Wednesday, November 18, 2015

First days first 1,000kms with a Triple Black GS

After four months of indecision about my purchase, it was upon me in a flash.

It was all sorted, in a rare collision of coincidence and timing I’d pick the GS up Monday arvo and do a ritual lap of the beach, then set out the next morning to cover the first thousand kilometres in two days climbing my way to Mt Hotham and back.
I'd organised a leave pass to disappear for two days. The first part of that trip, which is slabbing it out on the freeway to Bairnsdale, is usual quite banal and uninteresting, but I carved up some good alternatives that took me to Warragul before hitting any freeway stuff.

I didn’t care, everything was new!

From Bruthen I took the Snowy Road and headed for Omeo. That is one of the best roads up around those parts and I was totally ready to attack it and see what the big black beast could do. I had a run down the night before of just how to read all of the info at my disposal with the Nav 5 and the bike itself and its myriad of settings.

I had on my dash; Speed, Revs, Trip 1, Range, and along the bottom Front & Rear tyre pressure. On the Nav, I had three screens to select with the Wonder Wheel on the left bar, a selection of four displays with Temp, Range and blah blah blah.. it was overwhelming, but once set and after a few hundred kays I found a happy place with it all.

It just feels so good to be back on a big twin, I really do feel at home on this style of bike - I covered just under 600kms that day and I felt like I had just come home. It totally blows my mind the big wide bars, sitting up, kicked back, tearing up corners and shooting into the stratosphere with much vigour.

The next day I was up and off early, eager to hit more mountains and some dirt. I bordered the Alpine National Park and made my way around and down to Mansefield and fuelled up. The next bit was going to be challenging.

I took a dirt road to Woods Point and out to Warburton via the Reefton Spur, and it was indeed challenging. It started out with 5 kms of ball bearings that turned into wet mud road that clung to a cliff face and wound around the mountain where Smeagol lives.

That road is not for the feint hearted…but it was made for a GS!

At first I was very timid on the dirt, sitting down trying to steer with my weight wasn’t working. It was washing out the front all the time and under acceleration it felt … icy.

So I stood up.

I put my weight over the tank and stuck my neck out like a duck peering into the mist.

Everything got immediately better. I remembered my engine modes and tapped away on the mode button until I found Enduro and took off.

The back can still spin on Enduro but it only does it to a certain point, then traction control takes back over. It’s perfect for me, works like a security blanket. Just keep strangling it until you almost fall and it picks you back up again.

I’ve come to grips with traction control but this is the best I’ve ever had it. I was reaching and managing a comfortable 80kmh on these super slippery looking roads, the whole time standing up getting my legs to do some of the work.

It was completely awesome fun.

I did however have two slightly nerve wrecking moments, where I lost the front a bit, pushing a bit hard, going too fast, on a brand new bike two days old, but with so much techno wizardry beneath me all I had to do was accelerate out of both situations.

'Nae bother' the Scots would say.

I cannot explain in simple words just how comfortable the bike made me on those unsealed roads. It didn’t matter.

Road surface didn’t matter, and wet weather didn’t dampen my spirit, I’m actually quite amazed at how dry my bottom half remained (wearing Draggins) even though it drizzled all day, whatever we threw at the GS it just responded in kind and beckoned for more.

It has relighted my joy for dirt riding, now when I see a hill or a track I wanna go ride it.

A good 25kms in, I was unexpectedly passed. I didn’t even see the first guy coming, he tore past on an older GS and I recognised him as the one asking the questions back at the petrol station.

He literally flew past like a madman possessed spraying mud and crap up everywhere. I swear I heard a fading 'yahoo' as he whizzed by.

That inspired me and I took off like a shot after him not worried about the rest of his crew.

I pushed pretty hard for a fairly good stint standing up, and smashing corner after corner but I couldn’t catch him.

I could see him, but I couldn’t make enough ground up to catch him, the whole time he just sat down and pushed on and on until I gave up and couldn’t see him any more.

I came to the end of the dirt in second place, although there wasn’t a race, one was on I had decided.

I caught up to the madman who won and we had a good laugh at the ride just past.

Woohoo! The rest of the gang pulled in seconds if not minutes after us and I got a round of applause from a group of strangers for taking on that road on a brand new bike.

It was a good moment.

From there it was a quick strap through the Reefton Spurs before tucking in on the Eastern freeway back home. I got home just before 4pm having done another 500+kms that day bringing up my total stats to a total kms 1158, 3867 gear changes,1696 front brakes and 2627 rear brakes.

Strange about those rears eh?

Next morning I got up and rode it back to the dealer for its first service, job done.

Until next time, stay upright.