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Our website is all about motorcycles, especially BMW cycles. We cover rides in the Southwest and Mexico, motorcycle modifications and review motorcycle products. 

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Filtering by Category: "Honda"

The Other Bike

Tomas Perez

1998 Honda VTR1000F Super Hawk

No matter how happy we can be with our current bike(s) there always seems to come a time when our eyes wonder and we like/must have/need to try another bike. I have always told my friends that I am sticking to my current bike... at least until further notice. In addition, what makes this a rather strange or different move on my part is that I have always owned touring or sport touring bikes. And I would further clarify that the sport touring bikes that I have owned are 80% touring and 20% sport. A "mature" person's motorcycle. :)

Maybe it was my brother's influence when I saw him having fun working on his old 1979 R100RT or just a need for something different for my short rides. I did not want anything similar to my main bike and that being a touring bike. I am very happy with my touring motorcycle because it is made for eating up miles on end, light weight for a tourer, carrying capacity, good mileage and range, and a long list options available to meet just about anybody's needs. But on with my search... The first bikes I looked at were cruisers. And they were made by the least likely motorcycle company - BMW. The R1200C is a middle weight cruiser with a rather weak engine (in regard to HP) but has a good amount of torque. I found it very easy to ride because of it's low seat and low center of gravity and lots of torque. But in many regards it was overlapping what I currently have. As a matter of fact many of the C models are setup with the larger windshield and saddle bags. Then I rode a Super Hawk that a friend had for sale and asked me to check it out for him. The bike had sat pretty much since 2005 since that was the last time it was liscensed and the bike showed it by refusing to idle. That made it very hard to ride but I was nevertheless very impressed by the feel of the 90 degree V twin engine. Lots of torque and power across a very wide RPM range made it a pleasure to ride and I was limited to a large parking lot! I never got past 3rd gear!

I've had the VTR1000F Super Hawk for only 2 weeks but I have taken it out for short rides every day except for a few days when we had rain. For the last two weeks I have been working on little things on the bike. The engine and all running gear are in very good condition mostly in part because the bike only had 9,500 miles and the prior owner did a good job of maintaining the bike. The previous owner recently stopped riding the bike because of health issues so there were a few things that needed a little TLC plus I wanted to make a few changes with the extra parts that were included with the bike. I started the same night I got the bike home by washing and waxing it. Following is a partial list of what I did to the bike in the first 10 days:

  • Replaced the touring windshield with the stock windshield.
  • Replaced the stock mufflers with a high mount MIG exhaust system.
  • A little WD40 fixed a signal switch that was slow to return to normal.
  • A heavy throttle was fixed by using a little chain/cable lube.
  • Front fork returned to normal from a 15 mm drop (maybe not as quick to turn but more stable).
  • Front preload was set back to normal (it was set very light).
  • Dampening was returned closer to normal from a very soft setting.
  • Chain lubed - twice.
  • Throttle lock (Vista Cruise) installed.
  • Engine oil and oil filter replaced with Mobile 1 10W-40.

The bike came with a Factory Pro jet kit that was removed by the previous owner but it is running so nice that I don't want to mess with it in that regard. There are days that I think about that jet kit and ask myself "can it get any better than this?" but, I like said before, it is so nice as it is now. The stock jets are in the bike right now.

Today I took the bike out for my first long ride and away from traffic. Shortly before sunset I went to a small farming community located to the north west from where I live. We pass that area often when we travel west or north which is most of the time since we have very little riding area to the south (MX) and not much more to the east (Gulf of MX).

This area produces a lot of grain

A little McCook history

My goal was to make it to the small chuch that serves the community and take some photos if the daylight holds out. It's hard to call McCook a town because the main intersection is only a four way stop and there are exactly two convenience stores at the intersection. That's right, two of the four corners are empty lots.

Since the roads in this area are seldom traveled it gave me the opportunity to see what the bike can do at speed. I know the bike is fast but I wanted to know if it was stable and how the fairing and wind shield protected the rider. What I like about this bike is regardless how fast you are going simply twisting the throttle open takes the sag off the front end and the speed increases at a rapid rate. In addition, running thru the gears is a pleasure. The sound from the engine and the thrust is very nice. I find myself shifting at 4,500 or 5,000 RPMs but the engine redlines at 9,500! I'm still telling myself that this bike is too much bike for me. Time will tell.

The other bike...

I find the low bars nice at speed because the wind blast helps to support your upper body. Lucky for me that I have a rather quiet helmet although from about 80 and above it is loud when riding without earplugs. The same goes for vibration... very smooth until I'm above 80 when I start to get buzzing on either hand grips or foot pegs depending on speed. But at normal speeds I am surprised how smooth the V twin is. On the ride back I came upon a line of 5 pickup trucks in a line headed south. I came up behind them right before a long easy curve so I waited until after the curve to get around them. Once past the curve - which they took at about 60 MPH - I proceeded to pass them. I hit 70 MPH and only manage to be even with the last truck. Obviously they too were accelerating once out of the curve. I'm on a 2 lane road so I either drop back or get on it and pass them all. I twist the throttle a little and with a rush of speed and an intoxicating exhaust note I pass all the trucks. I look down at my speed and the speedometer is at an even 100 MPH and not even breaking a sweat. I twist on for an instant before I let up on the gas just to get a feel for how much more the bike can pull and once again ask myself if this bike is going to get me in trouble. That's what the brain says... my heart says that I need this bike.

It's old fashion with no ABS and carburetors just like my brother's R100RT. It even has a chain. I haven't had a motorcycle with a chain for many years. The old BMWs are known to be very reliable but so are the Honda products. It's rather light with a dry weight of about 426 pounds. It's a 265 mile ride (one way) to get my BMW serviced by a dealer but I have a Honda dealer only about 4 miles from my home. The Super Hawk has a forward lean but I'm telling myself that it's a form of exercise for me. I need to add here that the bike had the clip ons replaced with VFR clip ons that raise and widen the bars. That's a welcomed improvement for me. The bike is very easy to maintain - takes minutes to change oil and filter. Even changing sparks plugs is done in minutes. The bike has 2 cylinders with 100+ HP and 70+ lb-ft on a small frame. Yes... it is very different than my R1200RT and a joy to ride but it will never replace my RT for long touring. Just a different ride... my "other" bike.


Posted with Blogsy

Posted with Blogsy

Things That Work (for me)

Tomas Perez

Motorcycle Content

Updated: 2012/07/23

These are things that I have gotten or use with my motorcycle.  I have another posting for the same thing but featuring items that are not motorcycle related.  This is not meant as an all inclusive list.  There is no way that I can try all boots, jackets, lights, etc.  In addition, I want to keep the review as short as possible with, in some cases, a link to a detail review.

Motorcycle Gloves - With many years of riding I've had a lot of gloves but I did start out using non motorcycle gloves.  I'm a hard fit for gloves.  Normally I have to try on a lot of pairs before finding something that fits me somewhat well.  My last four sets are the best I've had.  I live in Texas - it gets real hot here therefore my main gloves are summer gloves.  I had the Tourmaster GX Air for summer and an old pair of HD winter gloves that I only use if it is very cold.  A couple of years ago I replaced the GX glove with the Held summer glove (don't recall the name but similar to the current Air).  Last week I purchased a middle weight glove and I really like them.  I am thinking I can retire the heavy, fat finger HD gloves and use the BMW Allround 2 gloves.  I rode several hours in the rain and I never got water inside of the gloves.  The Allround 2 gloves retail for $75.  The Held was about $80 but discounted at a motorcycle dealer in central Texas.  Conclusion: Held for the summer and the BMW Allround 2 for cold weather and rain.  Looking to try out the BMW AirFlow II gloves whenever the Held Air gloves give out.  They are showing some wear after about 20K miles of use.
Update - 2012/07/23 - Got the Airflow II gloves on 7/18/2012.  My first impressions after just 265 miles of use: Plus: These are the best fitting gloves I've had.  They fit great just wearing them on the hands and also while wrapped around the grips of the bike but maybe that is because the 8/8.5 gloves were a little too tight and the 9/9.5 fit just right around the palm but some of the fingers were a bit too long for my hands.  I'm hoping they don't get too loose after I break them in.  Minus: Compared to both the Held and the GX air gloves these gloves flow very little air.  Instead of an open mesh feel I would say these gloves are breathable.  Stick your hands out in the air stream and air is felt on the back of the hand and the fingers (nothing on the palm).

TM GX Air (Summer)

Held Air (Summer)

BMW Allround 2 (Mid weight)
Notice 2 straps and reflective strip

The Harley winter gloves

BMW Airflow II gloves

Power Distribution Panel - There are several on the market that you can choose.  I am using the Fuzeblock.  I liked it because I can select between switched and unswitched for each circuit that I need.  Everything I've added to the bike that requires power is control via this unit.
Link: FuzeBlocks

Power Amplification - Disclosure: I have only used one type of amp - the Amplirider.  This amp runs off the bike's 12V supply, has 3 source inputs, and a remote volume control.  The main thing that I like about this unit is that I have used it for many miles and years on my prior bike and had zero problems.  I purchased a new one for my new bike.
Link: AmpliRider Amp

Boots - I use a true motorcycle boot plus have two casual type boots that I use both on and off the bike.  My official bike boots are the Sidi Way Rain street boot.  They are light and totally waterproof.  For local riding I just got a pair of Timberland PRO non-steel toed work boots.  They fit me very well, are very comfortable and are also waterproof.  The other pair I use for local rides and casual use is a pair of Bates GX-8 waterproof boots.  The Bates is a tactical type of boot so they are made to walk and work on for hours at a time.  The Bates have a lace up system and a side zipper for easy on/off.  The Bates and Timberlands are both about $120.  Both are first class boots but may not protect your feet as well as a true motorcycle boot.  For serious riding I use the Sidi boots.  By the way, get a few pair of really good socks.  You will be surprised how big of a difference good socks can make.  The Smartwool socks are reviewed in this blog.

Ear Bud Speakers - After trying many I am happy with the S Plug ear buds.  They fit well, easy on, don't fall out, and have good sound quality.  I have the single speaker ear buds.  Cost - $140.  Not cheap but I think they are good.  I've had them for over a year and still going strong.
Link: S Plug Ear Buds

Jacket - I started with the full Tourmaster jacket with the winter liner.  This jacket was just too hot for summer riding so I got the Tourmaster Intake.  The Intake is a big system with two different liners - one for rain and the other for colder weather riding.  After using that jacket for a number of years I decided to go with the BMW Airflow 4 jacket and Tourmaster Sentinel rain jacket to make the Airflow a 3 season jacket.  The Airflow is expensive but very well made and it just hangs on you so well that you forget you are wearing it.  Not nearly the air flow of the Intake but I think that is a good thing.  I think too much air flow can dry you out faster than normal.  The Airflow seems to manage the air going into the jacket very well.  My record high with this jacket is 113 F.  Review pending.

Additional Brake Lights - Several around.  I got the P3 lights and like them. Very bright with a flash mode when the brakes are first applied.  The flashing lasts about 4 seconds.  When the LEDs are on normally the LEDs have a flicker to them.  The flicker mode can be switched off if you don't want that feature.  Details in a future review.

Pants - This past winter (2011) was my first time buying true motorcycle pants.  Only used them one time so review will have to wait. They are the Olympia summer riding pants with inside rain liner.  I have used the liners as rain pants with good results.
Update - 2012/07/23 - I got to try these pants on a two day ride this Summer and really liked them.  They are much cooler than jeans in temperatures from 88 to 98.  I want to know how they handle 105 to 115+.
By the way, don't use a leather belt for touring.  I know use a web belt that is both strong and is not damaged by water.  The time will come when you either ride in the rain without your rain gear or your rain suit will leak.  A wet leather belt is hard to deal with and it remains that way for a long time.

GPS - Zumo 660.  Expensive but fairly good and made for motorcycles and comes with the hardware to use in your car also. Review here: Zumo 550 & 660 Review

Seat - After 15,000 miles on my RT I bit the bullet and got the driver Corbin heated seat.  It's my third Corbin - I like them.  Seats are very personal.  Try as many as you can before you decide if you are thinking of buying an after market seat.  IMO it took about 4,000 to break in the seat (factory I think says 1,500).  One reason I choose the Corbin seat for the RT is that I had the Corbin with the Smuggler trunk on my ST1300 and really liked the trunk.  I may at some time add the trunk to the RT.

Headlight Upgrade - I added a little more power to the H7 headlights by using the Osram H7 Rallye 65 watt bulbs.  The Osram puts out 2100 lumens compared to 1400 of the stock bulbs (50% increase) and they have the same bulb life of 500 hours.  Review here: Headlight-Upgrade-Review
Update - 2012/07/23 - I did the HID upgrade for my upcoming long summer ride.  Much more light but not a perfect implementation IMO.  Detail review pending.

To be continued...

How Smooth is the Honda ST1300?

Tomas Perez

When I was selling my 2003 Honda ST1300ABS with 48,000 miles I took the picture below to demonstrate how smooth the engine was even after that many miles.  I saw this performed on a used car (Lexus) so I thought I would try it on a motorcycle.  Notice that the engine is idling at about 1100 RPMs.  The coin used is a nickle and no, it is not glued to the gas cap.  :)

I miss that bike but still like my current ride.