WRR51: Motorcycle Meteorology

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If you’ve been riding for any length of time then you’ve been there: you leave for work in the morning, skies are blue and it’s just a beautiful ride in to the office. But by the time 5pm rolls around, things aren’t looking so good for you. Skies are brooding with dark clouds. Some directions – usually the one you need to head in – greet you with a black wall of rain. What to do? In many parts of the country, afternoon summer thunderstorms are just an everyday possibility. If you ride frequently, chances are pretty good that you’re going to be caught out one day. Below are some tips to help you prepare for such a scenario.

1). Check the weather. Okay, this may seem obvious, and to be honest, this step may or may not be helpful at all. Still, it’s a good idea to have some sort of sense of what to expect that day. Is it a standard 20% chance of scattered thunderstorms, or a more ominous 85% chance of severe thunderstorms in your area that day? Continue reading WRR51: Motorcycle Meteorology

WRR43: Riding the Honda Grom!

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My first thought upon seeing the new Honda Grom was, “where do I stick the quarter so I can ride this thing?”  For a little over $3k, you are getting a fun little motorcycle that is sure to put a smile on your face, and anyone elses who is lucky enough to ride one or sees you coming.  It really is a funny little machine: 125cc air cooled single, 4 speed manual transmission (yay!), and little 12 inch wheels, a short wheelbase, and a weight of just 225lbs make this bike ridiculously fun to ride.

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On one hand, it’s a toy.  With huge aftermarket support you can customize your Grom to your heart’s content (or as long as your wallet can take it).  It could be like riding a super pimped out pit bike – big fun, lots of looks, and a big grin on your face the whole time.
On the other hand, this is a proper motorcycle that can be used for commuting, exploring, weekend rides, and – if you have some like minded buddies, maybe even some parking lot racing and stunting!  Now, don’t expect to hop on and put in 500 miles a day without some (serious) butt pain.  That seat is incredibly hard, and the top speed is somewhere around the 60-65mph range (provided it’s not too hilly or windy).  What that makes you do though is enjoy routes you might not otherwise take, and see things at a slower pace then you might do on a bigger bike.  Oh yeah, and you get to do all this while enjoying over 100mpg.

 

Cheap to buy, cheap to ride, cheap to mod, and a blast to ride.  What’s not to like?  After spending a bit riding around on the Honda Grom, I know I’d love to have one in my garage!

 

Already have a Honda Grom? Check out Accessories for the Honda Grom here.

WRR41: Riding the Honda CBR250R

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Honda CBR250R

I was excited to throw my leg over the Honda CBR250R, maybe more excited than I should have been, considering I had just gotten off my ZRX1100.  I’ve enjoyed many miles aboard small, light motorcycles though.  Some of my fondest motorcycle memories are camping trips I took on my Kawasaki Ninja 250, or a spirited ride through the twisties, keeping up with the “big boy bikes.”  You see, many people underestimate just how fun a little bike like this can be to ride.  Sure they aren’t super fast or anything, but they are so light and easy to handle, get one of these on a curvy road and you’ll be grinning, I guarantee it!

Having spent a lot of time on the Ninja 250, and recently having the opportunity to ride the new Ninja 300, I was curious to see how the Honda would stack up.  Kawasaki uses a parallel twin engine configuration that builds power and has a satisfyingly high redline.  The Honda, on the other hand, uses a single cylinder that redlines at 10,500rpm – so I was very curious to see how this engine felt.  I’ll admit, I was expecting it to be a bit dirt-bike like.  Boy was I wrong – the 250 single in the Honda is smooth, a far cry from the traditional 250 thumper found on most dirt bikes.  Climbing into the cockpit, I found the seating position to be very comfortable, even for me at 6’ tall.  Flat footing was easy, as you’d expect for someone my size, but even if you are considerably shorter, the light weight of the bike and relatively low seat height make this bike feel very manageable.

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A light clutch pull and enough power down low made getting off to a start smooth and easy.  While stalling a bike is inevitable for any newbie, this bike is forgiving in that the clutch has a very good feel – and of course there isn’t so much power that you’ll loop it if you dump the clutch (unless you are REALLY ham fisted).  What I love most about these little bikes isn’t how beginner friendly they are, although that is nice, what I love most is how utterly capable they make you feel in the corners.  Put a good rider on a good set of tires on this bike, and he could keep up with anything on a good curvy road (or a tight race track).  And more and more people are getting into racing these little 250’s.  Low cost of ownership, easy on the wallet in the tires and parts department, and a whole ton of fun – what’s not to like?

Of course for the street they make a great little bike as well.  Returning well over 70mpg will save you money at the pump, and makes long days on the bike that much more enjoyable.  There’s something satisfying about going on a big group ride and knowing you spent half of what some of the other guys did on gas (and they couldn’t even shake you in the corners).  And the corners are where this bike just shines.  A 140 rear tire and the light weight (357lbs wet) of the bike make turn in lightning quick.  Conserving momentum is the name of the game though – slow down too much and you’ll be spending the next few corners just speeding back up.  A small bike like the Honda CBR250R rewards the smooth rider.  Smooth braking, smooth turn in, and a perfect line through the corners will reward you with a fantastic riding experience.

So how did it compare with my old Ninja 250?  Seat of the pants feel – the Honda feels like it has significantly better suspension, much tighter feeling and more sure footed.  (To be fair, the newer Ninja 300 feels significantly better as well).  In the power department, the Kawasaki 250, and obviously the 300, do have an advantage.  On the freeway, the CBR250 struggled to get me up to 70mph if I was sitting up straight.  Once I got into a good tuck it sped up ok, but for much highway riding I would want just a little bit more than what was there.  That’s really the only fault I can think of with this great little motorcycle.

If you are looking for your first bike or just a great lightweight Honda to commute on or toss around a race track, the little CBR 250 is a great platform to go with.  Below you can watch the full ride video – make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel too – Weekly Rides with Reuben are uploaded every Wednesday!

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