Monday, 26 May 2008

Sunday ride...not much of a ride!

This post should have been very different. I had planned to report on the roads I would have ridden the Mana at the weekend. However the itinerary that I did ride, suggested by a Belgian motorbike magazine, was absolute RUBBISH: 90 kms of riding in the suburbs of small villages, with no turns, no hill whatsoever, appalling surface conditions, no sightseeing, no scenic panoramas, no nothing.

Belgium is a country famous for its flat land. Its most famous singer, Jacques Brel, used to sing about the “plat pays”…Riding in Belgium is obviously NOT as riding in the Tuscany hilly countryside or the beautiful coast…but Belgium can offer very nice roads, which make it for a very nice weekend or Sunday ride. Unfortunately today this wasn’t one of them.

So, rather than talking to you about the ride, I want to talk a bit about a couple of other issues that I noticed about the Mana after this extra 300 KM ridden at the weekend.

First of all let’s talk about consumption. I am just below 1000km now, and I noticed that consumption varies enormously depending on whether I ride the bike in the city traffic, or on the highway and in the country roads. Obviously the engine still has to adjust, and the consumption value will probably vary, but I guess the data can already tell me something.

In the city centres, the reserve light comes on after 175-190 km, with consumption of 15.2-16km/lt (6.25lt/100 km). That’s not much. However, if I ride it on the highway and on the country roads, at stable speeds, we get to 20.5 km/lt (4.8lt/100 km), which is quite good.

(The calculations are made filling in the tank to the top, setting to zero the odometer, and then refilling in the tank to the top and dividing the kms ridden by the gasoline litres you put in: simple and very accurate).

My major problem with all this is that the gas tank is too small, as it forces me to put gas at least once every 5 days of continuous commuting use, in the city traffic. I wish the tank was actually a couple of litres bigger, which would have added a nice 30-40 km to the current estimated autonomy of 228 km (in the city traffic) and 310 km (on highway / State roads).

The V-Strom also has very different consumption patterns, depending on the roads I ride it on, but the differences are not as marked as with the Mana. Moreover, the Strom consumes less and has a larger fuel tank, which gives it a much larger autonomy than the Mana. But obviously the two bikes have very different souls, different purposes, at least in principle.

Passenger life
Last Saturday I had to take a guy behind me as a passenger. He had decided to sit as a passenger of another friend riding a scooter, but as soon as we hit the highway, the scooter friend had to pull off the road, as the wind was really making the whole thing instable. So he came as a passenger on the Mana, and we headed off for a nice (ironic) 50 Km of highway at 90-100 km/h (we couldn’t go any faster as the scooter was a 125cc…and that was its maximum speed…and we don't leave any man behind!)

Anyway, the experience was quite interesting, because the guy behind me had NEVER been on a motorbike. On our way back, he was the passenger of another friend of mine on a Yamaha MT-03 and at the end he said that the Mana was a lot more confortable than the MT-03, which really gave him a sore bottom…

So, the passenger life seems to be ok, but with a caveat: not too ride to fast nor to accelerate too impulsively or the passenger just flies away…but then again, I think it is a problem common to all naked bikes.

The gear mode
I keep on experimenting. What I find particularly helpful is to be in the automatic touring mode, but then switching gears down to exploit the engine brake before entering into a turn, for instance, or approaching a traffic light.

I started to use the shaft pedal as well…it came natural again, although mostly I do use the buttons at the left handle.

Today I also experimented my first panic brake. I feared that when this would happen, my left hand would automatically have looked for the clutch…finding nothing. However, this did not happen. I did hit the brakes as one should do, but I did not have the reaction of reaching for the non-existing clutch. I don’t know whether to be happy or not about this though…what would have happened if I had been on the V-strom? Will I be able to have different reactions depending on the bike I am riding in that specific moment? I really hope I never to have to find that out...

The paint
The paint on the fake fuel tank gests scratched by simply looking at it. Beware, really.

Pictures of the day

I leave you with a few picture of the day. Nothing scenic really. You will have to wait for next weekend’s tour for those…

In the land of the Duvel beer (a pretty good beer, if you ask me)

Early rain forces me to stop under a highway bridge, put on my rain suit...and then stop again after 30 minutes, as the sunshine came out again and accompanied me for the rest of the day.

This is...ehm, I don't know. But I thought it made for a good picture, don't you think??

In the rear view mirror I saw a church next to two windmills...I had to take this picture!

Stopping for a good half an hour waiting for the bridge to come down...


Lewis said...

Hi DP!, Your Mana pictures are superb, and I can feel you've enjoyed Sunday ride fully under the beautiful weather(also little rain^^).

Demonio Pellegrino said...

Thank you Lewis...but I had problems with my new camera yesterday...for some reason it seems to filter the light in an odd way. I might take it back...

alepasko said...

Wow, a new blog... and the Mana with the famous huge "coop" navigator system! :D