Kurventechnik and farkles

Yesterday I had my Kurventechnik course, which is the last of my mandatory lessons before the license exam. Given how much I’m learning, I’ll probably keep taking lessons, sending a portion of my paycheck to Urs Tobler’s vacation fund, but it seems worthwhile. I’ll think about posting a picture when I get them – who knew that I could get such a steep lean angle in a parking lot, or that my teutonic street fighter could have such fun in the mud? It’s no problem starting on any kind of wet gravelly hill, let me tell you; I did it perfectly from the start, and the ABS never kicked in. I’m also much more comfortable with the bike sliding than I was two days ago, though I’m still not all that good with hands free negotiation of curves or side saddle riding at 80kph, and I want to improve my countersteering quite a bit (I just picked up Lee Parks’ Total Control book, too).

In other biking news, I just ordered another farkle today: a set of grip puppies to bring down the vibe. I’m concerned about how they’ll interact with the heated grips (believe me, the other students were jealous of those yesterday!) but I really want to start riding higher in the rev range, and to do that for any amount of time I’ll have to find a way of dealing with the insane engine vibration in the right half of the tach. I’m thinking I should put together a list of the farkles I’ve put on (most I ordered with the bike), either for fun or so that I have an easy-to-reference list for the insurance if I have to lay ‘er down sometime.

  • Grip puppies – see above, not yet here
  • Mirror wideners – got ‘em, but not yet installed
  • Tank pad – carbon look, BMW logo
  • FLM seat bag. Plenty of storage capacity for everything I’ll need at my destination.
  • Engine bars (factory) – to prevent serious damage if I lay it down
  • ABS (factory). Duh. I hear it’s standard on all 2012 BMW bikes now (it was actually standard on mine as well, though not on the American version)
  • Heated grips (factory). Oh lordy do I love thee.
  • TPC (tire pressure sensor) (factory). Let’s me know if the air inside the spinny parts is too much or too little.
  • Power outlet (factory). Never used it, but if I ever decide to buy heated gear or something, I’ve got a place to plug it in.
  • Center stand (factory). Let me tell you, this bike goes up on it’s center stand easier than any bike I’ve ever heard of before. I rarely use the side stand!
  • LED blinkers (factory). They look pimp.
  • Fly screen (factory). I can’t remember if it’s an option or not, but I think so. Like the headlights it’s a bit odd, but effective enough. Rattles due to vibrations, though.
  • Raised seat (factory). Gives me a couple extra centimeters, makes my legs feel a lot better.
  • Tom Tom Urban Rider GPS. I actually got it as a gift a month before I bought the bike.

That’s all, folks!

Posted in Motorcycle Ride-outs 2011 | Leave a comment

Ski Trip: Davos

Worst. Skiing. Ever.

That’s twice I’ve been to Davos, and twice I hated it. I hit Jakobshorn today with Leon, who is quite frankly way out of my league when it comes to skiing. My legs were unaccountably sore from running during the week, and visibility was such crap that I couldn’t see 4 meters in front of me at one point. Why can I not see Davos when the sun shines? Does it never shine here?

Not a good way to end the season, but it’s practically summer already, and there won’t be any more skiing for me this year.

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Motorcycle wishlist

After getting a new charging base for my TomTom GPS, I’ve decided I can focus on some of the other nicknacks (known to the crowd as “farkles”) for my bike. Makes sense to put them on here so that I can access the list while away from home as well as enable my girlfriend to stumble across this list at some point and surprise me with the occasional gift. :)

In order of priority, the items I want are:

  • Grip puppies for bikes with 7/8″ bars. These are cushioned grips that slide over the top of existing grips, apparently don’t cause too many problems with existing heated grips (beyond a slight delay in the heating), make the bars bigger, and reduce vibrations. I’d really love these – and given that they’re 10 bucks, I may wind up buying a pair before I finish posting! Also available from their British armĀ sporttouring.com for 12 British pounds (you have to search “grip puppies” on the site); after shipping, I don’t know which is cheaper. Edit: got some on order.
  • Throttle lock. Oh, how I want thee. Install it on the right handlebar and it applies a small amount of friction when activated, such that the throttle won’t close unless you manually close it. So in effect it becomes cruise control, enabling you to use your right hand every now and again (or mostly just relax it!).
  • Mirror wideners. The mirrors on my bike are such that I don’t get a clear view behind me unless I turn my shoulders. For 50 bucks, I can put the mirrors further out. Edit: I’ve got one, now I need one for the other mirror. I’ve contacted the company, as it looks like a mistake in the shipment. Edit: Second one received.
  • Frame sliders. Not sure about this one yet, as I have the full engine guard already on the bike. However, the guards are quite big and bulky, detract somewhat from the naked look, and occasionally get in the way of my toes. Might be worth the 150 bucks to replace them with something offering slightly less coverage but a better look.
  • Carbon fiber parts. They’re strong, lightweight, and just look pimp. Low on the priority list, though.
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Ski Trip: Engelberg

I went skiing with Ammar at Engelberg, and it was the best skiing all year. The snow (on piste) was surprisingly good; indeed, one might even call it perfect for the skis I own. I was flying down the slopes at speeds that seemed better suited to my motorcycle than to skis. The only difficult part was that it was too warm for goggles and I brought the wrong sunglasses, so I kept crying into the right glass and the tears kept freezing over!

Beautiful weather though. Instead of driving up out of the clouds as often happens, the clouds simply… stopped 10 km or so before we started our ascent up the mountain. Very odd, but they later rolled in and covered the valley run, making for a fairly miserable route down at the end of the day. ;)

Posted in Ski trips 2010-2011 | Leave a comment