Playing Hi-Lo with the S1000RR

A few pics are worth at least a couple of runon sentences:

Joe and I play a little game most every day, called Hi-Lo. At the end of the day, he simply asks: “High? Low?” Then it is your turn to think about the day you’ve just had and answer with the best moment, the ‘high’ and the worst moment, the ‘low’. Then you ask the question in return.

After 1K, I think it’s time for some Hi-Lo with a twist. I’m going to ask it of the S1000RR. The High: It’s wicked quick and pulls like the ‘Busa. The Low: It ain’t the ‘Busa. Let’s break this down a little. It’s got some quirks, as do all bikes, no matter what you park your ass on, there’ll be problems of one sort or another to varying degrees of nuisance. How does the saying go? “If it has wheels or testicles, it’s going to give you problems.”

Me and the Gear Shift Assist do NOT get along. I can’t pin the throttle and snick it in. No-can-do. Especially under hard acceleration. Especially going from first to second. I’ve figured what part of the problem is, the lever is not at the right angle for my foot. We shall have to fix that, since I can’t get enough leverage to nicely preload the thing. As the ‘Busa did, this one, too, likes its lever preloaded for a nice, smooth little clutchless upshift. And it has to be a decisive little snick, too. Shift like an old lady and the brain of the operation just tells you to shove off and ignores your foot completely. So, I’m still doing it old school, with the little blip (for the most part). I think I’d be better off just plopping down the 100some Euros and getting the conversion kit and just reverse the whole mess. I wanted to do that on the ‘Busa anyway, since the Gilles setup just screamed for it. That way I’ll also have an extra excuse not to let anyone ride my baby without feeling too badly about it. “You know how to GP shift? No? Oh, I’m sorry, this one’s setup like weird and stuff…” Note to self: Adjust the angle of the dangle. No, really.

I have a feeling this bike’s going to just take over when IT decides that YOU are being a jackass and can’t handle your business anymore. I don’t know how to feel about all that tech. Don’t get me wrong. I love me some tech. I’m a geek, after all. But I also love me some control. I still ride it like I used to (caveat inserted here for Joe’s benefit: Noooo, I don’t do THAT stuff anymore, just as I promised.) I’m neither more careful nor more aggressive. It’s more a matter of adapting to the new bike’s handling characteristics. I’m not being stupid but I’m also not wearing my granny panties when I’m rollin’ it. I haven’t made neither the Race ABS nor the Dynamic Traction Control intervene on my behalf. I’m riding in ‘Sport’ mode, as that is the setting optimized for street rac… riding. Street RIDING. Guess the S1000RR has so far not deemed me a jackass unworthy of the controls. *snorts* I don’t know how I’m to feel about this. I’m halfway tempted to turn the crap off and ride by the seat of my pants. However, I have promised Joe I would not turn it off, unless warranted (like riding through gravel, where the DTC would really be a kick in the rear… literally); but on the other hand I’m afraid that it might screw up my skill development. After getting used to having a bike that folds space and time in fourth gear, then takes over when you’re about to wrap yourself around the next available stationary object because you done early apexed another one, freaked the hell out, went wide, got on the damn brakes way too hard, way too late, kept staring where you shouldn’t and the famous words that should’ve been the last are you verbalizing a convinced ‘holy shit’ into your helmet. It takes over at that precise moment because the bike has deemed you a jackass, works its magic with its sensors and gyros, valves and pumps, does a little digital finger counting and saves your bacon yet again and then also wipes your ass for you as you make your panicked way out of that train wreck of a turn (“hope nobody saw that”). How are you going to manage when you’re used to that for a few thousand miles, a few seasons, or whatnot and then decide to ride a friend’s bike without all the bells and whistles you’ve become so accustomed to that you’ve taken them for granted and have forgotten that you’re still riding like a n00b on a bike that just makes you LOOK like you know what you’re doing. It’s a conundrum. I want to turn it off. I have to leave it on. Best to just ride it as always. When the stuff comes on, I know I screwed something up.

Those skinny hand grips have got to go. But, as with any ergo mods, I’m going to see if I can’t retrain my muscles to cope with the stockers first. The Hayabusa’s grips were fatties compared to these tooth picks; they’re only one step above wrapping grip tape around the bars and calling it good. And, boy, do they buzz. The Beemer does NOT like to go slow… hell no! Seems like the most vibrating is experienced scooting around town. It doesn’t seem happy unless it’s over 5K. Proper gear selection also helps, although the bike doesn’t lug, it lets you know it doesn’t like being in too high a gear.

The ride-by-wire throttle system is awesome. BMW calls it E-Gas. I call it freaking SWEET! No more on/off light switch action in first or second gear, like it was on the ‘Busa. That was annoying and a complete nuisance on roads with a speed limit of either 35 or 25. What a jerky mess that usually ended up being and who wants to ride the clutch for freakin’ three miles. meh. You twist the throttle on the S1000RR, you get power delivered proportionally to your twist, ramped. Just flowing on. Not: BAM! There you are, now deal with it. LOL

Here’s something I’ve noticed that made me giggle: It has no horn. Not that I ever used the wimpy things that come on motorcycles anyway. I’m going to just have to continue using hand signals, just like on the ‘Busa or the Harley. ;P

EDIT: About five weeks later I found it: The switch for the horn is right where it should be, below the turn signal switch on the left clip-on. But it’s recessed and way down there. I can’t see it when sitting on the bike. Neither could I ever feel it with my thumb. How did I find it? I was checking something out on the front end, don’t recall what, and I looked up and there it was, right in front of my eyes, the horn. Go imagine that. Now the owner’s manual also refers to a power outlet… I wonder where that is, because I’m still looking. Found the IR lap timer transmitter plug in the wiring harness though.

The Pirate & The Falcon

I wasn’t planning on riding today, but around about 3:00pm I couldn’t stand it anymore and told myself that productivity is overrated anyway, might as well do something fun. And the funnest thing for me? Putting miles on a motorcycle odometer. Besides, I really felt like going out for chicken strips. The Pirate’s strips are mighty fatty, still. I need to give the Arr Arr her much needed workout after being tortured for 600 break-in miles. Damn, the girl is fast. No, not fast. Quick. Freaking quicker than greased lightning sliding down a grounded…. ah, never mind, I’m getting way too uh… redneck here. She’s quick. Where the Hayabusa had arm-stretching acceleration, this puppy will launch you into space. Case in point: I was rollin’ down the Interstate, sitting bolt upright, one hand on the throttle… the other (including broken pinky) resting sedately on my upper left thigh… You know, the standard sportbike poser riding position. Yeah… I do it, too. *shameful nod* What can I say? It’s comfy. I like to add a little twist and ride side saddle, as is proper for a southern lady. 😀 Anyhoo, so I’m rollin’ down the big road, and some dude in a cage paces me for a little too long in the left lane, so I give it a little of the ol’ twisty of the right wrist as I am accustomed, and I almost fall off the back. Holy shit! That’s what I mean. She’s quick. And that was in ‘Sport’ mode. Another example: I’m coming down an onramp, by the time I’m at the bottom and have a glance at my speedo, I’m up to 112 mph. Holy shit! That took way less effort than I remember. Snick. Snick. Blinker. Snick. WTF?!? I’m still in break-in, didn’t even get close to 9K RPM. Better slow my silly self back down. Gotta watch this beast. Deceptive. I thought I wasn’t going all THAT fast.

So, I’m doing my usual loop. I have to reference this; like a ‘Before’ and ‘After’ comparison… Hayabusa vs. S1000RR. The Fat Lady vs. The Thin Mint (that’s what I would have called it, had I gotten it in Acid Green). That 90-degree right-hander? 10 mph faster than the ‘Busa. Didn’t even feel the need to hang off. Just went around that thing like I was in a sweeper curve, well not quite, but damn if I felt like I was pulling G’s like I was on the ‘Busa. Nada. As a matter of fact, I kept my reference points all the same… all my ‘Busa lines through familiar territory… they were all too tight. In the 90-degree right-hander I had my tires sticking to the very inside of the white line. I thought to myself that this isn’t going to work or I’ll risk banging my head on the guard rail. Intellectually I knew this would happen, but emotionally I was not really prepared for how this made me feel. Yes, every one told me the ‘Busa was a bus. What did they know? I became a master of wrestling my sexy Fatty through the curves, which ultimately led to her demise. The one time I could have put that knee down, I didn’t bring my pucks and dragged pipe. Go figure… all my favorite curves, they ain’t shit. So I went from loving to hang off to ‘what’s the point here?’. Now, it is blatantly obvious that I cannot ride this machine even close to the point of having to hang off (not around here anyway) without doubling or even tripling the speed limit. Not gonna happen. The days of Redneck Racing practice are over. *sigh*

The brakes are freakin’ phenomenal. No wonder I could never get comfortable with braking late, banging it down a gear or two, then throwing it in. I can do it now. Not really all that smooth about it, since I gave up trying a while ago… around the same time I sleazeballed the third corner up on US17 or was it GA348? I learned that I (and The Fat Lady) felt most comfortable having the entry speed right waaaay early. Then I still went wide, but it didn’t feel as such. Mike asked me once (during our suspension setup pow-wows) if the bike felt like it was going wide. I answered that question with a convinced ‘no’. I really thought that’s how I picked my lines. Does my little adage make sense now? “When dancing with a Fat Lady you’ll go in early and you’ll come out late.” That’s where that came from. I was comfortable with that though. I adapted to the bike without even realizing it. But what do I know? Or what did I know then? Nada. When going through the same Hayabusa lines with the S1000RR all of a sudden I find myself stuck to the white line (in the rights) and the yellow (in the lefts). Hmmmm…. so now I’m doing mid-corner corrections to reduce lean angle. ROFL What the hell! So, it follows that girly’s going to do another go-around, this time, picking NEW lines. And what do we find out? That which we intellectually already knew: The pirate knows her way around a corner. No more mid-corner corrections, no more hanging off, smooth as hell, braking later, harder, banging down gears… it’s all kind of easy now… at least in what passes for curves around these parts.

What about straight line stability? The thing positively defies the laws of physics. With those rake and trail numbers you would think the Pirate be a little unsure of herself laying some drag down the boulevard. Wrong again. I don’t know how they pulled this off, but this thing feels as stable as The Fat Lady did (tested up to 131 mph; digital readouts are awesome, no more tick mark guessing required) and gets there in a hurry! Good gawd! Did I mention she’s quick?

I think I died and went to heaven. How can Busa Girl have her cake and eat it, too? This is quite impossible. Leave it to the Germans though to pull it off.

…but I still miss my Hayabusa. I wish I could have her back. I really miss the ole girl with her sexy Pearl Splash white skirts, her deceptively sedate kitten purr and her bodacious curves. There’s nothing sexy about the S1000RR, this is the bike that speaks to my geek. I love it. I love the lines. I love its mean streak. Its purpose-built design. The tech. How well-thought out it seems to be. It even looks like it means nothing but business. Take no prisoners. All or nothing. The only proper color for the thing is Thunder Gray Metallic (aka black). It’s one awesome piece of technology. It and me are well suited for each other. So why do I still pine for my busted ‘Busa (as Stan put it in his country song)? I’m a ‘Busa girl at heart. Always will be. But I have to come to terms that my love affair with that bike is (for the time being) over. What I want and what I need are two different machines. I want my ‘Busa back. I need the S1000RR. I wish I could have both.

I miss riding The Fat Lady!

Holy smokes! It’s only been nine days since my crash and I already am jonesing for two-wheeled therapy. Given, four of those nine I was really in no condition to ride, so it wasn’t too bad. Thought about making off with hubby’s Connie 14 a few times, but then I moved in my chair. If I could reach the damn ground sitting on The Samsonite Missile, I would so not be caging it to work. The bags would have to come off, of course, or he’ll have to get some touch-up paint for them later, but damn… Shit! I’d ride anything at this point. ANYTHING!!!! …as long as it still can be considered a motorcycle. Damn, you perverts! Making me add a disclaimer to that… what the hell is this world coming to, anyway? What kind of mess is it, when a girl can’t even ride a fat lady anymore without having to put up with snickers and cat calls behind her back. Yeah, it’s all fun and games until somebody gets passed on the inside by a girl on a Hayabusa wearing cat ears and a Hello Kitty shirt… Ah crap! It was just a dream… That’s right, I forgot, I turned myself into an unwilling cager on the 24th by giving The Fat Lady the lay of her life. FML. In the meantime, I just have to watch stupid YouTube vids, like this one:

Plug me in
I’m alive tonight
Out on the streets again
Turn me on
I’m too hot to stop
Something you’ll never forget
I’m on top tonight
No, no
You better turn me loose
You better set me free
‘Cause I’m hot, young, running free
A little bit better than I use to be

~ Live Wire by Mötley Crüe

Crashed: The Hayabusa has no Curb Appeal

I’m on my way home from work. I’m three miles from the house, but I’m thirsty and to my recollection I’m out of Diet Coke. And it’s the only thing that’ll hit the spot. It’s one of those ‘gotta have it’ moments. In a last-minute decision, I get into the outside lane of the two-lane left turn to make my way into the new Wal-Mart they finished a few months ago at Exit 190 on my home stretch of I-20. Red light. First in line, car to my left, no one behind me. This could only be better if the light hadn’t changed to red. I love this corner. Brand new asphalt, smooth, sweeping 90-degree turn feeding into a nice little stretch of (as of yet) unused road that circles the entire parking lot. I call this the ”Busa Back-Forty’. The light changes to green and off I go. I out-accelerate the car next to me and get my lean on. I’m looking through the turn, have my line visualized, the tires feel solid, and the Fat Lady does as she’s told and feels planted and stable. For some reason I decided before I even turned it in not to hang off. I’m wearing my Harley-Davidson FXRG all-season textiles, not my leathers; but the difference in gear only means that my knee is either tucked in tight against the fairing on the inside of the turn or it’s sticking out. Right before I reach the apex of the turn, I hear a scraping noise. It is a familiar sound, albeit I haven’t experienced it since my Harley days. I dragged peg on my first bike, a Sportster 1200Low, all the time, especially in left turns. Nothing to worry about, really. My tires feel solid, I love that Q2 rear rubber. Next thing I know, my rear steps out and I lose my line going wide. WTF?!? My brain finally analyzes what is happening. I’m dragging hard parts and it’s leveraging the bike’s rear off the ground, shifting weight off the rear tire and causing it to lose traction. Shit! I can see the curb coming at me fast. Something tells me I should NOT, under any circumstances hit that sliding sideways. Something I’ve read in one of the skill books I’ve been devouring since I started on two wheels comes to my mind: “If a collision is imminent, do SOMETHING.” I can only see one out here: I have to jump the curb. I give it all I’ve got to try and wrestle the Fat Lady out of past-maximum lean and straighten up the bike and aim for the curb. Here is where my memory gets hazy: I remember vaguely trying to shift weight to the rear and giving it more gas to help the front wheel climb up on the sidewalk. I think I made it, but at a considerable lean. I could have sworn I was upright again, but later inspection of the ‘crime scene’ seems to tell a different story. So does The Fat Lady’s extensive wounds. Things fade to black here. I remember hearing the nauseating sounds of man-made materials under stress: plastics cracking, glass shattering, metals screeching. My last thought before I blacked out is something along the lines of: “Holy shit, I hope I don’t hit that pole!”

I come to, sitting on my bum, on the sidewalk, next to a street lamp, facing in the direction of travel. I see The Fat Lady about thirty feet further down, laying on her left side, also facing the direction of travel, taking an asphalt nap parallel to the curb in the right wheel track. She is so perfectly aligned, it looks as if someone placed her there for a little ‘how to pick up a dropped bike’ practice. She doesn’t look so bad from here. There are three dudes and a girl standing around me, asking me if I’m ok. I answer, while I’m feeling myself up, that I think I am. I take my gloves, helmet, and backpack off and place them neatly next to the lamp post in the grass. Another person comes around from my right and bends down to my level, also asking me if I’m ok and telling me that help is on the way. I nod and remain sitting in my spot. I slowly turn my head over my left shoulder and see a trail of dirt, grass, plastic bits and scrape marks. I look down on myself. My riding gear is dirty, but seems in good shape. I notice I have grass in my mouth and spit it out. The three dudes, after having assured themselves that I am indeed alright, pick up my bike and place her on her kickstand. They check out my ‘Busa, one of them remarks that he’s never seen anything like it. That this was the best freakin’ riding he’s ever seen on a Hayabusa, or some such thing. Kind of makes a momma proud; I only wish I would have landed that. Yeah, you definitely get extra cred when you’re a girl on a Hayabusa. =D A deputy sheriff arrives not too much later, with the fire department in a big-ass, huge fire truck, sirens blaring and lights flashing. First Responders, I’m assuming. The ambulance is not far behind. OMG! All this hoopla for me?!? Gawd, these people must be bored out of their minds in this town and are jumping on every call with the full-on brunt of their life-saving force. Kinda cool, when you think about it. Kind of embarrassing, too. One of the fire fighters checks me out and asks me the usual questions to ensure I’m with it and not confused. He asks me who the president is, I’m slow to respond, but finally manage an “Obama”. He asks me if I voted for him, I glance at the man sideways and give him an enthusiastic “Hell no!” They laugh and decide I’m pretty much ok in the head. The deputy asks me if I have a preference for a towing service, and I just shake my head and utter: “Whoever is cheapest.” While the wrecker arrives and starts putting my baby on the back of their truck, I’m being given the once-over by the EMTs in the ambulance. They also inspect my helmet, there are no signs of impact on it anywhere. They give me the choice of going to the ER or going home. I don’t feel all that bad, so I opt for going home. I sign some papers and they let me go. I watch the wrecker dude finish up with my bike. At least they seem to know what they’re doing. I’ve heard some horror stories about wreckers and motorcycles. My baby appears to be in good hands, though. We finish up all the official stuff, I sit on the curb and write my police report, and the deputy sheriff gives me a ride home. During the gratis ride in the back of a police cruiser (sans handcuffs) I notice my vision narrowing, greying out, and I’m starting to see those funky multi-colored spirographic images. I feel a little woozy. On my way into the house to get my insurance card for the officer, I almost pass out. I explain to the officer what is going on with me and he suggests that it’s probably for the best to call the ambulance back, but it is my choice. I agree. Several minutes later, Grovetown’s First Responders roll in: noisy, flashy, and in an awesome display of helpfulness. OMG! How embarrassing. The neighbors one by one come trickling out of their houses to watch the show. The officer just smiles and says: “These are First Responders, that’s what they do. Enjoy your 15 minutes of fame.” Good gawd. They go through the whole spiel again, then stuff me in the back of the ambulance and hook me up to a 10-lead wiring harness and a finger thingy to monitor the whatnots of Miss Busa. My neighbor peeks her head in. “You ok?” I reply, that this is just precautionary, since I’m alone and feel faint, so they’re going to take me to the ER to make sure there’s nothing major wrong with me. She tells me to call her if I need anything. I tell her not to worry and that I’m fine. Off we go…

My wreck happend around 7PM, I am released from the ER around 1:30AM with an Rx for Cyclobenzaprine and Ibuprofen, I refused the heavy artillery they wanted to hook me up with. I hate taking pills. They’ve done extensive X-Rays of my left wrist and pinky and a CAT scan of my upper body and head, but found nothing out of the ordinary. I couldn’t get my phone to work properly since my crash, and now have problems with the built-in GPS. I finally get my radio operational and get a signal and after explaining my situation to a co-worker, he texts me some cab numbers from the phone book. I walk around semi-aimlessly trying to pinpoint my exact location when I spot a bank and a pharmacy. Lucky me. I scope out the area carefully and brave the ATM to get some cash for the cab ride home. I have to be insane doing this in the middle of the night by myself. Oh well, a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do. I get my cash, then make my way across the street (in somewhat of a hurry) to get my Rx filled. At least I know where I am now and can call myself a cab with the telephone numbers provided by my co-worker. I’m starting to feel worse. I am in agony, feeling like I just got hit and tackled by a line backer for the New Orleans Saints. They warned me about this. I finally admit defeat and call my boss, explain what happened and she gets coverage for my shift and tells me to take care of myself and my business. Good. I sit on the curb in the pharmacy’s parking lot, in the middle of downtown Augusta, and wonder if today is the day I’m also going to get robbed. The cabbie pulls in and I’m finally nearing the end of my (mis)adventure.

Many Thanks Go Out To:

I want to thank my co-workers and my boss for being there for me when I needed them and having my backside. I want to thank all the people who stopped at the scene and made sure I was ok and kept me company until the emergency services arrived. I want to thank the police, fire fighters, EMTs, nurses and doctors for seeing me through this and being so nice to me, even making me laugh, and helping me not feel so embarrassed about my ordeal. I want to thank my neighbors for watching out for me and offering to be there for me, if I needed them. And I also want to thank my husband, Joe, for not giving me grief, but instead being supportive, taking two days off to be with me and making fun of me instead of giving me lectures. I love you, Mr. Slow.

The ‘Busa Prayer

Plagiarism rules, especially when it’s ripped straight from my favorite ‘Nam flick of all time by my favorite director of all time. I think I’m gonna have this turned into an etched glass vinyl decal and apply it to my blue Zero Gravity windshield once I order it. However, that’ll have to wait, since it’s hubby’s turn for a mod or farkle.