Tag Archive: yamaha


Rose and I hopped on the FJR and headed up to MAX BMW in Troy yesterday. I emailed Ben last week asking him if I could demo some BMWs and write about them on the blog. He emailed back telling me to come on up and try them out. I’ve never been on a BMW, so this was pretty exciting to me. Before last night, I had no idea what all the hype was about the BMW motorcycle. What I did know is that BMW riders seemed very serious about their motorcycles and riding them. I have a much better understanding of them now. Here is how my trip to Max played out.

We arrived at the dealership around 4:30 and there were a good 20 plus bikes in the parking lot and another 10 or 12 parked out front that were demo bikes. As we got off the bike and were taking our jackets off, a car pulled up with a Papa John’s sign on the roof. We walked in the front door and start looking at the bikes. It was really busy in there, so we make our way over to an employee and asked for Steve or Craig. Ben told me in his email to look for Craig or Steve. I was directed to Craig and introduced myself and Rose. Craig was not only more than happy to help us, he immediately made us feel like part of the family. I started by telling him about my emails with Ben, and he asked which bike I would like to ride. I told him I would be happy to ride any that he would let me ride and then mentioned that we came on the FJR. Craig pointed out the K1300GT and began telling us about the bike.

The best part is that this bike has many features that are similar to those that the FJR has. The motor is the same size, and also an inline 4 on this model. It has a power windshield like the FJR and heated grips. There were a few things that the FJR didn’t have though. Like a heated rider and passenger seat, Traction control (ASC), Electronic Suspension Adjustment and cruise control. The horsepower was also a little better, 160hp compared to the Yamaha’s 140hp.

After showing us the bike, Craig welcomed us to have some pizza and a soda while he copied my license and grabbed the release form. In the meantime, we started talking to some guys that sat down at his desk to eat. The guys we met were awesome! They were in town for the Rally that MAX BMW is holding this weekend up in Pownal, VT. They came in all the way from Green Bay, Wisconsin, via Boston and Niagara Falls. These guys aren’t afraid to get out and ride!

Craig came back with the key and told me to take it for a ride, explaining the demo route that they use. He told me to ride it as many times as I liked to get a feel for the bike. Rose and I hopped on and off we went. I did the first lap at a slower speed to get used to the bike and to get familiar with the road.

When we got back to the main road and had to go left to the dealership or right to do it again, I was about to ask Rose if she wanted to go again. Before I could get the sentence out, she said “Let’s go again”. She was like a kid at an amusement park. And who was I to disappoint her? We hit the route again, this time much faster and more aggressively.

This bike loves to be laid over. I went into a corner and did my usual lean, and I could feel a huge difference over the Yamaha. The bike went over so easily. It has a great amount of power and it was just plain old fun to ride. After the second loop, we took the bike back, as it was after 5 and MAX closes at 6.

We got back to the dealership and I took a few pics of the bike to show the similarities. In many ways, these bikes are very similar. Craig met us outside and asked how we liked it. We chatted with him for a bit and he welcomed me to try out another bike. Noting the time, I didn’t want to keep them there after closing, so I declined, stating I would love to come back and try more bikes out in the future. Craig happily obliged and welcomed me to come back.

We went inside to look at some of the other bikes and met the guys from Green Bay again. You can’t find much nicer people than these guys. We started chatting with them and next thing you know. it’s 7pm. We’re still in the dealership, and they are still selling and servicing bikes. That really impressed me. The guys from Green Bay were here getting oil changes and one was getting a new tire. They had come down from the site in Pownal where MAX is holding their BMW RA National Rally. They have maps at the dealership if you want to go.

I can’t say enough about how well I was treated at MAX BMW. And it wasn’t just me. Everyone that walked in the door while we were there was treated the exact same way. The guys and gals at MAX are a class act. I highly recommend stopping by and checking out these bikes. Just bring your checkbook, because if you ride one of these bikes, you’re going to want to take one home!

Here are some specs from BMW’s web site. See ya soon!

K 1300 GT: Pricing, Options and Accessories

Base MSRP: $19,150

Premium Package: $22,595

* Xenon Light

* ESA II

* Heated Seats

* Heated Grips

* Tire Pressure Monitor (TPM)

* Cruise Control

* On Board Computer

* ASC (Traction Control)

Options

* Xenon Light: $500

* ESA II: $900

* Heated Seat: $350

* Heated Grips: $300

* Tire Pressure Monitor (TPM): $250

* Cruise Control: $450

* On Board Computer: $295

* Anti-Theft Alarm: $395

* ASC: $400

* Low Seat (31.5 – 32.3 inches): n/c

*Actual price determined by dealer. Price excludes taxes, license, options and $495 in destination/handling charges. Prices and specifications subject to change without notice.

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Here is the text of the first post I have made on the Times Union Biker Blog.  This entry can be found here.  Enjoy!

Photo courtesy of Rose Winters

Over the last few months, I have been talking with Mike Huber about blogging for the Times Union. I first met him in March at the Media 2010: How Blogs Shape The New Conversation conference at St. Rose. I have since been to a few other Times Union sponsored events we would always end up talking about creating a biker blog.

I wanted to write this blog for two main reasons. 1) To help raise awareness of motorcycles on the roads. 2) To share my love for the open road with other bikers. I have recently had a few friends involved in serious motorcycle accidents, one unavoidable and one because of someone’s carelessness behind the wheel.

I would also like to shed a little light on the stereotype that bikers are “bad people.” Sure, there are bad apples here and there, but for the most part, bikers are the most kind, charitable people you will ever meet.

Some of the regular readers may already know me from my interactions on many of the current Times Union blogs. For those that may not know me, I am (obviously) an avid motorcycle rider. I have been riding for ten years and really enjoy being out “in the wind” on the bike any chance I can get.

I am also a photographer. My love for photography is just as strong as my passion for motorcycles. That’s why I created the Capital Region Photography Meetup Group. The initials of this group (TCRPMG) make up the username I have been using on the blogs and on Twitter.

Now that you know a little about me, let’s find out a little about you. What do you know about motorcycles? Do you ride them? Do you have family that rides?

Hi all!  I wanted to share some very exciting news with you.  I have been asked to write a blog for the local newspaper.  The Times Union has recruited me to write a Biker blog and share the biker lifestyle with you.

Please head over and check it out at the Times Union site and tell me what you think.   Let me first preface your trip with this:  The banner has the default text in it and I don’t have the controls to change it from my end.  So, I will be working to get that changed ASAP.

Thanks for stopping by!

Yesterday, I wrote a short blog on a Patriot Guard mission that I was about to participate in.  I kept it short as it was pretty late and I needed to get some sleep for the ride.  I wanted to write more about it and try to convey the emotion and patriotism that happened during this ceremony.

I left home on the bike around 8:30am to meet a friend in Clifton Park, and then head up to meet a few others at another destination.  We got to the other destination and met with about 6 more bikers.  Most of these bikers were Vietnam veterans, and they proudly displayed it on their vests.  We left that spot and headed up the Northway to meet with a larger group of riders just before the exit for the funeral home.

At about 10:45, we all fired up the bikes and headed for the funeral home.  At this point, we had about 25-30 bikes.  We got off the Northway and made our way towards the funeral home.  About a half mile from the funeral home, you could see numerous emergency vehicles parked along the road with their lights going.  On either side of the driveway, there was a huge ladder truck with the ladders fully extended.  Hanging between the two buckets was an enormous American flag.  I got a little choked up at this point.

As we came in under the flag, there were already 60-70 bikes in the parking lot.  There were also about 10 local and State Police motorcycles lined up to lead the ride.  About 15 minutes after we got there, we got the call to mount up and everyone got on their bikes.  I was in the back at this point, so I couldn’t see the casket come out to the hearse.  As they brought it out, a bagpiper began to play.  Just as he began to play, it started raining.  It was a little eerie.

The police bikes left, followed by a few fire trucks and then the Patriot Guard riders.  It was raining pretty good at this point, but it didn’t matter.  It also didn’t matter to the hundreds of people lining the side of the road with flags in their hands.  Many of them held their hands over their hearts.  The amount of people standing there in honor of this fallen soldier blew me away.

The ride went through many small towns, and in each town, there were hundreds of people standing alongside the road.  I honestly thought it would be just in town near the funeral home, but it lasted the whole ride.  The ride to the cemetery was about 45 minutes to an hour.

At one point, in the town of Kingsbury, we came to a bend in the road and they had two ladder trucks set up and another huge flag hanging over the road that we all rode under.  It was another point that got me a little choked up.

When we got to the Saratoga National Cemetery, the Patriot Guard quickly dismounted our bikes and took our flags to stand a flag line for the service.  The turnout for this fallen soldier was incredible.  It was nice to see the huge turnout.  I am sure it meant a lot to his family.  Rest in Peace Spc. Osborn.

Here is a little more information about Spc. Osborn from News 10 and the Associated Press;

By NEWS10 Staff, the Associated Press

LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. — A local soldier serving in Afghanistan died in combat Wednesday, adding to one of the deadliest months for U.S. forces during the Afghan war.

According to family members, U.S. Army specialist Benjamin Osborn was in the midst of a conflict with the Taliban when he was killed. Osborn, who was 27, had volunteered to be the gunner and was the only one killed in the conflict.

Osborn’s parents were informed of his death Wednesday morning.

Osborn was a 2002 graduate of Lake George High School. Recently, he had been living in Clarksville, Tennessee where he was stationed at Fort Campbell.

He was just deployed to Afghanistan two months ago, in April of this year. He had previously served 15 months in Iraq.

Osborn was also just recently married back in February.

The flag is now at half-staff at Fort William Henry in Lake George.

His family says he died a true hero.

June is shaping up to be one of the deadliest months for U.S. troops in the nearly 9-year-old Afghan war, as insurgents have stepped up attacks in response to a NATO push into Taliban strongholds in the south.

The deadliest month for U.S. troops in Afghanistan was October 2009, when 59 Americans died, including seven soldiers killed in a single clash near Kandahar and seven who died in a helicopter crash in the northwest not caused by hostile fire.

In the east, meanwhile, three Afghans working for a private security company were killed when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb in Muqar district of Ghazni province, according to the deputy provincial police chief, Nawroz Ali Nawroz.

Nine Pakistani militiamen were apprehended before dawn Wednesday inside Afghan territory in Kunar province, provincial Police Chief Khalilullah Ziaye said.

The Pakistanis said they fled into Afghanistan to escape attacks by the Pakistani Taliban against four of their checkpoints, Ziaye said. The nine remained in custody Wednesday pending an investigation, he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

It’s 1:30am and we just got home about an hour ago from our usual Wednesday night ride. Just had a sandwich and figured I need to get a blog done for today.

As the title says, I will be keeping this short and sweet, as I am getting up early in the morning to go on a Patriot Guard mission.  We will be riding to stand in a flag line and be there for the family.  As you will read in the Wiki link I added, the Patriot Guard was originally formed to ward off protestors at Military funerals.  The Westboro Baptist Church members would protest the funerals with outrageous statements that men and women are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan because we tolerate homosexuality.  And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

It is very sad that we have to have these funerals, but I am glad that I can pay my respects to this young man that gave his life fighting for our freedom.

So, in the morning I will hop on the bike and head up to Queensbury, and along with probably 100 or more motorcycles, we will escort this soldier to his final resting place at the Saratoga National Cemetery.  When we get there, the bikers will hop off their bikes and line the road into the cemetery as the funeral procession rolls in.  If you can make it to pay your respects, please do.  Let’s show this family how much we appreciate what this soldier did for our country.  Hope to see you there.

*Image courtesy of http://www.amlgnp104tn.org/files/PatriotGuard_Riders.jpg

On Friday morning, we got up bright and early and were on the road by 8:30, headed back up to meet the guys for the ride we didn’t get to do on Thursday.  When we got to the hotel the guys were staying at, one of the guys was missing.  He had gone back down to the expo to exchange the boots he bought the day before.  They were a size too small and hurting his toes.

He got back to the hotel and went to put them on, and the strap on the back to pull them on broke.  Crap.  Guess we’re not leaving anytime soon.  We all got geared up and went back down to the vendor where he got the boots.  They exchanged them and this pair did the same thing.  He was offered a refund, but he needed the boots as the heel on the boots he wore to Americade had separated from the boot.  So, he kept them and we got ready to ride.  While we were waiting, we noticed that there were helicopter rides leaving from that area and flying over the Americade festivities.  They were only $60 too, which was pretty cheap.

Rose and I also bumped into someone we know while we were waiting there.  A friend of ours that rides with us every Wednesday night happened to show up and we flagged him down and said hi.  After a little bit of chatting with him and taking pics of the helicopter, the guys were just about ready to leave.  As we walked towards them, Rose pointed out a sports bike with Louis Vuitton material on the windscreen and seat.  Not something you see every day, but definitely interesting.

When we got back on the road, we headed out to Old Forge.  The guys head up there every winter to go snowmobiling, and they really like the area, so we were going to check it out.  It was quite a hike, but we pulled it off.  We ended up riding about 250 miles that day.  It was a long day, but we had a lot  of fun.  Two of us even went ahead of the pack and cut up a really great twisty road.  It made me so happy.

Back at the hotel that night, the guys fired up the grill and cooked hot dogs, burgers, bacon and ham steaks.  They even invited others that were out in the hotel courtyard to come and have some of the food.  They had an extra bed free, so we spent the night so we could hang out later and not have to ride home in the middle of the night.  The next morning, it poured.  We waited for a break in the downpours and headed for home.  We had our rain gear, so we stayed dry, but we passed a lot of bikers that didn’t have rain gear, and boy were they wet!  It pays to be prepared.  See ya soon!

Every year, Rose and I head to Americade in Lake George to see the massive influx of motorcycles.  The bikers come from all over the the US and Canada to participate in this rally.  It is estimated that 50-60,ooo bikes will ride into Lake George for the week of Americade.  I didn’t take the time to count them all, but there were a load of bikes there, despite the gloomy weather we had last week.

On Thursday morning, we put on our rain gear and headed up the Northway knowing we might hit some rain.  It’s annoying, but not a big deal if you are prepared for it.  We have friends that live close to us that head up every year and stay in the same hotel.  So, we went up to meet them for a ride to Old Forge.  There was a threat of a pretty strong thunderstorm, so we decided to stay local and head downtown to the expo and the forum to see what the vendors had to offer.  The picture below is of the parking lot outside the expo.  Despite the threat of rain, the bikers turned out in droves to peruse the forum.

Inside the expo we found hundreds of vendors.  Some of the bigger names were companies like Kuryakyn, Givi, Nolan, Mustang seats and so many more.  If it is motorcycle related and you are looking for it, there’s a good chance you can find it in the expo.  You could get new tires, pinstriping, seats and many more accessories added to your bike while you wait.  It is truly a one-stop shop for bikers. As we walked around, I saw something that made me smile.  Indian motorcycles seems to be back in business.  They have gone out of business and been brought back a few times, and it seems like they’re back again.  Indian motorcycles are the epitome of a classic motorcycle.  Even the new ones look like the classics of the past.  Here’s the truck and some of their motorcycles.

After a few hours in the expo, the sky started to look a little dark.  As we were walking out, we heard thunder off in the distance.  Time to hustle up and get on the bikes.  We got back on the bikes and headed back to the hotel.  On the way, we saw a few bolts of lightning and it rained pretty hard.  Luckily, I hadn’t taken my rain gear off, so I stayed nice and dry on the ride back to the hotel. This is what we saw when we left the expo…

We hung out at the hotel and had some great times with our old neighbors from Delmar.  It’s a really great time, as a lot of the same people come back there every year.  So, it’s like a family reunion each time.  People are incredibly friendly, and more than willing to come hang out, sharing great stories and good company with you.

Around 10pm, Rose and I hopped on the bike and headed back to Albany.  We were tired, but needed to get home to take care of the dog.  Be sure to stop back by tomorrow to hear more about our trip back up on Friday.  See ya soon!

A few ducks were cooling off in the motel pool at last year's Americade.

Image courtesy of Rose

Yesterday, the temperature hit 94 degrees here in Albany.  According to Channel 10 New’s Steve Caporizzo, we tied 1994 for the record temp on this day in history.  It was pretty warm for upstate New York in spring.

Every Wednesday, we ride with a meetup group called No Destinations.  Yesterday was no different, but it was a little bizarre.  We put on the gear (yes the jackets, boots, full face helmet and gloves) and set off on this adventure.  It was to be different that most days.  We usually leave here around 4:30 so we don’t get stuck in rush hour traffic on the Northway.  Sure, we get to the ride about an hour and a half early, but it beats sitting in traffic for an hour or two.

We left a little later than usual, probably around 4:45 or so.  The Northway was already moving pretty slow, so we jumped off exit 6 and picked up Route 9.  That wasn’t much better.  We hit every light on 9, and it seemed those lights took forever to change.  We were roasting.  I needed gas in the bike, so I pulled into the Hess in Halfmoon.  I got off the bike and Rose noticed a sign on the door that the air conditioning died, so they closed early.  The sign also said that the pumps were still on for credit card users.

Great!  I spin around to the pump and look at where the numbers should be, and there are none.  What the ?  I guess we wont be getting gas there.  As we rode up the street, we noticed a bunch of stoplights were out.  Not flashing, but out.  If you live in the area and know Clifton Park drivers, you will understand why that scared the hell outta me!

We headed up to Malta and grabbed some gas, then headed back to the Mill to wait for others to show up.  As we were heading up for gas, I saw the tire marks where my friend was riding and a van did a u-turn in front of him.  It was pretty eerie.  Word on the street is that he is coming home from the hospital tomorrow.  Fingers crossed.

Back at the Mill, about 25 riders braved the heat for the ride.  We did a nice ride up to Saratoga.  We stopped at the Horseshoe Inn Grill & Bar.  It was a really nice place, just across from the Saratoga racetrack.  While we were there, I got a text from the Weather Service telling me a thunderstorm watch was in effect for the area.  I pulled up the Weather Channel on my phone and the radar showed the storm North and West of us.  Nothing to worry about right now.

When we got back to the Mill, the club had some meatloaf and mashed potatoes waiting for us.  We ate dinner and had birthday cake for our good friend Murph.  There was a sign up sheet for us to volunteer to help our friend that was in the accident, as he wont be able to do these chores for a while.  People signed up to mow the lawn, help with the pool and cook food.  That is why I love this group so much.  The list filled up quickly and people were more than willing to jump right in and help out a member who fell on hard times.  It’s like a great big family.  I am honored to be a part of it.

It was getting kind of late and it had been thundering and lightning to the north of us, so we decided to head home.  As I turned the key on to start the bike, I noticed this fine mist in front of the head light.  I took my glove off and felt for rain.  It wasn’t rain.  We got on the road and it was coming down almost like fine snow.  I joked to Rose through our communications device about volcanic ash.  It was really weird.  I chalked it up to being pollen blowing out of the trees because it was very windy.

Heading down the Northway, the lightning show was amazing!  I could tell that we were heading for some rain though.  Around Exit 8, it started to downpour.  At 70 miles per hour, the rain felt like needles on my skin.  It was crazy, but I loved every minute of it.  It was a great day.

See ya soon!

Last night, like most Wednesday nights during the warmer weather, we went riding with our Meetup group, No Destination.  It’s a bunch of guys and gals with bikes that like to ride and have a good time.  They are a very mellow group that all get along well and there are no bad attitudes to deal with.  It’s always a lot of fun to get together with the group, especially for our first ride together after a long winter.

We had a nice group, probably around 40 bikes on the ride last night.  We kept it short as it is still a little cool and it gets really cool after dark.  After our ride, we always go back to our starting point and have some food and hang out some more.  The place we ride out of has a nice patio section with a big fire bowl for those chilly nights.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

Here’s a picture from tonight’s ride.  Pardon the crappy pic, but the sun was setting and the camera on my Blackberry isn’t that good.

So, we hung out and had a bite to eat, and then Rose and I headed for home.  On our way home, we saw some guy getting cuffed and stuffed on the Northway.  He was driving a Subaru Impreza WRX and wearing a suit.  Not a good day for that guy.

When I got home, as we were getting the bike tucked away in the garage, we realized there was a package on the porch.  It was from Lexar.  They sent me a 4GB 300x Professional Compact Flash Memory Card to review.  I am pretty excited!  Gonna have to go find something to take pictures of.  I will try it out and see how it works, and in about a month, I will right my review and let you know what I think.

Photo courtesy of Lexar

How was your Wednesday?  Tell me about it!  See ya soon!