New season- new accessories (Pelicans, sprocket, Madstad, lowering links, etc.)
Well, Mother Nature kept my bike in the garage 7 days later than I hoped to start my season, but tonight was the season opener for motorcycle riding. A full day of rain yesterday (unlike the 12"-32" of snow my home state riding mates received in northern MN yesterday) washed away the road salt and this was the green light I'd been waiting for.
In the past weeks I've made some changes and additions to my DL650, and so I'd like to share 30 miles of initial impressions with you.
Aerostich Combat Lite boots- (Christmas gift) Since I gave them a few weeks of break-in prior to hopping on the bike tonight, I was able to loosen them up a bit and they worked great. No issues at all running the shift or brake levers. Great footing at stops, too. I bought the ones with the lugged-style soles. These were the only boot I found that actually fit my wide, flat foot. Worth the price.
Madstad bracket- Ordered this past Friday night, and on Monday morning it was in my mailbox!! Installed it right away before riding, mounting my Givi screen to it. Like most of you, I'll have to play with it a bit to get it tuned in, and I have to fiddle with it for a slight tapping sound when I'm hitting road imperfections. Sounds like it's coming from the left bracket. (Anyone have any thoughts?) Otherwise seems to be helping. More air is getting behind the shield, for sure. It was in the mid-30's for my hour of riding, and I felt the chill of the wind, but I could have dressed better for the ride. But the air was smoother as it went around me. Will prove the be worth the price once it's dialed in.
Kevin Baker Lowering Links (Murph's Kits)- Since this is my first ride of the season, I can't recall the suspension feel from 4.5 months ago before I put the bike to sleep for the winter. That said, I had no reason to believe there were any changes to the suspension performance (except less off-road suspension travel), but the bike is lower by 3/4" and I was able to comfortably flat-foot at stops while perched atop my Sargent World Sport saddle. (30" inseam on pants.) I had also lowered the front end a matching 3/4". Also makes it a bit easier to swing my leg over the bike for mount/dismount. Worth the price.
JT brand 16 tooth front sprocket, bought slightly used from "5string_dean" of this board. Standing start performance loss was so negligible that if I didn't know the sprocket was changed, I probably would not have noticed the lose of whatever fraction of low-end torque. Up in the gears, it's as though everything has been moved one gear (2nd is like 3rd was, 4th is like 5th was, etc.) Cripes, I can't remember the rpm drops in each gear at freeway speeds, suffice it to say the rpm's have dropped in each gear. 6th gear is really now an overdrive for my riding style. I'll probably be seeing a lot more 4th and 5th gear in everyday riding. I think (I think...)I heard a slight bit of whining that is new that some folks attribute to the non-dampered sprocket, but the only time it was noticeable was when I was running next to a concrete median in the left lane of the interstate. I normally wear ear plugs (didn't tonight, I wanted to hear the machine), so I think this noise will be a non-issue for me. Worth the price.
And the biggest change for this season is...............
Pelican 1440 top load boxes on SW Motech racks. Tons of very practical loading space (~38 liters each). The trade off, I think, will be that there is nothing aerodynamic about these boxes, and the whole system weighs about 55 pounds. And although the 16t sprocket may have had something to do with the engine feel, I think the boxes may (???) add some aerodynamic resistance due to their shape. But I could be entirely wrong. There was really no wind out there tonight, and on the interstate at just above 80mph I noticed no funny reaction that could be blamed on the shape or mounting angles of the boxes, and rarely am I traveling in excess of 80mph. These boxes are a change from the lighter Hepco Becker 30 liter plastic boxes I've been running on this bike and my previous bike since spring 2006. I think this project was very much worth the effort that I put into building the finished product, and it was a fun project to do. Roll my bike into a rally, and it shouldn't be hard to find it in a crowd the way it looks now.
I think that's it for now. Spot GPS tracker will be ordered soon, and some Westone UM-1 earphones are in the mail for my Ipod (see tech page for info). This motorcycle really is proving itself to be a blank canvas just begging for your paint to be applied, to make it your own masterpiece. I'm becoming concerned that outfitting this bike will be my financial downfall yet!
Have a great riding season, Everyone!
Twin Cities, MN, USA
'18 DL650XT, previously '07 DL650 and others
"With the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit happiness comes responsibility, to yourself and others. With responsibility comes accountability. Without responsibility, without accountability, we cannot and will not be a free and civilized society."
-Me, Steve T.