My wife and I drove 3 hours to Davenport Iowa today to pick up the AT. We took the freeways down and hit tons of construction along the way on an otherwise uneventful drive. As we got nearer I could feel the excitement rising as we got into town, got onto side streets and finally saw Hawkeye Motorworks come into view.
Dennis was the sales person I talked to and he was great. Easy going, explained everything he could (they just got the training video this morning!) and told some good stories. Also anyone with a time worn Moto GP hat is also alright in my book. Shameless plug for Hawkeye: http://hawkeyemotorworks.com/
I'm 5'8"...ish...and when we walked up to the bike my first thought was..."Oh ****...that's too much bike.". We did the paperwork and I got geared up and as we were driving out of the lot I thought.."Yup, still too much bike.". I backed it into the parking spot where we were getting lunch and I thought I'd be driving back to the dealership after lunch and getting something with 300cc less. I kept reading that with the low seat setting someone 5'8" or above could flat foot it...uh...no. Can I lean it a little and get one foot flat, sure...that you can do. My guess is 5'10" or 5'8" with legs of a model can flat foot this bike. 5'8" with a 30" inseam...not so much. I tried dialing the preload all the way down and it didn't make too much difference.
These thoughts rolled around in my head as we left our lunch spot but as I drove it and as I got comfortable with it (keep in mind I haven't ridden in about 5 years aside from the occasional blast on a friends bike) I realized that each mile I rode made the bike less intimidating. Every stop sign and every u-turn (yay construction!) made me realize how nimble this bike is and how easy it is to ride for a Liter bike. As the ride went on I gained more and more confidence and I wondered how much of my trepidation was just being back on a bike bigger than a CL350.
I put on 188 miles today and I have to say I am truly in love with this machine. It feels sublime on the road no matter the surface. I got deep into some corners and it never skipped a beat. We rode over some terribly destroyed asphalt back roads and it soaked every bump up like it wasn't there. 188 miles of back roads made for some great scenery and also lots of time to get familiar with the bike at a variety of speeds. It sat comfortably at 60, better at 70 and no problem at 80 which is all I wanted to do in the 300m break in period.
The DCT. Lets talk about the DCT. Drive, Sport 1-2-3, Gravel. Those are your options for drive modes (not counting TC or ABS settings). I was in drive most of the trip to see what I could get for mileage (49.4 btw!...on 60mph back roads with about 40-50 stop signs/lights along the way.) Drive is VERY conservative. With 1/4 throttle I would be in 6th gear before 40 sometimes and often the bike felt like it was lugging at low speeds. My suggestion around town is S2 if you are driving urban blocks, or S1 if you are in a commercial area where you have some longer distances between lights/stops. I did not try out the gravel setting yet so more on that later. You can change between drive, sport and auto/manual on the fly which is great but you can't adjust the sport level on the fly. Whatever you set it to while stopped is now your option on the fly. Not being the biggest guy also means I have medium-ish hands (my gloves are M) and reaching the D-S button while on throttle was a chore. What I learned was that it's just easier to use the paddle shifter on the left side to drop down a gear if needed. If you drop a gear and are in drive you will be shortly overruled back up a gear by the computer. If you are in any of the sport modes and drop a gear it will hold longer as expected by the mode you are in. If you shift up a gear in any setting it will not downshift unless warranted by letting off the throttle. Keep in mind that easy throttle inputs still equal earlier shifts no matter the mode you are in.
I did some manual shifting as well and was a little disappointed that there wasn't a sport setting for the manual shifts. They were equally as fast as a normal manual shift, but I was hoping they would be faster. Perhaps with higher rpm (I didn't break 5k or so on this trip) they will have the quicker than human response time I was expecting. I'll report back on this later.
Overall DCT was excellent. It took some time to get used to and I found myself trying to clutch in at stops more than once, but it became pretty natural over the course of the ride. I think more seat time will really allow me to dial in the settings based on my environment and know the little tricks for specific situations. All the videos and reviews sold me on it and my drive today kept me sold on it.
Some odds and ends:
There are 3 seating positions. Normal, ass scooted back to the pass seat, and standing. Using a combo of these three on my 188m, 4h ride meant my own ass was just fine when I got home. Perhaps with a more comfortable seat I could just stay in one position but moving around like that allowed me to stretch out other body parts too. Also as my first adventure bike I must say that standing while riding is fucking awesome! Why haven't owned an ADV before?
The tool kit needs an alan wrench from under the seat to open and contains a reversible screw driver and a fuse puller. Its got room for a couple metric wrenches and I think it's kinda lame that the tool kit is so bare.
The gauge cluster is easy to read and has a lot of options. Easy to navigate menus and buttons to view different stats are easy to access while riding.
In the coming entries I'll be reviewing the damper and preload settings both front and rear and I'll be getting some trail time as well. Until my next ride in the morning she's cleaned up and tucked way for the night.
@ptwin I'll have to give that another try. I played around with full throttle acceleration this morning in S1-2-3. They seemed different but not so much so. I'll need to break out the go pro and get some times. I'm guessing on wot even D might ring it out?
As you said Superhatch, D feels really weird. It has that big thumper feel at low RPM which kinda makes me feel like there is something nasty going on in the cylinders but I guess you could say it's like riding two 500cc thumpers!
On dirt TC at 3 was hilarious. It really doesn't like more than 1/8 throttle and the rear brake with the ABS on feels like it is going through the floor.
I wonder if the 1-3-5 clutch is going to wear faster than the 2-4-6 one as it is used for take-off and in stop start traffic?
The other little point I was amused with is how you can really hear the 'box changing gear. Especially if you stop in gear then switch the bike on and hear it clunk into N
JasonWD.com - Silver DCT No.000011 -Complete Trans America Trail '16. Check the blog. Please add your location to your stats!