Author Topic: Returning C10 Rider- Yesssss  (Read 1757 times)

Offline airhead81

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Returning C10 Rider- Yesssss
« on: June 02, 2013, 06:16:46 am »
A subtle form of escapism.  That’s what motorcycling has always been for me.  At least since I was a wee lad of about 22 years old.  It’s a way to leave the day to day brushfires and petty cares in my wake.  My tool of choice has generally been a sport tourer, mostly of the German variety.  I have ridden them in 48 states and 6 provinces.  Time not spent riding was often spent planning, day dreaming, marking up maps with yellow highlighters, etc.

But these days I’m off the sauerkraut and on a strict diet of rice and sushi.  This is the story of that transition, as well as a rekindled love affair with the open road.

After about a 5 year self-inflicted hiatus from motorcycles in favor of child rearing, during the summer of 2012 I found myself in need of a bike.  Out of the blue my 18 year old son Chris had taken an interest in motorcycles, and had acquired a Kawasaki KLR250 street legal enduro.  I found a good clean KLR650 and we were both off to the races.  In rather short order, Chris decided he liked my bike better than his.  Then he decided he liked a Suzuki DL650 V-Strom better than either KLR, and found a good deal on one with bags and a gel seat over on the east side of the state (Michigan).  Suddenly, it was all I could do to keep up with him.  The one lung KLR was just no match for the V-twin Suzy on anything wider than a cow path.

My KLR was squeaky clean, and I was able to quickly sell it for $200.00 more than I paid for it earlier that summer.  On December 19, 2012, after a good deal of research, I took my fist full of dollars down to the local Triumph dealer and blew $3,200.00 on a blue 2001 Kawasaki Concours with about 23K on the clock.  The salesman told me that it was a one owner bike.  The prior owner was in his 70’s, and had traded it in on an electric motorcycle.

The bike was relatively clean.  But the Avon tires were nearly bald and badly cupped, it had a rough idle, and projected a generally unloved appearance.    Over the winter I tore off the plastic, adjusted the valves, cleaned and synched the carbs, changed the final drive fluid, and lubed the drive splines.  I also put on new rubber and a well broken in Corbin seat that I found on Ebay.  Plus a set of Throttlemeisters, a BMW style power socket, and about a 100 other minor maintenance chores and tweaks.  From what I could tell, the prior owner had done no maintenance whatsoever.  He just put gas in and kept riding.  I am sure the air filter (tattered and mostly rotted away), spark plugs and mud like final drive fluid were original, and the valves had almost certainly never been touched.  I guess when you get to the age where you no longer buy green bananas, why worry?

And so began my relationship with Ol’ Blue.  I was expecting to like this budget bike just  enough to ride it from time to time.  And more importantly, to be able to spend time riding with my Son.  As it turns out, my old passion for two wheels seems to be back with a vengeance.  Sort of like a slobbering drunk that just fell off the wagon after 5 years of teetotaling.

I was also expecting that this 25 year old design would feel dated and stodgy. I read the reviews of excessive vibration, anemic breaks and lackluster performance compared to the newer rocket ships.  fugetaboutit.  This old girl is a velvet glove with brass knuckles.  Smooth, fast and light on her feet once under way. This pony likes to run!

The bike and I both like the twisty backroads.  We really do.  The fast sweepers, the tight chicanes.  All that. But sometimes one just needs a nice, long, therapeutic, cobweb cleaning dash down the super slab.  Nothing melts away the worries of the day like a good 100 miles in the happy lane.  1,000 is even better if I have the time.  But it seems like somewhere around 100 is the minimum dosage, for me anyway.

And it’s here where Ol’ Blue really shines.   You can almost sense the anticipation as the on ramp comes into view.  Like a exhuberant cocker spaniel that knows she’s about to go pheasant hunting.  Enter the ramp, deactivate the turn signal.  Roll on the throttle.  Shift once, twice, three times.  All at once the big four is singing, and the scenery starts to blur.  That freeway traffic that seemed to be moving by so quickly comes to a stand still, then starts to fade into the rearview mirrors.  Ahh.  Life is a highway indeed.

Do the bars tingle a bit at freeway speeds.  Sure they do.  But never annoyingly so.  I consider it a tendersweet reminder from the old girl.  It’s her way of gently whispering to me, “go faster, go farther.”  And I dare not disobey.  And with an easy 250 miles between fill ups, it’s an effortless task.  Three or four gas stops later I can be in a different climate, a different time zone, and a different frame of mind.

I now have my camping gear sorted out, an Aerostich suit and a decent helmet.  Have been to one (BMW) rally and caught up with some old friends.  My son and I have done some weekend ride and camps.  But I’m looking forward to getting back into the more hardcore touring type stuff.  This old bike seems perfectly suited for that style of riding.

Here is my first attempt at video.

Kawasaki Concours

And here a much better one taken by my son, with old Blue in several scenes.

Ya Gotta Love Norther Michigan... Sleeping Bear Dunes

Offline George R. Young

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Re: Returning C10 Rider- Yesssss
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2013, 06:43:58 am »
Welcome and great write-up. Ten years after getting my 2001, I still feel that way.
65 CB160 (67-69), 69 350GTR (69-72), 72 R5, 73 RD350 (73-84), 82 XZ550 Vision (84-03), 01 Concours C10 (03-19), 89 EX250 (11-14), 00 SV650S (14-16), 03 SV650S (19-)

Offline airhead81

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Re: Returning C10 Rider- Yesssss
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2013, 09:02:55 am »
Thanks George.  I can see why.  I have only put 7K on her so far, but I can already tell she has very pleasant road manners and just the right blend of sport and touring abilities.  Not to mention a fantastic fuel range.  And dang those mirrors are da bomb.  What a treat to see something other than your eblows!

BTW:  I owned a 1986 back in 1988.  Only had it for a few months before going beemer.  For the life of me I can't remember why.