A little late to the party but here are some photos from the Progressive Motorcycle Show at Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan. By far the most impressive bike I sat on was the new Yamaha R1-M. Very comfortable, loaded with technology, and a serious S1000RR competitor. Speaking of which, the S1000RR refresh was the most disappointing of them all. Somehow the bike looks more bloated, took the asymmetrical headlamps and made them even uglier. The exhaust gained in size and barely any new technology from 5 years ago. Come on BMW it’s not 2010 anymore! The competition has caught up and Yamaha looks as if they’re over taking you! Though my heart still lies with the Ducati 1199 Panigale S Dark Stealth.
Round Valley. A name and a place I have chosen to umbrella the network of roads that surround the Round Valley reservoir. I came upon this road by sheer luck when traveling along Route 202 and was in need of a fuel station. I decided to take a random exit and discovered one of Somerset Counties’ a marvelous piece of road.
Filled with farmlands, twists, and unpredictable elevation changes can make any sport bike rider’s stomach churn. I took the exit off 202 and dropped two gears, being in 4th gear and screaming at 10,000 RPMS. It’s begging me to rip the throttle open and let the engine sing to the 18,000 redline.
One of my favorite features of this road is how each corner encourages you to push your bike to the limits. I felt as if I was Valentino Rossi on the S-curves with flicking the bike back and forth. The Yamaha R6s is my scalpel with its precision like handling. No music needed here as soundtrack of the bike’s gear shifts, engine screams, and exhaust bellows are more than an earful.
We all have that dream where we could ride along the infamous Pacific Coast Highway a.k.a. Highway 1. I was fortunate to live my dream when I rented a motorcycle from a local Bay Area shop in April. The process was smooth and relatively cheap. I highly recommend this to anyone looking enjoy the West Coast. My ride started in downtown San Francisco with multiple stops along the way to Santa Cruz pier. The weather was phenomenal with temperatures in the 90s.
I rented a 2014 Honda CB500F with ABS. Quite a different riding dynamic then my R6s. First thing you notice is how comfortable the upright seating position is the oddity of a missing windscreen. I’m not sure if I would particular choose a model without a windscreen for long highway riding. The constant pressure on your chest does get tiresome. Once leaving downtown San Francisco I got on the highway and immediately noticed the low-end torque boost that made merging on highways and left lane blasts relatively easy. However, coming from a R6s you do have to get used to constantly working the transmission stay within power bands and to shift early since most of the power is gone after 6000 RPMs. The 500F was very quiet even with my headphones off I could barely hear anything sputtering out of the exhaust or engine. Understand this is no sport bike but a great starter bike with superb gas mileage. I managed to get 55 MPG.
The Pacific Coast Highway offers jaw dropping views 200ft cliff drops. Its quite a difficult task to soak in the views and keep my eyes on the road. I was lucky enough to not experience any sort of traffic that restrained my ability to push the Honda to its limits. My recommendation is go during the weekday post 10AM.
After a tasty lunch on the Santa Cruz pier I proceeded to take a variety of mountainous backroads such as 236, 9, 35, 84. Here is where any performance rider should take their motorcycle to test their skills. There wasn’t any point during the time I wasn’t on the edge of my seat with my adrenaline pumping. The Honda handled the roads just fine however, it is no replacement for a super-sport’s ability to carve mountain tops. I dream one day to bring my R6s to the West Coast to really test and own my riding skills.