Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Gear Review: Moto Tank bag

I have been tooling around on the 250 for about three months now and some things are beginning to flow, such as carrying gear atop the gas tank. I currently use First Gear’s Silverstone Tank bag II, I got this bag based on another 250 rider recommendation and it turn out to be right on. I have now used this bag for over 2500 miles and I would definitely recommend it, based on the following: First, it is an ideal size for the 250, second: it’s versatile and practical and third: it looks decent on the bike.

The 250 holds what sounds to be a measly 3.3 gallons of fuel, thus the tank is rather small in comparison to other bikes. However, that becomes irrelevant once one discovers that the bike provides freakishly efficient fuel consumption. The bag measures approximately 13Lx8Wx6H and its expandable to about 7 inches, it attaches to the tank via four magnets, two large up front and two small out back. This is an excellent combination and they hold the bag in place at both high and low speeds. I have loaded this bag almost to capacity (gloves, food, maps, water, phone, adapters, coins, iPod, sun glasses) even carried a half gallon of milk and the magnets did not budge!

This bag has multiple practical features such as the clear top pocket for maps, three outside pockets, three different carrying styles, a detachable clear map case and a rain cover with a clear top that allows one to view the map inside the bag’s pocket. The bag includes a carrying handle obviously, but there are also backpack style straps that free up your hands to carry a helmet. etc. There is also a shoulder strap if you want to carry it like a man-purse (I prefer the backpack feature). And if for some reason you don’t want to bring the bag you can detach the base and bring it as map storage only.

The bag is firm and holds its shape when empty, is made of durable materials but is not waterproof. The rain cover does a decent job at keeping your items dry. There are only a couple of drawbacks when choosing this bag, first the price is a bit high and it does not include a water reservoir, (this may be a matter of personal preference). I’ve since added a Camelbak 3 liter reservoir and makes for a good combination on long trips and hot summer days. I usually prefer to avoid carrying items on my back and this Bag serves as a good alternative.

How do I know is the right size or at least sufficiently large? Well, if it does not fit in it maybe I don’t need to bring it along; it’s a bike after all not a wagon. I’ve included a few pictures to highlight some of its features.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Sunday Moto-stroll to Northern Virginia

Woke up this morning and the weather was excellent, the 250 was ready to roll and the road was calling. What should one do? Simply Ride. I obliged and went on a Sunday stroll, and a solemn walk through the grounds of the USMC National Museum. Here are a few pictures from the visit, think of it as your personal virtual tour.

Semper Fidelis.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Moto-Touring: How it all started, meet the 250’s predecessors.

I normally prefer to forge and create new memories but sometimes I will take a duly nostalgic walk down moto-lane. Most of us have fond memories of events that served as the catalyst for our present reality [fill in the blank]. Some of my fondest memories include my initiation into moto-sports. I’ve always been fascinated with two wheels, but I’m unable to recall the exact moment I decided that I must have a Motobike. Join me; grab a Pale Ale let’s walk.

Undeterred by the risk involved in the sport, I signed up for my local MSF course in Southern, CA. I easily passed the course and was on my way to obtaining my M endorsement, fast-forward two years to January 00’, and I met Blondie (aka 00’ yellow 883 sportster). It had been two years since my MSF course but I was determined to ride, and went out and got me a shiny new Ride, some may call it a quarter life crisis.

It took a few weeks before I could ride on the super slab and eventually I did, and it was exhilarating! I spent many lunch breaks and weekends riding around So Cal., up and down The Sunset strip,Los Feliz Boulevard, Melrose avenue, Hollywood Boulevard, Mulholland Highway, Los Angeles Crest, Malibu, Ojai, Pacific Coast Highway, San Diego and along the Coast near Santa Barbara. It had always been my goal to moto-tour and back then I went on my first overnight moto trip to Morro Bay, CA. It was a short trip but it cemented my interest in touring. However, Moto bliss ended soon after that trip, as I had to return to school and Blondie and I parted ways. With only 6500 miles/10,400km on the odometer it was a tough decision.

For the next ten years I meandered through the shiny, waxy aisles of various moto dealers, daydreaming and plotting my next two wheel rendezvous. After various moves across the States due to either miscellaneous or important reasons I landed in Maryland, U.S., and was finally able to afford another ride. And that’s when I met Ed (aka 07’ Gray 883L Sportster). Unfortunately, just like in dating some interactions are only temporary.

Ed was extremely utilitarian, handled poorly; lacked acceptable suspension and the quality of the ride was far from safety or confidence inspiring. Once again my steed and I parted ways, except this time I was glad. This road trip only lasted 1300miles/2080km. Fortunately, by then I had decided to get off the Hog, made in the U.S. wagon and was determined to find a ride that complimented my riding style, moto-touring aspirations and most importantly, my budget. And that’s how I met Scully and how this Blog was started, Enjoy the Ride.

Blondie, Circa 2000 near Morro Bay, CA.

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Mr. Ed, 04/2011, at Quantico, VA., paying homage to the Leathernecks,
Semper Fi.

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