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Old 04-18-2013, 08:40 AM   #16
Keithert
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Nice report. I am very jealous of you people that live near decent riding areas!
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Old 04-18-2013, 08:47 AM   #17
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Nice report. I am very jealous of you people that live near decent riding areas!
Plus 1on both counts!
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Old 04-19-2013, 02:51 PM   #18
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Thumb ...no "boo's" from this Versys owner either...

I enjoyed your ride report and photos. I own a 2008 Versys and seek out gravel and dirt roads to photograph the real American landscape. I detest interstates. At 6280 miles in two years, I just replaced the O.E.M. tires with Pirelli Scorpion Trails tires. Airing them down from the recommended tire pressure sure instills more confidence over unimproved terrain.
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Old 04-19-2013, 03:30 PM   #19
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Plus 1on both counts!
That stinks not having good stuff around. I hope I always live near mountains. Unless you go pure dirt I think mountains are essential to good rides.
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Old 04-19-2013, 03:43 PM   #20
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I enjoyed your ride report and photos. I own a 2008 Versys and seek out gravel and dirt roads to photograph the real American landscape. I detest interstates. At 6280 miles in two years, I just replaced the O.E.M. tires with Pirelli Scorpion Trails tires. Airing them down from the recommended tire pressure sure instills more confidence over unimproved terrain.
Another Versys trail ride? Come! Let us be brothers henceforth, and fight for the right as one.



PS: Thanks for the tip about the tires. I have been thinking about getting some all terrain tires. Also I have been thinking about learning how to put on new tires.






Sorry, sometimes I cannot resist movie quotes.
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Old 04-20-2013, 04:47 AM   #21
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Don't underestimate a 100 lb woman.

They can be pretty mean.....

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Old 04-21-2013, 11:29 AM   #22
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Don't let it get you down; it's only castles burning.

As I set off preparing for my ride today I remarked to myself how auspicious the beginnings were. Or inauspicious, I can never remember which is which. I have always believed the foundation of a good day is a good breakfast, but apparently my wife did not get the message. Without even leaving me a simple breakfast of eggs, bacon and swedish pancakes, as I requested, she left around 6am, before I was even awake, and went to work. So I had to improvise my most important meal of the day.



I dedicate this ride to John Carpenter.

Don't worry, he is not dead. At least not as far as I know, he could have died years ago, and I never heard about it. It is the sort of thing one might look up before writing a report such as this. The point is I saw "Big Trouble in Little China," and "They Live" earlier this week, and anyone who creates movies that good deserves at least a ride dedicated to him.

The plan was to explore the trails in San Bernardino I never got around to exploring last week. Google maps does not have the trails, however here is the road portion of the ride. C and D are probably where I got on and off the trails respectively.

https://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=S...=w&mra=ls&z=15


Here you can see some of the trails on the satellite.



Shortly after heading, around Altadena, out I saw something that caught my attention. I actually had a perfect shot from the highway, but I have no way to operate my phone while wearing gloves. I do not have a dashboard where I can rest things either, so I had to get off the highway to take a picture. Unfortunately because the surface streets are so much lower than the freeway, I had to drive around for a while through surprisingly heavy traffic. On the way I saw this very picturesque street:



Followed by this charming store:

Oh Taylor. May your meat and produce be ever fruitful.


It has been said, "Some men just want to watch the world burn." I think what they meant to say was, "some men want to make the world burn, but pretty much everyone will stop and stare at a fire."



Behold, fire! Stolen from the gods and given to man by Prometheus. The purest expression of chaos in a universe doomed to entropic death. The symbol of every emotion that makes life worth living. And in other circumstances good for roasting marshmallows.

This next shot was fortuitous. I had no idea the helicopter was there; it swooped through the smoke just as I was taking the picture. Flying low through a thick screen of smoke like that has to be mind numbingly frightening.




The hills are alive with fire and brimstone. It was a grassfire, but it was big. There were a number of homes precariously close as well, although I did not see any engulfed in flames yet. It was still early enough in the event there were no roadblocks. In fact, because it was on the hill the fire trucks could not even get to it. I got a little closer, but I declined to stop and take pictures because the police and fire departments would need access. The roads were already thick with gob-stopped looky-loos, and I was not going to be the one getting in the way of people fighting the fire or others evacuating their homes. You will just have to trust me when I say the fire was spreading fast and heading towards houses.

Since I did not intend to stand around looking at it all day, and the authorities were obviously already on the case I decided to set out again. After some more freeway time I finally got off I-15N and headed onto Lytle Creek Road. I found myself smack dab in the middle of a beautiful canyon.


There was only light traffic, and the road surface was good, which made for nice riding. Some twisties. The other day while driving home from work I thought it would be a good idea to actually show my bike in the pictures. ;)



A few miles up Lytle Creek I found the San Bernardino National Forest Ranger station. This was not just a happy coincidence, as I had planned to go there. It had a very nice setting, and I was able to get my bike in the pictures as well.


Here is some more of it.



Inside the station was a girl who appeared to be about 12 years old. But she had an official looking ranger hat, so I solicited her for information about the local trails and paid for the adventure pass. She was helpful and gave me a map. Now on the way to the ranger's station I had seen this sign, although I did not take the picture until after leaving the station. It should be C on the map:



The mighty morphin power ranger at the station specifically told me I was not to ride on 2N57, but both the sign and the map she gave me seemed to say street legal vehicles are ok. Bumblebee is street legal, so I decided to take my chances. In any case, logic dictates if she is behind the counter she would not be the one to catch me riding there, so I could always plead ignorance based on the sign.

Things started out easy. The road was dirt, but otherwise flat and relatively smooth, at least not too many rocks. I think I was able to get a bit over 40 here.



Things started to go uphill before long.



Oh! There is Bumblebee again. This was really one of my better ideas.



It continued up and up. It was not long before I found a rather good overlook.



Continuing up it went from easy road to steep to "how the heck am I going to get down this?" Better to just keep going and save those sorts of questions for the academics. As I continue up I look out over the canyon, and I am struck with a sudden nostalgia. I think we have all experiences it at some point, when a sight or a sound or a smell conjures up a memory we did not know we had. I look out and see two small lakes beside each other, each with a fountain in the middle. I suddenly am struck with a memory of camping there and swimming in those lakes when I was a small child. I have a sudden urge to read Proust's Remembrance of Things Past and connect my memories to some greater significance describing the whole of the human conditions. But it is a pretty long book, so I probably won't.



Here is an angle with more scenery and less mawkishness.



I continue through the hills, taking various turns, and more or less relying on my internal compass to guide me around, although I do have a map if things get too bad. The trail gets worse and worse. To be sure, on a pure dirt bike it would have been on the cusp of not even being fun. On a pure dualsport like a klr or dr I do not know as I have never ridden one. On a Versys with a more competent rider, it would probably be easy as well, since the actual trail was not so bad. I found all I have learned from dirtbiking holds basically true; I just go slower, and the bike is harder to maneuver. What I am more and more worried about is the tires. I pick my lines to avoid rocks, but I can feel the tires getting shredded. I have 60 miles of freeway once I get off the trail, and I do not want the tires to fall apart at 70mph.

Here is the farthest point I went in, I think.



After this I turn towards what I think is the road. Based on the map smurfette gave me the trail is going to get worse and worse, but ultimately that is where the fun is. At this point I can say the temperature is about 400 degrees. I have to go slow, so there is no wind to cool me down. My black jacket absorbs the sun's heat, and it gets so hot the adhesive that holds together my phone's case melts and falls apart. Between my workout, inadequate breakfast, thank you Mrs. Billybumbler, and not drinking much of anything, I am feeling about half dead from exposure. I know I am still quite a ways from the road, and I want to hurry back to get some water. But hurrying is what gets people in trouble, so I slowly wind my way through miles of this:



I am still worried about the tires, but the conditions get harder and harder. I drift from side to side. Even water cooled bikes need to breathe, so whenever possible I try to gun up the speed so the radiator can get more air. Let's face it; I need the air too. I should probably take a break, but I tend to be a task master even when I am alone. Climbing up the hill in the last picture I reach a very pretty peak.



On the other side are endlessly twisting trails.



It gets steeper and steeper and rockier and rockier. Eventually I have to say screw the tire and just motor through. I still try to avoid rocks whenever I can, but a hit a few doozies. I let the wheels slide and track the way they want, but it gets steep in places, and I cannot moderate my speed. The inside of my jacket is soaked with sweat, and I can feel my lips chapped and raw. Going around a turn I run into a deep sand pit. The front tire washes out, and I almost instinctively grab the brakes. But when in doubt, gas it. Bumblebee responds beautifully and stands up good and proper. To hell with the tires I scream into the wind, as I fly down the trail, drunk on adrenaline, or, more likely, heat exhaustion. I make one wrong turn, but that is not too bad considering I had assumed I would end up hitting something I could not get over and be forced to backtrack for hours.


Finally, road, sweet road.



As fun as this trail had been the heat and thirst took its toll. Rather than stop for a tire inspection I ride a few miles back to I-15 where there is a gas station. I fuel up and take a much needed, albeit quick, stop for lunch. I know it is traditional for people to post pictures and tell tales of the wonderful and exotic local cuisine real advriders find, but more mundane journeys like mine demand a more mundane cuisine. In another respect, it fits in a weird way because, believe it or not, I have never been in a Del Taco before.



I get some water as well, and I feel greatly refreshed. After fifteen minutes I inspect the tires, gear up and head out. The tires have a lot of small tears in the rubber, but it all looks superficial to my untrained eye. On the way home I see the Monrovia fire again. It has spread over the hills, and there is smoke everywhere. Later, at home, I check the news and learn it has burned 170 acres so far, and is 10% contained. Many families have been evacuated, but I can do nothing more than wish the best for them and keep on keepin' on.
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Old 04-21-2013, 03:13 PM   #23
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If this was Chapter 2...

...I enjoyed your report and photos. It's saddening to see and hear about fires that spring up in the western states. Hopefully there was no loss of life.

Waiting for Chapter 3...
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:28 AM   #24
Rob.G
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Good job on that trail, especially with a heavy bike and street-ish tires!!! Great narrative too. :)

Rob
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Old 04-22-2013, 09:30 AM   #25
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The Versys is a nice bike. There are quite a few Versys owners on this site. A friend in Orange County had one for a few years, but sold it recently when he got a new Tiger 800XC.

Rob

That would be the 'browneye'...LOL.

The Versys is a great little bike. Put 8500 miles on mine and started doing the adventure riding stuff so I wanted something more capable.

I put Pirelli Scorpion Trails on mine and they worked really well on and off pavement. Just drop the pressure down to about 22-23lbs and they work remarkably well. You need to carry a pump though so you can air back up for road.

The new Tiger came with those tires as well, and they work just as good on it.

You'll have to come out for some of the local rides and get to know the other ADV'rs...there's a TON of them here in the southland. 3 years ago I didn't know anyone either and now the phone rings off the hook.

Also be sure to join the owners forum here: www.kawasakiversys.com


Keep on keepin' on!


Here's mine when I owned it.





Here's a sequoia tour Rob was on with us. A couple'a Versys and a couple'a others...

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Old 04-22-2013, 02:21 PM   #26
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I lived in SoCal for a few years in the last century. I loved the roads and the scenery but stayed on the pavement since I had a sportbike and a heavy touring bike. I really like the Versys and would love to ride the area on one. I think you made a good choice picking a yellow one. It looks nice

Good job on your report and thanks for posting it.

I do have one suggestion. If you want to have an easier time taking pics, buy a relatively inexpensive point and shoot camera and hang in around your neck with a strap. I do this and can take pics with my left hand while riding even while wearing winter gloves. When I do stop to take a pic, the camera is right there and I don't have to take off my gloves. You will find that you can get some great pics that you would otherwise have missed.
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Old 04-23-2013, 02:35 PM   #27
Rob.G
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Here's a sequoia tour Rob was on with us. A couple'a Versys and a couple'a others...
Speaking of others, have you heard from Hamilton? I haven't. I think I saw something on G+ about him getting a BMW.

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Old 04-23-2013, 02:51 PM   #28
browneye
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Speaking of others, have you heard from Hamilton? I haven't. I think I saw something on G+ about him getting a BMW.

Rob

I do hear from him occasionally, but it's been awhile. Hadn't heard about a new bike yet.

Bill sold his Versys and got a Ducati 1098, and a TE310.


Sorry for the thread-jack.
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:03 AM   #29
billybumbler OP
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Nice bike

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I lived in SoCal for a few years in the last century. I loved the roads and the scenery but stayed on the pavement since I had a sportbike and a heavy touring bike. I really like the Versys and would love to ride the area on one. I think you made a good choice picking a yellow one. It looks nice

Good job on your report and thanks for posting it.

I do have one suggestion. If you want to have an easier time taking pics, buy a relatively inexpensive point and shoot camera and hang in around your neck with a strap. I do this and can take pics with my left hand while riding even while wearing winter gloves. When I do stop to take a pic, the camera is right there and I don't have to take off my gloves. You will find that you can get some great pics that you would otherwise have missed.
Good suggestion. I had figured a camera would be essential once I figured out I could not use the phone's touchscreen with gloves on. But I had not thought of putting it around my neck. That solves a lot of problems. I did just get a Silverstone tank bag so I can have a little area to put things. Do you still use your right hand to take pictures? Given the choice I prefer to use my left hand for things, since my right controls the gas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by browneye View Post
That would be the 'browneye'...LOL.

The Versys is a great little bike. Put 8500 miles on mine and started doing the adventure riding stuff so I wanted something more capable.

I put Pirelli Scorpion Trails on mine and they worked really well on and off pavement. Just drop the pressure down to about 22-23lbs and they work remarkably well. You need to carry a pump though so you can air back up for road.

The new Tiger came with those tires as well, and they work just as good on it.

You'll have to come out for some of the local rides and get to know the other ADV'rs...there's a TON of them here in the southland. 3 years ago I didn't know anyone either and now the phone rings off the hook.

Also be sure to join the owners forum here: www.kawasakiversys.com


Keep on keepin' on!


Here's mine when I owned it.




Nice set up on the Versys. I do not think I will trade it in anytime soon, but I am definitely taking a long hard look at the Triumph. So I will probably follow in your footsteps eventually. Initially I was looking at the BMW F800, but now having ridden one I am not sure I would trade the Versys for it (much less the Versys and $8k).

I would love to go on some of the group rides, but so far, even though I even signed up for the email notifications on the thread, whenever I check it, it is inevitably just after the last ride, and just before anyone has made a plan for the next ride. I have always had a very intimate relationship with Murphy though. I was SUUUPER disappointed when I found out there was a noobs rally, and I missed it.

New tires will be one of the next changes I make. I have also found you can get air pumps that fit in your saddlebags and run off a cigarette lighter, so my lazy ass will not even have to pump manually to adjust the pressure. Any idea how the Scorpions compare to Pirelli MT-60R? MT-60 is more dirt oriented, but I am in a situation where to get to dirt I have to ride a greater number of miles on the road.

I am about to head out on a five day trip to Laughlin and Vegas, so hopefully I will have something worth writing about soon.
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:14 AM   #30
browneye
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New tires will be one of the next changes I make. I have also found you can get air pumps that fit in your saddlebags and run off a cigarette lighter, so my lazy ass will not even have to pump manually to adjust the pressure. Any idea how the Scorpions compare to Pirelli MT-60R? MT-60 is more dirt oriented, but I am in a situation where to get to dirt I have to ride a greater number of miles on the road.
The MT60's are okay if you run a 150 rear (which does work fine) but I think they quit making it. There were two rubber compounds, a dualsport/adventure compound which was harder, and a super soft supermoto compound for those race bikes. The latter would evaporate in as little as a thousand miles. Either was okay on the front as they don't wear very fast, but the rears would just disappear.

The Avon Distanzia was another poplular one but always got mixed reviews. Some like them, some not so much. They are not as good as other tires on wet pavement. Work well on dirt though.

We did a LOT of tire info compilation on the versys owners group forum, check that out. I was about the first to put on the scorp-trails and a lot followed, loved them. They are outstanding on road and work well enough off for a roadbike. I still like them on my Tiger. I'm CJBROWN on the other forum.

Going 150/70-17 opens up a lot of options...half the adv bikes out there run that size.

Good luck and enjoy.

Oh BTW, if you like having a camera handy you need one of these. We made up a bunch for another forum. I'll bet Joel still has a few. They clip to your jacket or pack and have a 4' kevlar retractor with a 10oz weight rating. A pocket camera is about 4oz, so they work just fantastic. The product is Key-Bak.






EDIT: another BTW, a lot of us pickup a slime air pump for 12V from Walmart or such, and strip the guts out. Or use it as is. they're great for flat repair or airing up for hiway. Be sure to get a tire plugger kit for tubeless.
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