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NWTrtle
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NWTrtle's blog

Unread post by NWTrtle » Sat Mar 15, 2008 6:40 pm

Background Information
August 2007 is when I finally took the MSF BRC. I had wanted to ride for a couple of years, but the craving finally became too much to ignore. My wife decided she wanted to take the course with me, so we signed up together. We purchased cheap helmets and I bought a First Gear three season jacket and matching pants along with a pair of decent boots. I was sure I would continue to ride, but my wife was not sure, but wanted to know the basics “just in case.”

The course we signed up for was out of town in Grays Harbor Washington which is just over 50 miles from our house. We decided to make it special and stayed at two different Bed & Breakfasts. The course was excellent and we had a huge amount of fun. Of all the folks in our class, only one was unable to pass the riding test. My wife and I both passed with plenty of room to spare.

Monday morning I went to the Department of Licensing and got my endorsement. I then headed to my in-laws for the week. I also have a 1975 Fiat Spider which I have been VERY slowly making a daily driver. My father-in-law let us park my second ’75 Fiat Spider in his shop. The second has a non-functional motor, so is just a parts car. A friend at work allowed me to use her big ‘ol Dodge pickup and car trailer to take the car down to work on at my in-law’s. The real reason for heading down was less to work on the car, and more to ride my father-in-law’s V-Star 650 Classic. Before we took the course, he had told me not to buy a bike, and he would let me have his since he had not ridden in several years.

I got down with the car on the trailer and brought all my gear along. I got to do a couple of decent rides around their place. They live in farm country so there are plenty of roads with sparse traffic. Mid way through my stay, my father-in-law told me he was going to keep the title for the bike. I decided I did not want to be responsible for another person’s bike, so I left it with him. I swapped some parts from the parts car onto the driver and proceeded home.

The week after I returned home, I went to the only Mom & Pop Motorcycle shop in town and test rode a 2008 Hyosung GV250 cruiser.
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This was the bike I decided I would buy before my father-in-law said I could have his bike. The test ride went great, and the manufacturer was offering an instant $300 rebate on purchase if you had finished a MSF BRC within the past 60 days. List price was $3399, so I got it for $3099 plus tax and licensing. The bike came with a three year unlimited mileage warranty, so I felt pretty safe purchasing it in spite of it not being a “name brand” bike. This is the bike I spent riding from August until March of this year. I put just over 2000 miles on it and really enjoyed each one. When I bought the bike, I really wanted one in black and orange which was not in stock, but my wife wanted it in burgundy and white which was in stock. We talked and she said something to the affect of “you’ll want to upgrade next year anyway, and this one will be mine. So, I get to pick the color.” She is such a keeper, and she knows me really well!

Mid way through this initial time on the GV250, I purchased a Scorpion EXO-400 helmet. Much nicer lid than the cheap-o I got originally.

Fast forward to February of this year and we get to the incredible urge to upgrade. I decided I really didn’t care for the cruiser style as much as I originally thought I would. Don’t get me wrong, the GV250 is a great bike, but the passion for the styling was gone. I decided I really wanted more of a standard, or even a little sporty, bike. While I started watching Craigslist and the local dealers, my boss’s son’s bike quit working. He had a 1992 Honda Nighthawk CB250.
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They asked if I was interested in having it to tinker on. I decided it would be a fun project to see if I could get it working again, so I took it. I thought it was probably the CDI unit since they said it would crank, but not start. I did some testing and had one of my wife’s co-workers come over to help ensure my diagnosis was correct. Turns out I was right and was able to get a new CDI off eBay for $65 plus shipping. Once the unit arrived, I plugged it in and the bike fired right up. I adjusted the brakes, lubed the chain, replaced the broken clutch handle and proceeded to play with the bike. The speedometer/odometer did not work, but I was not too worried about it. Even though the bike was pretty “buzzy” and the rear tire was pretty much shot, it was a blast to ride. I kept looking for a replacement bike encouraged by my now reinforced feeling that a standard would be more comfortable and more like the type of riding I want to do.

Remember I said my wife took the course with me? Well, she finally got her endorsement added to her license just before the time ran out on her course completion certificate expired. I followed her around on her first couple of rides with her on the GV250 and me on the Nighthawk. Once the title arrived for the Nighthawk, I posted it on Craigslist. Boy, that thing sold fast! Obviously I had it priced too low. Oh well, it went to a good home.
2005 Kawasaki Ninja 500R (Sold)
2008 Hyosung GV250 (now my wife's bike)
1992 Honda Nighthawk CB250 (Sold)
--Tim

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NWTrtle
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Unread post by NWTrtle » Sun Mar 16, 2008 6:23 pm

Enter the Ninja

I finally found my upgrade bike. While searching Craigslist and all the local dealers (within 25 miles), I found a dealer in Centralia, WA (20 some miles south of my house) with a 2005 Kawasaki Ninja 500R for sale. The bike only had 2500 miles on it and looked to be in excellent shape. The dealer also had a Suzuki GS500F and a DL650 (VStrom). I was primarily looking at the 500's, but the VStrom is the bike I have been dreaming of for a while. Once I looked at prices, and then what I wanted to add to the bike, I decided the $1800 extra for the VStrom was more than I could spend for this upgrade.

I asked the dealer for a test ride of the Ninja once I was 90% sure it was the bike I wanted. I geared up and they handed me the keys. I'm sure there are a lot of folks here who still remember their first upgrade in power. All I can say is WOW! Now, before you start snickering and pointing, remember I have only been riding since August, and this is just about twice the horse power of my first bike.

I got back and wrote the dealer a check. I also picked up some gel grips and a new tank bag. I had to have a tank bag to get my grips and paper work home. :)

I rode the bike back to Olympia and really enjoyed the ride. The rain did not even bother me. I then proceeded to start ordering farkles for the bike. I decided the sitting position was a little too aggressive, so I ordered bar risers. The mirrors gave a great view of my shoulders, so mirror extenders also got thrown in the on-line basket. A touring windshield was next on the list as the wind blast on my chest was a little too strong for comfort. The I ordered a pair of Nelson Riggs saddle bags and a matching tail bag for traveling. Finally, a Corbin seat was ordered.
2005 Kawasaki Ninja 500R (Sold)
2008 Hyosung GV250 (now my wife's bike)
1992 Honda Nighthawk CB250 (Sold)
--Tim

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NWTrtle
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Unread post by NWTrtle » Sun Mar 16, 2008 6:37 pm

Mirror Extender install

The mirror extenders are a simple design, simple install and work pretty darn well. Here is what the half the kit looks like:

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Here is the extender installed:

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One bolt removed to separate the mirror from the mount and then two bolts installed to 1. mount the extender to the stock mount and 2. install the mirror to the extender.

Very simple procedure.
2005 Kawasaki Ninja 500R (Sold)
2008 Hyosung GV250 (now my wife's bike)
1992 Honda Nighthawk CB250 (Sold)
--Tim

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Unread post by NWTrtle » Sun Mar 16, 2008 6:44 pm

Bar riser install

The bar risers are also a nice and simple design:

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You must uncover the two bolts holder the bars and then remove those bolts.

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The riser installs between the base and the bar using a pair of longer than stock bolts. There is no need to modify any of the wires and hoses for the hand controls. I did have to remove two zip ties to free up a little slack in the lines, but then installed new ones once the risers where in place. The risers add 1.25" of height which takes some of the strain off the wrists and shoulders.

Here is a comparison image of stock on the left vs. riser on the right:

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And finally, a photo showing the bike with the mirror extenders and bar risers installed.

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Total time to install the mirror extenders and the bar risers was less than twenty minutes and cost $174 before shipping from Twisted Throttle.
2005 Kawasaki Ninja 500R (Sold)
2008 Hyosung GV250 (now my wife's bike)
1992 Honda Nighthawk CB250 (Sold)
--Tim

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Unread post by NWTrtle » Sun Mar 16, 2008 7:11 pm

Off to the Beach

It was a beautiful morning in Olympia today and I had planned on doing a longer ride today. My longest so far was around 50 miles. I decided today I would go to Ocean Shores, WA which is 71 miles from my house. This made todays ride a 142 mile round trip.

Be sure to check the weather along your route and at your destination. I learned this common sense item the hard way today. As I approached Aberdeen, WA (approx. 49 miles from home), it started to rain and the temperature dropped. Luckily I knew of a Starbucks just at the beginning edge of Aberdeen, so I stopped for a warming cup of coffee. I chatted with a nice couple who where also from Olympia and were heading to a different coastal town, but were in the same boat I was. They were riding on a nice Harley Road King, but were wondering if they wanted to keep going with the rain and cold. I'm not sure what they decided to do, but I decided to keep going. It helped that Ocean Shores was not that much further and I had promised to bring back salt water taffy for my family. It was typical Washington State coastal weather with gray skies and a little windy, but I made it to the beach.

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In Washington State, you can drive on the beach, which is what I decided to do. I only rode down onto the beach and took the pictures before remounting and heading to the taffy shop we like. Since I was a little cold even with all my gear, I purchased a nice fleece jacket that was on clearance in the gift shop that has the taffy. Made a big difference having that under my jacket.

I then headed to the gambling/Resort nearby for lunch. The only gambling I partake in is the State Lottery, but gambling's tend to have really good food. I had an excellent Razor Clam and Trout chowder and a seafood club sandwich. The club had dungeness crab and bay shrimp. The chowder was the best, but the sandwich was pretty good also. The shrimp were a little "fishy" tasting, but not overly strong.

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I called my son while I was waiting for lunch. He thought I was still home and asked if I was upstairs. I told him I was at the beach. The line was silent for a bit before he said "you're kidding." :lol:

He did enjoy the taffy once I got home though.

I sure hope that Corbin seat I ordered is good. My left side of my bum sure started complaining. Over all it was a very good ride.
2005 Kawasaki Ninja 500R (Sold)
2008 Hyosung GV250 (now my wife's bike)
1992 Honda Nighthawk CB250 (Sold)
--Tim

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Unread post by NWTrtle » Wed Mar 19, 2008 1:17 am

I'm traveling around the eastern half of our state on business and won't be home again until Friday. The reason I say this? I am going through withdrawals from not riding!!!!! I am stuck traveling with a coworker in her SUV. Not a bad way to go, but I really want my bike.

I did stop at a local bike shop and did some window shopping. Nice to check out equipment and bikes. The shop in this town is pretty nice. I will have to check out some in the next town we hit.
2005 Kawasaki Ninja 500R (Sold)
2008 Hyosung GV250 (now my wife's bike)
1992 Honda Nighthawk CB250 (Sold)
--Tim

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Unread post by NWTrtle » Sat Mar 29, 2008 5:15 pm

So, I got back from my week long business trip. I got to ride some on Saturday which was nice, but then got a nasty surprise Sunday. I got hit hard.....with the flu.

I have now missed an entire week due to the flu and actually would rather be stuck in meetings everyday, than stuck in bed quarantined from the rest of the household.

On a bright note, I ordered a Corbin gunslinger seat for the Ninja on March 10th, and it arrived via FedEx today March 29th. Nice fit and finish and the leather feels much nicer than the factory vinyl. I had to remove the locking brackets from the stock seat to use on the Corbin, but that was a simple swap. The Corbin is significantly heavier than stock. Looks really nice on the bike.

Now, if the flu would just completely go away and the very strange "Spring" weather we are getting here will go towards true spring, I could give the seat a test. Hopefully I will be up to going to work on Monday and will ride in. Not much of a test, but should give some initial thoughts.
2005 Kawasaki Ninja 500R (Sold)
2008 Hyosung GV250 (now my wife's bike)
1992 Honda Nighthawk CB250 (Sold)
--Tim

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Unread post by NWTrtle » Sat Mar 29, 2008 5:36 pm

It occurred to me that I have not really said anything about myself here.

I am a 37 year old father of two and married to a wonderful woman. My daughter is 18 and graduating from high school this year and my son is 13 and will enter high school next year. I am an information technology manager for a small State agency. Computers were once just a hobby and most of what I know is either self taught, or on the job training. I actually hold a bachelors degree in Liberal Arts (photography and environmental studies), from Washington State University in Pullman, WA.

My motorcycle experiences, where I actually was in charge, could be easily counted on the one hand of an old time lumber worker (one who is missing two fingers). I rode and wrecked and rode again an old Honda 50 on a camping trip when I was around 10 years old. Then rode a three wheeler on the icy/snowy roads in the development my dad lived in one winter when I was around 14. Then finally, a quad on my father-in-law's property during a family reunion a couple of years ago. My dad rode GoldWing Interstate in the early to mid 80's and used to take me around with him. I loved every moment of it unless we went over any of the bridges that crossed the Willamette River in Portland, Or.

My father-in-law owns a Yamaha VStar 650 Classic that I have admired since he brought it home. I sat on it any time I thought no one was looking. It started to re-awaken those memories of riding with my dad, and eventually got me to the point I decided to take the MSF BRC in August of 2007. And, in typical Libra fashion, it only took 4-5 years of seeing the VStar before I took the class. But after taking the class, my other personality feature took over and I cannot get enough!

So, that is the nitty gritty as they say. I may expand on some of this someday. Depends on if anyone may be interested.
2005 Kawasaki Ninja 500R (Sold)
2008 Hyosung GV250 (now my wife's bike)
1992 Honda Nighthawk CB250 (Sold)
--Tim

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Unread post by NWTrtle » Fri May 16, 2008 8:22 pm

So, I went down yesterday. Typical statistical incident.

1. Too Fast
2. Corner
3. Target fixated
4. Single vehicle
5. Within two or three miles of home

On a positive note, I came out just fine. Very sore, but no injuries.

I was heading to a rider group meeting and enjoying being on the bike. Got going faster than I thought on a straight, when I realized my speed for the corner was too great, I hit both brakes hard (did not lock them up) and then instead of looking where I wanted to go, I fixated on the small ditch I was heading for. I think the bike threw me off when the front tire hit the ditch and I remember the sound of gravel and dirt on the face shield as I slid. Two guys in a small truck were behind me and saw me go down. The stopped and made sure I was ok and then loaded the bike and me in to their truck and dropped me off at home.

My wife took me to the ER to make sure I was ok. They did a CT scan since my vision right after the accident was blurry. It cleared itself up after 30 - 40 seconds, but my neck was sore also. Nothing broken, no road rash, and the CT scan came back clean.

The bike is still in pretty decent shape it seems. Mostly cosmetic, but the front forks are tweaked and when the handlebars are full right, the tire is straight.

I was already a believer of ATGATT, but now I have something to back it up! The knee of my TourMaster overpants took a hit judging from the dirt on them, but I have no pain at all in that knee. I have a sore right wrist and my neck is stiff and sore. Nice raspberry on my forehead of the impact with the ground and a nice bump on my chin. No cuts, no scrapes, no road rash!

I spoke with my insurance company today, and they informed me that I only have liability and uninsured motorist coverage. I know when I set up the policy that I asked for total coverage. I remember telling the agent that I wanted to be covered financially no matter what happened. Now the local agent is trying to work with and underwriter to see if they will correct the mistake and make it fully active from the day I started the policy. I don't hold a lot of hope, and know it is my own fault since I failed to look over the policy fully. :frusty: But, we will see.

Click image below for slide show of bike damage.

Image
2005 Kawasaki Ninja 500R (Sold)
2008 Hyosung GV250 (now my wife's bike)
1992 Honda Nighthawk CB250 (Sold)
--Tim

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Unread post by Skier » Fri May 16, 2008 11:45 pm

I'm glad you're not banged up aside from the raspberry.
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Unread post by cdillon23 » Sat May 17, 2008 9:47 am

Glad your okay man. Sorry about the bike but and I hope you get the insurance stuff worked out.
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Unread post by Flesher » Sun May 18, 2008 11:12 pm

cdillon23 wrote:Glad your okay man. Sorry about the bike but and I hope you get the insurance stuff worked out.

+1

Hope you're back in the saddle soon, take care.

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Unread post by NWTrtle » Tue May 27, 2008 4:48 pm

Well, the local insurance agency head called my house and told my mother that he did not have good news. I called the agency and asked about the status and they said only the agency head could talk with me. I asked that he call my cell, and he has not called. :roll: :frusty:

Turns out my left fork is bent. I had a guy from a local motorcycle forum stop by and take a look with me and he spotted the bend. I took the forks off and sure enough, the left has a nice bend in it. The right seems straight....not sure why it would be ok. Now the search for either a replacement, or take it somewhere and have the upper bent tube replaced with a new one. Not sure which will be more cost effective.

The most frustrating part of this whole thing is I have a regional meet I plan on attending this weekend with another forum. No way my bike will be ready, so the only way to go is by car. :oops: I kind of feel like if I don't go I will kick myself even more for the accident. Of course, going without a bike is lame. I keep waffling about going or staying home. Right now I am still planning on going, but as the day gets closer I change my mind throughout the day. Oh well.
2005 Kawasaki Ninja 500R (Sold)
2008 Hyosung GV250 (now my wife's bike)
1992 Honda Nighthawk CB250 (Sold)
--Tim

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Unread post by Flesher » Tue May 27, 2008 9:07 pm

Hopefully the news isn't as bad as you're anticipating insurance wise ... might as well preserve some hope.

For the regional meet, is taking the Hyosung an option? or does the wife not trust you with HER bike now :)

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Unread post by NWTrtle » Wed May 28, 2008 1:10 pm

Flesher wrote:Hopefully the news isn't as bad as you're anticipating insurance wise ... might as well preserve some hope.

For the regional meet, is taking the Hyosung an option? or does the wife not trust you with HER bike now :)
:laughing: Actually the seat, and seating position, are not comfortable. This is part of the reason for moving to a standard/sport bike. I could take her bike (and yes, she did say I could), but the comfort issue would become huge since the meet is approx 600 miles from here.

On a positive note, I did win a pair of forks off an ebay auction and the sellers offered me overnight shipping. I agreed and sent the money.....now just waiting for the tracking info. I might still be able to take my Ninja. We will see.
2005 Kawasaki Ninja 500R (Sold)
2008 Hyosung GV250 (now my wife's bike)
1992 Honda Nighthawk CB250 (Sold)
--Tim

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Unread post by NWTrtle » Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:13 pm

Geez. Its been a long time since I last posted.

Well, I got the forks off e-bay the morning I was to leave on my trip. Unfortunately as I was bolting everything back up the housing for the speedo gear at the wheel snapped. I didn't have the thing rotated correctly and when I started to tighten using the torque wrench, it broke. I quietly (mostly) put my tools away, loaded up the mini van and took off for California.

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Had a pretty good time in spite of not having a bike.
2005 Kawasaki Ninja 500R (Sold)
2008 Hyosung GV250 (now my wife's bike)
1992 Honda Nighthawk CB250 (Sold)
--Tim

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Unread post by NWTrtle » Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:20 pm

Now I am working on getting the Ninja back legal for riding. I got a new speedo gear unit off e-bay and have discovered how to correctly install without destroying the unit.

I ordered a standard round headlight and fork mounting brackets. I removed the fairing mounting supports and have installed the new headlight. The blinkers mounted nicely to the the brackets and I used some "L" brackets to mount the instrument cluster above the headlight. Now I am waiting for a pair of bar end mirrors to arrive so I can start riding the bike again! I did take it around the neighborhood the other day. Looks like the forks I got off e-bay are slightly bent. I can't get the handlebars and front wheel to align correctly. Luckily it did not effect the ride ability of the bike any. When I have some time, I will take some pics of the bike with the new front end set-up and post them.
2005 Kawasaki Ninja 500R (Sold)
2008 Hyosung GV250 (now my wife's bike)
1992 Honda Nighthawk CB250 (Sold)
--Tim

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Riding again!

Unread post by NWTrtle » Thu Aug 07, 2008 11:55 am

:mrgreen: Finally got the bike done and legal to ride on public streets! Today was my first day riding into work in quite some time. I did ride my wife's bike a couple of times, but the riding position is just not comfortable on her little cruiser.

I purchased the CRG Hindsight LS 3" Mirror from Bevel Heaven and got them mounted. Nice little mirrors, although I have to move my head a lot further in order to use them. But they work fine and make me legal, and safer.

The wind while riding is not bad. It has been so long since I rode without any wind protection that I was sort of wondering if it would bother me any. Was not an issue at all....of course my commute is less than 8 miles with a top speed of 50 mph. :laughing:

I suspect eventually I will buy a replacement fairing, for ease of selling, but I know I would never get the cost back out of it.

Overall, it is just really nice to have my bike ridable again.
2005 Kawasaki Ninja 500R (Sold)
2008 Hyosung GV250 (now my wife's bike)
1992 Honda Nighthawk CB250 (Sold)
--Tim

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Unread post by blues2cruise » Thu Aug 07, 2008 5:53 pm

Good blog.

I was only in Olympia a couple of times...I loved it.
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Unread post by NWTrtle » Thu Aug 07, 2008 9:23 pm

I've been to Vancouver a couple of times and loved it too! I would love to ride up there at some point and explore.
2005 Kawasaki Ninja 500R (Sold)
2008 Hyosung GV250 (now my wife's bike)
1992 Honda Nighthawk CB250 (Sold)
--Tim

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