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The Kawasaki Z 250 SL Gets A Name

Blog Date May 2016

Day 2 of new bike riding is a Sunday so it means a club ride out. Today's chosen destination is Route 59 cafe in Skipton. A round trip of approx 120 miles so a good ride to try and get use to this new mini beast of mine. I am determined today to try and not be such a wimp and begin to ride this bike.There will be learners with us today on L plates so I have no need to worry about my required slow running in speed.

With a new mind set I ride better from the off and I begin to gel a little with the bike. I start to get a hint of her potential. Yes I said her, this bike is definitely a girl. You only have to look at a corner and this bike is there. You do not have to push or coax her around a curve you just think it and the Kawasaki is on it, sweeping around the curve with confidence. There is a downside to this extreme responsiveness however. At first it can catch you off guard. Shift around even slightly in the seat and the bike moves with you. Lean and she leans with you. But when you get used to it ... it is totally awesome. You and the bike become one, what ever way you move your body the bike comes with you instantly.

I sense that once I can get the revs up above the limited running in of 4000 (ok I did not actually stick to 4000 I was wild and got it up to 5000, about 50mph ) I will really see the best of this bike. However I am already very impressed by the Kawasaki's Z 250 SL bottom end torque. She is more than eager to accelerate and boy do I like a quick start from the off. I loose some of the tensions in my body as the miles clock up and I finally begin to relax a little.

We reach our destination and I am feeling good ... until I attempt to get off the bike and almost come a cropper. I almost push the bike over, it is a scary moment and it unravels my new found confidence in myself on this bike. The problem soon becomes apparent. Due to the bike being lowered the side stand is now too long and is causing the bike stand too upright. Hmmm that is something I need to rectify asap. 

The sun comes out and I stand admiring my new bike as she gleams green in the sunshine. She is a good looking bike with her sharp street fighter angles and sporty looks. She needs a mane and I decide to call her Envy. I was envious of Ren's new bike when I bought her and her green colouring represents the green eyed monster of envy perfectly.

Sharon and her friend DW admire the gleaming Kawasaki in the sunMe and DW admiring my lean green gleaming machine

Once back at Ren's house it is time to load up the Kawasaki for my first solo ride on her to my own house. My luggage does not fit as well onto the new bike as it does on the Keeway. However with some fiddling I am finally loaded up and ready to go. Once again I cannot manoeuvre her out of Rens garden without his help so I begin to have concerns about what will happen when I get to my house alone. Although nervous the ride to my home goes without incident but the problems begin once I am there as I had feared. Getting off the bike fully loaded with its over long side stand is extremely precarious. Getting the bike through my small gate requires much straining and sweating and nervous moments.Getting the bike into the shed requires much straining and sweating and time. Pheww weee 148kg is more than enough for me to try and push around in fact I feel I am on the edge of my limit. 

So Envy is tucked up in her new home. As I slide the door closed I acknowledge I do not love her yet but neither do I want to boot her straight out of my shed. We still need time to get to know one another. She now has a name but I have yet to discover her true personality. 

Reader's Comments

Monk said :-
Ah Sharon, I read your post with resonance but further resonance than you might think as three weeks ago I went on a ride out with five biking hooligans, only one of whom I had ridden with previously.

I won't make this too long but there are some details that if left out wouldn't paint the entire picture.

Cut to six of us riding along towards a place called Ipswich, you may know it or certainly will have heard of it, it's in Suffolk.

Anyway, we're on the A12 and I'm about third in line, as it were, when I see, in my mirror, one of my fellow riders tearing up the outside and flying past me, he's riding a ZZR 1400, I'm, as you might recall, on a GTR 1400 and going at, probably, 90mph. Eventually we arrive at a cafe in Ipswich and I ask the bloke how fast he was travelling? 130mph he says!!!!I say that's to much for me mate, I'm more comfortable between 70-80mph. He smiles?

To cut a long story as short as I can, we were on our way to Norfolk Motorcycle Museum at which venue we eventually arrived with me completely frazzled and not happy. I turn my bike around and the only place left is a muddy piece of ground, next to the outer wall of the museum, it had been raining the previous night, put my stand down, feels ok, slowly climb off the bike which immediately toples to the right and hits the wall damaging mirror and screen!

After the journey back home, 310 mile round trip, in the pouring rain with a damaged screen and offside mirror housing I was ready to throw the towel in and didn't get back on the bike until yesterday, which was extremely hot and sweaty, to ride my bike over to a very good engineer I know who does all things bike to have a new screen and new mirror fitted and get the bike lowered a touch, 25mm.

Rode away after the all the work was done into 90 degree heat with what felt like a brand new bike. My point is I now feel better riding alone, unless I'm with people who aren't speed freaks, although having said all this I would not have had the bike lowered had the drop not happened, so I guess it's all meant to be, but that doesn't mean the anxiety has stopped it, just means I'm still riding and still loving it, albeit alone now. Take care and ride safe,

20/7/2016 10:05:01 PM UTC
Monk said :-
The Wall and my injured bike next to it but the right way up now!!!
20/7/2016 10:06:08 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Argh! You've christened the bike at least. Always choose who you ride with carefully. Did you know that it is possible to be charged with an offence if the people you are riding with are committing offences? Guilty by association so avoid such folks at all costs.

Riding alone is fine and I enjoy it. I also enjoy riding with friends but as I've said you need to choose these friends very very selectively. Anyhow you're unhurt and I'm glad to hear that you're settling into the big beastie.
21/7/2016 11:46:04 AM UTC
Monk said :-
Thanks're as calm and reassuring as is appreciated, as always. Good, sound, advice is difficult to come by but you always deliver!!A deeply trusted mentor.

21/7/2016 3:47:53 PM UTC
said :-
All in all it's just another part of the wall!!
21/7/2016 3:48:44 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Where is that place Monk? I'm guessing that's the Norfolk Motorcycle Museum. Is it worth a look? If so I'll add it to my map.
23/7/2016 8:15:53 AM UTC
Sharon said :-
Hi Monk,

Sorry to hear about your little accident. Do not be too dis-heartened, as you know I have thrown poor Zen around much more. I know how it feels though to damage your bike so my sympathies. We live and learn, usually via some scratches. As you said even some good came of it with you feeling better once the bike was lowered.

As Ren said you need to choose riding buddies carefully. Some like to be loons and ride like nutters. Like you I prefer to avoid those kind of people. I am sure you will eventually find a group of like minded bike buddies but for now riding alone is preferable to feeling ill at ease with any other rider. When I began riding I naively though all riders would be your friend. But now I realise that while most will be there are some who will not be. Value those who respect you and how you choose to ride and disregard those who don't. Time on our bikes is precious so we don't need that time ruined by being around people who spoil our peace of mind and fun.
23/7/2016 7:43:23 PM UTC
Monk said :-
It is indeed the Norfolk Motorcycle Museum run by George Harmer and his son Stephen.Loads of great British classics if that's what you're into, I know I am... even though I ride a Kwaka! Definitely worth a visit and George makes a great cuppa, if you ask him nicely!

In the case of mistaken identity, regarding riding with the 'wrong' people thinking they're the right people. In my naivety I had hoped the ride would be sedate and comfortable... as it turned out my feelings were not listened to but lip service was paid to them.

I eventually was left behind, even though we had agreed not to exceed 85mph. I arrived back home, in one piece with a scratched bike, and vowed not to ride with the same group again, which I haven't. Once bitten twice shy.

Not that riding the bike at 85mph is a problem it was that I was missing so much around me... the reason I ride is to enjoy the externals, as I call the surroundings, particularly when the surroundings are beautiful countryside. I'd rather not to hurtle through at head spin mph!

I'm enjoying the bike, riding alone, at my own pace, it is a cathartic experience, and when I get off the bike I feel a sense of peace and achievement, not that I got from A to B at warp speed but that I actually feel good that I enjoyed the moments of discovery because I can actually see and feel what's around me and stop where I like.

If I find like minded people to ride out with, which on occasion I can as my instructor organises ride out's every now and then with his ex 'pupils' who are all aware people, in terms of enjoying the ride, not the speed. Valuable lesson learned for me which is a bonus.

Going off to Brighton at some point with a neighbour of mine. I have a feeling I'll enjoy the journey.

Always a pleasure to hear from you both and to read of your exploits. Enjoy the journey to... as always... safely.

I'm having a look at one of these as a second bike!! :-)

26/7/2016 1:53:13 AM UTC
Tom McQ said :-
Hi Sharon. Having the legs of a wee-man, I too struggle with bikes that are too tall for me - always have. And never more so than since I bought this Tiger Sport! I felt like a ballerina when coming to traffic lights, with just my toes touching the ground. So, like you, I lowered the bike (40mm at the back and 14mm at the front) and it's MUCH better now.

But now I have a completely new confidence issue! After riding bikes solo for 40yrs, I now find myself carrying pillion everywhere I go. It's totally alien to me and I can't say I like it. The whole feel of the bike is different - that 'low centre of gravity' feeling has gone and has been replaced with a 'top heavy' wibbly wobbly feeling :-(

Needless to say, it's no problem at all when at speed, but I'm feeling like a real amateur at low speed manouevres (previously something I was very cocky about). It's all made FAR worse (as you will know) when we fit the panniers and top-box and tank bag.

Ah well, better get used to it cos I am madly in love with my new pillion :-)

My New Pillion
26/7/2016 7:56:11 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Tom McQ - Are you a man or a mouse? Ever since I started riding I've had pillions and Sharon was pillion with myself and luggage for 9 years. You'll get the hang of it and Liana will learn how you ride and settle in with you. Now...let me show you some REAL luggage for a 2-up trip...

A very overloaded Fazer FZS600
26/7/2016 8:06:33 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Monk - where are you planning to keep these motorcycles? Have you got somewhere to put them?
26/7/2016 8:07:48 AM UTC
Sharon said :-

Thanks for your wee man comments. It is reassuring to hear that even an experienced rider such as yourself can struggle with a new taller bike and adapting to new situations. It does make me feel better to know it is just not me. I am sure both of us will in time adapt and overcome and we both have great reasons for sticking at it.

Of course if your lovely pillion gets the solo biking bug she may solve your wibbly wobbly world feeling and begin her own wibbly wobbly journey into being a rider herself. Not that there is any rush or necessity, I enjoyed many years of being a pillion and I still enjoy taking the back seat now and then.

We will all have to ride out soon together because you and I can enjoy grimacing at one another as we come to terms with our new rides. As for Ren he can find us a nice route to take while we concentrate on learning to ride again :-)
26/7/2016 9:29:44 PM UTC
Monk said :-
Firstly, I'll put the second bike where the GTR is, well, next to the GTR as it's little brother, you know Ren where your bike was when you kindly visited :-)

Talking about little brothers...I'm not exactly a giant (5'7") that's why I needed the GTR lowered as prior to the lowering I was tip toeing the beast, when stopping at roundabouts, traffic lights etc, and at it's weight of something like a little over 300 kgs and seat height being 32.1" with my inside leg, pardon the expression, is just under 30" she was beginning to feel a little bit hairy and a tad intimidating to be honest.

So the lowering of just about 28 mm has really improved both my ability to flat foot her and also feel confident I can stop without having to lean over too far to the left to put my foot on the road giving me a lot of weight to hold up.

I hope this all makes sense. Really enjoyed reading the pillion stuff, it's always great to share our experiences as it brings together so much that we can learn from. Which is what it's all about for me. So much to learn and from these pages it's happening for me exponentially. Thanks chaps. More anon. Happy riding.
27/7/2016 10:31:09 AM UTC

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