Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Cool Tilting Three Wheeler

This is a cool prototype that promises to be a cool kit for converting the bike you already have. No information on potential pricing and the mechanism seems to be a bit more involved than the Piaggio MP3 but I would sure like to see more details on this thing.

How much fun would one of these be at a track-day? Think about being able to go deep on the fast guys, out-brake them and then be able to hold more corner speed all while not sweating the low-side or the dreaded high-side. Seems like a good time to me even if it's not really fair.

It appears from the photos on their site that each prototype is getting skinnier. I think they could still go maybe six inches less track while still keeping the benefits. They talk a bit about locking the bike in place at a standstill but I think it's ok to make people put down a stand or hold the bike up.

Thanks for reading - Mike

Sunday, January 13, 2008

First two up ride on the old Nighthawk S

Well the point of getting this bike was so that Selena and I could get back to our two-up rides. Today the weather was nice and we had some time so we took a little ride. I had already planned to take it easy and get used to the bike and carrying a passenger. I haven't got a tag yet which is like begging the PoPo to pull you over so we stayed off the main roads for the most part, just tooling around in the neighborhoods until we hit reserve - at a stop-light with nary a stutter, just died. Fortunately, it also started right back up after switching to reserve.

I gotta tell you, I am happy with this purchase. The power is soft but smooth at low revs and it doesn't threaten to stall. It'll still out accelerate all but the more dedicated cagers even with both of us aboard - does it amaze anybody else the power they put in grocery getters these days?

Some observations; the seat is really low - this is especially apparent for the passenger. On our previous bikes Selena has had to stand on the peg to mount and dismount but on the Nighthawk she can just step on and off without any difficulty. It only took 2.6 gallons right after going on reserve. I think the tank is 4.3 so there's a lot more range than it seems if you're willing to risk a walk - I'm not. The strange feeling after turning in that I referred to in my other post seems to be the falling in related to the 30 deg rake - I'll have a better idea after I get a chance to go fast.

I like it, Selena likes it, and it was dirt cheap. Should be fun and stay around for awhile.

Thanks for reading - Mike

Saturday, January 12, 2008

New to me 1984 NightHawk S

So a friend of mine posted on the FBR list a few weeks ago that he was going to pick up a NightHawk S. Well, he goes through bikes about as quickly as my wife goes though manicures and she's pretty well maintained. Generally he'll get a good deal on a good bike, then spend time and money making it better before reselling it at a still killer price. I called him the same day he posted and asked for first right of refusal when he got ready to sell it. I had been looking for one of these for quite awhile and they still show up regularly on Ebay, but apparently I am not the only person with fond memories of the model because the prices asked and offered are still pretty high. As it happens, he found a late model VFR and decided to keep that and get rid of the Nighthawk even before he picked it up. I told him I wanted it and when the email came this morning that he had it home I immediately responded and we set up a time for me to look at it.

My lovely wife Selena drove me over and hung out for a few minutes while I took a short ride. The ride confirmed in my already made up mind that I wanted the bike and I cut her free rather than torturing her with the bike talk that invariably breaks out when a couple of bike guys get together.

The bike is in good shape, not perfect, but not too bad for a bike that's old enough to drink. The bikini fairing is cracked on one side and a bit 'askew' as well as a couple of other scrapes and bruises, but the paint looks surprisingly good and should clean up nice.

Riding it is a bit different than I remember, but still quite good. This one has been sitting for a while and the gas is old so the riding experience may change after everything gets back into the swing of things. The power delivery is soft compared to say my old Speed Triple and the brakes require quite a strong sqeeze before anything like deceleration starts to happen. As I said in another post about the one I bought new; it steers pretty quickly, though maybe not as quick as a modern sporty standard and then it feels a bit strange but not scary. I think some of the strangeness might be frame flex compared to newer bikes.

The point of getting this bike - besides my own little trip down memory lane, is to have a two-up ride so that Selena can ride with me again. She has been bummed about my trading from the V-Strom to the Bandit 600 and finally to the DR 650. I'm keeping the DR for me and the Nighthawk for us. I think it will be a good choice for the kind of riding we do together.

Thanks for reading - Mike