Saturday, September 03, 2005

ST.N meet Richland Center, WI: Day 1

I left the house in the morning on my brand new Ducati, with less then 3 miles on the odometer, this was first tour on the ST3. I packed in to the Nelson-Rigg saddle bags, since I didn’t have the hard bags yet.

I took I-290 at speed limit, keeping the RPM’s low and took the exit for Elgin-O’hare.
I mis-shifted a few times, shifter got stuck in between gears, I was on the throttle but not going anywhere. I’ve never had that happen before on any of my other bikes. I guess when you shift on the Duc you really have to shift. The shifter won’t slide in to the next gear like on the Honda.

RT 20 to RT 23, and I was in Harvard, IL. We were meeting at the Wave CafĂ© for the ride up to Richland Center, WI. I planned the route but I didn’t want to lead, since I was still getting used to this new bike. Before leaving, we also adjusted the shifter on the Duc, maybe now the shifting will improve, it did.

The day started out cool, in the high 50’s but the forecast was looking very nice, 80’s with plenty of sunshine. With each mile, I was adjusting to the torque and power of the v-twin the required precise shifting. I was amazed, the Honda was much easier to ride, and the shifting could be very sloppy, the bike didn’t care. Also, it would allow you to ride it anywhere from 2000PRMs up to redline, not the Duc, it liked to be around 4,000-6,000 RPMs. By the time we arrived at the Super 8 in Richland Center, I had 250 miles on the odometer. I can’t say I was very impressed with the bike. It handled very poorly in the corners. Everyone was surprised that I didn’t like the ST3. We went to Culver’s for lunch and spend the rest of the afternoon hanging out in the parking lot, welcoming new arrivals, until it was time to go to dinner. Then, by sheer coincidence, we realized that there was hardly any air in the back tire. I didn’t check the air pressure before leaving the house this morning since I just picked the bike up from a dealer two days ago. The back tire had only 10 lbs. of air in it, so we filled it up. I guess that would explain why it handled so poorly and wouldn’t even hold a line.

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Dinner was at the Ramada Inn & Whitehouse Supper Club down the road on 14. After dinner, as we got back to our bikes it started raining, but it didn’t last very long. The evening was warm, we spend a few more hours mingling in the parking lot. Then it was time for bed, the rooms had the mini refrigerators in the room, perfect for storing beer and Red Bulls.

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