500 miles on these two was an absolute blast, but the knees, butt and shoulders weren’t doing so hot by the end!
Left early in the morning, foregoing a backpack and instead going with the mid-sized tank bag.
Here’s the route. We went south from Seattle, crossing the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and hood canal floating bridge on the way up to Sequim. From there, we stuck to the coastline and sped along the strait of Juan De Fueca, with Canada a constant companion to our right.
Absolutely incredible roads. The entire coastline section is seemingly endless curvy roads, 90% of which are in fantastic shape.
Unfortunately... 101 is completely closed off right before Neah Bay in the top left corner by the local Indian tribe. I assume it’s Covid-19 related, but didn’t feel inclined to stay and chat, as even by today’s standards the police blocking the road were pretty... *unfriendly*.
So we didn’t hit our final destination. Boooo. But next time... We’re planning a two or three day trip where we’ll follow the entire western coastline as well before circling back to Seattle.
I had three oh shit moments.
1. Someone tried to merge into me on I5 heading south to Tacoma. My buddy started yelling in my com to warn me.
2. I dropped into second gear exiting a corner and was still leaned over juuuust enough to slide the rear tire a few inches.
3. Mid-corner—hanging off the bike—hit a pothole and upset the bike pretty bad. My natural reaction was to get upright which.... Sends you into the guardrail on the outside of the turn. Didn’t hit anything, but did go off the road.
4. Riding home, I see this 6 series pull up next to me on I5. Starts pulling forward, and then slowing down to get next to me. Repeats this a few times. I’m not responding, so eventually he just speeds up and leaves.
Now... I don’t know about you, but when I’m on long trips I like finding a fast driver and following them from a safe distance. The hope is that they catch the cop’s attention while I still have time to slow down. Does it work? Well... I’ve yet to get a speeding ticket so... Maybe?
Anyways, after doing this for ten miles, a modded 3-series comes flying up on me and gets next to the 6. Clearly trying to have some fun. They speed up, I follow. From a safe distance.
Now at this point, we’re all going very, very, legal speeds. The most legal. Stupendously legal.
The 3 series and 6 were neck and neck in adjacent lanes, and then the 3 goes one lane over. OpenIlane between the two. Oh God... I hear “do it” in my coms and “fuck it, why not” in my internal monolouge, and change lanes. I used my turn signal, I’m not a monster. I dropped a gear, and disappeared, parting the two BMWs like Jesus if he pounded redbulls and had a sick neck tattoo.
Keep in mind, all this time my friend on a Ninja 400 was sticking to us with a combination of what I can only assume is black magics and a rev-limiter that’s getting beaten like a side of beef.
Oh... That’s a cop sitting on the side of the highway.
Huh. All four of us are on an empty highway.
Hmm. Might just want to ever so lightly tap the ol’ brakes!
This dude was either asleep or lazy, as we made it another five miles and managed to unclench our collective butt cheeks.
I’ve done 2100 miles on the bike as of today, and I think I’m starting to sus out the differences between it’s deficiencies, and my own as a rider.
Suspension is not great. Common complaint for Interceptors, and I’m beginning to feel why. I have no plans to change anything for awhile, but at some point there will be improvements made here.
The seat is also not great. I’m using an aftermarket Sargeant seat and am hurting by 100 miles. Or less. I’m going to try throwing the stock seat on, see if that’s better for me.
On long sweepers I can smoothly adjust my line and lean angle, getting lower and lower as I apply more throttle, until fluidly going upright as I exit the corner. The bike seems to excel here.
On super tight windy roads where the switchbacks-per-mile feels like it’s somewhere in the thousands range, I really start to notice the above suspension issues, as well as the overall heft of the bike. Feels like I have to really manhandle the Honda when changing from a left corner to a right corner, absolutely hucking it over. Next week my friend and I are going to trade bikes on a long ride, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how different a Ninja 400 feels in similar situations.
As far as gear goes... I’m very happy with my jacket, pants, and boots.
The helmet is amazing in all regards other than one, and that’s noise. Even with good earplugs inserted properly, I’m still getting some noise-fatigue after long rides, and my buddy has difficulty hearing me even with my microphone positioned right in front of my mouth at anything over 40mph. Not really sure what to do here, as I don’t want to give up the lightweight CF.
My gloves are painful, and I borrowed my roommate’s for this ride. Absolutely love them. Thinner goat skin full-gauntlet style with less seams made for no painful pressure hotspots. If these had a couple touchscreen compatible tips they’d be perfect.