I live in a part of the world with normally moderate weather. It's like the 3-Bears
, "... Not too hot, not too cold...." I 'ride year round' because we might get a maximum of 5-days of snow per winter, and maybe 5-days at most of triple-digit summertime weather. Neither of these meteorological extreme occur every year – they merely can happen. But this winter has been long, the longest in memory for me (~ 40-yrs).
There have been not days, but weeks of snow; and it has been abnormally cold - night time temps below freezing, and daytime temps in the high 30s-low40s. We usually get two full weeks sometime in February of warm weather (daytime temps in the 70s.) No such mild weather for Feb. of '17. We have warmed only enough to see record rainfall. As of St. Patrick’s Day we’ve seen three days of sun – no precipitation. The area I live in sits between two mountain ranges, the latter is noticeably taller than the former, and it is called the Willamette (wil-lam-it) Valley. It’s March and we have already reached our average annual rain fall!
So, what's a poor fool to do? Work on his ZX, that's what. This is a source of pride for me as I perform the vast majority of the work. But even that has not held the usual joy, because it's just too damn cold for fingers gripping icy metal tools. I've had my 2015 30th Anniversary ZX-6R 636 for two and a half years. I have been forced to take two episodes of prolonged time off from riding to rehab after two significant surgeries. Yet time spent modifying the mini-Ninja was very therapeutic during my recoveries. I think I'm very nearly done modifying my ZX!
I have a few boxes that have been opened and then had their flaps folded closed (more Tekarbon
c/f bits & bobs; a new Hotbodies
double bubble windscreen), these last stragglers will simply have to wait for milder weather. I will go into more detail regarding the modifications in a later post. Certainly feel free to ask question pertaining to my method & madness.
At present, the Zed is on a camp-out up in Portland (Beaverton, OR) at EDR Performance
to have the PC V calibrated on their dyno. We’re waiting on new exhaust gaskets that are back East, huddled from their Nor-Easter that is grinding transportation down to a halt. This comes after having my CPU reflashed by Schnitz Racing
. By the way, that is the bargain of the day at $95.00 (base price of $75.00, including disabling the EVSM + [$10.00] & PAIR [+ $10.00]). EDR is performing the dyno runs, with a BMC
air filter is in situ; the Yosh
dB killer uninstalled in the canister; and Ixil
DKat mid-pipe installed. EDR Performance https://store.schnitzracing.com/ It is somewhat bitter sweet when I acknowledge to myself that I am near the end of a project
. This ought not to imply that my relationship with the little Zed has concluded the contrary is really at hand. I have a couple areas that still need ‘tweaking.’ The suspension is the moving target
that I will have to focus on just a little bit more for me to be satisfied, but I need warm tarmac, hot tires and clean road surfaces to accomplish that task. And all of those are in very short supply. Every evening the local news stations seem to running tag-team stories regarding the massive potholes that are becoming all too common. This doesn’t encourage me to take the baby Zed out. Later, when the conditions improve I'll just have to ride it more, and maybe do more track days and hyper-sport touring. Lord knows I'll have more cash to indulge those pursuits.
In all honesty it took me about 9-12 months to actually settle into an accord with the 636. I came from a past of riding only litre class sportbikes. And they are a whole different breed of cat. For starters, they tend to feel just a wee bit lankier. The 600s feel short-coupled by comparison. One feels like they are sitting “in” the cockpit, rather than “on” the saddle. Litre bikes are stupidly fast! But everyone knows that, but unless you’ve lived with a litre bike, one really doesn’t’t ‘know’ what that means. Suffice it to say, they are fast everywhere; they stop in a gnat’s fart; and will pummel one to death by tossing one down the road in the blink of an eye… they will toss one down the side of a steep mountain… high side one into the lance-like grasp of neighbouring trees at 150mph with nary a thought. And it all happens faster than a human being can react to. But it is an addictive drug.
Middleweight sport bikes are The Sane Option (though they are becoming an endangered species)
when dealing with true race replica bikes. In some ways middleweights are more work to ride, one has to be very present in the moment
, with a middleweight one must
be in the correct gear
; one must have their own weight situated just so; one must pay attention to all the details!
On a litre bike one could realistically have the choice of three gears (yes, there will be an optimum
); body positioning is optional; what a litre bike rider does learn to do is to cover the brake lever with 1-2 fingers because things can & do get seriously out of hand quickly; unpleasant things can & do get out of hand on a middleweight, just not nearly as quickly. And yet, one can be lazier with a litre bike. I know it sounds odd or perhaps just plain contrary.
The Willamette River watershed; and confluence with the Columbia River at Portland. (Map: Wikipedia)