Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Irvine, Santiago Peak, Ortega Highway Ride Report

Sunday morning I woke up early and stepped outside the garage in my pajama pants and a sweatshirt at 0615, passing my motorcycle and gear on the way out. It was socked in fog but I was wide awake and wanted to go for a ride. I threw my Klim Latitude Pants on over my pajamas, strapped on my Gaerne Balance Oileds, put my Alpinestars textilejacket on over a fleece jacket and warmed up the motorcycle not really sure where I was actually headed. 

I headed west towards the beach before turning back around to the east to see if the local canyons were clearer as visibility was less than 75 yards in Irvine. Once I passed through Foothill Ranch it cleared up completely as the tires finally warmed up. Getting on Santiago Road, other than a few bicyclists here and there, was wide open but cool temperature-wise. Silverado Canyon came was coming up on the right and I decided I was going to ride to where the pavement ended when Silverado Canyon Road turns into Maple Springs, one of the access roads up into Cleveland National Forest. Once I reached this without passing any hikers and it still being so early I decided to head up to 4 Corners where Maple Springs, North Main Divide, and Modjeska Canyon all merge (Maple Springs turns into Main Divide where they meet hence the 4th corner). The Sun was just reaching the ridgelines below and to the west when I reached there. 

Looking north from 4 Corners

The trusty steed looking at 4 Corners

Still being early I decided to go for the top of Santiago Peak. The ride was nice and cool yet working the stock DR650SE over the loose rocks on the westward (weather facing) roads was causing me to work up a sweat so it was time to open up the vents on the Latitude pants. I was surprised that the entire way up I didn’t encounter any hikers or mountain bikers as sometimes they are around every corner. I was the only person up there that I saw to this point.

Santiago Peak, looking west


I made the top shortly after 0730 to a still foggy Orange County but nice views all around. No one was up there and it was a nice way to spend the morning. I thought I was going to turn around and then I started looking east towards Elsinore and Ortega Highway. I had driven the part of North Main Divide between Santiago Peak and Ortega many times but had not ridden it. 

Somewhere out there is Ortega


I took off after spending about a half hour at the top. It is a fun section of dirt with mostly compacted sand and a little bit longer straight-aways allowing the DR to stretch her legs a bit.

Looking back at Santiago Peak

Approximately half way to Ortega from the peak I came across the first vehicle who were scouting around for deer. I kept going after talking to them for a few minutes and passed another vehicle that just flew by when I waved him through. I reach Ortega Highway a little after 0900 and decided it was time to eat so I headed down into Lake Elsinore for breakfast. After airing up the tires a bit at a gas station I headed back through Ortega Highway and was sitting at home just after 1100. A great way to spend a Sunday morning in my opinion.

Found Ortega!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Moto-D Undersuit Review

After owning the Moto-D undersuit for about a year and a half, I thought it would be a great time to give a review now that it's proven itself time and time again. Here's to one of the most important pieces of riding gear I own!

The Moto-D undersuit is an adult onesie (come on, they were so cool when we were kids!). The undersuit is made of an 84% polyester and 16% Spandex blend, making it ULTRA stretchy. Because it's so stretchy, I was even able to stitch the undersuit up when it tore during one of my crashes due to my suit coming apart! In regards to sizing, I am 6'3" and 205 lbs with an Athletic build, and I fit into a Medium perfectly. We have never had one returned for it being too small, definitely something to keep in mind when selecting the size that best suits you!

For those of us who wear leather suits or jackets in the canyons or at the track know how much of a pain, literally, it can be getting them off. The undersuit COMPLETELY defeats this, making suits and jackets slide off with ease. In addition, the fabric creates a barrier between your skin, helping to wick away moisture, keeping you cool and comfortable all day long in both hot and cold weather. Speaking of comfort, the MOTO-D undersuit has a two-way zipper that opens from either the top or bottom, so it's easy for men to unzip for rest room breaks. All in all, I highly recommend this undersuit, and if you still have questions email or call one of our resident gear experts for any help and or advice.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Galfer Rear Wave Rotors

When I checked my rear rotor on my 800GS at approximately 18,000-miles, it was about 1mm away from needing to be replaced (according to BMW specs). I happen to relish the opportunity to bolt new farkles on my bike, but maintaining minimum safety standards is a no-brainer. If safety is good, then more safety is surely better. So, let's take things a step further and add a better performing brake system to the rear wheel. Introducing the Galfer RearWave Rotor for the 800GS.

Our 800GS utilizes the rear brake heavily in a variety of conditions: wet pavement and water crossings, dirt, mud, snow, sand, and desert temperatures well over 100-degrees in the summer. We need a rear rotor that will dissipate heat and fight brake fade while maintaining bite in all of the messy off-road conditions we plow this motorcycle through. Galfer has been a trusted name in brakes for over 50 years, and we’ve used a number of their performance braking applications with great success.

The Galfer Rear Wave Rotor installs without any issue since it's a direct replacement for the stock BMW rotor. Do-it-yourselfers may want to make one note: the brake caliper floats on the carrier as the pads wear to keep each side even on the rotor, so you’ll need to slide the caliper over to fit the new rotor and pads into the caliper. That little trick aside, the installation was about as straight forward as it gets.

The performance on the Galfer Rear Wave Rotor is outstanding. We can pound on the brake pedal all day and it responds beautifully without fail. The rotor sheds water through its self-cleaning properties thanks to the wave shape, which also aids in cooling- paramount to a good rotor. Heat will cause brakes to fade, meaning that they start to feel soft and lose their bite. Galfer has worked tirelessly on solving this problem by actually inventing and patenting the Wave Rotor. Thanks Galfer!  

Gaerne Balanced Oiled Boots

Choosing my pair of boots was real difficult. I wanted a full blown MX boot with ankle protection, a waterproof boot that I could ride in the rain with, and a boot that I could stand all day in at work. I found out quickly that getting all three of these attributes in one boot was going to be impossible.

I tried on the popular dual sport boots like Sidi Crossfires 2 SRS, Alpinestars Scouts, and a variety of more Alpinestars geared more towards MX. Having heard of so many good things about the Gaerne, specifically their line of trials boots, I decided to throw my money down on a pair of Gaerne Balance Oiled's. I would be losing the complete ankle protection I was looking for but I would gain the waterproofing and the all-day comfort I desired.

I normally wear a size 11 to 12 tennis shoe and about 11.5 boots all depending on the company and ended up ordering the 11's. The boots were tight at first but quickly started to break in. I felt no strange pressure points and the leather that was supple to begin and quickly became more nice and soft. The only complaint I have of the boot is a lack of shifter protecting on the boot. After laying the bike down and riding with a bent shifter my foot got a bit sore since its just leather on top of the boot. Normally this doesn't cause a problem at all. Another thing to note is the lack of a raised heel. I had to adjust the shifter up a notch so that I could comfortably shift as the boots I was used to wearing with a heel allowed more room with the narrower vertical clearance caused by the void in front of the raised heel.

Over all I am really happy with the boots. Riding fire roads on my DR650SE with stock suspension I find these boots great. Before with my work boots my lower legs would bash against the frame sometimes but the Gaerne's have enough padding to make this a non-issue. I have worn the boots for 17 hours at a time; split between riding, standing at work, lounging around, and riding again with no discomfort to speak of. I haven't tested how waterproof they are but did step in a couple of puddles a few inches deep and felt no moisture. When it is hot they breathe surprisingly well but do get a little warm while standing in 85° F plus degree weather. For hardcore dirt riding a different boot ought to be used but for a casual boot that can be worn all day, walked around with no annoying squeaks, the Gaerne Balance Oiled Boots are my boot of choice.


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