|06-30-2011, 09:05 AM||#1|
Joined: Jul 2008
Location: Not from round these parts.
Sputtering Through the Black Forrest
On a recent trip to Germany I had a spare 31 hours to kill before my flight out, so instead of spending the time trying to see how fast my rental car could go on the Autobahn …again…(117 MPH) and trying to find the bottom of mugs at the local beer garden, I decided to visit with an old friend. This friend (oddly enough) is also addicted to riding motorcycles and when I told him that I might be in the area, he invited me to crash at his house on Friday night and before my flight on Saturday, we would check out some of the roads that twist through the nearby Black Forrest. During the e-mail exchange leading up to my visit he sent information about a few BMW rental places in the area and also mentioned that he had a spare GSXR 750 in his garage and asked if I would be willing to give that bike a go. Wait….. did I just get asked to ride some of the worlds best roads on a 141 HP 366 lb (dry) race ready snarling, fire belching animal that has a 0-60 time of 3 seconds? HELL YES I’ll RIDE THE GSXR!!
When I got to the house on Friday afternoon I was welcomed by my buddy…um.. let’s call him … “Smalls”….and his wife and kids.
Picture of Smalls:
They dragged my bags into the house gave me a HUGE lunch of home made spicy dumplings and was treated like a member of the family. We all spent a few hours catching up, laughing about past events and talking about what was on tap for tomorrow. When I asked about the bikes, Smalls looked at his wife, grinned and said “let’s go to the garage”.
After a few hours of more BS-ing we ran some errands (forgot the milk), ate yet more amazing home cooked food and since it was still light out we decided to take the bikes out for a spin.
Smalls had warned me that the GSXR was his project bike and that it needed some work but we both figured that it just needed some gas run through it at high revs and maybe some dry gas to sort it all out. Using full choke the GSXR eventually sneezed to life and its modified exhaust note was no match for the Harley’s stock pipes (man those bikes sound good). After getting the bikes running, getting some pictures taken and getting dirty looks from the neighbors we headed out in search of some open roads and shiny things.
Rolling down the road I quickly realized that what Smalls told me about the previous owner trashing the bike was 100% true. I had to keep the revs above 2000 RMP otherwise it would just stall out and second gear felt like a mouth full of broken teeth. Also if I tried to wind it up past 6500 rpm the engine would bog and quit.
Keeping with our initial plan we had some fun throwing the bikes around in the twisties and made a pit stop a what can only be described as Gear Head Nirvana….Meilenwerk Auto Club.
This working, functioning garage\dealership\warehouse\showroom \former aircraft hangar, holds literally hundreds of super cars that are owned by car enthusiasts who actually drive these works of engineering art. Between drives they store them in this glass enclosed, temperature controlled vault where even poor schmucks like us can just walk in off the street and get up close and personal. How close can we get? Close enough that we could see the scuff marks on the bottom of the Ferrari F430. Close enough that we could see the bug splatters on a recently driven SLS AMG. Close enough that we were fogging up the glass engine cover on the Lamborghini Aventador. It was like being in a friend’s garage while he was out back flipping burgers. We were free to look around without anyone busting our chops or telling us to take a step back from a display.
OK Picture Time:
The two of us were running around like under-supervised over caffeinated children on a field trip and we almost walked out without noticing the micro-brewery that was also located within the hangars….almost…
Completely forgetting about picking up a can of dry-gas\ injector cleaner we cruised back to the house and tried to get some rest for the next day’s ride.
After what was a surprisingly comfortable nights sleep on a pull out couch I was woken up by the sun….at 0455!! WTF is Germany afraid of the dark or something? I went to bed around 11 and the sun was just setting… and NOW at pre 5 fregin O-CLOCK it’s back up. I’m not a morning person and this was not a good start to what was going to be a very long day.
The good news was that Small’s kids were also awake were regulated to breakfast duty. By the time I rolled my sorry self off the couch the kids had made coffee, set the table and put some pancakes on the griddle. FANTASTIC! Knowing that I had still had a flight to catch we inhaled our breakfast, geared up and warmed up the bikes. Yeah that’s right. I said warmed up the bikes. Even though it was mid June the temperature outside was only in the mid 50’s. Having spent the better part of the last 2 years in Thailand my body was not quite ready for the cold and my attempt to shiver myself warm was clearly not working. So I went back into the house and grabbed every sweatshirt I brought with me and put them on over my long johns and under my riding gear. I was so layered up in clothing I felt like that kid from A Christmas Story (“Cant put my arms down”)
On the bikes and winding our way though a small village trying to shake off the cold I was taking heed of the 750’s little idiosyncrasies as we headed for the Autobahn in an attempt to do some distance before the rest of the world woke up. As soon as we hit the highway we were stopped dead in our tracks. No not by a stau
but rather by Hohenzollern Castle.
This beautiful 11th century home of a former emperor was actually destroyed and re-built several times over the centuries and is now a popular tourist destination in the foothills of the Black Forrest. The pictures do not do the place any justice and we were literally taken aback by it’s mere presence.
After taking some pictures we cranked the throttles and Smalls took off like a chrome-plated rocket on his Road Glide. I on the other hand sat on the side of the road feeling like a noob who couldn’t figure out how to start a bike. No matter what I did the GSXR just did not want to get going and it took a solid 30 seconds of me cursing at it before it realized that I meant business. Eventually the mule turned over and I cranked the throttle W-I-D-E open and…sputtered out on the side of the highway a full 4 feet later. This was getting ugly. We were only about 30 min into our ride and this bike was becoming a serious pain in the ass. After what proved to be a heated and tense negotiation secession the bike and I came to an agreement. It would keep moving as long as I didn’t exceed 6500 RPM, use second gear at anything over 4000 RPM and always used ¾ choke..no more, no less.
Finally catching up with Smalls we followed his GPS route to our first scheduled stop of the day.
The Touratech factory store.
If you are reading this and have no idea who or what a Touratech is…let me try to explain; It is a supermarket of toys for our toys. Need a locking handlebar GPS bracket for a Super Tenere? Tank bag for your GS? Carbon fiber motocross helmet? Need to outfit your 990 for a RTW trip? Then this is the place for you!
Smalls and I spent about an hour and half walking around and checking out bikes, parts for bikes, and looking at off road maps of some far-away places. This place is enough to give the dual sport bug to even the most dedicated road rider.
After picking up a $32 t-shirt (US) and a bottle of injector cleaner we read the directions …that were in German, used a screwdriver from the Harley’s tool kit to pry open the GSXR’s fuel cap and poured the entire contents into the tank. This miracle in a bottle did absolutely nothing. No change in the engine wheezing, sneezing or sputtering what so ever. In fact I’m pretty sure the Suzuki was pissed off at me for even trying to fix it because it was then I realized that my right side foot peg had rattled loose and was missing (thought my foot felt too close to the exhaust pipe). Since the previous owner had installed after market pegs on the bike, we just unscrewed the back passenger peg and fit it to the front peg.
Moving on through the forest the sun began to warm things up a bit and the roads went from pretty good to absolutely wonderful. Perfect pavement, light traffic, incredible scenery, road signs that meant nothing to me and not much else to distract me from the ride. (WTF is a yellow and white squares\diamonds supposed mean?) Rhetorical question folks…
The GSXR might have been sick, but it could still turn where I was thinking of going and stop on a dime. The handling of this 11 year old was nothing short of amazing and I just wished that the monster engine that was bolted to the frame was working a bit better. Ehhh beggars cant be choosers I said to myself from the side of the road where I we had stalled out again. Sorry yes I messed with the choke again…sorry…sorry.
The next scheduled stop of the day was Triberg home of the world’s largest cuckoo clock:
We parked the bikes and had a look around:
Grabbing a soda and pretzel we sat around for a while shooting the breeze and watched all the different motorcycles go cursing by.
Remembering that I had a plane to catch and an un-reliable motorcycle to nurse home we headed back the way we came and rode about 2 ½ hours straight back. Now this might not sound like a lot of saddle time to you and to be honest if I was on any other type of bike a 2-hour ride is no problem at all. But let me tell you something, having never really ridden a sport bike for longer then an hour at a time, spending 2 ½ hours hunched over with all my weight on my wrists sucks. The huge dumb smile I had on my face the whole day was turned into a tooth-grinding grimace of pain. I wanted off this bike in the worst way but at the same time I really didn’t want the ride to end. Eventually however it did and we pushed the bikes back into the garage and dragged ourselves back to reality. Smalls wife once again outdid herself and made us a fantastic lunch of German sausages that we ate while sitting around the kitchen table eating, laughing and planning our next adventure.
Catching up with my old friends was a lot of fun and riding through the German countryside was absolutely fantastic.
As for the GSXR, despite the engine problems and a seating position that is borderline torture rack, I REALLY liked it. Extraordinary breaks, laser sharp steering and a sub 400 lb weight are hard things not to like in a motorcycle. Both Smalls and I know there is a thoroughbred hiding in that stubborn mule somewhere and once he finds the fregin connector to the Power Commander he will be able to fix the fuel mapping problem and bring this racehorse back to it’s former glory. I just hope I get an invite back once he does.
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canoli screwed with this post 06-30-2011 at 09:13 AM
|06-30-2011, 01:05 PM||#2|
Joined: Jul 2003
Location: Where the Muk is Heckilteo?
That sounds like a great time. It's good to have friends in faraway places.
I want to see a pic of Smalls on the gixxer - I bet he makes it look like a pit bike!
Skip 2010 KTM 990 Adventure R Fuel and Maint Log
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