One Year with the 1250RT

It has been just over a year since I have now had the 1250RT. Just over 11,000 miles now that I have had this bike and I have to say that I have absolutely loved the bike so far. I used to think that My 1200R was going to be the bike that I kept forever, but as you know from my posts last summer, it was just getting to be a bit too uncomfortable with the riding position. I have come to realize that more and more of my riding is long weekend rides and I unfortunately fo not have much opportunity for community on the bike due to my job. 

The amenities that the touring bike has brought have been a surprising and welcome addition that I didn't think I really needed prior to this point. Cruise control alone is worth is the worth the price of entry. It is one of those added additions that I never really thought I would have needed. I am also really enamored with the quick shifting mechanism on the bike. 

Like I said, I have a 11,000 miles on it since I got it last August, which is probably the most miles I have put on a bike in a single year. The most recent 5500 mile certainly helped, but I would not have been able to complete that trip riding the 1200R unfortunately. 

My only real complaint at this point about the bike is that it actually has too much wind protection and I am absolutely roasting on those hot July and August days in the heat. 

Ridelog: Northwest 2020

Longest ride I have ever done, covering 5,501 miles in ten days. Our MEWS groups called this the "Eat, Sleep, Ride" trip and that was pretty much exactly what it was. If you have read my past ride logs,  you might be expecting a lot of commentary and photos. This trip however had us on the bike really for the vast majority of the day and I think my best footage is coming from my GoPro. My suggestion, watch the video linked above if you want to get the best story of this trip. 

Rev'it Cayanne Pro Riding Jacket and Pants - First 200 miles

It was time for some new riding gear. Most of my equipment is getting pretty old at this point, going on 8+ years, so the wear and tear is beginning to show on some of it. I have primarily two sets of riding gear at the moment, a leather jacket and pants, and then some nylon riding gear that I have been using for my longer tours. 

The leather gear is still in remarkably good shape, but the Olympia Airglide jacket and pants have come to the end of their road I think. The velcro straps on most of it are starting to lose their grip, the front right pants pocket has a hole in it and it is just starting to look a bit grundgy overall. 

I have spent quite a lot of time recently trying to find the right gear that I wanted to replace it with. I have looked at probably a dozen different jackets and pants, including some full riding suits. In the end I finally decided to settle on the Rev'it Cayenne Pro jacket and pants. 

This set is a hot weather tour riding set. It does not come with a thermal liner or a waterproof layer, and that is intentional on Rev'its part for the user to bring their own to additional gear or build it up. They call it a modular system and they do offer a number of other layers that can be added. While doing my research, this did trouble me a bit. I was looking closely at the Rev'It Sand jacket and pants as an alternative here. That set is probably one of the best selling jacket and pant sets out there and comes with a thermal and waterproof liner. 

After taking a close look at my riding environment though I had to admit that I ride mostly in warm weather. Probably 95% of my riding is in warm weather, no let me change that, 95% of my riding is in hot weather. I decided that going with the specialized setup rather than the "jack of all trades" would be the better route this time around. I already own heated thermal linings which I can add if I need to, and I have been pretty disappointed in the built in rain layer on my other equipment. 

I finally had the chance to put about 200 miles on the suit this weekend, so let's review my initial thoughts. 

The Top 10 Motorcycles I Want Right Now (2020 Edition)

I was having a conversation over on Facebook the other day of my five most sought after motorcycles right now. It occurred to me that I made a Top 10 list back in 2013, and thought to myself, "Let's do this again". 2013 is nearly seven years ago now. So here is my current, Top 10 Motorcycles I want right now. 

  1. Royal Enfield Himalayan 
  2. Honda Cub C125
  3. Yamaha TW200
  4. Suzuki Katana
  5. BMW C650
  6. Zero SR/S
  7. BMW R 9T
  8. Ural Gear Up
  9. ...
  10. ...

Quite a change in the list from my last one, and this is perhaps very reflective of the type of bike I am riding right now. When I posted the last list in 2013 only had my R 1200R for less than a year. The bikes listed then were very similar in size and type in a lot of ways. I am now riding a R 1250RT, which I bought last August.  That is a big bike, so it is no wonder then that some of my top list is small bikes. 

Number one on my list right now is the Royal Enfield Himalayan. That bike has just infatuated me for the past couple of years. It looks like a ton of fun and everyone I have talked to has a ton of fun on it. I am also completely enamored with Itchy Boots, who is currently touring from South America to Alaska on one. 

The Honda CT125 is another one of those bikes that just completely captures my attention. You might not even call it a motorcycle by the way it looks, and it is only 125cc, but it has a 4 speed manual transmission on it, and something about it's design just really is appealing to me. Seems like such a fun little bike to hop on to go to the store. 

The other big standout on the list above for me is the Suzuki Katana. I have never considered myself a sports bike person, but the almost retro design of the Katana grabs my attention. 

So, you may have noticed too that my list doesn't have ten bikes on it. Yeah, I have to say that I don't see ten bikes out there that really catch my eyes at this point. My RT sorta covers all grounds with the exception of some off-road fun and perhaps something just lighter for zipping around town on. 


Ridelog: South Dakota 2019


Another year and another great August ride with the Mews Crew. This year's trip was back out to South Dakota. We had an absolutely great group riding this year agian and I once again have to say I was super impressed with everyone's riding. We had large group again and we were able to keep our pace on the highway and it worked great with everyone. Before we get deep into the trip though, let's first talk about thew new motorcycle I bought. 

I Think It's Time for a New Motorcycle

Well, I think it may be time for a new motorcycle. I have loved my 2012 R 1200R for the past seven years, traveled all over the U.S and Canada with it. The bike has served me really well, but I have noticed over the past two years that I get pain in my neck, shoulders and butt on the longer rides that I am doing with it. Especially on these really long weekly trips or days over 300 miles, I get a sharp pain in between my shoulder blades, which shows up as a sharp sting when I roll my shoulders a particular way. That shouldn't be happening and I shouldn't ignore that either. 

I was able to power through it up until this year, when all of a sudden this spring I am getting the discomfort on even shorter daily rides. Saturday and Sunday rides are getting to the point now where my back is starting to hurt on the bike. I did a ride with friends up to SW Wisconsin and New Glarus last weekend. It was a long ride to be sure, but it was only one day and when I got home, I was very uncomfortable.  We have our annual summer trip coming up here in a couple of weeks and the thought of riding 300+ mile days for over a week really doesn't sound pleasant at this point on my R 1200R. Perhaps I am just getting old, but I feel it is finally time to change up the bike. 

This weekend I happened to test ride a bunch of bikes over at Motoworks Chicago and Windy City Cycles. Now, I have had my eye on the R 1250RS for a while, and I heard that it was going to be coming out sometime this fall. That being said, people have told me that I should check out the RT as well, since some consider it to be a "sports touring" bike. Personally, I think it has way to much fairing to be considered a "sport tourer", but it is well known as a great bike. 

My Favorite GPS Apps for Motorcycling

Riding season is here (if it will stop raining) and I will be heading on my first weekend trip coming up here in April. It has only been about two years since I have embraced using GPS for my motorcycle rides. I was initially very resistant to the idea, wanting to just enjoy the wandering of the ride, but I have come to appreciate the GPS not only for planning rides, but also for tracking where I have been, 

So let's talk about what I have used over the past couple of years. 


BMW Navigator Street (aka. Garmin Zumo 390)

The BMW Navigator Street is my go to device right now. It is a dedicated GPS device rebranded to BMW. I am a big fan of dedicated devices, espcially when it comes to rugged gear. A couple of years ago I planned a trip to Canada and I wanted to make sure I had a device that could reliably provide GPS maps in an area where I might not have a cell signal. 

The Navigator Street is basically a Garmin Zumo 390, with two basic tweaks. First, it does have a database built in for BMW Motorrad dealerships. Second, it has a dedicated cradle that connects to an accessory plug on BMW motorcycles. 

Overall I have had some good luck with the device. It gets the job done and does an excellent job of tracking my GPS routes as well. My only major qualm with it is that "curvy roads" setting does stay to highways a bit more than I would normally want it to. I really have to force to to reroute to get me to some real of the path places. 


Garmin Basecamp

So one of the great and sometimes awful things about the Garmin is a companion desktop application called Basecamp. Basecamp is meant to be a trip planning software. It is a really finicky piece of software and sometimes it is really confusing on how it wants to operate. 

Once you get your head around it though, the trip routing component is pretty nice. You can set waypoints, including gas stops right from the app. You can even distinguish what type of road you would like to ride on in between waypoints, such as a "curvy road" or just a highway. 

Bringing your trip routes back into the app after your trip is also very handy. 


Roadtrippers.com

While I do the trip routing in Basecamp, I do most of the actual trip planning in RoadTrippers. This site has become one of my favorite for any sort of road trip planning. Not only cane you plan your actual route in it, but it has an amazing database to find all of those quirky roadside attractions and oddities that you would expect for a road trip. I used this to plan a couple of road trips now and it is great for finding odd restaurants, road side stops and even the occasional inn or camping site. 

The recently changed the website and they now charge $30 if you want more than 7 waypoints in your trip. For road trip planning I think it would be worth it. 

They also have excellent guides for a lot of famous places around the US, which are a great place to start for a Roadtrippers as well. They also have an excellent iPhone app. 


Rever.com

Finally on my list is a website call Rever.co. I honestly haven't used this one very much since it is very app focused.Great if you want to use your phone for trip planning and GPS routing. Both the app and website have a very slick interface. The one really nice thing that they have going on for them though is the social features. In a lot of ways, this app is the motorcycle equivalent to Strava from the bicycling world. 

The social features allow you to setup groups where you can manage group rides, share data with friends, etc. I first got into this app because they seemed to have a partnership going with BMW Motorrad a year or two back. The web interface for planning routes is also very well done and I used it a little but a few years ago when planning some twist roads through the Adirondacks.