If you review my old posts (like you don’t have better things to do), you’ll find that more often than not I begin my Mosport posts with “As usual, I packed in the rain..” and this year was no exception.
But we were rewarded for our patience through the wet, foggy mornings with perfect afternoons and when you’re an old guy; an afternoon of riding is just fine. My only disappointment of the weekend was my riding – still suffering from a morbid fear of Mosport. That meant there was no hope of catching Paul Robbins on my old F1 – he was cooking all weekend. With a change to 5wt in his rebound fork, a couple of click of compression on the rear and clip-ons relocated below the top clamp, he pronounced the bike “Perfect” and simply left me in his dust.
The Yellow Bike had loads more power and could pull a serious gap on the back straight, but Paul was on his game and totally owned the infield.
I’ve never had a new machine work so well right out of the box, but Gary’s work was apparent even in the first session. All I did over the weekend was roll back the compression settings and continue to let air out of the Bridgestone slicks. It’s a brilliant machine and even with a marked lack of low-end grunt (and not much mid-range either), if I carried enough corner speed, I’d be in the sweet spot for corner exit drive. Power was intoxicating and wheelies were an issue. Brakes are outstanding and the front-end feel is many levels improved over the old F1.
But this business with the Bridgestones.. Don’t get me wrong; they’re great tires, but the pressure specs are for hot tires; generally checked and set with the tire warmers at full temperatures. No one had a cold spec – not even the Bridgestone guy. Of course the answer was a resounding “Buy tire warmers, Silly Rabbit!”, but that means buying a generator. And once you get a generator, then you have to get spiffier pit chairs and upgrade your boots and leathers and maybe get one of those helmet dryers - and then you’re into a cappuccino maker and you start looking on eBay for an R1. Oh, and because these Bridgestones use the latest in GP technology – meaning construction so stiff that 22psi cold for the rear is a viable pressure – you need to re-valve your suspension.
Bar took the Yellow Bike out and after about 10 tentative laps, suddenly began to show his old form and speed as I watched from the outside of T2. When he came in, he pronounced it one of the best bikes he’d ever ridden at Mosport – a serious compliment considering what he’s ridden around that track..
We had every intention of taking out the ex-Sears Pantah, but struggled with clip-on positioning all day Saturday. Hedy brought another set out to the track on Sunday and it looked like we had a livable set-up until Bar gave the pinch bolt one last good turn and cracked the mount. We tried the old bars in a compromising position (how could I not write that…), but it felt like steering a wheel barrow. OK – next year.
I finished the weekend off with a run on the BMW R1100S. Yes, I’ve come to the conclusion that Ducati just doesn’t make the perfect street-bike – so after 5 tries at the brand, the final effort; the Hypermotard Custom went to Los Angeles where it belongs and the BMW replaces it and the Gran Canyon/. I was surprised by the sweet handling and lack of Telelever / Paralever weirdness - this is a really nice bike and incredible value. A GS torque arm scored on eBay for $30 jacked the rear almost 14mm and other than cranking up the spring preload and removing the mirrors, track prep was minimal. It sounds great, makes good power and seems to drop 100 lbs as soon as you start rolling. No surprise that that this bike was so competitive in Canadian Thunder back in its day.
So it wasn’t the TT extravaganza we had planned earlier this year, but then again; nothing this year is going according to plan. It’s all good – just … different.
The Yellow Bike is based on a 1988 Ducati 750 F1. loudbike is a state of mind, a weblog about fast, loud Italian motorcycles and an internet store offering more vintage Ducati parts than you can shake a stick at.