Thursday, August 30, 2007


I love that word. It almost sounds obscene and you won't find it in Webster's.

Sophie has gotten a little farkle attention lately. I finally decided it was time to replace the tank bag. With her not having a real metal fuel tank magnetic bags don't work. Not long after I bought Sophie I did some looking on the STOC forum. That's the ST Owner's Club, of which I've been a long time member. Most of the ST1100 owners had purchased Chase Harper tank bags because they were available with a strap retention system. So I purchased a model 750. That was in 2001. The bag's not always on the bike as I try to let the paint breathe, but it does spend most of it's life there. The original bag is on its second map pocket. Really, the only reason I replaced it is because the hook and loop fastener is loosing its grip. Somewhat like Sophie's rider at times!

I don't use the bag for carrying cargo that often. Mostly I use the map pocket. Once in a while I use the bag when I go through the drive-up at a fast food place. For me it's more of a tradition thing. I've always had tank bags on my bikes. The new tank bag is the same model as the old one. I'm amazed that it's still available. It seems that every time we find something we like it's been discontinued when we want to replace it. Check out this tag that came with the new bag.

I'd have to say that the fading in the sun part is truth in advertising. Here's the proof:

You can probably tell which is which, huh? There's still a big piece of foam in the bottom compartment of the new tank bag. You're supposed to be able to carve holes in the foam to fit cell phones, PDA's, etc. I never bothered doing it with the original bag. I just recycled the foam.

I also added a Givi trunk. It's definitely more expensive to order from Givi as opposed to purchasing less expensive trunks from a place like J.C. Whitney's. Being around motorcylists as much as I am, I've seen many of these less expensive trunks have unplanned departures from bikes. Usually at freeway speeds in the dark! I think a person would be ok purchasing the less expensive trunk and then getting the better rack from Givi.

The trunk was Katie's idea mostly. When we rode the Director's ST1300 to Medford for the instructor update, the big trunk admittedly proved useful. Katie puts me to shame when we travel. Usually I'm going to teach somewhere far away and she goes with me. Katie has these small soaps, shampoo's, a tiny blowdryer, and a small make-up kit. She also packs light on extra clothes. I, on the other hand need more stuff. I have boots for the range, which I usually wear when on the bike, so I pack tennis shoes, range cards, my Instructor's Guide for classroom which is in a big notebook, a Camelbak, my instructor T-shirt for the range but other clothes for the evenings, as well as the regular stuff you'd pack. I usually have to borrow a little space in Katie's saddlebag.

By the way, for those of you who regularly ride with a passenger, do you find that you revert to the "driver-passenger" arrangement for saddlebags? Or am I just strange? The bag on the left side is mine as it corresponds to the driver's side. The right side bag is Katie's as it corresponds to the passenger's side. When we swapped bikes, I told the Director that Sophie's keys would be in the driver's side saddlebag. His outburst of "What the heck is the driver's side?" tells me I may be unique in this terminology.

I have to admit that the trunk takes off some packing pressure. The one I purchased is 46 litres and is supposed to hold two full face helmets. We haven't tried to verify that claim, yet. I do know that it will hold a travel box of coffee and two dozen muffins. When I do instructor training in a classroom setting I always take coffee and goodies. Makes the floggings easier to take!

The rack designed for the ST1100 works perfectly. Installation was a breeze. I also ordered the separate backrest so Katie would have the support. You have to drill holes through the trunk but there's an accurate template. There's also a large reflector on the back of the trunk. Just above the reflector are four openings in the lid with lenses across them. I ordered the brakelight kit but still need to wire it in. The idea is that these four bulbs should illuminate with the regular brake lights.

Here's a picture of Sophie proudly sporting her own new goodies. Age hasn't hurt her looks at all!

The other addition is a Garmin Zumo 550 GPS. This is my first venture into this kind of technology. I've always been one for maps. This unit got great reviews in the bike magazines. I'm not always trustful of those kinds of things. My information came from riders I found who actually used this model. The Zumo 550 is expensive. I believe list price is a little over a thousand dollars. I found a deal through Frye's online and saved about $250.00. This model is supposed to be made specifically for motorcycle use. It certainly looks rugged. The touch screen and controls work exactly as advertised. It's not wired in yet, as this will require the removal of large amounts of fairing panel. Who's got that kind of time right now?

There isn't space here for a review. Suffice it so say I am extremely pleased with the way the unit works. I'm also truly amazed by how much information is contained in its little brain. You can input way points or an address then tell it to take you there. There's several ways to view your trip data. You can specify shorter distance or faster time. A rider can also tell the unit to avoid freeways, gravel roads, and other things. If a person finds themselves somewhere and needs the nearest motel, bank, restaurant, and other things, there's a display screen for this. It has preset items to offer or you can spell the name if you're looking for a particular place. The Zumo will give you the names and addresses, an arrow that shows which way the places are in relationship to your current location, and the distance. Pick one and select "Go".

It even has the phone number if you want to call ahead. The data base must have the directory assistance information loaded into it. All the operations work well with gloves on my hand. What makes this work especially well for a rider is the Bluetooth capability. I'd be one of the last ones to tell a rider to spend time looking at something other than the road and environment. I have a Jabra slim Bluetooth unit that's made for a cell phone. It fits under my helmet comfortably. I've "partnered" it with the Garmin. By enabling the voice command feature, the unit will literally talk me through the navigation process. I still pretty much have full attention for managing risks. There's a variety of voices and accents available for my entertainment. Not that I want to encourage distractions, but the unit also has an MP 3 player built in. I'm also using the Zumo to find places I need to visit for work. Imagine being on one side of a city of six hundred thousand people. You need to get somewhere on the other side. You've never been to that place before. Let the Garmin do the work. It's fantastic. The real challenge for me will be to retain my own natural navigational skills!

One other neat feature is the ability to set waypoints. If you're "here" and need to get "there" just find the new place on the list and let the Zumo do its thing. One thing I haven't tried yet is finding my way home after wandering. I mean, I've done it by myself but haven't used the Garmin for it. Theoretically, you could wander all you wanted and never pay attention to where you are. When you're done playing, just tell the unit to take you "Home". The voice will guide you home and the display will tell you when you should arrive. Handy for calling the wife who is trying to keep your supper warm! Just pull off before you call! It should work ( the unit that is, you're on your own for the call ) but I'm always reluctant to put my fate entirely in the hands of electronic devices!

Does it hurt my rugged "Road Warrior" image to come out of the stone age? Katie, does this GPS make my muscles look flat?

Miles and smiles,



krysta in milwaukee said...

"driver-passenger" arrangement for saddlebags?

If we're taking enough stuff that we each need a bag, yes. If it's short errands around town, our personal things are in one bag, the purchases usually in the other. Don't think we've actually called them driver side & passenger side, but I'm sure it'd be clear which was meant.

About that trunk...

I pulled the picture up larger to be sure I was seeing what I thought I saw. Why are there keys hanging from the back of it?

Sophie does look nice. Almost new, in that picture.

irondad said...

Sharp eyes! The keys were still in the lock because I opened the trunk to get the camera out. You can't pull the keys without re-locking it so I just shut the lid.


Kano said...

Have you heard of geocaching Dan? It's a treasure hunting game where you use a GPS to hide and seek containers with other people. I checked which is the official geocaching site and there are 10 hunts placed around Oregon in just the last 2 days. I believe the site has the GPS coordinates. It sure sounds like fun and I plan on trying it out someday.