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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello all- Some of you may recall that I posted about taking a long trip on the Brute. Well, I just got home last night. 12 days gone, 3,500 miles covered. First day my route took me across nothern Arizona into southern Utah- I spent the first night camping on Lake Powell.
Second day was mostly thru Nevada. 40 miles after filling up gas in a little town called Caliente, I saw a sign that said "Next gas station 150 miles"!! Had to double back to top off the tank for fear of not making it. Second night, almost 1,000 miles in, I got a motel in Tonopah, NV, near the eastern Sierra Nevada. At that motel I ran into some folks from Santa Fe and one woman I actually knew from home.
3rd day was crossing the Sierra's (where a couple of passes are still closed for snow!) and the remaining have many feet of snow plowed up on the side of the road. Camped out in Nat'l Forest near Calveras Redwood Park on the western slope. Big, big, trees!
Next day I rode down thru central California and was happily surprised to find some great roads. I had imagined it would be boring, or crowded, but it was neither (59 I believe was the primary road). And for the first time I was at near seal level elevation. I was laughing inside my helmet like a mad man! The front wheel skimming the road, the bike rocketing foward out of turns, the induction sound just awesome. I had always enjoyed this bike, but at that time I finally knew what the rest of you were talking about. I pulled over to call to taunt my riding buddies back at 7,000 feet. The next week or so was pure heaven, just for the extra 20 horsepower or so!
I spent that night camping outside of Santa Cruz, where I met up with a friendly gouup of California bikers out for a few day tour. They thought I was crazy travelling all that way on that bike, camping gear and all. They included me in their dinner plans and it was nice to have company for the first time.
Rode up route 9 and Skyline Blvd (near Alice's restaurant) and into Berkeley for my weekend aikido seminar. It was challenging having to "shift gears" from the solo, independant, travelling mode into the very formal, very physical mode of a martial arts seminar. But it was a great, if not difficult, weekend. Spent an extra day and a half visiting a friend, which included a beautiful hike around Mt. Tamalpais.
At this point I had originally planned to ride up as far as Portland, Or. to visit friends. Sadly, the weather there was pretty crappy, cold and rainy, during the window of time I had. Doubly frustrating because just a few days later the weather was beautiful. I was concerned about riding all that way (almost 700 miles) cold and wet, and worried about the bike a little too. I have a synthetic jacket, and an electric vest and some "emergency" rain pants, but I wimped out a little, feeling it was just too far in those conditions.
I made the difficult choice to return home early. I took slightly different routes, going a little north thru Napa/Sonoma and then across the Northern Sierras. Along the way I found THE BEST MOTORCYCLE ROAD I've ever been on! Rt. 49 along the Yulupa river, oh, man, I can't say enough- if you're ever near, go!
Followed one long day along 50 in Nevada (the "lonliest highway"), which is quite pretty, just not much other than some scenery. Then 2 days riding along in Southern Utah, which is among my favorite places on Earth. Rt's 12 and 24 in particular are up there also among the Best Roads. And the scenery is unrivaled. I even met a forum member who was travelling with his family, Wei Chang (who took one of the included photos) at the Natural Bridges monument- a very nice guy! And then back home to New Mexico.
I'm very happy to say that the bike did just fine. Screwing around with my luggage on day one I broke my rear right turn signal bracket (the "fender eliminator" from Motovation- my fault entirely), and so missed a turn signal for the trip. The biggest complaint I had was for the seat. It was previously re-gelled, but the size of it limits how much one can move around. So after 100 miles or so I was squirming. Uncomfortable, but not unbearable. And some roads made it obvious that this is a small bike with a short wheelbase with a stiff suspension. But when the roads were right, the bike was totally happy cruising at 80 or 85 all day. And at elevations above 3,500 feet or so I averaged nearly 40 mpg! Not bad. (though I do have the bike leaned out some for my home altitude). Saw an indicated 145 in the Nevada desert, and even with luggage the bike felt fine. And when the roads were curvy I was thrilled to have this bike rather than some "sport-tourer." Though at different times I rode with a guy on a Triumph Sprint and a K1200r (I think) and they were both pretty impressive (and have comfortable seats!)
Now the bike just need a good bath, a chain adjustment, and I need a little rest, but I'm ready to go again!
I'm not so good about taking photos, but I'll attach a few.
Thanks for reading.
Best,
Michael :brutale:
 

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sounds like you had a fantastic time, the pictures are beautiful.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Awesome that you had a good time. Really like that pic with the snowy mountains in the back - awesome. What did you use for luggage there?
The east side of the Sierra Nevadas, near Mono Lake. Inspiring, and awesome riding too!
For luggage I use Oxford saddlebags, which ride high to avoid the pipes. Strapping them on isn't the most conveinant, but totally serviceable. And I strap on a duffle bag atop them with "quick clip" straps to hold my camping gear. And I use an old Eclipse tankbag, probably at least 10 years old, and it still works really well. I have more photos if you're interested, but these give you the idea. Beautiful scenery, yada yada yada :)
 

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Great pix Michael. I'm envious, but hey we have a nice ride planned next week downhere, with the NSW MV Musta.
On the sore behind subject, the air-hawke cushion makes a hell of a difference. I swear by it.
Thanks for the report.
M
 

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Incredible, great stuff...what else is there better than a man on a bike on an open ride and his bare essentials strapped to his Brute?? Bliss...nice work!
 

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I, too, have completed a long ride recently. Mine was from Boston to the Smokies, ending in Atlanta. I have toured your area many times so I know how beautiful the scenery can be. One thing going for the southeast is the density of the winding roads. If you have a chance, you should give it a try.

A couple of points made is of my interest. I'd like to understand if you have made any mods to your bike which allowed you to get
-40mpg (my Brutale S averaged no more than 30mpg-ish)
-comfort at freeway speeds
Any other tidbit about improving Brutale's long distance capability?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hey Panaray- I have to admit that even though I'm originally from Philly, to not knowing the southeast very well. I always go west! The only mod I made to the bike is getting rid of the cat. My understanding is that the 750 is even thirstier than the 910, but I don't have 1st hand knowledge of that. I think the fact that I had leaned my bike out a little for my home altitude, combined with the majority of my trip spent above 3,500 feet (up to 7,000) is what afforded me the mileage. That, and maintaining more or less a constant speed. When I was at sea level in California, and when playing around more on twisty roads I noticed the mileage dropped into the low 30's or lower.
Regarding highway comfort- a lot of that depended on the condition of the roads, and weather. If the asphalt was in good condition I could cruise at 80-85 easily. Sometimes there's an unpleasant relationship between the wheelbase and suspension of the bike and slight dips or imperfections in the road which made me want to slow down. And strong winds are kind of a buzz kill on a naked bike. But 90% of the riding was just awesome.
I also have Rizoma Limit mirrors, which help quite a bit.
I strongly recommend having the seat re-gelled, or use bike shorts, or an AirHawke. That and, in all seriousness, the more you ride, the easier it gets to ride!

Thanks,
MK
 

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Many thanks mrossk. Looking forward on a ride out west...whenever that may be. My previous rides were with rental bikes ranging from a retro Triumphs to beemers, so I am sure The experience would not have been as good on a Brutale! Those mountain passes in the Sierras, snow pile pending, are perfect for a small, flickable bike.

Regarding your comment about the seat, I totally agree. It was the first thing I modified after I got my slightly-used bike earlier this year. Ditto on compression shorts.

My bike had the cat con removed. Does it lower the gas mileage?

Lastly, I just posted an inquiry about luggage. Your saddle bags may be what I am looking for. Mfgr and model info would be appreciated. May be I should consider buying it for my return trip back to Boston later in the summer.
 
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