Dallas to Keystone and Back - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-14-2011, 02:45 PM Thread Starter
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Dallas to Keystone and Back

My wife and I just got back from a trip to Keystone, CO, for a break from the Dallas heat. Keystone is beautiful and much cooler. And the ride from Canon City up to Keystone is absolutely gorgeous. It goes up from about 5000 ft to about 11,500 ft at one point, which even got chilly. Loved it!

You can also do a ride over the continental divide there, which is also about 11,500 ft, with some nice twisty roads up and down.

Unfortunately, some of the roads we mapped out were not really roads at all, so we discovered that there aren't terribly many great rides right around Keystone. Alas. On the plus side, we had a condo with a balcony right over the Snake River. We had the balcony door open almost all the time so we could hear the river flow. We even had dinner a couple of times out there. I made stake and green beans and we opened up a pretty good bottle of wine. It was very enjoyable.

The Versys, as always, did well. Great in the corners. Never balks at the heat, altitude, distance, anything.

It also towed our not-insignificant luggage pretty well. We had clothes for two, three computers, various other electronics, etc. My wife's M50 has two standard cruiser style bags that held water, "overnight bag" type stuff, and some odds and ends. The vast majority of our luggage went in my Givi E52 top case and two E41 side cases.

The luggage makes a huge difference in gas mileage. This is my second trip loaded down with the same bags, and both times I average just over 40 mpg. We cruise some back roads, and travel the highways between 70 and 75 mph. The wind also really affects the bike when the bags are on. One strong wind gust and I'm down from 75 to 65, quick like. Maybe it's just the nature of a 650. The engine seems so strong much of the time, though.

My problems end up being the same every trip:
  • right wrist pain ... I have a throttle lock, but it doesn't help much because it needs to be adjusted constantly. I also have anti-vib bars and gel grips, but nothing seems to solve this issue for me.
  • back pain (upper and lower), mostly due to me getting tired of sitting up in the saddle in one position ... but I don't think this is at all V-specific, I think I'll have this issue with any bike, but I hope I'm wrong
  • circulation in my legs, which I think could be improved with a peg lowering kit.
  • wind buffeting, which is now much better.

The wind buffeting on this trip was better because I actually lowered my CalSci XL screen to the lowest setting due to a desire to get some more wind in the >>100 degree Texas heat. I was pleased with the result. Still some buffeting at times, but no longer the resonant buffeting under my helmet that I just can't take.

The most comfortable thing on my V now is the seat. I have the Russell day long and it's just amazing. The saddle used to be the most uncomfortable thing, but now, I think I can ride so long in the saddle, that I can cause some of my other pains. Alas.

This trip made me really appreciate the Versys' versatility. It takes turns eagerly and with sure footed grace. Can hall down the highway forever with no complaint. Can be farkled within an inch of its moniker.

This trip also solidified my decision to replace it with something that does a bit better with the kind of riding we do, which generally involve me being in the saddle for hours, and sometimes full days, at a time (yesterday was 7AM to 8:30 PM). So many great bikes out there, it will be a challenging decision. But a challenge I take on gladly.

I've really loved the V. I'm not sure I can even fully appreciate it since it is the first bike I've spent a lot of time on. Wish I had room for more bikes so I could keep it around just in case.

Special bike: 1968 Norton P11A
Previous bike: 2009 Versys in lovely blue
Bike for smiles: 2009 R1200R
Bike for miles: 2009 R1200GS
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-14-2011, 03:43 PM
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I got a koolbak belt for my tx.to ca.trip and had no issues with the lower back. Any ride over a couple of hours i wear the belt.
http://www.koolbak.com/MotorcycleBelt/Kidney_Belt.html

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-14-2011, 03:51 PM
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Exercising can help with the back pain along with stretching. Strengthening your abdominal muscles can also make a big difference. If you plan on doing a lot of long distance riding then being in good shape is important.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-14-2011, 06:04 PM Thread Starter
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That's good advice all the way around. I was thinking about the belt. And I actually do some abs exercises periodically, not that you could tell. But I know I could do more.

Special bike: 1968 Norton P11A
Previous bike: 2009 Versys in lovely blue
Bike for smiles: 2009 R1200R
Bike for miles: 2009 R1200GS
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-14-2011, 06:20 PM
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I thought about the belt before too but the thing about belts is if you wear them for long periods of time then you can kind of get dependent on them.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-14-2011, 08:07 PM
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another option for the back

I have the triple set of hard luggage too, but I also strap on a bungee cord mounted soft bag on the passenger seat. It has an expando compartment that I face forward and stuff full of socks and t-shirts. This hits me in my lower back if I'm all the way back.

My back will start to remind me that it's weak in about an hour or two w/o the bag. When I go further, the strap on bag is on and it essentially solves the problem. I also have 4 riding positions (front pegs, normal pegs, standing up, and passenger pegs) that I cycle thru to mix things up.

The strap on bag was only 50-70 bucks or so. Well worth it!

RR
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-14-2011, 08:12 PM
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Do you wear gloves? With a good pair of gloves you don't have to put much pressure on the bars to hold the throttle. Friction is your friend.

The V does allow for a lot of movement while riding. Toes on the pegs to heels on the pegs. Slide butt back in the seat and lean forward some. Slide forward on the seat and sit upright. Curl your back forward and back. Stand up once in a while. When you get fuel, do a couple laps around the pumps.

I also put up an adustable pull up bar in my shop. Whenever I go out to the shop I do some pull ups and australian reverse push ups. That combined with regular push ups seems to help with body aches.

Last edited by twowheeladdict; 08-14-2011 at 08:15 PM.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-15-2011, 08:05 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rronald View Post
... I also strap on a bungee cord mounted soft bag on the passenger seat. It has an expando compartment that I face forward and stuff full of socks and t-shirts. This hits me in my lower back if I'm all the way back.
Very interesting! I never thought of anything like that. Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by twowheeladdict View Post
Do you wear gloves? With a good pair of gloves you don't have to put much pressure on the bars to hold the throttle. Friction is your friend.
I do wear gloves, and I have some pretty stick gel grips. I probably still hold the throttle too tight. I practice loosening my grip, but depending on what's going on I do tend to tighten it.

The V does allow for a lot of movement while riding. Toes on the pegs to heels on the pegs. Slide butt back in the seat and lean forward some. Slide forward on the seat and sit upright. Curl your back forward and back. Stand up once in a while. When you get fuel, do a couple laps around the pumps.[/QUOTE] I never thought of using the rear pegs either. I can't imagine being able to reach, but I'll give it a shot. I put highway pegs on my bike but can't get them to stay put. I otherwise stretch, lean back, lean forward, stand when we come to a slower speed zone and move my legs around.

Good stuff, thanks!

Special bike: 1968 Norton P11A
Previous bike: 2009 Versys in lovely blue
Bike for smiles: 2009 R1200R
Bike for miles: 2009 R1200GS
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-15-2011, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
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I had no idea. Turns out Russell makes backrests! I'll have one for my next bike for sure.

Special bike: 1968 Norton P11A
Previous bike: 2009 Versys in lovely blue
Bike for smiles: 2009 R1200R
Bike for miles: 2009 R1200GS
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