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February 18th, 2006, 12:29 PM   #1
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better late than never ride report 05 550

Well I guess its better late than never for a report of my 05 550.
First I must say the bike makes up for my shortfallings as a rider up to a point.
I was going to join all of you guys in Phoenix but decided to do a dual sport ride first on the way down. John and I went to Ridgecrest and started the ride there. Started second kick, I was only priming it and startled me when it fired. Cold morning making me wish for my elephant ears in the first 5 miles of road. Bike was very fast ... didn't seem to rev quite as fast as the 501 but more power and did I mention I found the rev limiter. Don't think I ever felt it on the 501 but not annoying just there. Bike felt kind of vague on smooth dirt with some tracks in it at first.. slight head shake and wandering but nothing to worry about.. maybe more preload on the rear. I always had to ride the drz way hard to stay up with John on his 525 but now I am looking back to try and find his dust. Wass up John? Need more throttle or do I need more BRAIN.
Getting into some fairly fast washes and single track with whoops the bike started to really work well. Harder I worked it the better it was. Lost some of the vagueness in the front with the dampener turned up to #5 and cornering works well . Whoops absorbed real good and no packing noticed but the front does bottom firmly on g outs. maybe a couple of clicks on the comp but rebound feels good. Able to pull the front up at will with a twist of the throttle. Bike works so good in 4 and 5 gear I keep forgetting to go to 6 for fuel economy. Kind of sluggish but then that means I am ridding too slow. Man this bike is GREAT!
Some rock gardens and slower stuff bike works great except you really have to watch out for situations where you get traction suddenly... the handlebars can hit you in the chest. hehe it only happened a couple of times before I got more respect for the throttle control. remember I got off a turd drz 400 ... all the mods you can do even with a bore kit but still a turd. This thing needs a way to carry more fuel. I hate putting bottles in my back pack.
At about 70 miles I was getting a little tired ... I haven't ridden since August before I went to Mississippi. Yes really out of shape and 50 lbs lighter and I know I lost a lot of strength and stamina. I am pretty sure thats the beginning of the down fall. Bike makes me feel bullet proof, out of shape, not ridding a GREAT bike for a couple of years. Real fast on hard pack with grit on top starting to find the front brake is REALLY strong, didn't pay attention to a couple of " ohshits" that was close. next thing I know I come up a rise with some rain ruts and a left turn grab too much front brake and start to loose the front in a rut... down I start to go but the foot is trapped between the bike and the rut. Feel a snap and then hit the ground hard on my left side. Couple of ribs cause I cant get my breath, shoulder feels like a collar bone but not really and the lower leg or ankle.
John pulls up and tells me to slow down before I get hurt. HAHA thats my buddy telling me too late
John gets me up and on the bike and we rode about 35 miles back to the hotel then a couple of percodans and it's off to the hospital for a splint and more percs for the long ride to Fallon.
Back home and the first appointment with the ortho guy broken ribs, shoulder blade, Tibbula and Fibbula and he tells me he wants to plate the leg cause it will take forever to heal. Shoulder and ribs... tough .... BIKER UP! O K lets go . No gotta wait for the swelling to go down. Finally get the surgery and then another week for a air cast and now I am up and going somewhat. Hopefully ridding by April 1. It is a FOOLS day after all right?
Most bummed above all is that I missed a GREAT ride with you guys in Phoenix. Well next time.
Bottom line: I got about 100 miles on the bike. Bike is great, much better than the rider. I must remember I am 50+ and been broken allot. and its not a race anymore but dannit you know what a thill it is to put the thing on the edge and make it. Thats why I still ride these things and I bet it is why some of you do too. I got some scratches to the bike now so I don't have to worry about that anymore and I need to do a little tweaking to the suspension and have more respect for those strong front brakes. I am thinking about making a fuel cell out of a old silencer and mounting it on the right side so it looks like dual exuast. Other than that I really like this bike.
What month is Fathers day in? Maybe I can get my daughter to chase us to Austin again and some of you guys can join in.
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February 18th, 2006, 01:57 PM   #2
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Re: better late than never ride report 05 550

Hi Bob,
Glad to hear you are getting better, but deeply saddened to hear that you broke so many bones. The cause of your accident are those brakes of death. I do not believe I am going out on a limb by saying it is highly likely that you will not be able to get used to those brakes, ever. They will put you on the ground again. Those crap brembos do not have any progression. They are light switch brakes, and also many are prone to air leaking into the system. I have '04 brembos, so I know. They are so horribly unsafe, somebody should file a class action lawsuit. This is not an uncommon complaint over on the ktm site. The best upgrade you can make to that bike, is take that brembo master cylinder off, use it for skeet shooting, and replace it with a Nissin. I replaced mine with a Nissin Cannondale surplus unit bought off ebay. It is the best upgrade I have ever done. The perfect amount of progression is there, and I can carry more speed into corners, safely. I have had too many close calls to count on the brembos, and once they literally slammed me on the ground. The rears are not any better, but as everyone knows, it is much easier to control that, verses the front.
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February 18th, 2006, 10:20 PM   #3
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Re: better late than never ride report 05 550

Hi Bob,

Sorry to hear of your mishap! Hope you mend quickly. Sometimes gravity sucks!

Hope you are back on 2 legs and 2 wheels very soon.

-Scott
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February 19th, 2006, 11:24 AM   #4
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Re: better late than never ride report 05 550

bob

sorry to hear about your fall. i'm sending le frog up to 'talk' whitchya. you'll feel so much better after that coz you'll forget all about your pain and have your mind on other things.

seriously though (not!), i hope one-lung rips the piss out of ya and tells lots of funny stories and jokes etc. don't blame the brakes-it's that new lightweight figure of yours! it's ruined all your clicker settings!

a 400 is big enough for me!?!?

brendan, can you let us all know which bikes we can get a nissin mastercylinder from that would do the job? as much advice as you can? start a new thread.

bob you deserved better after all the good work you been doing down in mississippi etc.

regards

Taffy
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