Thursday, June 23, 2011

Follow that Bike

It's not often I get to view Sam from the seat in my cage. I'm sad to note that her glorious bright green barely shows from the back.
She keeps going...
And why am I following Sam (and Ron) on a ride around the countryside? There's a perfectly plausible reason. We wanted to know Sam's tank range. Ron is riding because I'm sure catastrophic events will occur when Sam runs out of fuel.

"What do I do when she quits?"

"What if she quits in  a curve?"

"What if I'm on a hill with no shoulder?"

"Oh, hand over the keys and go get in the car!"

Sam is on what passes for her reserve...the fuel gauge flashes when 3.9 quarts are left in the tank. Two days commute puts me at around 140 miles where I fill up. I think I've gone as far as 160 miles before filling. I am  sure we'll romp down the road for 20 or so miles where Sam will conk out on the side of the road. Wrong! We don't know it yet but she has 50 miles left in her.
...and going...
We keep extending the loop
...and going...
"Are we there yet?"
 Finally Sam gives up the ghost somewhere on Richardson Gap Drive. I haul out the gas can from the car. Ron and I chat and laugh at such a silly thing to your bike out of gas. A nice guy on a Harley circles back to check that everything is okay, probably wondering at the strange things kawi owners do. Thanks man, for checking on us.

Sam can go about 190 miles on a tank. It's a useful thing to know. Ron takes her on back home, and even fills her up before returning to her garage.
Pretty skies on my commute this morning
On another note, it dawned on me today that I have seen the sign of summer and didn't even recognize it when it detoured me from my usual route. Don't be put off by the grey skies, construction season is upon us. Some people call it summer.

The Commute Lately
Construction Solstice
This particular detour has left me distraught. They're flattening out my favorite "jump" on Scravel Hill Drive, the railroad crossing, or rather they're bring the intersection up to the level of the tracks.
Railroad crossing as of last winter.
 All right, it doesn't look like much, but Sam and I have a lot of fun going up over the tracks. Rubber has never left the pavement, but the suspension gets a little light, and we can imagine that we catch a little air. What can I say, I'm slightly delusional and easily entertained. Rumor has it that a similar crossing can be found in Turner.


  1. "rubber has never left the pavement".........and I am supposed to belive that!

    And testing the range of a bike is not a dumb idea. Good stuff.

  2. It is a weird feeling running out of gas, so it was sensible to have Ron handle it. It will give you a lot more confidence, now that you know how far you can go on Sam. 190 miles? Not bad!

  3. Excellent stuff Kari! The next question.... have you got a heavier throttle hand than Ron?? Guess we'll find out in a couple of posts when you report a robust domestic argument after running dry ;-)

  4. Running out of fuel is a normal occurrence with an old bike. Once it starts to cough and sputter, it's time to switch the fuel petcocks to reserve. Even though I expect it to happen, it always get surprised by it. More than once I've coasted to the side of the road before realizing what happened. It's nice to know your range and even better, how many miles your reserve is good for.


  5. Bluekat: I have a different way of doing things, instead of running out of gas. Ride until you light comes on, then go immediately to the gas station and fill up. Do this a few times. You take the amount of fuel, less your gas tank capacity and you can figure it out. I have a large tank and can get nearly 300 mile range. If you are in doubt then just bring along another 1 gal container

    Riding the Wet Coast

  6. I've "tested the range" on two different bikes...but I forgot the part about a follow vehicle!

    Nice post!

  7. always good to know your max range. unlike me who ran out of gas riding to a gas station that only existed on the GPS!!

    bobskoot that only works if the manufacture claims the true size of the tank. the klr650 is claimed to have 6.1 and when I went dry it only filled to 5.7. This was after tipping the bike over to the petcock side to get the last few drops.

  8. Hi Raftnn
    lol - you haven't seen my less than brave riding style. :)

  9. Hi Sonja,
    Yeah, it's reassuring to know the range. Somehow I feel more confident knowing what the bike will actually do.

  10. Thanks Geoff,
    Ah well, we know who will have to fix any "running dry" incidents, but yeah, it could get ugly. :)

  11. Hi Richard,
    Ron's has to switch his to reserve, mine just flashes a fuel sign. My first bike had a reserve/switch, but it never worked right (lots of stuff on that bike didn't work, like one of the cylinders). I just tracked the mileage. The only run out was when Ron was riding it :D

  12. Hi Bob,
    I'm jealous - 300 miles. I would love that. I hate stopping for gas all the time. I always wondered, is it hard to handle a bike with a larger tank, all that extra weight sloshing around? I guess I don't notice it that much on the Ninja between empty and full.

  13. Hi Ken
    lol - Yeah Ron has done that too. :)

  14. Hi Fattkaw
    lol - I've heard GPS can do that to ya. I hope it wasn't a long walk!

  15. I can't seem to post with my google let's see if this works:

    LOL! I don't think it is silly to "find out". But it would have been more fun if you had experienced it on some straight away. Just for the experience. Like Richard, my first bike had a reserve. As soon as it began sputtering, straight for the gas station. Though I too forgot at times about the reserve switch. :)


  16. Hi Lori,
    Me thinks google and blogger have gremlins again. Now I just hope to avoid the whole running out of gas episodes in my future. I'm so not good with those kinds of things! :)

  17. Good call on getting Ron to ride it dry.

    I think I'd choose Troubadour to try that with Max. Don't think I'd have the nerve. Max's gas light comes on at about 150-160 miles. Makes me wonder how far I could go on a tank. Hmmmmm.

  18. Dear BlueKat:

    I have never run the K75 dry. There are two reasons for this. The first is that the K75 is fuel injected with an electric fuel pump in the gas tank. The pump is cooled by the liquid gasoline around it. Running out the tank aggravates the pump. And two, the pump assembly costs $380.

    I have gotten 170 miles out of my tank, and still had maybe 45 miles to go. But if I push the machine at 80 mph or better (which I do all the time) the gas mileage plummets. My warning light comes on at 140 miles. With my knees, I'm well ready to get off the bike anyway.

    Fondest regards,
    Twisted Roads

  19. Hi Trobairitz,
    Sounds like you have a little more range than I do. It's nice to know for sure. I'd say let Troubadour take Max for little ride and see what he can do!

  20. Hi Jack
    I have fuel injection, but beyond that I don't know how it works, and if it needs cooling. This will probably remain a mystery in my little world.

    I'm thinking of the long empty stretches of roads in Eastern Oregon. I'm not a happy camper stuck on the side of the road in the desert. As for breaks, my backside is ready even before the tank is empty. :)

  21. Like that "jump", too. Guess trucks high-centering were of more concern than motorcyclist fun.

    Front tire has left the ground on Elvira. Although one must be very careful in doing so!

  22. Hi Dan,
    Why am I not surprised about the front tire :)
    I've seen some trucks/trailers do some interesting maneuvers getting over that spot. They should have little problem now. Sadly the jump is now just a little bump :(