29 September 2011

Ride Report: R6 Shock Test

4 Sep 2011
Solo Ride

I think this was my first solo ride in a long time.  I'd almost forgotten how it felt!  My plan was to go somewhere close where I could take multiple runs up and down the mountain to get a feel for my new shock.

Another excuse was to clear my head from all of the stuff that'd been going on the last few weeks.  I'd done some local shake down runs, but I really wanted to get a better feel for the shock especially since Tropical Storm Lee was heading our way.  I wanted to get an early start so I could be home in plenty of time to avoid the first showers.

It didn't work out that way and I ended up leaving around 11 instead taking the "quick" way to the mountains--985 to Jessie Jewel to 284 to 129--where I stopped in Cleveland long enough to gas up.  I ran into Rich at the gas station.  He was on his FJR on his way home having just left Blood Mountain.  He looked surprised to see me (as I was him) but we had a nice chat before I took off hoping to beat any storms that were coming.  It was no surprise when I learned he missed his FZ1 and was considering getting rid of the Feejer for another Fizzy.

It was cool to see the bike's temp as I rode along.  The multiguage (MG) read 170 degrees for the bike and 88 degrees for the temperature as I moved under cloudy skies on 985 heading up to Cleveland.    It looked much cloudier on the top of the mountain than it did down in Cleveland, verified by what Rich told me.  I hustled up Blood Mountain hoping to get a run or two in before the rains came.

I took my time heading up to get a feel for the rear, but I did pass a few cars.  Riding in the afternoon means more traffic but I didn't have any issues negotiating my way through them.  The good thing about going up Blood Mountain is the passing lanes; going down there's only one and if you're stuck behind traffic it makes for a tedious ride down.

The important part of today's ride was to get comfortable with the "new" rear end.  I noticed a little drifting right away that was worse in the tighter curves.  I remembered to bring the tools I needed to adjust the shock (in fact they're still in the hard case) and once I got to the hiker's store at Neel's Gap, I softened the rebound one click.

I couldn't remember which compression to adjust so I just left that alone.  On the way down, I could tell the one click change made a significant difference and that the compression needed attention but it was fine until I could get back to my notes to see which needed the attention.  I also noticed how hard cars are willing to push it to keep a motorcyclist behind them rather than pulling over and getting out of the damned way!

Maybe another day or if I were with someone I may have attempted a pass but this day I decided to just follow the crowd and make the most of the one passing area I knew lay ahead.  I got by the whole car train with the exception of a cruiser that was a bit ahead of them but he let me by later on.

Pretty soon I was back at Turner's Corner where I paused long enough to start the cams since the skies were simply gray and not dropping rain.  I decided I'd take one more run up Blood Mountain and head over Richard Russell then home.  I took my time going up, concentrating on my form and the feel of the back end.  It wasn't until I got to Richard Russell that I realized I hadn't scraped my boot once!

Usually, there's one or two curves that produce boot scraping but not with the R6 shock.  In fact, the bike felt very stable so I guess the shock is doing what it's supposed to do.  I got stuck behind an SUV then some bikes on Richard Russell so I didn't exactly get the run I wanted.  Gray skies and time prevented me from riding it again.  I decided I'd pushed my luck with the weather enough and headed straight home.

Good thing because no sooner than I pulled into the subdivision did it start to rain!  It was only a few miles and five hours but I learned what I wanted to and am truly pleased with the R6 shock upgrade.  I'd recommend it to anyone who needs a better shock but doesn't have Penske or Olins money.

Thanks for reading,
patrice, theWolfTamer

The videos didn't come out so just the one pic and no vids!  sorry. :(

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