Author Topic: 1 megameter per day test ride  (Read 2597 times)

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June 13, 2006, 10:38:09 PM on

Offline ix (OP)

  • Tiger Cub
  • Location: Scotts Valley, California, USA
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This past weekend, I did my first solo, long-distance, endurance ride on the Tiger. I live in Santa Cruz, CA, on the Pacific coast about 30 miles south of the San Francisco Bay area. For my destination, I chose the town of Wells, NV, just about 1,000 km (1 megameter) east along I-80. I deliberately avoided my usual choices of roads less travelled and scenic byways, since this was supposed to be a test of my endurance while droning along at a steady pace on the most boring type of road in existance. My primary goals were:



1) To see if I could do it;

2) To see if I like doing it;

3) To see what equipment or preparations I'm missing for a multi-day, mile-eating ride.



It turns out I did like it, I held up much better than I expected, and I have no critical items missing from my equipment or preparations. I decided that I could probably make it all the way to Salt Lake City if I were willing to be really tired and drive for more than 12 hours in a row.



My Tiger is a 2004 with these mods:

- HT crash bars with highway pegs

- Triumph heated handgrips

- Throttlemeister throttle lock

- Triumph 3-piece luggage (panniers and top case)

- Triumph hand protectors

- Taller windscreen (unknown brand; came with bike)

- Scottoiler automatic chain oiler

- Triumph "race" muffler and tune for it



I bought the bike used with 10k miles on it, this past March; it's now got over 13,000 miles. The previous owner did most of the mods, but I added the heated handgrips, the crash bars/hwy pegs, and the Scottoiler.



The trip was uneventful, about 1/3 through California coastal civilization (between Santa Cruz and Sacramento), 1/6 through gorgeous Sierra mountain scenery (from Sacramento to Reno), and the rest an endless drone along laser-straight superslab through vast, flat desert scenery. Nothing of note happened along the way, but I have a few observations:



- At the Pilot truck stop in Carlin, NE Nevada, they sold individual bottles of beer in a big vat of ice, just like the displays you usually see of sodas, sports drinks, fruit juices, etc. My first thought was, "beer to go?", but the clerk told me their real customers for that are the local miners who just want a beer or two when they get home. I almost bought one for that reason myself. In retrospect, I should have - I had plenty of time to waste in the hotel.



- I didn't expect Nevada to have a lot of bugs. It's a desert, right? How many bugs could there be? Well, NE NV has plenty, and this year it's even worse because of the unusually wet winter they just had. Every front surface of my Tiger and my leathers is coated in dead bugs - even the fronts of the panniers and top case. I had to clean off my faceplate and windshield every single time I stopped for gas in NV, just so I could see the road. Bleah!  :smt087 By contrast, I travelled for 3 hours through lush, green California from my last gas stop to home and hit so few bugs, I still haven't had to clean my helmet.



- The Throttlemeister doesn't always work. I've read about this problem before: the Throttlemeister lock itself doesn't expand or contract the same amount as the plastic and rubber of the handgrip and control pod when the temperature changes, so there are times when the Throttlemeister can't quite lock the throttle. I found that when the air warmed up over 80 and the sun was shining, or there was an overcast and air in the 60's, the throttle was slipping even with the Throttlemeister on full lock. I'll have to play different sized washers to see if I can remedy this issue.



- Droning along the featureless I-80 superslab through NV, I spent literally hours cruising at speeds over 90 mph. Now, that's the way to eat up the miles! However, I discovered that the Tiger starts to weave dangerously around 100 mph, so I rarely went over 95 mph. I also discovered that at these speeds, the buffeting from the turbulence behind semi trucks going 75 mph (the speed limit) starts about 1/4 mile back. When passing semis, I had to slow down to about 85 until I was out of the turbulence shadow, alongside the front of the truck, or the turbulence would throw the bike violently and unpredictably side-to-side.



- Over 95 mph, the gas mileage sinks terribly. My gas mileage on the fastest stretch (95-100 mph the whole way) was about 31 mpg. On stretches of 85-90 mph, I got about 33 mpg. On stretches of 70-85 mph, I got my usual 37-40 mpg. I averaged 37 mpg for the whole trip.



- The Tiger puts a hand-numbing vibration through the handlebars between 5k and 6k rpms. I've never noticed before, because I'm rarely in the saddle long enough for it to bother me. On this trip, however, my hands were buzzing horribly for 15 minutes into my first gas/rest stop, because I spent about 3 hours driving at 5-6k rpms. At first I was worried that this was going to be serious issue, but on the next tank of gas I discovered that the vibration got far less intrusive below 5k or around 6k rpms. On Sunday, there was more traffic and I wasn't able to keep the speed at 90+ most of the time, so I often had to switch to 5th gear to kick the rpms up over 6k again. I guess there is a use for 5th gear, after all.  :D



- I'm glad I have the highway pegs. I needed them, to stretch out once in a while.



- I'm glad I didn't have a passenger. I need the passger pegs to stretch me out in the other direction once in a while. Not only that, if I was getting squirmy after a few hours of sitting and droning, I think a passenger would have been sitting on buns of fire with legs a-cramping. The passenger accomodations look pretty cramped for anyone over 5' tall.



- The stock seat is tolerably comfortable. I think I could do better, so I'm starting to shop around, but my main complaint about the stock seat is the curves, not the padding. I want a seat that has neither the nutcracker hump in the front nor the tailbone-recurving ramp at the back. Flat. Wide. Well-padded. Nothing fancy. Am I really the only one? I hate that motorcycle manufacturers can't make a flat seat anymore.



At the risk of preaching to the choir - I love my Tiger! :smt055  With the luggage on, it's a great touring bike, and with the luggage off, it's a great urban and canyon assault bike.
- Ix

June 14, 2006, 02:43:32 PMReply #1 on

Sasquatch

  • Guest
Nice report.  Here is some feedback from another LD Tiger rider..



Vibration.  Yes, it's there.  I put softer gel grips on and that helped.  I also got gel gloves, that helped.  Still annoying.  Next step is an aluminum handle bar as soon as I can find one that matches the bend of the stocker.



Weave at 100mph.  Mess with your suspension settings.  I do not get any weave at any speed.  Metzler Tourance front tires also amplify that.  I moved to Pirelli Scorpions.  Also drop your forks 10mm (lowering the front).



For me, the stock seat was unbearable after 100 miles.  The factory offered Gel seat was unbearable after 200 miles.  Purchased an off the shelf Corbin, and at the tradeoff of making the bike taller, worked fabulously for a couple of 700+ mile days.



Bufeting.  I just had an email from a gent who said that he almost completely eliminated it with a Laminal lip and covered the lower vent wtih tape.  I have a MRA adjustable touring screen that is much better than stock.  I will try covering the vent with tape for giggles.



Enjoy your Tiger, I do.

June 14, 2006, 07:38:18 PMReply #2 on

Offline ix (OP)

  • Tiger Cub
  • Location: Scotts Valley, California, USA
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Quote

Vibration. Yes, it's there. I put softer gel grips on and that helped. I also got gel gloves, that helped.




I've been thinking about this, but I'm worried that thicker grips or gloves will interfere with the heated grips. Since gel apparently holds heat pretty well, perhaps gel grips would be an acceptable compromise.



Quote

Weave at 100mph..... Metzler Tourance front tires also amplify that. I moved to Pirelli Scorpions.




Hrm. That's bad news for me. :( I was planning to get Metzeler Tourances next, when my Michelin T66's wear out. Maybe I'll go with the Scorpions instead.



Quote

Bufeting. I just had an email from a gent who said that he almost completely eliminated it with a Laminal lip and covered the lower vent wtih tape. I have a MRA adjustable touring screen that is much better than stock. I will try covering the vent with tape for giggles.




I'll have to try that. The previous owner did the "cheapo laminar lip" mod by drilling holes in the tall windshield and mounting a helmet faceplate to it, and it was so ugly that I took it off before even trying it. I've found that the airstream around my helmet is loud but not too forceful and pretty much buffet-free, so I haven't done anything about it, but perhaps a laminar lip would quiet things down for me.



In any case, the "buffeting" I was referring to is the massive turbulence caused by semi trucks at highway speeds, and it moves the entire bike side-to-side if the truck is going 70-75ish and the bike is going over 85 mph. I don't think a laminar lip on the windscreen is going to help that much. :)
- Ix

June 29, 2006, 02:28:11 AMReply #3 on

Offline ix (OP)

  • Tiger Cub
  • Location: Scotts Valley, California, USA
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The day after I got back, I started to notice tingling and numbness in my hands. Apparently I suffered some sort of RSI (repetetive stress injury), or perhaps a nerve injury from the vibrations. I had a little tingling and numbness all over the palms and thumbs, and some hot/cold/numb feelings in my throttle hand when I put pressure on the palm and gripped things. Freaky.



The night after I got back, I went for my usual evening workout, and made all the symptoms worse. After that, I stayed off the bike and stopped using my hands in my workouts, and the problem has steadily gotten better.



Last week I couldn't stand it anymore, so I got back on the bike, and I noticed that my hands were super-sensitized to the vibrations in the handlebars. I also noticed that riding for any length of time (such as my 1/2 hour commute to work) brought back some of the symptoms. I stayed off the bike again until this week. Now I'm getting better enough that the commute doesn't seem to exacerbate anything much.



This is really disappointing. I bought this bike to do miles and miles, and enjoy commuting in between long trips. If I can't use the bike for that, I'm going to have to sell it and start the search for the "perfect bike" again. :cry:



I ordered myself a set of Rox shock-absorbing bar risers:



http://www.roxspeedfx.com/cgi-bin/cart/showitems.cgi?subcat_id=269



When they arrive, I'm going to set the bars more back than up (they're high enough for me already), and hopefully the shock absorbers will help prevent this issue in the future. I'll post about them once I've had them on the bike for a while.
- Ix

June 30, 2006, 12:54:25 PMReply #4 on

Offline Brother Number One

  • Puma
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    • My blog about 2015 USA trip and bike preparation
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Have a go on a V-Strom; then you'll know what vibes are 8)
2015-16 USA & C.America: http://sawthingsclearer.com (click it, click it, click iiiit) 04 silver Tiger, Touratech Zega panniers, CCC titanium can, NWS hugger

July 03, 2006, 10:25:43 PMReply #5 on

Offline GatorTiger

  • Leopard
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Quote from: "ix"
Quote

Weave at 100mph..... Metzler Tourance front tires also amplify that. I moved to Pirelli Scorpions.




Hrm. That's bad news for me. :( I was planning to get Metzeler Tourances next, when my Michelin T66's wear out. Maybe I'll go with the Scorpions instead.




I can only second the Scorpions!!!!! They wear beautifully and last quite a bit!!! I tried Tourances, Anakees, and now the Scorpions. And I will stay with them for sure!!!



Quote from: "ix"
Quote

Bufeting. I just had an email from a gent who said that he almost completely eliminated it with a Laminal lip and covered the lower vent wtih tape. I have a MRA adjustable touring screen that is much better than stock. I will try covering the vent with tape for giggles.




I'll have to try that. The previous owner did the "cheapo laminar lip" mod by drilling holes in the tall windshield and mounting a helmet faceplate to it, and it was so ugly that I took it off before even trying it. I've found that the airstream around my helmet is loud but not too forceful and pretty much buffet-free, so I haven't done anything about it, but perhaps a laminar lip would quiet things down for me.




Another second on the lip! I've been using it for a while now. If mounted right (I drilled holes to position it and ditched the velcro that came with it) it makes a HUGE difference! They key is to have the lip and the other screen only overlap about 1-1.5 inches and make the angle of it more shallow (AKA not as steep) as the other windshield. The wind might still hit you, but it hits you as a smooth stream and takes the head-banging away. Along with some good earplugs it does the trick!! I did 90 on I-90 when I went to MT and all I heard (and felt) was a smooth 'swooosh'... Awesome!!! 8) Have to try taping up the lower hole... Hey, wait a minute...  :twisted:  



Quote from: "ix"
Quote

In any case, the "buffeting" I was referring to is the massive turbulence caused by semi trucks at highway speeds, and it moves the entire bike side-to-side if the truck is going 70-75ish and the bike is going over 85 mph. I don't think a laminar lip on the windscreen is going to help that much. :)

You're right about that!!!  8)
Triumph Tiger - The ultimate riding machine! \";-)\"

Know this:  A clean Tiger is a dirty shame!!