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I'm going to re-introduce, as I signed up a few years ago, then followed a different path for a while: Rudi, from North Idaho, way up in Sandpoint, on the Panhandle. California for 20 yrs before 2013. But I'm back on two wheels as I should be and things are looking very good. Nice new (used) bike, sweet new girlfriend. Back in April, anticipating a one-shot windfall, I made a budget for bike, riding gear, and extras and started looking for another B12. My '03 was naked, but the '05 I found right down the street is an S model. Super clean, owned by a bike mechanic, 30K miles. Paid $3K and had substantial budget left, which I promptly sank into a Yosh pipe (previous owner already jetted) and for just once, wanting to feel really good suspension, I blew a wad on a Nitron shock from the UK, and a complete fork rebuild with custom valving and a complete setup including just nailing the sag. Terry Diedrichs of NorWest Suspension did the work and I highly recommend a trip to his shop if you live in the North West part of the country.

And indeed, I was mightily impressed after I left his shop and turned up the wick a little, especially after an hour of fluid and metal warmup. All that annoying chatter from the front end simply went away, as did most of the small bumps. And the rear? It was magic and I’ll never understand how a shock can feel firmer and more compliant at the same time…but there it is. Cornering is a joy, with the bike just offering confidence and stability. And a recent 4 day trip around Washington and Oregon with 30-40 lb gear did not seem to affect this amazing ride. Of course the bike didn't really lose any weight, but the tightness and responsiveness make it feel as if it lost 100 pounds.

I'm raving about this because I was truly impressed. For the cash, this was the biggest leap of performance I’d experienced on any vehicle. So black/white, night and day. I instantly knew I could never go back. It IS a lot of money, I’ll grant you, and I was able to only due to one-time financial luck, but it's also a shame to have a nice big road bike that is held back by the same weak link in so many cases: suspension. Put 10% of the cost of the bike into the suspension and you, too, can be amazed. I'm 54 and acting like a 20 year old with his first good bike: Looking for errands to run, preferably a couple of towns over...on mountain roads...


It's so good to be back in the wind and to have a chance to talk on a forum like this with you ladies and gents. The last performance mod showed up in the mail today from Dale at Holeshot: my PS3 electric power shifter. Don't get the wrong idea: I'm not a racer or a poser - I lost half a leg over 30 years ago (still have the knee in good shape, thank god), and ever since, I have been shifting my motorcycles with a piece of aluminum attached to my left boot. Well, no more of that for me. I'm slowly building the perfect motorcycle: the Last of the Carbureted, Air Cooled Sport Tourers, and I want it tweaked to my personal needs, starting with a power shifter. I’ll can handle downshifts and neutral, but lately I’ve really started to hate pulling my whole damn leg up and off the peg to upshift.

I'll try to attach a pic of my latest aluminum-ized boot. It's served me fine - over half a million miles in California on six different bikes...but I'm getting lazy, plus electric shifting is a cool idea. We'll see. I'll document the process if people would like.

And that should be it for performance/mods. This Suzuki engine, the carbureted Bandit 1200 engine,…there's something...special about it. Suzuki has a 30 year run of awesome liter engines. It is not uncommon to see men and women drag racing with 10 or 20 year old Suzuki engines…and still winning.

Back in the 80s, when modern sport bikes were feisty adolescents, Suzuki engineers coaxed so much horsepower out of their engines that they weren’t sure how strong to build the motors, especially the lower ends. As a result, they massively overbuilt them and in doing so, created a wonderful engine. An engine that could be fun bone stock, and also handle any serious mods done to it, from the ubiquitous “pipe and jet” all the way up to Pro Stock drag bikes I’ve owned two FZ1s and a ZZR1200 Kawasaki, and all three of these had far more dyno horsepower than the Bandit…and yet both Bandits I’ve owned feel more powerful than the others. Even the big torque numbers of the Bandit (88-90 ft-lb stock) don’t fully explain the big grins inside the helmets over that grunt and rush. Great, great motorcycle.

Of course the visual mods and customizing will go on forever. I’m used to riding year round in Santa Barbara county…but here in North Idaho, there is winter downtime of at least 3 months or so…a good time for bigger projects like removing and rebuilding the carbs, installing real HID lights/ballast, and possibly removing and stripping the wheels for powder coating. Any project will do that takes my mind off the fact that I can’t ride for three months.

I did start with the tail light and turn signals - LED conversion in the tail light, and custom LED lights for rear signals (originally intended for marker lights on a tractor-trailer. Tiny, bright, waterproof), with a little aluminum bracket I made specifically. And rather than screw around with those cheap, clamp-on resistors going to each signal to slow down the hyper-flashing, I simply paid $15 for this new flasher unit that handles LED or incandescent lights or a mix of both. It plugged right in next to the fusebox in the tail (’05 1200S).

Some say my posts are too long. I feel that my posts have the exact perfect number of words (and the correct ones!), no more and no less. I had much to say, and you understand my need.For as long as I can recall, motorcycles have connected with something deep in my heart and brain. Motorcycling is a part of me. I ride alone by choice most of the time, and this forum is a great place to share the experience with others, many of whom are as deeply and profoundly afflicted as I.


Pics are: boots, turn signals, power shifter parts, yours truly, deep on the back roads of Washington’s Palouse,. Mile after mile: constant corners, beautifully engineered for camber, bank, crown. And next to zero traffic. It was candy store, fantasy land, physical porn for riders. The kind of road where you think “the guys that built this MUST ride…”. And these beautiful roads are everywhere out there, winding up and down through the mountains and foothills, generally speaking, the areas north and east of Walla Walla - watch for 127 - a two lane, 30 mile track, laid out as a road.

If I sound a little enthusiastic, it’s because I am. I haven’t felt this good and alive an a long, long time. As George or Frank Costanza might say: “I’m BACK bay-beeee!”
 

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