Sunday, September 26, 2004

Beware the Dragon

I found the following cautionary "tail" in my inbox this morning courtesy of JAC. I spoke to hime just after the incident and he sounded a little shook up, but no worse than Bane after an hour or so of Terms of Endearment.

Did you know it is a bad idea to put exactly $6.66 worth of gas in your bike before tangling with the Dragon? I didn't make that up - it happened.
Did you know GSXR1000's are faster than the GPz? And 954's? And ZX9's? I did too. But, for some reason I was surprised when that R1 zipped by me on the Tail of the Dragon at Deal's Gap today...

Anyhoo, I was pretty well in the groove so I picked it up a bit - Mainly hitting the straights (such as there are) harder. The GPz makes up ground there! (47 tooth rear, second gear, 7000+ rpm, WFO!) I still had him in sight and was setting up for the second apex on a double apex left hander when ANOTHER R1 tries to occupy a piece of my lane that I had made reservations for. We were both headed for MY apex, so I stood her up and went wide when I was set up for tight on the centerline. Thought I had it saved when that fickle white line let go of my rear Azaro 180 (Which had been doing one hell of a job up to that point). That's my story; there IS a vanishingly small chance, I even hesitate to mention it, that I was a bit 'Injudicious' with the 'GO!' handle for such a precarious situation....
The GPz flopped out from under me and did a 180 into and right back out of the ditch so I was staring at the front tire when I ceased pavement surfing. She was still running.
I am happy to report all protective gear functioned beyond expectation.
1) Joe Rocket Phoenix Jacket - Very minor roadrash - Protected shoulder and elbow from pretty serious impact.
2) AGV summer pants - No rash - protected hip and knees from hard impact.
3) Alpinestars boots (Duhamel) - worked great other than filling w/ gravel :-)
4) HJC SYMAX Helmet - never felt a thing and my head hit left side hinge HARD. Do I have to throw it away now??
5) Joe Rocket Gloves - did the job. No injury.
Bear in mind I was only doing maybe 40mph (Accelerating!)

The GPz suffered a broken clutch lever, a broken windscreen, broken peg/shifter mount casting, and MAJOR scuffs to lower left fairing, and alternator cover.
There is a shop in Robbinsville, NC called 'Wheelers'. Mr. Wheeler put Big Red back on the road for $35.00 plus $19.95 for a clutch lever in under one hour! That includes welding the peg/shifter casting. And, yes, it shifts better now. I consider Mr. Wheeler one of God's chosen few and a motorcycle saint. I'll kick anyone's ass that say's different.
Mr. Wheeler rides a '97 TL1000s from hell (the faster red kind) that he would not sell to me. But, that's another story...

You know old man... Suzuki makes some nice looking cruisers. Maybe its time you settle down and start acting your age. Leave the big bikes to them what rides 'em right.

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