~Since 2004~
A site about memories, thoughts, photos, and unrepentant opinions about motorcycles and motorcycling after four decades of twisting the throttle.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Fat Tire Photo Moto

Yes friends, the news for which the world has been waiting with bated breath. No, not the new motorcycle land speed record of 360 mph set by Rocky Robinson or the 2008 MotoGP championship won by Valentino Rossi. Not even whether or not America will plunge headlong into a socialist workers paradise guided by "Dear Leader" B. Hussein Obama. Nope, the big news you've all been clamoring for is what bike I bought to replace the Gold Wing.

(sound of crickets chirping)

No doubt your keen eye noticed the picture at the top of this post and you've figured out already that I went from one extreme to the other, from the GL1800 Gold Wing to a slightly used Yamaha TW200.

So here's the logic in the choice: The Mrs. has been trundling around on the 50cc Ruckus having a fine time. I decided a simple bike that could be used to follow her about would do the trick for my needs for now. No need for a mega motor or 30 inches of off-road suspension travel. Basic is good. In this case, the Yamaha TW200gets the nod. Air cooled motor, 5 speed tranny, huge fat tires for soft surfaces, readily identifiable engine parts, and cable operated drum brakes. I might actually be able to fix this one myself should something on it croak. The TW200 is a relic of the 1980s that is still in Yamha's line-up. I'm a relic of the 1960s that is still riding. To me the TW200 is modern enough to do the job I need done. Sometimes old and known is a better choice than new and trendy when the going gets tough, ya know?

In this case, in addition to following Wife about on the Ruckus I also outfitted the bike with a large, homemade carrying rack and some soft luggage from adventures past.

I also outfitted yours truly with a new Nikon D90 camera to replace my trusty Nikon CoolPix 8800. Ta..daaa... "photo moto bike." Just the ticket for wandering about, on road and off, to look for suitable photo subjects. The Gold Wing was way more comfortable but dirt roads were an invitation to disaster and even the Aprilia Caponord, while decent on dirt roads, was a huge handful for my vertically challenged self when the going got rough. The TW feels minuscule compared to the previous bikes so for doing quick u-turns to catch a shot, the TW can't be beat. Turning the Gold Wing or the Caponord around quickly is sort of possible, just not something you want to do without some careful thought and zero mistakes.

I set out today to visit Picacho Reservoir some miles east of my little town. The reservoir was built in the 1920s and has pretty much silted up from lack of attention turning it into two square miles of marsh land. Wild life abounds there...when there is water in the reservoir. At the end of our Arizona summer I was hoping for maybe a large pool or two were some feathered critters might be congregating. I was looking forward to testing the new 300mm Nikon lens that arrived the other day. No such luck. You can see by the shot of the GPS below that I rode right into the lake. Except lake isn't really there at the moment. Maybe in the Spring it will be back and I'll visit again.

In the mean time, the lake and the dead, formerly sunken trees have a slightly otherworldly look to them that I didn't quite capture with the new camera. Going to take some practice to get a handle on all the widgets and tweedle points of the D90. More photos and wanderings to follow for sure though. I had a great time today even if reservoir wasn't there. It was nice to get out of the house and away from the town.

First proper photos from the new D90 are here.


Mr. Motorcycle said...

There is no doubt you went from one extreme to the other, but with wifey using a ruckus and having off road capabilities, I think you made a really good choice. Now you tow can really enjoy riding together.

I must admit, I kind of envy the off road capabilities.

Glad to hear you are back in the saddle!

Jac Brown said...

Nice choice, on both the bike and the camera. Somehow simple and reasonably priced fits with today.

As for the seat, I can see that you are already feeling it. Of course, you are supposed to stand up when riding off road, but that's no excuse for the 2x4 seats on most dual sports. I have to say that buying an aftermarket seat (Russel Day Long) was the best purchase I made. Enjoy your wandering.

Lucky said...

Uhm... interesting choice!

Seriously though, the TW does look like it could be lots of fun in the right context. At least you're back on two wheels (...while the rest of the world breathed a sigh of relief).


Anonymous said...

There is nothing I enjoy more than being able to share time in the saddle with my favorite sexy bald guy--both together on his or each on our own. I think you made a fabulous choice to be able to share some of that joy with the wife & her Ruckus. Happy riding! :-)

Doug Klassen said...

Mr & Mrs RC, thanks for the kind words. The goal really was/is to be able share Debbie's riding adventure more than anything else. For that the TW seems ideal. I thought about getting a 250cc scooter like the Big Ruckus but after riding a couple I just don't see me as a scooter person. I enjoy shifting gears and the clutch is or can be an important tool in controlling a bike at low speeds. I missed it immediately when riding a scooter.

Jac, The TW fits me about like your KLR fits you. ;-) Sadly, it doesn't have the KLR's power but sacrifices must be made.

Lucky, with a motorcycle, context is key. I've already ridden the TW places I'd have certainly never taken the Gold Wing and places I'd have been concerned about with the Aprilia. It's fun and a nice change (for now) to be able to wander about more freely, unconstrained by the weight or size of the bike even if it does mean wandering about at 35 - 40 mph instead of 65 or 70 mph.


FLHX_Dave said...

Bad-ass brother. I had a feeling it was going to be something like this. Now I'm sorta envious realizing that you get to moto around places with no roads. Maybe this was just the ticket to reignite the passion. Blaze your own trails Doug!

You are going to have some picts of places the rest of us asphalt bound riders will never see. Awesome.

Webster World said...

I too have more than 40 yrs on a cicle. But I don't think no I know my knees could not make the adjustment. Good for you.

Camron said...

Glad to hear your back on the road... NO matter what you're on, two wheels trump four anyday!
Catch you on the road...er Dirt road?

Skybob said...

Looks like you're heading in the right direction there;)..I just came over from Mr. Motorcycle's blog. So far I love what I am seeing here, keep up the good work!:)

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