Casper – Sadly, the white Ventana El Conq I have here at the house on-loan from Alex/MTBTandems.com has yet to turn a crank off-road. The weather here in the Southeast has just been uncooperative, as 95° with 90% humidity is not conducive to off-road riding in my book. Even the ‘cooling’ breeze you get cruising along at 18 – 22 mph on the road tandem only makes it bearable when it’s that hot and muggy, so no-telling when we’ll get a chance to get the tires dirty. Although, just based on short road rides in the neighborhood solo and with Debbie, I definitely like the smaller frame: that’s a big plus. However, before going all-in with that frame, a new El Conq., Fandango or anything else… I remain mindful that I’d need to sell our ’02 El Conq., less a few of the really chi-chi parts (SRAM XO, daVinci cranks / ST BB’s, Chris King wheelset) that would be swapped out for more mainstream stuff (X9, etc..). Just watching some of the other El Conq’s on eBay and craigslist, the second hand off-road tandem market seems pretty soft, so that’s not encouraging as I really don’t want to give our current El Conq away, but really can’t justify having a “spare” El Conq sitting around, nor do I really have the room for it.
Speaking of Room – Having procrastinated since Spring, I finally started working on a few backyard projects a couple weeks back. As a warm up I threw together a simple trellis to sit behind Debbie’s teak garden bench so her wisteria would have something to attack other than the neighbor’s fence. The big enchilada is the garden shed which is now in work. The 12 footings went in last weekend in-between downpours, and the 4 cross-beams are now sitting on the 12 support posts while we decide if it will be 10′, 11′ or 12′ feet wide. My 8-month old plan called for 11′ wide by 10′ deep and that’s what I’ll probably stick with. Once it’s done, all of the yard machines (i.e., mower, edger, chipper, blowers, weed wackers, power washer, chain saws, etc…), hand tools, fertilizers, potting materials, hoses as well as coolers and the like will be cleared out of the garage, and then all of the “stuff” in the garage will get put into built-in storage so that we’ll finally have a “clean” garage that will house the vehicles, bicycles and our ping-pong table and have a couple small work benches — one for bikes and one next to the sink for everything else. All the shelving will be coming off the walls and my moto gear will be going into a tall locker as will most of my spare bicycle parts. Well, at least that’s the plan. So many projects, so little time.
Moto Mojo – Yes, that’s an older photo from last fall in the previous paragraph. As mentioned in an earlier ‘Bloggishnish” entry, the silver R1150RT motorcycle now has a happy new owner. And, wouldn’t you know… after having to press the white and blue R1100S into service once again as a daily-driver while my truck was in the body shop, a bit of my moto-mojo came back to me. As noted back on July 6th, I decided to keep it once a few serious buyers were on the cusp of making deals. After making that decision, I put all of the “good stuff” back on the bike — like the $1,900 Ohlins shocks (and you thought tandem stuff was expensive), my hard cases, custom saddle, all-carbon front fender and rear hugger — and once again became smitten with the darn thing.
So, as often happens when a long-time addict attempts to kick a habit by going cold turkey, I tasted the forbidden fruit and it was the beginning of the end. I don’t think I’ve driven my truck to work in July and today I made the mistake of stopping by my local BMW dealer to get a few O-Rings for my R11S. Well shoot, it was analogous to a recovering alcoholic walking into their favorite bar… there was Bobby, Joey and the rest of the gang all in a good mood and as relaxed as could be. I asked Bobby how business was and he gave me the low-down, as he always does to anyone who asks. About the only thing that surprised me was his comment on the brisk sales of the new BMW S1000RR: they’d sold 18 of the $16k super bikes so far… pretty amazing. For those who don’t know what an S1000RR is, it’s basically BMW’s answer to the Big-4 Japanese (Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki) 1 Liter, in-line, 4-cylinder sport bike design… a big change for BMW Motorrad as they’ve spent decades perfecting shaft-driven, opposed, boxer-type 2 and 4 cylinder powered motorcycles and otherwise marching to the beat of their own drummer.
The S1000RR opened-up an entire new chapter for BMW Motorrad and apparently the formula for the bike is working: price it competitively (MSRP for base model is $13k, similar to other SuperBikes in the same class), and make it fast: 190 bhp is a new benchmark for production motorcycle horsepower. Pretty amazing but, thankfully, I’m over that (my ’98 Honda CBR1100XX was a 150hp, 180 mph scream machine) and am as happy as can be with my 90 bhp R11S.