Ted’s essays

we gained weight today … and power

Dr Zee (2012 Suzuki DRZ400 SM) – running errands on Old Darby Road

I watched Dr Zee ride off into the sunset … well, a few hours before sunset, but on down the road with happy new owner aboard. I really did like that cheerful, eager little scooter.

My replacement intermediate bike sat quietly in the garage watching the one he displaced roll out of our lives.

Dr Zee could mosey behind Missy and Piglet at the 10-25 mph pace they enjoyed and, technically speaking, could make the occasional Hamilton runs at the 70 mph highway traffic demands. BUT the highway portion felt like a stretch to me. The 400cc single-piston (aka: a thumper) thrashing around underneath me had my sympathies at 70mph, so I typically took him the long way to town on the primarily 30-35 mph Old Darby Road with a few faster paved bits on the way.

My new Jack-of-all-trades bike is a 2011 BMW F650 GS, a 798cc parallel-twin-cylinder who is quite comfortable putting along on dirt or gravel at a Piglet pace, but is smooth, sure and confident on the highways with PLENTY of reserves for keeping with faster traffic and overtaking slower should that occasion arise.

After waving goodbye to Dr Zee, Jack suggested a short spin to ease the pain of departure. That was a GREAT IDEA. He is so much more sophisticated, smooth and powerful it was well worth having the upgrade reinforced. The short spin stretched out a bit, but I was not dressed for 60-degrees, overcast and 70 mph winds… the extra 16 miles* were Jack’s fault, not mine.

So my middle-weight bike went from 321 pounds to 436 (up 36%), but the center-of-gravity on Jack seems low, making him easy enough for the old guy to manage. The motivating power plant went from 40 horses to 71 (up 78%), and even tossed in a 6th gear as icing on the cake (Dr Zee had a 5-speed).

Whaddadifference all that made! An even bigger deal is going from a thumper to a twin… has a lovely purr and runs smooth as glass… Ohyeah!

A likely part of this significant refinement upgrade is going from a Suzuki to a BMW. Switching from a $7,000 economy-brand bike to a $15,000 premium-brand one (prices when new a decade ago) does make itself felt in many ways.

The fun part of that last point is that I sold Dr Zee for $4,000 and paid $5,500 for Jack 🙂

* Lake Como is that close …
(on 40-70mpg motorcycles, lots of places are close).