Monday, October 29, 2007

Never underestimate a heavy load

Well I guess I found out the hard way about loads on a bike. I am on my longgggggggg.... trip to pheonix and loaded my bike up with my new T-Bag ultimate expandable (3.5 cu total) and my extra large River road saddle bags. And to top it off my laptop backpack fully loaded. All totaled I will guess it to be around an extra 200 pounds of dead weight (a guess!) I wish I would have taken the time to load up the bike and drive it around to test out before leaving on my grand journey. Instead I load it up Wendsday morning and embark (A week late mind you. Waiting for my T-Bag to get to me) to Phoenix.
So everything is going ok as I get on the interstate heading south, except that the bike feels real stiff and the front forks seem to flex instead of turn. I did crank my rear shock to the second to last notch, but didn't know if there was a way to set the forks for higher load. She rides nice and smooth at highway speeds and stops real quick too (bad traffic in Kansas city) its just the slow speed handling is gone.
All this information has lead me to believe I have overloaded my bike and I got to learn this lesson the hard way, cause just 2 hours after taking off from Grand forks. I came to my first refueling stop and as I came to a stop on the off ramp (which was rough and had gravel on it) I laid the bike down. Thank the stars I had the engine guard on cause the only thing damaged was the chrome on the guard got gouged and my mirror (which I was going to replace anyways). I also think I sprained my toe or bruised it cause it is swelling up and aches a bit. I will have a doc look at it when I get home if it doesn't change. Oh and my pride was a casualty as someone had to help me lift my bike up. Under its normal load, I would have kept it upright. Of course from then on I have been extra careful when I stop trying not to use the front brake for slow speed stops.
Then the real embarrassing thing happened that same evening. I am just out side Omaha (My first evenings stop) and I needed to read my directions to find out what exit to take. So I slow down and pull off onto the wide paved shoulder and come to a smooth stop, but as I put my feet down my left hit ground but my right foot didn't. And over I went, in slow motion, with me trying in vain to stop the bike from going down. I think if it was on video it might have been kinda funny, but for me it wasn't. The bike gracefully laid on its side as I rolled down the steep embankment. Again the bike wasn't injured but my pride was. I could not for the life of me lift the bike. I tried what I seen in the video and all that. I finally had to take off the T-Bag and my laptop case and then lift it up right. It went up easily and thankful for the video, cause I remembered to put the kick stand down before lifting it.

So the lesson I learned is to keep the bike lean and will use whats learned this spring when I head back up to ND from AZ. I think i will just put pillows in the T-bag.

Sorry for the long winded post but I am horrible at getting to the point of what I am trying to say.

Later. Heres hoping I can make it to Phoenix without anymore mishaps.
Plasma Blue 2007 Custom 900

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