Tiny Dancer Goes Ice-Skating: The Maiden Voyage of the XT - ZX6R Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 03-28-2016, 07:15 PM Thread Starter
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Tiny Dancer Goes Ice-Skating: The Maiden Voyage of the XT

So, this isn't really a ninja post. But most of you know that I recently bought a brand-new 2015 Yamaha XT250 a couple of weekends ago. I know, I know. "Underpowered bike," "You'll grow out of it," bla bla bla.

Technically, this isn't the official maiden run since I took her out to our local foothills and ran her around in the dirt for a couple of hours the other evening. But I didn't take any pictures then. Still, this was her first attempt at a run up our local mountain roads, which involved some highway riding. I was sure to choose a good one. One that is notorious for being in shitty condition year-round, but especially in the early spring when the snow has just started to melt in the higher elevations and the debris, dirt, and mud are still piled up at various spots in the roadway. This road is pretty much patchwork. There are sections where entire chunks of pavement are missing right at the apex of corners, and the asphalt has sunken into the hillside.

Since the boyfriend doesn't have a dual sport yet, my chosen companion for this mission was my best friend and riding mentor. 17 long years of friendship and 8 years of him mentoring me through the trial and error of developing my motorcycling prowess; add to it, his expert level skill on all things two-wheeled and in most terrains and I figured that it wouldn't be much of a challenge for him on his V-star.

We hit the road. Our destination was Breckenridge road. It's a mountain road, like most others, that begins as some smooth undivided pavement in the barren foothills, but then winds its way up to some single lane dirty road peaking at 7,000 feet. It's a popular destination for dual sports and touring bikes.

Some pics I took during a scouting mission last year:






Whilst riding the XT on the highway, I tried to keep the rpms in the midrange. As a result, she puttered along at a whopping 65 mph with the help of my head and shoulders in a full tuck to reduce some of the wind drag on her tiny frame and motor. It wasn't ideal, but it was manageable and I imagine that ditching the emissions shit and giving her a full exhaust system will at least let her breath a little easier. As it was, she felt a little stifled (not that she has all that much power to begin with), but we made the most of the 10 mile jaunt to the connecting route.

The first few corners of Breckenridge were dumped with dirt. A sign of things to come.

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds" - Albert Einstein

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post #2 of 5 Old 03-28-2016, 08:38 PM
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Great photos of some truly spectacular landscape to ride through. I'm very jealous. Well two more weeks till I'm back on the dirt bike. I've got to help one of the friends I ride with move next weekend. I had family from Europe visiting this weekend. Can't wait to get back in the dirt.
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post #3 of 5 Old 03-28-2016, 09:13 PM Thread Starter
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The Bridgestone Trail Wing tires that come stock on the XT are a decent tire for combination riding; which makes sense since they are rated as a 50/50 tire. Still, they were every bit as decent on pavement as the Avon Destanzias (80/20) I used to run on my DRZ400S... and I've scraped toe on that bike. The TWs also did remarkably well during my earlier jaunt in the foothills, so I have confidence that I will get a lot out of them.

The XT ferociously gripped even the most precarious of corners, I let out a few giddy yelps of happiness as I remembered what it felt like to be on a light, nimble dual sporty bike. I have said it before and I will say it again, every rider should own one at least once. These bikes are like the go-karts of motorcycles and they are an outright blast to ride. I am sure the WR250 might be a better option for those seeking a little more punch at the throttle, but I didn't really have much to complain about on a bike that is quite capable over covering all of the riding I needed it to do, brand new, with a 5 thousand dollar price tag out the door. Spending at least 1500 extra for only a few extra HP on a 250cc dual sport just didn't jive with my spending rationale.

My buddy and I both made decent time, cutting through the smooth stuff, even given all of the dirt that iced the surfaces of almost every apex. We wound our way up the road until the two lane pavement started to diminish into eaten up one lane asphalt. Around a few corners there were minor rock slides, more than a few trees had surrendered at the force of the mighty mountain winds and laid themselves to rest in the roadway. My companion pulled away in the straights only to fall behind in the corners as my little XT gobbled up the obstacles that his heavier cruiser had a harder time overcoming. Still, we moved along at a pretty brisk pace. The close-ratio gearing of the XT is perfect for quick upshifts and downshifts without compromising any power at all. The fifth gear is better suited for getting a little more out of the top end when still chasing the speed fix... or when traversing treacherous highways on commutes. Then again, all of that is to be expected on these bikes.

We rode a few miles up and then pulled over for a break. My riding buddy was in need of a rest. Understandable given the fact that I had been watching him slide all over the place in corners. I suppose wrestling around that heavy beast does turn into a bit of a workout after a while (Tee-Hee!).


"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds" - Albert Einstein

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post #4 of 5 Old 03-28-2016, 09:45 PM
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I can see it now. MoM is going to be the female version of "Jake the garden snake" on you tube. Blogging while doing wheelies everywhere. Haha. That looks like a lot of fun. I would ride it. A friend of mine is selling this for $1,800.


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post #5 of 5 Old 03-28-2016, 10:57 PM Thread Starter
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The view was quite spectacular, with the exception of the haze and smog layer. The weather was perfect at around 65 degrees and I really didn't mind hanging out for a bit. My buddy expressed a little concern with the single-lane and having had a SUVs and trucks coming down, I could see the concern. I offered to go up front since I was narrower and since the roads were getting progressively crappier. I held enough pace to catch the oncoming traffic and alert them that I had one more behind me.

These roads tend to remain closed until well into late spring early summer. We had been lucky enough to get a substantial dusting of snow, and much of it was still on the ground as we made our way further up the mountain. snow piles of various sizes sat along the side of the road and some corners were still wet with muddy water. As we approached one particular corner, I looked ahead to see what looked like a pretty decent accumulation of snow along the shoulders of the corner on either side. I slowed my pace a bit, but figured I'd ride through the tire track and deal with a little muddy water. I was still going about 25 mph when I realized my assessment was wrong, and this quickly turned into one of the best saves I've ever pulled off in my motorcycling career.

I coasted into the wheel track with some delicate feathering of the clutch and throttle to keep the bike settled. I had tried to scrub off a little more speed with a light drag of the rear brake as delicately as possible before letting it go altogether at the last possible second. As my rubber touched the wet stuff, I noticed that the slushy muddy track was actually wet ice in some parts. I can't really articulate how it all unfolded, but all I can say is I felt like a badass. I went right into "Awww HELL naw!" Mode as I felt the front tire start to slide almost instantly. I feathered the clutch to try and get more traction and steer with the rear which might have worked if I hadn't been in a lower gear. As such, when I feathered the clutch out the rear tire slipped out too and we went right up onto a hearty block of snow that had started melting and then froze again into an ice block. I instantly pulled the clutch back in and re-engaged my delicate balance of feathering the clutch to try and get us out of the mess, all while muttering in my helmet "Nope. Nope! Nope. Nope... Not today precious... your ass isn't touchin' the ground today sister!"

The bike was already all over the place and I was damn certain that I saw my own ass at one point as she slid and bucked from side to side. I dropped one foot to balance out the weight and try to settle the shimmy, and then another foot. I was still going too fast to actually plant a foot, and as the sole of my boots grazed the surface of the ice, it was hopeless to even try and catch any traction so I kept my weight centered and hoped for the best.

The view of the corner, from the opposite direction.


Looking back on it, I didn't even so much as gasp. Somehow it all felt completely natural and expected, and my brain went into action mode as I fought to keep her upright at all costs and with as much finesse as possible. I rode it out all the way through the corner, fully expecting to feel the entire bike collapse beneath me. Then my front wheel cleared the gauntlet and gave us the stability of traction. I coasted us onto the asphalt where the bike settled herself and I gave her some throttle while belting out a victorious howl and triumphant laughter.

A couple of miles up the road, we were officially denied access to the rest of our journey as the closed gate indicated that there was probably still a substantial amount of snow further up the mountain. We parked the bikes and I was still laughing.

"Did you see that shit?!" I yelled through my helmet at my friend.

"Oh my god, how could I not?! Holy shit, I thought for sure you were goin' down. I am so proud of you... you stuck with it, I thought for sure you were gonna just give up and let it go."

If the circumstances had been different, I might have. Granted, it wouldn't have done much damage if I had, but it wasn't necessary to dump it, there wasn't a point where I didn't at least have some sort of a say as to what inputs might rectify the situation and I figured if nothing else, we'd buy some time and hold on for the ride whilst having a clear evacuation plan in mind.




We stood around for a few minutes remarking on the experience from his perspective, including what a pain in the ass it was to get his hefty bike through there. Then we did it all again on our way back down the mountain.

Needless to say, it went much smoother the second time around.

Hours later, as we sat on the couch drinkin' a post-ride beer we both started chuckling. My friend stared off into the distance and said: "Man, of all the times to not have a Go-Pro... I really want to watch that again a few times... I am actually really bummed that I'm the only other person in the world who was there to witness that."

I laughed.

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds" - Albert Einstein

If you're a glutton for punishment, visit my blog: TheApexDream
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