Hey there, everyone! I've lurked a bit and been active on another forum, but I figured it was finally time to sign up over here. I figured I'd take a little time and write up an introduction as that seems like the polite thing to do.
My name's Jeff and the Parrothead part of my screen name is a reference to my being a Jimmy Buffett fan. I'm originally from southern California near San Diego, currently in Las Vegas, NV but I'm moving to central Utah in just a few short weeks. You see, I have a daughter who's due to be born August 21 and I'm very excited to meet her and to be the best dad I can be for her
My V-Star 650 Classic at the Hackberry General Store on Historic Route 66
So, this being a motorcycle forum and all, I should probably write a bit about that. I got the itch to get a bike due to gas prices early last year and started looking at bikes. Yes, I've learned about the other expenses that come with riding, but it's been too good to give up! Getting back to the early days, dual sports were the focus early on with the DR650, BMW F650GS (single), and G650GS as the prime contenders.
Now, I'd never been on a motorcycle before so the MSF course sounded like a pretty good idea. I bought a helmet, some gloves, and mesh jacket with liners and signed up for the last class in April 2011.
The mighty Kawasaki Eliminator 125 - First motorcycle I ever rode
I had a blast on that little Kawasaki during the MSF course and was still planning on saving up for a down payment on one of the dual sports I mentioned earlier. But there was a side effect to the MSF course and that Eliminator. I realized that I really liked cruisers and I might get one instead of a dual sport...
Within a couple of weeks I'd started to really get the itch to ride. I'd had a taste of the fun and wanted more. Badly.
It was mid may of last year that I found out one of my co-workers had a motorcycle she needed to sell quickly. It had been sitting for quite a while as it had problems she didn't have the knowledge or funding to fix and it was likely to be impounded by her old apartment complex. It was a 2004 V-Star 650 Classic with 8436 miles, a windshield, and hard saddle bags...
The bike would start with jumpers and would run without them, but it wouldn't idle without at least half choke. The tires were also starting to dry rot and weather check and we didn't know when the last oil change or valve adjustment had been done.
We agreed on a price of $1,400 and the previous owner said she'd take payments! I had just worked a boatload of overtime, so I had the money to get the bike back on the road. My boss at the time recommended a shop, arrangements were made, and I left my new (to me) bike in their care for a while. When I got my machine back, the carbs had been rebuilt, the valves checked and adjusted, the intake manifold had been replaced due to cracks, and new Bridgestone Spitfire tires had been fitted. She was running great!
I've run the odometer up to about 17,800 miles since mid June of last year, but not much of that was commuting as I work two miles away from where I live. No, I've had this bike all over the place near Las Vegas with frequent trips up to Red Rock Canyon, out to Hoover Dam, and up on Mt. Charleston. I've also ridden to Prescott, AZ to visit family and down to southern California to visit friends.
Out on the old highway south of Jean, NV
I've ridden through 70+ MPH gusting crosswinds in the Cajon Pass, Arizona thunderstorms, 125+ degree heat in Valley of Fire State park in July, and in cold down below freezing. It's been on concrete freeways, asphalt roads, and even dirt "roads" when that's what the access to a friend's house included. Nothing seems to phase it.
I LOVE THIS BIKE!!!
I had a pretty good laugh a couple weeks ago at an open house for the BMW motorcycle dealer here in Vegas. I'd been worried that a DR650 with 46HP in a roughly 360 pound bike or 50HP in the 400 or so pound BMW G650GS might not be enough power as I weighed quite a bit at the time. OK, I was 340 pounds, but I'm down to 270 pounds (and falling!) thanks to the difficulty of snacking while wearing a full face helmet and riding a motorcycle in traffic LOL!
It turns out I really didn't know a darn thing back then because Dynojet showed up with a mobile dyno at the open house and I got to put my V-Star to the test. The result blew my mind. My very heavy V-Star (compared to the other bikes) has done a great job of hauling me around and I've really only ever wished for more power during long uphill grades or strong headwinds. Turns out there's only 33HP and 34 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheel?! I'd have never guessed that low!!! Hey, I'll take more if I can get it cheaply (and I've been reading on just how to do that), but I'm pretty darn happy with the way the bike is bone stock!
Horsepower and torque curves for my V-Star 650 thanks to Dynojet and BMW Motorcycles of Las Vegas
Horsepower and torque figures for my V-Star 650 thanks to Dynojet and BMW Motorcycles of Las Vegas
Now, I know the specified intervals for service on the bike, but those darn valve jobs are expensive! After chatting with some reputable mechanics, I've been playing it by ear for a while and seeing how things go. There's been no loss of power and everything sounds good, so I've just kept riding. She's in the shop tonight for the first valve adjustment in about a year and nearly 10,000 miles along with having the throttle cables replaced and an oil leak (really seepage) fixed. I'm very thankful for a friend who's putting $250 toward the bill as a late Christmas present!
My V-Star 650 Classic out on the scenic loop in Red Rock Canyon near Las Vegas, NV
Back to the present with me aside from the bike. I found out in January that I'm expecting a daughter in August and while this wasn't planned by any stretch of the imagination, we're both thrilled as we could be! My girlfriend can't move back to Las Vegas, so I'm moving to Utah in a few weeks to be with her and our little one. I've had the same job in telecommunications for the past seven years and I don't have one up there yet, so it's a bit of a leap of faith to move like this. Yes, I'm still freaked out about a whole bunch of things like finding a job, raising a daughter, and all the rest. I'm just glad I have people like my girlfriend and her family there to support me as I do my best to support them.
I've had thoughts about the risks that go with riding and how that would relate to having a daughter. My conclusion was that I can't stop being who I am and riding is a very important thing to me. It clears and focuses my mind and puts things right and back into perspective. I also tried to discuss this with my girlfriend, but it didn't go the way I'd thought it would. I got to the part where I'd been thinking about whether to keep the bike or not and she interrupted me before I could tell her the answer or how I got to it. She said she wants me to keep it and for the same reasons I was about to tell her along with providing her a good reason to tell me to get the heck out of the house when she me out of her hair for a while. Yes, I think she's awesome! A few people at work have tried to tell me that I should get rid of that nasty, dangerous, dirty, immature toy I leave in the parking lot every day. I just smile and tell them that I'm sorry, but my girlfriend's opinion overrules theirs
The reactions to that have been pretty darn funny!
This post ran quite a bit longer than I'd really intended, so thanks for sticking around if you've made it this far! I'm glad to have found another fun place to hang out and talk bikes and I hope to make a few good friends around here as well.
Have a great day everyone!