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Trip report and gear review.

Okay everybody I just did an extensive trip. I was pissed at everybody and left for 6 days. During these six days I rode from New Jersey, through the Appalachians down to Knoxville and rode deals gap and came back up through West Virginia into PA. The roads were great, the weather was perfect, and the trip overall was good.

Bike:
So I thought I would give you all a gear review.
Lets start with the stead. I actually bought myself my dream bike for this trip. I found a good deal on a new 2012 Triumph Speed Triple. When I left the bike had 200 miles on it. I have owned several sport bikes throughout the years and raced a couple of seasons when I lived in Colorado. Let me start by saying I LOVE THIS BIKE. I am in total lust with this Speed 3. I still have it completely stock and not sure I am even going to change anything (except tires, more on that later) Throughout a lot of these winding roads I was able to leave the bike in 5th and 6th gear and enjoy the beautiful song that exhaust made. All the reviews about that bike, mentioned the great song of this bike, but I did not know I would enjoy it that much. It simply has to be ridden and a spirited speed to understand what I am talking about. The torque on this bike is amazing. The riding position was great for me. I am short at only 5’6” and the seat height is high. I never dropped the bike or anything, but backing it up is comical for people watching me. This is first naked bike I have owned and the wind was a lot at 80 MPH or better. Good thing I tried to stay off the Interstates. The only thing that got sore on my after the long hours was my hips for the slightly forward lean because of my T-Rex arms. The seat to peg distance could have been a little longer, but that would hurt the ground clearance. In short this is by far my favorite bike I have owned to date. I think it will be with me a long time.

GPS
I decided right before my trip that looking at directions that are folded up in my pocket, or having my IPhone be lost because there is no cell service is for the birds. So I bought a new TomTom rider, and Bluetooth headset to wear under my helmet called a Arriva Leo.

First the Tomtom.

This GPS was built for bikes. I had this unit powered and mounted to my handlebars within 20 minutes. The Tomtom came with a Ram Mount. This mount was flawless. I was able to put the GPS unit in the perfect position to be viewed and operated with my left hand. The GPS unit never budged. I was able to pull the unit off the powered mount in just a second and throw it in my tank bag in 5 seconds. If I was staying for the night I pulled the powered mount off the bike in about 30 seconds. Leaving just the base of the RAM Mount and a wire coming from my battery, to be stolen if somebody really wanted to.

Okay for unforeseen circumstances, I was unable to get the Tomtom to a windows based computer to plan a route and download a route to unit. Therefore, I relied on Tomtom and the winding route feature to get me started until I got to the first hotel in Westminster MD. I had an absolute blast with the winding route feature in Jersey and some of PA. I got a late start on that day and it started to get dark, so after a couple of hours I put it on quickest route and got to my first hotel stay in Westminster MD. In the morning, I got riding again, used the winding road feature, and was very pleased with it. Once I got into West Virginia I had an idea of what roads I wanted to ride so I used the navigate to city center feature. Now in Virginia and West Virginia the winding road feature was excessively ambitious. The winding road feature did not like state highways and wanted to navigate me onto these hillbilly farm roads with terrible pavement. The winding road feature has three different settings as to what highways it used, if I turned it up all the way, I only found myself on four-lane highway, if I turned it to level 2 then I was back on the farm roads. Therefore, in Virginia and West Virginia the winding road feature sucked. I had a few arguments in my helmet with the voice in my head about roads the Tomtom tried to bring me down. I used the Itinerary feature to bring me to city centers along the route. In TN the winding road feature tried to lead me OFF Deals gap because it was a state highway. At one point, I found myself in a hotel computer room and I was feeding directions to the Tomtom using coordinates. If you can’t program a route onto the Tomtom using a computer, then coordinates is the best way. I couldn’t use the Hotel computers because as far as I can tell Tomtom requires the download of a program to transfer the route to the Tomtom. I need an administrator password at the hotels to do that. Bottom line, is use your computer to plan several routes into the Tomtom before you leave only carrying an iPad. Finding a location on the Tomtom unit map is useless too. Bottom line, a computer is needed to make a good route through the mountains.

Using the Tomtom was great though. The touch screen was easy to use and see, I tried using my full leather Joe Rocket gloves and and less protective gloves I have and had no problems. I really like this GPS unit.

Blue tooth Headset
Arriva Leo Headset
I had no use for an expensive headset that I could talk on the phone with in my helmet. The Arriva Leo was good. It stayed on my head with the controls on the back of my neck. It fit okay under my helmet, but after three days, my ears were a little sore. It paired blue tooth with my Tomtom without any problems. Since the directions are broadcasted in mono, I only heard the Tomtom directions in my right ear. I read there is a phone feature, which makes me think there is a mike on it, but I never experimented with using it like that. Who the hell wants/needs to talk on a phone in helmet anyways.

Luggage:
I used a Cortech tank and tail bag. I don’t want to get into why, but because of my job, I carry concealed throughout the US. Since I was wearing leathers, I didn’t look for a way to carry my weapon on my person while riding. So I put the weapon in the holster in the bottom of the tank bag along with 2 mags. I kept my wallet and extra gloves, both phones and other stuff in the tank bag. Every time I stopped I just grabbed the tank bag and carried it with me. I never had a problem like that. No one even saw the weapon in there so there were no problems. It held up very well even when stuffed to the gills. Same thing with the tail pack, I was able to pack that thing tight and the zipper and everything were fine. Once strapped down to the bike it never moved. The only thing I would add to this bag is maybe some spots to hook a bungee net to. I used a bungee net for my rain suit, but strapping it to the top of the bag would have been easier.

Tires:
I left on the OEM Speed Triple Metzler Racetec tires. They felt great, but after 1000 miles I was really seeing the wear. At 2200 miles the rear tire was starting to slip exiting turns. At 2400 miles the tires were straight scary and I started to see cords. Therefore, my bike is at a friend’s house 100 from my place, waiting for me to get up there with new tires. I did not research the tires on my bike, until after I ruined them. Apparently, these tires are for track days and some street. So the longevity sucked. Here is my problem with these types of tires. If I am going on the track I am buying race tires and going. I don’t think that I could over use these tires even on deals gap. I was riding pretty hard a couple of times on this road and barely even got these tires to bubble up on the edges. I wouldn’t trust a street tire on the track though. Therefore, I would keep my tires separate. Street Tires for the Street and Race tires for the track. I have no need to blend the two. I wish I had a little more longevity from a less aggressive tire. Michelin Pilot Powers 2CTSs are on order right now.

I know this got long, but I thought this might help somebody else about to do a trip.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Here is a pic that was taken by one of the several professional photographers on Deals gap. They were not around when I was there last a decade ago.
 

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Congrats on the new mount. The speed/street triple was a dream bike of mine until they changed the headlights. I was a big fan of the dual round headlights, not so much the mantis like ones on the current bikes.

I just finished a somewhat shorter trip (just under 2800km) when I was home last. Was my first long bike trip, but not my last :D These 1000cc sport nakeds are amazing for sport touring. I had a similar setup, but instead of the cortech tank n tail I had the cortech tail and saddles.

Thanks for sharing your experience :)
 

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Good write up. Exactly which Tomtom did you get? I'm in the market to replace my old Garmin.

I really love naked bikes and gave an honest consideration to the Speed Triple before I got my Concours a couple months ago. I was real worried about fitting enough luggage on the back of that thing. Happy to hear it works for ya.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Good write up. Exactly which Tomtom did you get? I'm in the market to replace my old Garmin.

I really love naked bikes and gave an honest consideration to the Speed Triple before I got my Concours a couple months ago. I was real worried about fitting enough luggage on the back of that thing. Happy to hear it works for ya.
It was this one. You just seem to get more for your money on the Tomtom then anything I researched with Garmin. I have other Garmin products. The Tomtom will pair with a phone too, although I never did I am thinking maybe you can play some Pandora through your phone. Not sure didn't try it. I think if you want Sirius Radio and other doodads, the more expensive Garmin would be the choice, but this was fine for me.

Amazon.com: TomTom RIDER Motorcycle GPS Navigator with Lifetime Maps: GPS & Navigation

That tail is small, and no luggage would fit without a rack with a passenger.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Great write-up and sounds like a great ride. I bet ya came back smiling and less pissed off, lol.
I was good till that tire showed cords and I parked it 100 miles short of my destination. I am not into blowing a tire at 80 MPH on superslab.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Congrats on the new mount. The speed/street triple was a dream bike of mine until they changed the headlights. I was a big fan of the dual round headlights, not so much the mantis like ones on the current bikes.

I just finished a somewhat shorter trip (just under 2800km) when I was home last. Was my first long bike trip, but not my last :D These 1000cc sport nakeds are amazing for sport touring. I had a similar setup, but instead of the cortech tank n tail I had the cortech tail and saddles.

Thanks for sharing your experience :)
I wasn't sold on the funky headlights either, but they grew on me. I got so many compliments on the bike while traveling, from both riders and non riders. I don't know why but it got confused with a Duc quite often. I thought about getting saddlebags, but with the exhaust up there, I didn't want to deal with brackets to clear the exhaust. :)
 

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Thanks for the story, great bike.
One thing your have to be conscious of when using a magnetic tank bag though, is that those magnets are rather strong, and some sensitive electronic objects that are laying in the bottom of that tank bag can be affected by those magnets directly underneath. Phones, gps, memory cards, etc. Be careful. I keep a small towel covering the bottom to create a safe barrier. Just thought I'd add that.
 

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Thanks for the story, great bike.
One thing your have to be conscious of when using a magnetic tank bag though, is that those magnets are rather strong, and some sensitive electronic objects that are laying in the bottom of that tank bag can be affected by those magnets directly underneath. Phones, gps, memory cards, etc. Be careful. I keep a small towel covering the bottom to create a safe barrier. Just thought I'd add that.

A good caution, but a towel won't create a barrier. At most, it will just space the sensitive items a little farther away. If you really want a barrier to block a magnetic field, you should use a piece of mu-metal.


Mu-metal - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mumetal Magnetic Shielding Foil / 4" Wide X 4mm / Sold By The Inch - Ad-mu80 - Katerno.com
 
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