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.