Friday, October 31, 2014

"It's Aliiiiive!!"

Appropriate to Halloween, which today is, I've resurrected Tread Life briefly for an update.

Since I last posted a lot has happened. My back got worse, and I almost stopped riding altogether after buying a Miata. (Heresy alert: the Miata is as much fun as a motorcycle.) While the Bonneville wasn't getting much play I messed around with raising the stock handlebar, with little effect on my back. I got an extended cable kit from the UK and a different bar from an internet supplier, but the bar was just wider, not any higher. That's the peril of shopping for a three-dimensional part via a two-dimensional medium. What I needed was a selection of bars I could hold up to the bike.

I found that in a local Yamaha dealer, where a dozen or so were hanging on the wall. I picked out a likely one, walked out the the parking lot, and laid it over the stock bar. Hmm. No real way to tell without taking it home, so I bought it.

The resulting improvement was substantial. The bar--OE on a Yamaha Grizzly quad--sat me almost upright, reminding me of the riding position motorcycles had back when I started riding. It's been several weeks since the changeover and I'm riding more every week.

I've swapped out the Happy Trail panniers I've had on the bike for months for the grubby, beat-up, no-name aluminum ones I had on my V-Strom a long time ago. The HT panniers are beautiful and extremely well made but they're black, and in winter weather the unfinished cans make the otherwise totally black bike stand out better in traffic.

After flirting with a Corbin seat I went back to the Bill Mayer custom saddle, then I added a National Cycle windscreen. I'm really happy with how it all turned out. Of course, now that I want to take it on a long ride the weather is ruling that out. But summer's coming again...someday. And when it does, I'll be ready.