It was a really nice day in the Bay Area today and I took a ride with a couple of friends up through the Santa Cruz Mountains and out to the coast for lunch. Sunny skies, upper 50s - low 60s, road mostly dry, and very little traffic - That's what I like! This was the first real ride on my GS since putting it back together (rebuilt shocks, flushed and new brakes, Givi topcase, Rick Mayer seat, etc.) and it was a MUCH more comfortable and fun ride this time. It turned when it supposed to, it stopped way quicker, and my ass wasn't killing me after 60 miles!
We rode up and over highway 9 in the mountains, then a bunch of little backroads to the coast then up to Gazos Creek for more twisty backroads. We had lunch at Duartes in Pescadero with a bowl of cream of green chile soup and a crab melt on sourdough, very tasty! Then more backroads to highway 84 (my favorite road ever), up to and across Skyline, then back to 9 and home. about 140 miles of high quality scootin', just what the doctor ordered!
My friend Nick has a Kawasaki ZX-14 that I had been itching to ride, so we swapped bikes for about 25 miles going up the coast highway. I don't think I can make the font big enough, but all I can say is
It's been a long time since I rode something that scared me (in a good way) and this little jewel did it. The first time I rolled the throttle on at around 60 I braced myself for the power delivery; it still almost pulled my arms out of the sockets, not to mention went thought 100 mph before I could even think about it. I passed a couple of cars and had a fairly long clear stretch with a gentle right-left at the end, so I stayed in it to get a little flavor for what it could do. I was in 6th gear doing 110, and the tach was showing 6000 rpms. This thing redlines at 11,000!
I downshifted a couple of gears and rolled it up to around 8000 rpms (power delivery was just sick, it was absolutely awesome) and went through the corners somewhere just north of 135 mph, and the bike was smooth, stable, compliant, easy to handle, and just rock solid. Oh, and it was a BUNCH of fun, too!
And as good as the motor is, the brakes are just as impressive. He warned me to try them a couple of times before I really needed to use them. I rolled up to around 85 and applied 2 fingers of pressure, about what it takes and slightly more travel as it is to press a key on a keyboard. The speed dropped to about 50 in nothing flat. When I tried this again the same way at around 120, it had me back to 75 in about 2 seconds. You do NOT want to grab a handful of brakes on this thing at any speed, but they are the best brakes I've ever used on a bike. Couple all of this with a really comfortable riding position (sport bike-ish, but well done without putting pressure on your arms, very comfortable and would be for a long day) and it's a really excellent machine, one of the best I've ever ridden. If this is the package they're putting in the new Concours, watch out!
All in all we had a really fun day - good weather, great friends, excellent food, and fun bikes to play with (even got to ride Rob's Bandit for a while, he wanted to play on the GS)! We all agreed we need to do more of this, so I think we will.