible by simply being a subscriber, incredible. A few weeks back I received an email about this Ninja 1000 Experience, and thought to myself, “this sounds way to good to be true!” The deal was like this: Submit a form asking questions about yourself, your activities on a motorcycle and on a social media websites, and why you think that you would be a good guest editor. Why not take the 15 minutes to fill this out? I was confident in my reasoning, I was truthful in my answers, and I was probably even a little cocky; it’s not like this was a Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes, someone was actually going to read my submission. Lo and behold, I was selected.
Still in awe that I actually won something, I made my way to Cycle Nation of Canton (Canton, GA) to pick up a shiny, 2011 Ninja 1000. The guys at the shop had it all ready for me; insurance card, California license plate, and a full tank of gas. After the handshakes, a picture, and even a hug, it was 1 pm. There is no way I am going back to work, sorry guys. Lucky for me, my husband was able to join me for an impromptu afternoon of canyon carving in north Georgia.
Now back to that new bike smell that I mentioned, it doesn’t last long, it is really hard to describe, and I am very certain that it can’t be replicated. There is something that happens within the first few miles on a motorcycle that only happen once, which creates this sweet odor that makes you feel like you could ride forever. Simultaneously all the components, moldings, cast and machined engine parts, fluids and the new tires all rise in temperature for the first time, creating a harmonious and symbiotic relationship for many miles to come. It is a smell you must experience, at least once in your life.
Day one with my Ninja was incredible; after 225 miles that new bike smell had came and gone, I have reignited my passion for the open road, and I have decided I love this motorcycle. I love, I love, I shall call her Olive!
May 16, 2011 You want content, right? I live an active lifestyle, which primarily revolves around two-wheeled vehicles. If I am not riding for fun, I am commuting to school, or attending motorcycle related events. Somehow, during the emerging Social Media up rise, I have managed to build a fairly large network of friends, family, and like-minded acquaintances, to which I share my daily chronicles! Thus far, I have been doing this for no other purpose than the fact that I enjoy it. This opportunity would shine a new light on my status updates and allow more creative media to be included, such as video or pictures. I have some interesting ideas of how to make this Blog well-rounded enough to entertain the most feminine of women and the manliest of men; I know I can appeal to both. I live at the base of the mountains in Georgia; just three hours from Deals Gap and Barber Motorsports Park, one hour from Road Atlanta, and five hours from the coast, I can ensure there would be many moto trips in my 90 days with the Kawi.