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Sean

"Dear Diary: Today I got spanked by a couple of BMW's..."

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Sean

Sunday morning, I suited up and rolled the bike out of the garage. It was 8:30AM, sunny, and already 86 degrees! It was going to be a hot one. I zipped down the road a couple miles where I met up with our own Marc Parnes at the local Chevron station in Temecula. Marc had donned his new BMW Savannah suit in preparation for the heat. I expressed my disappointment in not receiving my Ohlins shocks yet, and he showcased his R1150RS's Ohlins to me. After gassing up, glancing at the map, and making a bit of chit-chat, we peeled off to De Luz Rd.

 

De Luz is a tight, twisty road, winding through some lush, beautiful countryside with plenty of hills. De Luz also tests some of your riding skills, with very broken pavement at times, sand in the corners, and small water crossings, complete with moss growing on the bottom! shocked.gif When you hit these, you slow way down, pull in the clutch, and stop breathing. If you make it to the other side with no more than a bit of tire squirming, resume breathing and motor on. Upon reaching the "Entering San Diego County" sign on this narrow little road, there's also a nice big tree at the outer side of the apex. Blow the turn and you're instantly a new tree ornament. I wondered just how many vehicle hits that poor tree has endured in its lifetime.

 

As we approached the small town of Fallbrook, Marc reported that his digital thermometer guage he cleverly mounted on his R1150RS was now reporting temps in the mid-90's. We could keep the heat at bay if we kept moving. It was trudging though this little town's 25mph streets that was the killer. Continuing on through Bonsall and then cutting east back towards I-15, we picked up old highway 395, to Old Castle Rd., and then to Lilac. All very fun, "zippy" kinda roads, but you must stay alert around here. They're narrow, uneven roads, with debris, and tight turns at the crest of the hills. Add to that, you must watch for pick-up trucks from the gravel drive-ways that jet out from the country ranches nearby.

 

Things really started getting interesting though when we picked up HWY 76 headed for Palomar Mountain Road. It sounded like we were approaching a swarm of bees but actually we came upon a group of approx 15 sportbikes just ahead of us. They were all stacked up behind a few cagers, just chomping at the bit to race up Palomar's South Grade. In fact, one guy at the back of their pack seemed so anxious, he started doing a balerina act on his bike, complete with one knee on the seat, and the other leg extended straight back. Still not sure what he thought he was doing, but Marc and I were so impressed we backed off and put some space between us and this biker ballet so we wouldn't have to run over him when he fell.

 

I had already heard plenty of CHP activity on the scanner, and they were definitely working Palomar Mountain already. I thought it would be best to hang behind the sport bikers and let them bait the awaiting CHP ahead for us. As everyone split off 76 to the South Grade, it seems like they all got stupid at once. Some of them pulled off and stopped at the roadside, others on the roadside took off, and some just slowed down--so much so that some Harley dude with his woman on the back passed all of us! shocked.gif The Harley guy was reluctant to let us by, but we put him behind us within the first few turns.

 

But now things really got interesting. Now first off, I've been bumming this whole time because my Ohlins did not arrive in time for the day's ride. So, I'm stuggling with the RT's stock shocks, the rear with 40K miles on it, which makes hustling the RT through the twisties as easy as wrestling a wailing pig. Still, I manage though. These sportbike guys, completely decked out in their full racing leathers, atop their Ducati 748/996's, CBR 929's, F4's, R6's, etc., turns out are not doing their jobs. The intent to send them on ahead wasn't working out. These guys were so * slow through the turns, Marc and I had no choice but to pass them. But they didn't really want us to pass. First the yellow Duc, passed, done. Next was a...oh heck, they all look the same, I dunno a 929? R6? I really didn't have time to look as we stuffed him in the turn. Then another one...and so forth. One in particular I had to ride his tail so darn hard, like I was back on sportbikes again. I can't imagine what was going through his mind, seeing a big RT swooping in on his butt in his mirrors. Then we stuffed him at the next opportunity.

 

The South Grade really is a nice road when there's not so much traffic on it. I can really get the RT heeled over nice on this road, so far that each time wonder if I could just reach out and touch the asphalt while in a left-hander. Everything feels real good through these turns, hanging my butt a bit off the seat to the inside, elbow out, head looking up through the turn, "jumping" side-to-side on the bike as I transition through the turns, but this is about as close as I want to get to the asphalt and I try to keep it that way. The MEZ4's were nice and warm and sticking like Crazy Glue too. You get so close to the ground when doing this, that it almost feels like what I'd imagine a street luge experience to be like. It was at times like this that I wish I was on an R-RS like Marc. To Marc, I'm sure it appeared I was working pretty hard.

 

Later Marc said he was watching these guys' helmets as they did a double-take on us when we passed them, like, "hey, you're on a BMW, you're not s'posed to do that!" I looked at them like, "Hey you were going pretty fast when I passed you back there!" Marc and I even managed to catch the guys as the front of the pack as we reached the top. I guess we were hoping that a few of them were good riders, but no such luck this time. If those guys would learn to even utilize 50% of their bikes' potential, they could be stuffing Marc and I in the turns like we were standing still drinking lemonade. Poor riders are dangerous. No wonder the CHP is up there. BTW, speaking of CHP, we actually didn't even see a one of them. Weird, considering I heard them up there on the scanner.

 

Anyway, I'm sure at least a few of those sportbike guys went home that day to write, "Dear Diary: Today I got spanked by a couple of BMW's..."

 

At the top we stopped at "Mother's Kitchen," but it was too hot to eat. Marc took the only drink I saw him take all day--looked like a 12oz bottle of juice! I don't know how he did it; I was Camelbak equipped, and had slammed down 64oz of Gatorade by this point. So anyway, Marc said he was watching my rear tire bounce across the pavement in those turns, which would explain the fighting/correcting I had to do through those turns. Darn rear shock--WHERE ARE MY OHLINS?! It was tough to even keep my RT in its lane it was so bad. A couple times I heard some hard parts really grind somethig fierce, but still fear to look under my bike and see what I've done now. At one point later in the ride, something hit so hard, I felt my rear tire momentarily slip out a bit...not good.

 

I really should have let Marc take the lead up the hill though. He's a very fast, competent rider, and his Ohlins-equipped R1150RS can really rock-'n-roll. He was stuck right to my tail the whole time. I later saw him nicely dice it up ahead of me when he suggested a particular road I'd never done before: Mesa Grande. Wow, what a road, and no traffic or cops! Thanks for taking me on that road, Marc!

 

Now approaching Julian, we caught just a few rain sprinkles--welcomed in this blistering heat, yet raised a bit of concern for me as water does not create a good scenario on dry, twisty, tar-snake'd roads, so I let up a bit. We picked up 79 out of Julian headed for S2 and Marc was off like a bride's nightgown. My RT, with its poky shocks, and I, took up the rear, doing about as well as a blind man on a galloping horse. I would have been better off just walking my RT down the road. (Alright, where's my OHLINS?!)

 

Just out of Anza-Borrego, we picked up San Felipe, aka S2. At this point, Marc's digital temp guage said it was hot enough to churn butter under our arms. I think we both just wanted to get back to try to escape the heat. Outside of Warner Springs, we ran across a couple on shiny new sportbikes. At least, I'm assuming it was a couple. The dude in the lead was on something like a Hayabusa (pronounced Eye-Abuser), and his girlfriend was on something a bit smaller like an CBR/YZF/GSX-R 600 variant. At least I assume it was his girlfriend. Either that or it was one effeminate looking dude, pony tail and all. They were both wearing nothing more than t-shirt and jeans. The shiny new bikes had no plates and still had the dealer stickers on the back. I don't think they could decide if they wanted to go fast or not, so Marc and I put them and their indecision behind us as we headed into the Temecula Wine Country.

 

At this point, Marc's digital temp guage was so hot, even it was fixin for a tall glass of lemonade and a dip in the pool, I think. Marc and I split off near my house, both of us racing to beat the heat. I clocked 185 miles, Marc probably had and additional 150 miles on that.

 

Anyway, despite the bad shocks and the heat, it was still a pleasurable ride. Although I've only ridden with him a couple times, Marc is quite a guy to ride with and talk to. Marc does ride as well as he engineers clever solutions for us like TB adjuster rings and wheel balancers. wink.gif

 

Now, just what is Marc Parnes crafting in his shop for us next?...Whatever it is, I'll take two! smile.gif

 

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russell_bynum

Totally cool! I love that double-take part...nothing better than stuffing a bunch of bikes that should be running circles around you.

 

Mesa Grande rocks, doesn't it? Fun fun fun!

 

I think my favorite "spanked a sportbike" story was coming up out of Elsinore on CA-74. These two squids raced up the hill trying to get ahead of us before the twisties started. They didn't QUITE make it. They were both obviously really pissed...pounding their gas tanks, etc.

 

We whipped through those first few turns at a nice pace and pulled maybe a bike length on them.

 

Then I brought it up to about 55mph on the straight before that first 25mph right-hander. They easily accelerated right onto my tail. Then we got to the turn and I just didn't slow down. They both ran way wide across the oncoming lane. Three turns later they were nowhere to be seen.

 

Honestly, I think it just requires too much skill to control those beasts. I switched bikes with a buddy who rides a 929RR once coming out of Julian. Before the switch, I was beating him on my RT. After the switch, he was beating me on my RT. smile.gif It was just too hard to keep the front wheel down, etc. The new 954 is even worse...and it's the SLOW bike in all the literbike comparisons. I'd hate to see what a GSX-R1000 is like. I mean...it's fun being able to do a 3rd gear wheelie at 120, but for my meager skills, the RT is a faster bike.

 

I know what you mean about the shocks. I'm on my new Works front, but the stock rear (problem with the Works Rear...I'll post more when I know more). Even though the sag is fine, I bottom out all the time. i.e. no compression damping. It's funny crossing from a street to a driveway...that little dip at the gutter is a "squish" from the front and a THUD from the back.

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BrianT

Great write up. I love all those roads you guys took and definately have not spent enough time on them. Sure, rub it in my face that I couldn't go. laugh.gif I'm gonna have to take the magnets out of my tires so I stop picking up nails. Anybody know a good witch doctor who can remove the hex from my bike?

Edited by BrianT

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Big_Lebowski

Ummm, so where are your Ohlins?

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rdfrantz

Thanks, Sean. That was a real pleasurable tale. How about more info on that Mesa Grande road?

 

Rider is Riders, I guess. Guys on Harleys play at being Motorcyclists, and guys on Sport Bikes play at being... well, being... OK. Maybe just being.

 

It's the folks on Sport Tourers that get my attention, beit a Sprint ST, a lady on an ST4, or we nuts on RTs and RSs. Shoot, I've gotten spanked by a Virtuous and Upright Dude on an ST1100 in Colorado. At "the stop" I asked him what was up with his riding and he said, "I don't know what got into me, it all just felt so right. So, I DID IT!!"

 

And he had never HEARD of Ohlins, Sean. wink.gif

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Tool

In reply to:

Thanks, Sean. That was a real pleasurable tale. How about more info on that Mesa Grande road?


Yep. Dick's right; that was a pleasant tale. Thanks, Sean!

 

Now Dick, about Mesa Grande Road... You may recall following RickZ across that little gem back in April, during the Toolshed BBQ hoon-fest. That was the road we took right after dropping down off Palomar's East Grade, where Russell split off to head to OC.

 

Anybody want to check it out? Let's go for a ride.

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Sean

In reply to:

Ummm, so where are your Ohlins?


The Ohlins HAVE arrived! smile.gifsmile.gifsmile.gif I just picked them up and hopefully will install them tonight or tomorrow.

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murrayg

Data: You know you gotta let up on those sport riders you're likely to give'm a heart attack passing them in the corners like that. I'm glad you had fun but more importantly you returned home to Braveheart in one piece. Take care, head hoon. tongue.gif

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Gleno

 

A great tale indeed Mr. Daly. You are one of my fave riders/writers here. Keep 'em flowing. xyxthumbs.gif

 

I too, can think of a certain Honda 1100XX (Blackbird??) that got spanked by a pretty, 2up, clean (at the time), red RT last weekend in AZ. I came up on him in a set of 2nd-3rd gear tight stuff, and as he saw me approaching, it was clear he didn't want to relinquish his "lead". I hung back a few bike lengths for a mile or so of corners and when I realized how much he was holding me up, and struggling also, I set him up in a 20mph lefty and safely dove under him and let the RT do the work. Quite effortless actually. About 5 corners later, I no longer saw his lights. As the tight stuff unwound and we pulled into the little town of Pine, I was doing some stand-ups on the pegs (out of habit, certainly not because the Russell left me needing to), and when I sat down, I saw this guy come screaming up behind me. He pulled along side as we waited for traffic and he said "wow, you rode all the way from Nevada on that thing". I gave him the thumbs up, and he said "I didn't know BMWs could handle like that". Now, I will give this guy props for wearing all his gear, but I found it quite humorous to see this sport jockey in real race leathers with pucks, race Alpinestars, and the works, and a chicken strip on that fat rear tire 3 fingers wide. Well, it was fun while it lasted, but after Pine, the road got straight and Mr. Blackbird had something to prove, so he tapped his ponies on the straight shoot and roasted me to Payson. Saw him again there and he looked like a proud Papa to have made it there before us. Too funny.

 

Now the 110+ mph sweepers on Shelleys K12RS the next day are a whole 'nother story. Big Big Wood.............xyxthumbs.gif

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