Earlier this week I went back to work after the summer holidays. However work needed me in Canberra for the first two days back, so that seemed like a fantastic opportunity to try the Ninja out over distance. After receiving a surprising lack of resistance to the idea from Mrs Mab (Who banned me from the Syd-Canberra bike commute after the roo crash) I carefully watched the weather.
As the days grew closer the weather cleared and in fact started to head the other way – too hot. By the time I was leaving Sydney on Sunday afternoon in the mid 30s, Tuesday afternoon was looking more like 40.
Well at least it wasn’t raining? No actually I was worried I’d be forced into my touring gear due rain, and also have to ride in 30+ which it doesn’t do so well in. I almost decided on my 2-piece, but ended up in my summer leather jacket and Draggin’s – the bare minimum riding gear that I will ride in.
Anyway, so after some family stuff over the weekend, I headed off at about 3pm on Sunday afternoon. It was warm, but otherwise fine. I planned to ride down the Hume until at least Sutton Forrest, or Marulan and then head the back way. This gave a long time on the slab, as well as some back roads that I knew well (much better than the Putty) and I knew pretty much what condition that they were in after riding them in October for the MotoGP. The top box was full (if I didn’t have to take work clothes, it would have been almost empty) and I tossed in the Kriega US30 just in case.
The first hour or so went well. The bike has plenty of power when I want, and with the bigger capacity and gearing, I find I get quickly into 6th gear and just leave it there. Even at quite low speed, the bike still seems to be okay in a higher gear than I am used to.
After about an hour I started to get stomach cramps. I was very worried about possible food poisoning or something from the rather fancy breakfast we had, so I found myself squirming around uncomfortable, but unable to stop until the next petrol station. This also put me off the turn at Sutton Forrest, as it has even longer spaces between toilets.
After stopping again at Marulan, for fuel and comfort, I hadn’t been able to do anything about the pain, but it had seemed to lessen somewhat. I turned off and headed to Canberra via the back roads.
Again the bike went well. Though the main quirk I have noticed is the fuel gauge. Firstly, it has about 6 “bars” that fade as it is used. It seems that the first bar is half the tank as it is about 130-150km before I am into the second bar. Then the next 4 seem to disappear over the next 100km. Also, it is a bit variable when the bike is climbing or descending, more so than any other I’ve used. Something to keep in mind when riding.
As I was descending into Queanbeyan the pain returned. By this time I was about 20 minutes to my accommodation so decided to see if I could make it there. There was a bed, a bathroom and air conditioning.
It was painful to stand as I checked in, but after about 30 mins lying on my bed it went away. It never came back and I am quite confused as to what it might have been. It was painful enough that I was worried I might fall while riding or considered stopping several times over the last 15 minutes or so. But 30mins later stopping, it was fading and then gone. Wasn’t food poisoning – that’s a positive!
The next two days I commuted from the hotel into work on the bike and wow I missed having a topbox. Get to work, pull out your bag or lunch or whatever, drop in your helmet. Of course, I also had to bring my work clothes to change into.
Tuesday was hot, and it was about 38-40C as I was getting ready to go. I got lazy and just jammed some stuff into the Kriega instead of spending the time to fit it all into the topbox. It was hot and I wasn’t in the shade. I figured I could repack if required down the road in a shady spot. I didn’t in the end, so the idea of tossing the US30 into the box was a good one. It also fit very nicely on the pillion seat, using the Givi rack as tie downs points.
The ride back was fairly uneventful. I saw a rabbit and a wedgetail (I’m sure the wedgetail would have liked to have seen the rabbit!) I drank about 1.5L of water on the ride. It was really warm, and fantastic to get home to the airconditioning!
Overall the bike went well without any problems. I am a little disappointed as I think the range might be more like 250-300, maybe 350. Not the clear 300 I was hoping for. Other than that I can’t fault it, and it will suit me well in my riding. Again, I would love to look at the new model in a year or two… maybe a second hand one (HA HA HA HA!!!)
I now have over 1200km on the bike since I picked it up. That’s almost 50% more than it had when I got it and I’ve only ridden it about 5 times.