Monday, 22 June 2015

Lewiston Hill (Old Spiral Highway), Idaho

The Lewiston Hill, otherwise known as The Old Spiral Highway is located north of the city of Lewiston Idaho.  The road is 10 miles long and changes 2,000 ft in elevation.  

The 60+ corner road has recently been repaved and is one of the best local riding roads in Idaho.  The view from the top is spectacular.

If you're riding anywhere close to Lewiston, Idaho I'd recommend a detour to ride this road.
Make sure you go up as well as down...
Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS / SE ABS Adventure Review

Suzuki’s V-Strom 1000 was completely re-designed in 2014, which is great as there had been very little, if any, change in the Big Strom since it was introduced in 2002.  Suzuki stopped making the V-Strom 1000 in 2009 and continued to sell off stock until the new model was introduced.  The “claim to fame” of the re-designed V-Strom 1000 is it’s the first Suzuki with traction control.  Ya, I was surprised too…

2015 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 SE ABS Adventure

The motorcycle I tested was the V-Strom 1000 SE ABS Adventure, which comes with hard side panniers, engine guards and a skid plate.  This is the least expensive of all the big adventure touring motorcycles with a list price of $13,999 US / $13,499 CDN (Yes, this is correct Canada).  The base model V-Strom 1000 ABS costs $12,699 US / $12,399 CDN.  These are “bargain” prices in the land of 1000+cc Adventure Touring motorcycles.

Powered by a 1,037 cc 90 deg V-Twin engine that produces about 90 hp and 67 ft-lbs of torque (Suzuki doesn’t publish these numbers so these numbers are courtesy of Cycle World), the V-Strom is at the bottom of the power race when compared to the other Big Adventure Touring motorcycles and yet in real world conditions it works well.  Power delivery is smooth and strong especially at slow speeds.  I would suggest that Suzuki adding traction control to this motorcycle was more a matter of “me too” as it’s unnecessary with this engine.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is how the V-Strom handles.  The seating position is comfortable, upright and stable when riding in a straight line.  I was expecting to have to work to corner the motorcycle and was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to transition into a corner and hold the line.  The one area where an upgrade would help is the front suspension.  I found it too soft charging into corners and with hard braking the motorcycle would dive, making it more challenging to control.

How about “off road”?  Any of the Big Adventure Touring motorcycles will manage on gravel or packed dirt roads and the V-Strom 1000 feels like it would manage well.  The cast wheels are an indication that Suzuki feels most owners will stay on the pavement, rarely heading into the dirt.  There are enough aftermarket parts available to make this a worthy off-road motorcycle.

V-Strom 1000 ABS SE Adventure “low” points.

  1. The suspension and brakes are adequate but there is much room for improvement, especially with the front suspension.  This can be easily and inexpensively improved.
  2. The stock luggage has enough room to pack lunch and a change of cloths.  That it!
  3. The skid plate and engine guards may look “adventure”, however I would have trouble trusting them to protect.

On the “plus” side.

  1. The price.
  2. The engine is excellent for the money and works very well in “real world” riding conditions.
  3. Great handling performance.
  4. Comfortable

If you’re looking for an affordable Adventure Touring motorcycle, the V-Strom 1000 ABS / ABS SE Adventure is the motorcycle to buy.  I would recommend saving the $1,300 and buy the standard model over the SE Adventure model.  Take the savings and buy aftermarket bags, skid plate and engine guards.

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride

Next on the list is Ducati's new 2015 Multistrada 1200.

Monday, 1 June 2015

KTM 1290 Super Adventure

The KTM 1290 Super Adventure is a steroid enhanced version of their 1190 Adventure with a few additional techno features that make it one of the most advanced motorcycles on the market.

In other words, if you want to pack enough stuff for a week or more, be comfortable all day and make sportbike riders wonder what the hell is getting larger in their rearview mirror then this is the bike for you.

With a maximum 160 bhp and 103 ft-lbs of torque, this is a beast of a motorcycle.  Add a semi-active suspension that can tell the difference between a pot hole and hard acceleration, adjusting the suspension accordingly, and a traction control system / ABS breaking system that adjusts depending on if your going straight or are leaning into a corner and you can ride this beast to it’s limits.

If you want to see the technical details on the Super Adventure, they can be found on the KTM website.

The 1290 Super Adventure does have a few “low” points.

  1. It’s a tall motorcycle so if you’re under 5’11” find a stepladder.
  2.  It is an Adventure motorcycle and it will get dirty, however make sure the dirt is smooth and the hills rolling.  At some point weight and gravity will take over and dumping over a $20,000+ motorcycle can be expensive.
  3. The heavy flywheel, which smoothes out the engine, especially at low RPM’s takes a while to spin up, which means initial acceleration feels sluggish compared to other motorcycles in the same category.

On the “plus” side, the 1290 Super Adventure as a lot.

  1. It’s a beast!
  2. Standard engine guards, bash plate and luggage.
  3. It has a claimed 300-mile fuel range.
  4. All day comfort, day after day after day after…

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride

Next up will be the 2015 Suzuki V-Strom 1000.